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I have this old gun...

John A.

Unconstitutional laws are not laws.
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I know that I probably shouldn't and just sourcing the replacement parts will probably come close to what I could find a used one for anyway, but you see, I have this old bolt action 12 gauge that's in pretty rough shape. It's missing a few parts, and in honesty, has seen better days.

I've had it about 10 years and I look at it every couple of years and then shake my head while thinking that I know better than to even bother with it and then lean it back over into the corner.

It was given to me by an old family friend after he found it in the trunk of an old junk car that they had towed and junked from the back lot of an old piece of property. The car was an early 1960's something Rambler, so that should tell you how long it had been collecting dust and rust. They were only sold from 1946-1958.

But I'm thinking about trying to fix 'er up, at least back into working order. I know there is no point of putting a new finish on the stock so shiny that you could look at it while you're combing your hair.

And there's no need to put a deep lustrous blue job on the metal that looks like it is 3 feet deep. There's really no reason to because at best, it might be a $75 gun you'd only have around for trades or to get out every now and then and run a few shells through it just to keep the inside of the barrel from getting rusty.

But it would be pretty cool to fire off a shot or two with it before putting it over the mantle I guess.

The most obvious things that I need to do is replace both extractors.

The firing pin spring is sticking, but it is working so it's probably just rusted up in the channel. Numrich has firing pin springs for a few bucks so that's probably the route that I would go and clean up the old firing pin.

The bolt retaining screw is gone but cheap and easy to replace.

The trigger guard is gone.

And the stock is cracked.

I have never seen a stock for this gun, so I'd have to epoxy the stock, which wouldn't look real pretty because there is a chip of it missing around the front bottom end of it, but would make it safe to shoot. At some point, someone has already glued the crack together anyway, but didn't do a real good job of it.

I have no doubt that I can reblue the steel and clean it up. Replace the front bead. Replace the missing parts.

I'll probably have to research how to replace the extractors though. I don't see any pins to hold them in place so they're captured some other way.

What do you guys think? Waste of time and money, or do you think I should see if I can do CPR on it and try to bring it back?

Worst case scenario, if I have to replace all the parts I have listed, would come to about $85. There may be a few that I can salvage without replacing, but I think that'll be pretty close to what it'll cost me.


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Ernst

.30-06
"Philanthropist"
John, you didn't say anything about the make or model nor the internal condition of the barrel.

While I'm a fan of old guns I think I'd take a multiphased approach. I'd first focus on the bolt to see if I could get the firing pin unstuck and in working order. Might need to soak it for some time then disassemble the bolt for cleaning. Wouldn't worry about the extractor yet.

If the bolt/firing pin is functional and the barrel in adequate shape I'd first dry fire it with a dummy shell to see if the firing pin is striking the primer. Might then prime an empty shell and see if the pin stripe is adequate to set off the primer. If so, I'd fire a couple of live rounds. At this point you've spent no money, just manual labor. But you know if the gun is functional or not.

If functional, then you can make an informed decision if your going to spend the money to restore it or simply turn it into a wall hanging.

Regards
 

John A.

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The parts are in decent shape. Lots of rust, but nothing that can't be cleaned up.

Ironically, the inside of the barrel is pretty smooth. At least compared to the exterior.

The firing pin moves, but is sluggish and slow. I think the channel in the bolt, the firing pin itself or the spring is rusty. I am thinking of getting some thin oil (probably ATF) and soak the bolt in it to see how that works. Maybe while in a sonic cleaner. But I'll almost certainly be replacing many of the important springs anyway.

All the major components that I need are available at Numrichs besides the wood stock, so even if I had to replace the firing pin, I could. But I don't think I'd have to. I think it's just the spring.

Believe it or not, I found a video that showed how to take the extractors out. About 2:25-3:00 here:

 

Ernst

.30-06
"Philanthropist"
John, recommend a 50-50 mix of ATF fluid and Acetone for soaking the bolt and other stuck parts.

If you want to kill the surface rust there is a product called Ospho that will absolutely kill the rust. However, not sure if you could reblue the barrel after using the product. However, you could certainly spray paint it whatever color you like. I use Ospho on equipment that I restore.

Those old J C Higgins guns were pretty solid firearms. Good project especially since the barrel bore is good.

Keep us updated on your progress.

Regards
 

fellmann

Esoteric
Supporter
I have never seen such a shotgun before so i had to watch a few videos on Youtube :)
How many shells fits in that magtube ?
Very cool gun - Go for it !
 

John A.

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Thank you for the suggestions Ernst. And for the link to the manual. I'll look at it later tonight.

I'll probably skip the ospho though and just sand the metal down and reblue it. I have a couple options to do that. Cold blue paste or liquid either one. But I could add acetone to the ATF while cleaning the bolt. Especially while putting it in a ultrasonic cleaner to thin it down some more.

The bore is pretty good, and I'll be perfectly honest, that muzzle looks really tight. So, I checked it with a set of calipers and it's .689", which would come in a little tighter than an Extra Full choke by all intents and purposes. So, I'm not complaining about the barrel at all. It'll clean up pretty nicely. But probably will have a little kick to it.

Only thing is, the barrel isn't chambered for 3 inch shells and I would probably just run mostly low brass through it. Especially due to its' age and in fairness, the barrel is pretty thin by todays standards so I wouldn't want to stress it too bad.

Fellman, I knew that bolt action shotguns existed, but this is the only one that I have touched. It would be a 5 shot magazine tube. And I admit to never shooting it, so I'm in new territory too.
 

John A.

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Able to get the firing pin moving freely now. I let it soak overnight in Ernsts ATF/Acetone mix and it's a world better than it was when I went to bed last night.

After looking at everything this morning, it was a mix of just rust and neglect, and I also saw that the trigger pin had walked about halfway out of the channel, so I pulled out a punch and seated it right.

The firing pin moves freely now and with more authority, but I still doubt that it has enough oomph to light off a primer, so I will be replacing the spring. While I have it all apart, I'll make sure the channel the firing pin goes through the bolt is clean and free of debris and rust. But just pulling the bolt back and cycling it feels like a whole other gun now, so it's a step in the right direction.
 

John A.

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Oh, while I am thinking about it, I may eliminate the cross bolt near the front of the stock and I may make a barrel band to use on it instead. I think that would reinforce the stock better than a simple small crossbolt.

If I ever come across a replacement stock, I'll get it, but in the meantime, I need to reinforce the stock the best that I can for the time being.

Removing the cross bolt would make it a lot easier to put humpty dumpty back together again too because the way that it is made, you have to slide the magazine tube in from the front and line everything up while everything is hidden underneath of the stock and I don't really like that.
 

John A.

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I know it's been a little while since I updated the topic, but I think I'm going to proceed with the project.

I was able to glue the stock pretty well using Elmers wood glue MAX. And on top of that, I cut a piece of kydex and made a barrel band that would reinforce the stock and help mitigate the recoil. I dont' pretend that it's a permanent fix, but I do think that it'll be OK while I take this project in steps and allow me to do a few test fire shots. And it certainly looks a little odd, but should work for limited use.

There is a 20 gauge stock at numrich and while I don't know for sure it's compatible with the 12, I imagine that opening up the magazine hole and enlarging the stock to accommodate the fatter barrel will probably be a chore, but I'm going to try to get the gun running first before sinking $75 into a stock because it's the most expensive replacement part by far.

For the time being though, I have the action feeding the dummy shell. Obviously it wont' extract without extractors and I'm using a wooden dowel rod to pop out the dummy round, I do know that it'll at least feed into the chamber from the magazine tube now.

So, the next part of the project in a couple of weeks will be at least one extractor and a firing pin spring and bolt retaining screw. Those will at least be enough parts to see if I can get it to fire and extract a shell.

And if that goes right, I'll get the other extractor and spring (about $25) after that and will re-blue the barrel and receiver.

I'm pretty happy getting it feeding. I had my doubts for a while. It's still a little awkward loading the magazine tube though. I don't know if the bolt is going too far rearward because it's lacking the retaining screw which lets the elevator lift up too far or if I'm missing something, but I have to fiddle with the position of the bolt a little when loading it so they stay in the mag tube.

But so far so good. Next will be phase 2.
 

ripjack13

Resident Sawdust Maker
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"Philanthropist"
I know it's been a little while since I updated the topic, but I think I'm going to proceed with the project.

I was able to glue the stock pretty well using Elmers wood glue MAX. And on top of that, I cut a piece of kydex and made a barrel band that would reinforce the stock and help mitigate the recoil. I dont' pretend that it's a permanent fix, but I do think that it'll be OK while I take this project in steps and allow me to do a few test fire shots. And it certainly looks a little odd, but should work for limited use.

There is a 20 gauge stock at numrich and while I don't know for sure it's compatible with the 12, I imagine that opening up the magazine hole and enlarging the stock to accommodate the fatter barrel will probably be a chore, but I'm going to try to get the gun running first before sinking $75 into a stock because it's the most expensive replacement part by far.


Darn it....I missed this.
You should have sent that stock up to a certain guy.
:gift:
 

John A.

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Yeah, but I wouldn't wish that on anyone rip. The stock was trashed decades ago. I don't think there was any amount of TLC that would actually restore it. All I did was glue it up well enough to get some test shots while I'm working on the gun making sure it's in working order and start looking for a replacement.

I saw the 20 ga stock and it was $75 :doh: So, if I have no other option, I'll go that route and do some work and try to inlet the stock for the larger 12ga barrel and mag and magwell opening.

But I'm going to have to have it working flawlessly before I sink that kind of coin into. It'll have to prove to be a shooter for sure first.
 

Ernst

.30-06
"Philanthropist"
John, if you have any "true" gunsmithing shops near by you might try them. I've seen many take off stocks and also blanks in various shops over time. If you have time you certainly could take a blank and use your old stock as a pattern to make a new stock. Mostly hand carving but not that hard to do especially with a pattern. Plus you can finish it anyway you like.

One concern regarding the use of a 20 gauge stock would be the fore end. You will likely need to open it up for your 12 gauge barrel diameter (vice 20 gauge smaller diameter) and the remaining wood might get too thin for long-term durability.

Regards
 

John A.

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Yeah, I don't know anyone around here that does that kind of woodwork. If I did, I'd sure consider it. I have all the time in the world. I've been sitting on this project for probably 10 years or more. I started off being a little scared of it. Just screams "money pit" LOL

I have cleaned the bolt assembly and have spent a lot of time with it. Last night, I even put it in the ultrasonic cleaner for about 2 hours @ 150*F. The soapy water was almost like orange juice when I finished.

I oiled it up well to displace all the water and today, I took it out to see if I was going to have to replace the firing pin spring or not.

So, I primed up two shells (no load or powder just primers) just to see if it would light them off.

It struck the primers with authority and went deep too.

I noticed that the primers, despite being seated properly, were both sticking out some. I don't know if that's from where they weren't loaded or if there is some other issue present. I did notice the firing pin strike was toward the side of the primer but I never expected it to hit dead center either. And the green hull already had a little ping in the steel case from being shot before, so that may have contributed to maybe pushing the hull in the chamber a little farther than the other one. The bolt was closed and seated on both shots, so maybe the primer pushed the shell in the chamber a little more, kind of like how a bullet puller works ??????. Especially since both extractors are broken/missing so there is nothing holding it to the bolt when you pull the trigger. I'm leaning toward that as being the cause of it until I replace the extractor(s) and try it again at this point.

So, what do you guys think?


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