Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Born Again Winchester Project part 1

Another project. This one a Winchester model 250 .22 lever action rifle.
See my Featured Gun article on this rifle here

The rifle survived a house fire, but it was not subjected to extreme heat, the plastic butt plate is only melted on one side and the aluminum still retained most of it's finish. 
The question always comes up: "Will  the gun be safe to shoot after it has been in a fire"?
The answer can be found in the damage to the gun. There is always some evidence to tell you how much heat the firearm was exposed to.

In this case the aluminum parts were not damaged by heat (aluminum's melting point is 1220 degrees Fahrenheit) so we know it didn't get that hot. The butt plate is only melted on one side and not very badly (probably was in contact with some metal that was hot). Even the most heat resistant plastics will turn to liquid at 700 degrees.
The wood suffered the most damage and that damage was limited (mostly) to the fore end. Birch wood can combust at 450 degrees +/- and since only part of the wood was charred, I would guess that the rest of the gun was not subjected to heat above that temperature. Thus the steel, aluminum and springs should be just fine to reuse, but a closer inspection will provide more evidence.

This gun is a bit of an anomaly. It is not a deluxe model yet it has the white spacer on the butt plate and it has a jeweled bolt. The wood is not walnut though, which is the biggest difference between the standard and deluxe models.


Although hard to tell, but the bolt has been jeweled.

The first step is to evaluate the condition of the parts, I ran a brass bore brush down the bore with some Hoppes #9, it is still hard to see inside, it is dark, but I do see rifling, so it may be salvageable.

Upon first look we will need at least the following parts:
  • Butt stock with butt plate
  • Forend 
  • Front sight insert

Parts that may need replacement:
  • Barrel 
  • Magazine inner tube (it is steel and frozen in place)
  • Springs

I immediately went on a search and found an NOS stock set:

The steel parts that are salvageable will be striped, sanded, polished and reblued with a high polish finish. The receiver will be coated with Cerakote gloss black, which should mimic the original anodized finish and compliment the high polish blue on the steel. I may even have the trigger and safety cerakoted in gold.

Stay tuned, in the next installment we will disassemble the gun and perform a more thorough evaluation.

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