Monday, July 30, 2018

Chemicals that might remove bluing part 1

Having refinished dozens of firearms I have run into a few that had the bluing removed accidentally by their owners using the wrong chemical to clean the guns.

We have known for years that naval jelly works very well in removing bluing (or any iron oxide). We also know that vinegar works pretty well.

Here is a list of other solutions that I have heard will remove bluing:

Brake Fluid
Brake Cleaner (the older chlorinated kind)
Coca Cola
Critic Acid 
Barkeepers Friend
PB Blaster 

While I didn't have all of these things on hand, I did have some of them, so I decided to try some of them out on a barrel that I was going to polish and reblue anyway.

Normally I use vinegar or Naval Jelly (phosphoric acid) to remove the bluing and rust.

Here are the chemicals we will be trying out and why:

Nail Polish Remover (non-Acetone), people have used this to clean up the paint or nail polish used to fill roll marks. While I have not heard of it taking bluing off, I thought it might good to check in case someone does need to use it.

Brasso, I use this to clean brass and aluminum parts on guns. It removed oxidation and bluing is basically an oxide, what would happen if it came in contact with bluing?

Brake Fluid, I know from experience that brake fluid removes automotive & spray paint and it also causes those surfaces to rust, I thought this would be a good one to test.

Citri-Strip, I use this often to remove the old finish on stocks and because citric acid has been mentioned as a bluing destroyer by other gun owners and Citri-strip is citric acid based I thought I would give it a shot 

Hydrogen Peroxide, I had read that this stuff will remove bluing, but have no first hand knowledge, so I included it.

Comet, I had no Bar Keeper's Friend on hand and Comet is a close competitor to BKF, it also has chlorine in it which has also been listed as an enemy to bluing, so I included it as well

I taped off the six sections and using a cotton ball liberally applied the solutions to the blued steel.

This is a factory blued Ruger 10/22 barrel, it was clean and free of oil.

After 30 minutes, i rinsed the barrel with warm water and dried it with a paper towel. This is what I found......not a thing, the solutions I used had zero affect on the bluing

some close up shots

I really thought we would find at least some of these chemicals would hurt the bluing.....well, this was just one test, there are other solutions I will try out, but now you know for sure that these six solutions will not hurt the bluing on your gun

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Guest Post: Reloading the Savage .22 Hi Power

Another guest post from a local forum member, this is the same person that gave us the post on reloading the 45-75, see that post here.

The italicized words are that of the author. Enjoy!

Charles Newton was a lawyer and a firearms enthusiast that invented a number of cartridges but mostly known for the 22 Hi Power and the .250-3000
Newton had several businesses in his lifetime, Newton Arms Company, Buffalo Newton Rifle Company and LeverBolt Rifle Company around the turn of the 19th century.
Savage Firearms company adopted his 22 HP and .250-3000, the latter being the first commercial rifle projectile to travel over 3000 fps. Around this same time Newton created the .22 Newton which eventually became the inspiration for the .22-250. 22 HP and .22-250 are essentially distant kissing cousins.

In 1912, Savage adopted the 22 Hi Power for the venerable Savage 99 which used a 70 gr jacked projectile. The 22 HP was the first truly high velocity center fire cartridges. It was primarily advertised as a small game round but later touted as a medium game (Deer) round although it fell short of getting enough penetration to kill a deer without a lucky shot leaving many wounded game thus all 50 states banned the 22 Hi Power and cartridges in similar size for hunting med to large game. Savage even went as far as marketing the 22 Hi Power as an a tiger killer.

Today, there is no manufactured ammunition for the 22 hp whose dimensional name is 5.6×52Rmm. The last company to make 22 HP ammunition was Sellier and Bellot and their ammunition has a reputation for shooting a "shotgun pattern" due to the tumbling of this VERY unstable round.
The rest of this post is my journey with a 104 year old Savage 99H 22 Hi Power firearm and reloading for this unique wildcat round.

As you can see in this first photo, the Sellier and Bellot (SP) ammo is like a shotgun pattern. This is a VERY unstable round with evidence of bullets tumbling as they hit paper at 50 yards using a 1913 Savage 99H 22 High Power with a Marbles Peep sight. 

I spoke with several Savage experts specifically about this round and decided on a cast lead -gas checked bullet that is still made today. 
I was given instructions to scrub every bit of copper out of the barrel on my 1913 22 HP and boy oh boy did it bleed blue!

I contacted The Bull Shop in Montana and low/behold, he casts a 64 grain gas checked, lubed .228 bullet. Boom! Bought 100 for $25 including shipping.

I loaded 10 test rounds with no filler or wad, using a super low dose of BLC(2) in 19 grains, a Lg Rifle primer case up in Sellier and Bellot spent brass that has been neck annealed and trimmed. Then I proceeded to the range. The results from the first photo, compared to this photo is remarkable. Granted, I was looking for a closer grouping than the Sellior and Bellot (not adjusting the peep sight), and was pleasantly pleased with the results. The first two shots were low (Fouling shots if you will), then the grouping started appearing.

Pleased with the results and great information from the savage experts out there, I proceeded to use my Drill press CTS Case trimmer (.223 )to trim the brass to 2.045 and then chamfered, and steel-pin tumbled for 90 minutes

I have a socket with a bolt through it. I chuck it up on the hand drill, low speed, then drop each case in the socket, heat it up about 7-8 seconds on a propane torch.
As soon as it begins to change color (depending on the brass, 7-8 seconds) I drop it in a pan to cool
(no water or oil).

Using multiple sources and word of mouth (including Load Data website, which as been my "Go To" analysis along with 3 different manuals,) I decided to try another 10 rounds at 23.1 grains of BLC-2 for my next outing. It is recommended not to exceed 25 grs of BLC(2) with a lead cast gas checked bullet.

I'm certain I can get these groups tighter with the 104 year old rifle! I find great pleasure in researching and testing these wild cat cartridges in the field. My next outing I will chrono these rounds.. I'm looking for 2200 fps for this old bang stick, and no more!

Follow up answers to some questions posed:

I was using Load Data and found a recipe using BLC and based on the chrono data/bullet weight they advertised, I went with a powder puff version of it. (19 grs vs 25 grs)

Box ammo (Sellier and Bellot) chrono'd at 2600 fps, I don't want to match that with a gas checked lead bullet, but I think I'll be just over 2000 fps with 23 grains.

I used Barnes Bullets CR-10 Bore Cleaner. I use this on my old .45-70 once a year and it cleaned it up slicker than snot.


Monday, July 23, 2018

Firearm Factory of the Month: Parker Brothers

It has been called "America's Finest Shotgun" and few would argue that statement. They have been owned by royalty and farmer alike. When found for sale today they command lofty prices.
The story of the Parker Brothers shotgun and the factory that produced them start with one Charles Parker.
Charles Parker was born in 1809 in Cheshire, Connecticut. He is from one of the oldest families in America. The sixth generation descendant of William Parker, who along with some others founded the city of Hartford Connecticut in 1635. He was also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Charles Parker began his career at the height of the industrial revolution. In the spring of 1832 he purchased an acre of land between High and Elm Streets and Main & Charles streets in Meriden Connecticut and built a stone shop on it.

He soon after formed the Charles Parker Company to make coffee mills for which he had recently obtained a contract for. Later he added tools, tableware, cups, lamps, piano stools and other housewares. 

His original investment was just $70 (about $1,400 today).
This first factory was originally powered by a blind horse hitched to a "sweep pole". 
His success allowed him to install the first steam engine in the area, the year was 1844.
Charles Parker had a knack for manufacturing, so naturally people with an idea and some money to invest wanted to work with him. His company merged with others over the years to produce an ever widening variety of products. 

In 1854  Snow, Brooks and Company built a foundry and factory on Cherry Street, right next to the rail road tracks. By 1861 Charles Parker and his brothers bought controlling interest in the company. At that time Snow, Brooks and Co. was making steam engines, pumps, gears and other components. Circa 1861 the company was renamed Parker's Snow & Company.

In April of 1861, the Civil War broke out, Parker's Snow & Company received a contract to produce 15,000 Springfield rifles and 10,000 repeating rifles. Suddenly Charles Parker found himself in the gun business. 

In December of 1864 the Cherry Street operation was renamed the Meriden Manufacturing Company.

After the War ended the workforce was slimmed down as the contract for the Civil War rifles and muskets ended. Considerable expense had been made in the gun making equipment and considerable experience had been Charles Parker's team began working on designs for civilian arms.

In 1865/1866 Meriden Manufacturing began to produce a shotgun under contract for Charles Parker (who was majority owner). The shotguns were marketed as "Made by the Meriden Man'f Co. for Charles Parker"

It should be noted that readers should not confuse these shotguns with ones made by the Meriden Firearms Company which, also located in Meriden, came along later.

There were an estimated 700 shotguns made with the Meriden moniker, they were marketed as "The gun of 1866", perhaps implying this was the only gun of any importance made in 1866, I think Winchester would argue otherwise....

Charles Parker was not just wealthy, but also an influential figure in Meriden, in 1867 he was named the first mayor of the town 

Interest in Parker's shotgun was great enough that in 1867 Charles, along with his sons William and Dexter, started the Parker Brother's Gun Company utilizing the factory and equipment at the Cherry Street complex.
It should also be noted that by this time Charles Parker owned numerous businesses in Meriden, with annual sales exceeding $2M (over $31 Million today).

The other owners of Meriden Manufacturing sold out their shares to Parker and by 1869, he was the sole owner. 
This company remained separate from the shotgun operation and remained in business well into the 1970's

Back to the shotguns, the Parker Brother's shotguns were being produced in the Cherry Street factory. 
This was just a few blocks from the Charles Parker/Meriden Manufacturing factory between Elm and High Streets.

This map from 1875 shows both the Parker Brothers Shotgun factory (#25) on Cherry Street and Charles Parker Co located between Elm and High (#16). Click on the map for a higher resolution image.

Charles Parker died in 1902. The company remained in place making fine quality shotguns until 1934 when they were purchased by Remington Arms. 

The factory remained busy until 1938, when production was moved to Remington's Ilion, New York plant. 
Production of the Parker Gun ceased in 1942, due to Remington's commitment to the war effort.

In all there were approximately 242,000 Parker Brother's Shotguns made during the 76 years (from 1866 through 1942).  
Google Maps shows 31 Cherry Street as the last address on Cherry Street and there is an old abandoned brick building there. This building was probably part of the Parker complex, or the address used to be the large building that used to stand at the end of the road.

I found this picture of  the factory, showing it right on the railroad tracks.

Here is a drawing from 1893, probably about the same time as the picture above. The train in the drawing is crossing Cherry Street.


I have read that the main factory building caught fire in 1980 dues to someone throwing a cigarette butt on the floor. The building was demolished after the fire.

There are only a couple of buildings left, the one above at 31 Cherry Street and this one at 26 Cherry Street.

To the North of these two buildings is the clear outline of an old foundation and red brick rubble, this is where the main building was as shown in the 1875 map

Another map, this one from 1884 shows the Parker Bros complex.

One last view of the area as it looks today

American Rifleman
Parker Guns
NRA Museum 
Meridien Hall of Fame
Maps of Antiquity 
Yale University 
Connecticut Mills

The Parker Gun: It's History and Evolution by Louis C. Parker III, American Society of Arms Collectors
URL link

Franco, Janis L.,(2010), Images of America: Meriden, Charleston, N.C., Arcadia Publishing 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Born Again Winchester Project part 5

This the fifth and final installment of this restoration. If you missed the first four posts or the Featured Gun post, you can see them by clicking the links below:

Featured Gun: Winchester Model 250
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Reassembly time. I inserted the barrel into the receiver and after about ten tries, I am sure I have it on straight. The barrel only slides in so far, the spanner nut forces it on the rest of the way

Without the help of instructions or a legible parts diagram I need to make this mess of parts into a working action.....arrrgg

After getting the action put together I installed the stocks....then discovered something. The stock set I bought was listed for a model 190 and the two guns have a different pistol grip, the lever would not close.

Here it is compared to the original stock

So back on ebay I went, I found a model 250 butt stock that was in very good condition for $29 + shipping.

Yep we got the right contour this time

The 250's wrist is squared off

Much better

Last remaining items were the sights, I could not find a replacement for the front sight, so I decided to try and clean it up

It looked pretty bad

But it cleaned up pretty nice, not to shabby

A couple of coats of cold blue and some oil

After installing it I painted what was left of the aluminum bead with some bright orange sight paint

Here are the pictures of the finished rifle:

I'll need to dab some cold blue on the magazine pin

Before and after pictures

Costs for the project:

Rifle, slightly smoked: $50

NOS 190 Forend: $46.45
NOS model 250 butt stock: $28.95
Paint: $0, already had from another project.

Total spent: $125.40