Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Cleaning up and repairing an old Winchester Model of 1894

 My friend brought me a couple of guns to look at, he said this one hadn't been shot in years and he wanted me to look it over before shooting it.

As soon as I had it out of the case I knew what it was.....an American classic.

An older Winchester model 94 in 30-30 with the crescent butt plate and an octagon barrel.

According to most experts (factory records for Winchesters no longer exist) this gun was made in 1910

Anyway, the gun had not been cleaned nor shot in a long time and he asked me to look it over. The action was very tight, which I thought was just the result of gummed up oil, dust and contaminants making the action sticky.

It also had some rust in spots and needed a good overall cleaning, the fuzz is from the old gun case it was in

Parts are now clean

Here is what the original 1910 finish under the forearm cap looks like

When I went to reassemble, I found why the one carrier pivot screw was buggered up, the unthreaded portion would not fit the hole and was just pushing on the carrier, making it not want to move. That same screw's head was also buggered from someone trying to force it in.

Luckily Homestead Parts had what we needed, so I ordered up two new screws (might as well replace both of them).

I also found out the plug screw that keeps the lever retaining pin in place (Finger Lever Pin Stop Screw) was not the correct screw, it was too small, it was basically just sitting in the slot, not threaded in.

So I ordered one of those screws as well

I finished the assembly, added a few drops of oil in the critical places and the gun functions smoothly as a vintage Winchester lever action should.

Once assembled and tested I cleaned up the small rust spots with some gun oil and 0000 steel wool.
I then applied some Rennaissance Micro-Crystaline Wax


Thursday, July 21, 2022

Gunsmithing Cheap Tricks

Another round of gunsmithing cheap tricks

Socks: Don't let your wife throw away those old socks. You can use them in the shop. The longer ones are great keeping barrels, rifle stocks and even files from getting dinged up while in storage.

Small cardboard boxes: I prefer the ones with lids that fold over. I used these for "project boxes" to store the parts in while I am working on a gun.

Zip lock bags: The sandwich size is sometimes too large, so I save ones that new parts come in and reuse them to store the small parts in, so they don't get lost

Pencils: I often use a round wood pencil to wrap sandpaper around for sanding in small areas

Flannel: Save those old flannel PJs or sheets, cut them up for polishing cloths

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Magazine Stickers

Having your magazine Cerakoted then laser engraved is one way to get an image onto your magazine. See my post on themed magazines here, here and here

You could also buy a sticker, maybe use some spray paint....

The ones below are from Vinyl Weapons Stickers

Magskins from Gunskins is another option, at the time of this writing they had 57 designs available:

I found these ones on Etsy, a pack of 6 was just $5

Here are a couple of "Banana Clips" stickers available on ebay

This first one is from Thor's Hammer ebay store

Here is another one, also available on ebay

and the smaller version

Another ebay find, these one feature a pin-up model, see them here

Another variation on the banana theme are these Black Rifle Division stickers available from evike

Rapid Wraps also makes vinyl "shrink to fit" magazine wraps....tacticalshit has them in stock with 37 designs available

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Featured Gun: Savage model 110

 The story of the Savage 110 begins shortly after WWI when returning GIs began touting the superiority of the bolt action rifle to their hunting brethren.

Before WWI the lever action was the go-to hunting rifle in North America.

During the Great War the American Dough Boys got introduced to the Springfield, Enfield and Mauser rifles. After the war surplus rifles were being bought up and it didn't take long for the requests to "sporterize" them began coming into the gunsmiths.

Companies like Remington and Winchester realized the market for a bolt action rifle that came from the factory with all the options the hunters were now paying gunsmiths to add to the surplus rifles.

In the 1940s Remington introduced a rifle with a push feed action which they may or may not have borrowed from previous rifles like the Mosin-Nagant, Krag-Jorgensen and the Lee-Enfield.

Savage had built bolt actions before, in 1947 Savage introduced the model 325A, which evolved into the 325B and C before becoming the model 340 and 740. See my post on these guns here

Savage began the design of their bolt action rifle in 1956. Nicholas Brewer is given credit for the design. I don't think Savage was looking to displace the Winchester model 70 or the custom Mauser based rifles, I think they were looking to offer an affordable alternative that the average hunter would be proud to own and not break their bank.

Savage introduced their new rifle in 1958.

They had not yet come up with a model name or number yet, but they did have a price point $110 ($109.75 to be exact). They ended up using this as the model number....a good a number as any I suppose.

Originally offered in just a long action and in 30-06 Springfield and 270 Winchester.

There were some great innovations built into this gun, the 3-position safety was mounted on the top of the tang, just rearward of the bolt

The bolt protrusion would indicate if the firing pin spring was charged or not

The trigger is adjustable, without removing the rifle from the stock and dual gas ports for added safety.

The bolt had dual forward locking lugs

Of course, the gun came with the receiver drilled and tapped for scope bases and the front sight folds down.

The magazine was a blind design (no removeable/openable floorplate) that held 4 rounds.

The barrel attachment system (using an external threaded collar-nut) was carried over from the model 325/340, which was a carry-over from WWII machine guns, for which Savage had contracts to build.

The standard model rifles came with a hard butt plate, first made of aluminum, then of plastic. The deluxe models came with a soft recoil pad.

The next year Savage introduced two new versions, a short action model that was chambered in .243 Winchester and .308 Winchester as well as a left-handed version, the first commercial rifle available for south paws. 

The safety need not be relocated as it was mounted on the center of the tang, which might lead someone to believe the gun was designed to made in right and left-handed configurations.

In 1962 Savage began offering the actions and barrels separately so gunsmiths could build custom one-off rifles.

In 1966 some parts of the rifle were redesigned. Some changes were to cut costs (like Winchester did in 1964) and some were genuine improvements.

Included was a new ejector. This one, was much more reliable, mounted in the bolt face and allowed for the use of detachable box magazines, which Savage offered as an option that year.

These changes were significant enough, that most parts from the early guns (1958-1966) are not interchangeable with the newer rifles and vice-versa.

The easiest way to tell the older vintage from the post-66 rifles is the barrel has a raised area where the rear sight mounts, the post 66 rifles have a smooth taper

By the mid 1960s Savage had dozens of options and almost as many calibers available.

Throughout the 70's and 80's Savage continued to produce the model 110, along with their other successful models.

In 1988 financial troubles led the owners of Savage to file bankruptcy. In order to save the company, they reduced the catalog down to just the most basic and economical 110 models.

The plan worked, the company survived and is one of the largest producers of bolt action rifles today.

Specs (1958 original rifle):

Action: Bolt action, push feed

Magazine: Blind box mag, 4 round capacity

Weight: 6 3/4 Lbs

Length: 43" (depending on buttplate/recoil pad)

Barrel length: 22"

Rate of Twist: 1 in 10"

Length of Pull: 13.5"

Finish: Blued steel and walnut

Years produced: 1958 to present

Time Line

1956: Nicholas Brewer begins designing the 110

1958: the model 110 is introduced

1959: a short action and left-handed versions are introduced.

1962: Savage begins selling the actions and barrels separately 

1966: Model 110 is redesigned.

1988: Bankruptcy led to the 110 being the only model Savage produced for a number of years.

I got my early 1974 vintage 30-06 model 110E from a gun show for $225. I added a Simmons 3-9x40mm scope, a Harris bi-pod, leather cobra style sling and a custom camo paint job. Since this picture was taken I also added a Limbsaver recoil pad, I have $357 invested in the rifle, see more here


Savage Shooters - Savage 110 Model History - 1958-1989

Savage Model 110 — A proven economical backwoods rifle - Backwoods Home Magazine

Stevens 325 / Savage 340 Bolt Ac (leeroysramblings.com)

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Naysayers, Defeatists and Misanthropes

 The other day I was going back over some old forum posts by a fellow gun restorer that went by the name DIY_guy. In one of his posts he considering trying anodizing aluminum at home.

There were several misinformed naysayers who claimed it couldn't be done, or wasn't worth the effort or was too dangerous or .......you get the point.

Let's call these people Eeyores......you remember that donkey from Winnie the Poo who always said they were doomed, or "it will never work"?

Reading those comments reminded me of my own experiences with misinformed people.....

I thought I might dedicate a blog post to these Eeyores and dispelling with the cow excrement. Here they are in no particular order.

Leave it to the professionals.....

My father used to tell me that the only REAL difference between a professional and the rest of us is the professional is getting paid to do the work.

My grandparents survived the Great Depression and learned some hard lessons. My paternal grandfather was a farrier and blacksmith, he made his own knives (I own many of his knives, they are crude, but sharp and still rust free after 70+ years). He and my grandmother also raised their own chickens, cows and goats.

My maternal grandparents had a similar story, my mom told me of the time the valley she lived in was wired for electricity, the utility set up the poles and ran a feed to the house, the rest was up to the homeowners. Not knowing anything about electricity, my grandfather went to the local library and checked out a book about the subject and learned how to do it. He and a neighbor ended up wiring everyone's home in the valley. 

These stories are about people without any formal education on the tasks they took on. Which is about as an American thing that you could do. As Americans we believe in independence and self-reliance...something we have gotten away from.

Learning a new skill is good for the soul.....so no I will not leave it up to the professionals.

It's too dangerous.....

Oh you mean like sitting in a 4000 lb metal box traveling at a mile a minute while other 4000 lb metal boxes, traveling at the same speed in the opposite direction, pass you within inches? Or maybe you are talking about the dangers of dispensing liquid explosive by un/undereducated members of the general public??

In case you didn't know, the gasoline we pump into our cars has more potential explosive energy (pound for pound) than TNT or Dynamite...(it's true, look it up...)

Our world is filled with danger, while some of us feel "safe" this is only an illusion. We still need to be mindful and even fearful of other humans, wild animals, inspects, natural disasters, the weather, poisonous plants...ect..ect. 

There are a million ways to die and fear of death will not prevent you from dying, but it might prevent you from living....

There are plenty of precautions and safety equipment to help keep you safe, but like I always say, the best safety is the gray stuff between your ears.

The environment....

This one often chaps my hide....I'll start with a couple of questions....What is "organic"? What is "man-made"? In reality the only items on this planet that did not come from this planet are meteorites and some moon rocks we brought back during the Apollo missions...everything else came from this planet. You can separate things all you want, but that is a fact.

There are places in this world where petroleum oil seeps out of the ground naturally......yet you spill a drop on a public street and somehow you are destroying the environment? Did you know that more than 176,000 tons (160,000 metric tonnes) of oil seep into the ocean waters from cracks in the ocean floor surrounding North America in one year....that is just North America...This a natural process that has been happening for millions of years.

Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting that we go ahead and dump our oil down the storm drains, I am merely stating the facts so that people have a frame of reference.

The chemicals used in hot bluing are lye (sodium hydroxide) and sodium nitrate (potassium nitrate or ammonium nitrate can also be used, all three of which are used as a fertilizer). Which is the exact ingredients used in drain cleaner. Lye is also used in the treatment of sewage as well as food processing. It is the base ingredient in real soap (most "soap" now a days is actually detergent made from petroleum).

Lye is a strong alkali so to neutralize it (bring it back or close to PH neutral) you simply add an acid to it (vinegar, citric acid or the like). I dispose of my old chemicals by handing them over to my county waste disposal unit. I simply label it as drain cleaner. If I were to dump it down the toilet, it would probably be legal and go unnoticed.

You'll destroy the value of the gun......

This is the one that really drives me crazy. I was at a gun show once and saw a Colt model of 1903 that was covered with rust. I mentioned to my Father that it I should buy it and reblue it......some Fudd behind me piped up with "you remove that original finish, and you will ruin its value"....I responded with something about Colts not leaving the factory with rust....the original finish was already gone. Besides collectors do not buy rusty guns, unless A: the gun is so rare that a rusty example is all that can be found or B: they cannot afford to buy a pristine one....in which case the gun did not have "collector value" to begin with.

Now this does not apply to guns once owned by a famous (or infamous) person or used in a historic battle, but the vast majority of rusty guns out there have no "collector value" so you are not ruining anything....unless of course you do a shoddy job of refinishing it.

Here is an example, the work performed by Doug Turnbull, whose work is THE standard upon which all refinishing jobs should be measured

Now are you going to tell me that you would pay more for the gun on the left than the one on the right?....yeah I didn't think so

Blueing is bluing....

So I get this a lot, people think that cold blue formulas are bluing, which they are not...let me explain.

Bluing on gun steel is actually black oxide of iron, a form of iron oxide (rust) that has been converted from red oxide to black by the application of heat. This can be done a few different ways. The old way is to rust the metal using a combination of a mild acid and humidity, once a layer of red rust has formed, you boil the metal converting it to black oxide, then card/polish the loose stuff off and then start the process over again. 

Six to ten applications are required to get the black hue we all recognize. The modern way is using a solution of lye with an oxidizer heated to 270-290 degrees.

Cold bluing is a solution of selenium dioxide and other materials that stain bare steel a blue color. This is not the same. The color looks close, but does not provide the same level of protection, last as long or look as good as real black oxide.

You will never find the parts.....

I see something like this as a challenge, I have been given firearms by frustrated owners that couldn't find the parts to repair the guns. Diligent searching on eBay, Gun Broker and gun shows always results the parts being found....it is actually fun going on the hunt. Patience is the important thing.

in gunsmithing patience is always the important thing....

That's all for now, stay tuned as I have a couple of classic long guns that I need to repair and clean up for a friend.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Firearm Factory of the Month: W.H. Davenport Firearms Co.

The story of the W.H. Davenport Firearms Company starts with the man who founded the Company.
William Hastings Davenport was born on April 20th, 1828 in Mendon, MA. Despite my best efforts I could not find a picture or any other info on Davenport.

Davenport started out as a barrel maker for some notable New England gun makers like Sharps, Hopkins and Allen and Burnside.

In 1878 Davenport opened up a shop to make shotguns (and barrels) on Eddy Street in Providence, RI, he would have been 50 years old. He named the Company W.H. Davenport & Company.

After a couple of years he closed the business and reopened under the Davenport Arms Company. The production was moved to 79 Orange Street in Providence.
Davenport specialized in affordable single barrel shotguns, many times brand labeling them for hardware and general mercantile stores in the west.
By 1884 this second venture was going under. 
Davenport relocated to his home state of Massachusetts and started a business with a man named Joseph Walter Day and on March 7th, 1884 they founded the Bay State Arms Company. 
It is possible that Day and Davenport were brothers-in-law as they both married women with the last name Taft.
See my write up on Bay State Arms here.

They set up shop in an old grist mill on the Mumford River in Uxbridge. During this time Davenport patented a machine for rifling barrels.
This enterprise lasted for 3 years when for some reason or another they moved their operation to Norwich. The plan was to rent out space at the Hopkins and Allen factory.
A few years later Bay State Arms was dissolved and Davenport took a job as Plant Superintendent with Hopkins and Allen.

Sometime in 1890 or there about Davenport left Hopkins and Allen and set about to begin making his own guns again. This new company would called Davenport Fire Arms Co.

Davenport passed away in 1904 at the age of 76. His company continued to produce shotguns and rifles until 1909. A few years later Hopkins and Allen bought what was left and produced some of the Davenport models using his name. 

What Remains:

There are several Eddy streets in Providence. I don't have an address for the original factory. Providence, like many New England towns has a plethora of old buildings.

The factory at 79 Orange street was replaced at some point with the building below. The current building on the corner of Orange and Pine streets houses the address of 72-88 Orange street.

The Uxbridge factory where the Bay State Arms guns were made is still standing, it is now a liquor store

The Hopkins and Allen building on the corner of Willow and Franklin streets burned down on February 4th, 1900.

I could not find any information on the factory used to build the Davenport guns from the 1890-1909 period, it is possible that the he rented space at the Hopkins and Allen factory pre and post fire.

The post fire Hopkins and Allen factory still stands at the corner of Willow and Franklin Streets in downtown Norwich.

American Firearms
Double Gun Shop Forum