Sunday, October 5, 2014

Another Shotgun Project: Remington Model 58 Sportsman part 1

Yeah, I know what you are thinking.....this guy must really like it's not like that. These things find me....I don't go looking for them
Anyway, My Father in law found this at a yard sale for $40 (this seems to be a common price for used, beat-up shotguns). This Remington model 58 Sportsman was the 1st gas-operated shotgun produced by Remington.
There were approximately 271,000 model 58s made between 1956 and 1963 when the gun was later replaced by the model 1100 in the Remington line-up.

The serial #s started at 1000 and went to 275,000. Mine has a serial # of 36xxx which should put it in the 1st year of production.

Here are the before pictures
The trigger looks gold in the above photo, that is actually rust, I think it was originally chromed

The pink spots are just ol' Iron Oxide

The stocks are in pretty good shape, I may just leave those alone and just reblue the steel.

I have read that both the butt stocks and the receivers on these guns have been known to crack under heavy use. Luckily my gun shows no signs of any cracking. 
Before stripping the metal for rebluing, I thought I would see if I could clean up the metal with 0000 steel wool and some Rem Oil.
It didn't look too bad, and if I was just a regular Joe I might have left it like that....
So here is what I plan to do:
1. Strip and polish the metal to a high shine and then reblue the steel parts using the hot salts method.
2. Polish the bolt and jewel it 
3. Strip and polish the aluminum trigger housing
4. Polish the trigger
5. Do something with the grip cap, repaint with black and gold or black and silver....

Step one is always dis-assembly. These guns do not come apart like any other shotgun that I have had the pleasure of working on. 
First, remove the two pins holding the trigger assembly in the receiver....this part is familiar.

This guns design uses a gas piston that is stored in the front portion of the magazine tube (this is also why the model 58 only holds 2 rounds in the magazine). 
So in order to free the action bar from the piston, you need to remove the end cap, push the piston back a bit and line up the piston/action bar connector with a notch in the mag tube, this will separate the two
 Then remove the charging handle (just pull hard, it is held in by a ball & detent). Next slide the whole works out the front of the receiver.
Next remove the butt stock...the screw is just where you would expect to find it, the second hole is for adding weight to the back of the stock (usually lead shot).
Incidentally, the model 58, 870 and 1100 all use the same butt stock.
So I have everything apart....where to start? 
 I decided to start with the trigger assembly. The housing is anodized aluminum and since I have not yet mastered the art of anodizing, I figured I would strip and polish the aluminum housing.

 While I was at it I polished the hammer surfaces where it rides against the bolt and where it slides into the dis-connector.

I also polished the bolt and some other small parts

Since I will not be bluing for awhile yet, I figured I would reassemble the trigger group now.  I would probably not remember how it went together a few weeks from now.

I have to make this mess of parts into a working trigger assembly again.....yikes
 After some cursing and internet searching for a picture of the assembly, I was able to get it back together...correctly. 

Of course,  I put it together incorrectly at least a dozen times.....I can safely say that I am an expert now.
I used naval jelly to remove the old bluing and rust.
 the wire wheel on my grinder cleaned up the residual acid
 about 1/2 way done, this is a 400 grit finish, it goes much faster once you get past 400 grit, but you need to keep checking to make sure you did not miss any pits
The receiver is done, this is a 2000 grit finish, I'll go back over it to make sure no visible pits are left
I then went to work on the barrel, the mag ring had some pits that took some file work to get out
after sanding I started buffing 
Ready for bluing

As I do with many of my projects I like to post pictures of what I hope the gun will look like when finished: here are some really nice Remington model 58s


  1. I'm liking your Workmanship.

    PM @ pnw from Ree Tyred

  2. Hello, I am also doing a remington sportsman 58. Have you started blurring and stock/forend refinishing? I'd love to see pictures. What do you mean when you say "jewel" the bolt? Can you recommend a wire wheel, and would that be a wheel that fits in a standard bench grinder? Appreciate any info you can share and look forward to seeing your 58.

  3. You can see part 2 of this build where I blued the barrel & receiver here:

    as for the jeweling, it is also known as "engine turning" or "damascasing", do a google image search and you will see more examples.

  4. Just looked at the completed project, what a beautiful 58! Thanks for the link, great job.

  5. Better late than never but just came across this article. I did this to my 58 a while back and came out almost as nice. I've recently bought a new bolt slide as mine ended up crumbling after years of use. One issue I've run into and hoping you might be able to help. My safety is not engaging and before taking apart the trigger assembly I wanted to know if you had any advice as to why it may be happening or if you have encountered the same issue.

  6. I have a sportsman 58. What repair would need done for a loose charging handle? It will not stay in place...i know that it involves a ball and detent..

    1. I would start by getting a replacement charging handle, the spring in the ball detent is probably gone south. If that doesn't fix it, get a replacement bolt.