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Discussion Starter #1
This question should eventually beget a longer article of mine, that I have had in mind for some time. I have started a similar thread in the Swedish Military Firearms Forum, to see what the experts there feel. But let me just start here with a nice repost:

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War is Peace
Posted - 04/06/2004 : 12:04:17 PM
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Sir:

If I were in your shoes, I would consider the 1st Rule of Being in the Hole: Stop digging the hole any deeper. By the time you spend the funds necessary to purchase a new front sight/bayonet lug assembly and a bayonet (as well as the time, effort and possibly money to remove and replace the neutered part), you will have far more invested in the piece than it is worth. Additionally, it appears from your photo that the rear barrel band has been buffed to an “in the white” condition and the stock finish looks decidedly unoriginal. Perhaps I am incorrect on the band and stock issues-it could well be my poor eye sight or the photo. At the end of the process you will have less money. You will also lack a “collectible” example of the Carcano carbine.

The so-called “restoration” of an inexpensive rifle rarely makes sense. You can (with a little patience and with much less effort than you are about to expend fixing the piece at hand) easily find a nice, unmodified example of the Carcano for less than $100. Less patience, and more money (about $150) will find you an example within minutes if you search with the usual suspects: Auction Arms, Gunbroker, Guns America etc…

If you had a sentimental attachment to it (such as having been brought back from WWII by your grandfather), or if this piece has a known history that separates it from the run of the mill sporterized Carcano, then, and only then does it make sense to proceed with your quest. On the upside, one of the few remaining “freedoms” we have, is to do (some) things that don’t always make perfect sense and waste money in the process. I do it all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
BradB
Posted - 05/27/2007 : 09:41:44 AM
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Sanding "generally, usually, always" decreases a rifle's collector value. Contrary to the "visual" appeal, it removes a gun's history versus "making it better". We've all been there... it is generally a new collector urge.
 

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I've been avoiding avoiding sanding/cleaning up my milsurp stocks unless neccessary to repair cracks or other damage that must be repaired to make the gun servicable.

If I have to do major repairs to the stock, degreasing, cracks in the recoil lug area, or missing chunks needing replaced, stock will get sanded and stained.

Currently working on unbubbizing a French Berthier long rifle. Bubba cut the stock off to convert to a nice handy 31 inch barreled deer rifle.

Ain't any stocks to be found for a Berthier long rifle. I laborously manufactured 20 inches of forearm and have grafted it to my bubbized stock. Looks pretty decent! The Berthier 07/15 looks like an 07/15 again.

I really didn't see any alternative to put the $40 Berthier back to semi-original appearances. My next best option s were to have a new stock made($250 +), buy another rifle (found one for about $225). I opted to repair what I had.

I figure that the musket is mine, I'm not planning on selling the thing to some other collector as a genuine French refurb, so no intended larceny. The old rifle ain't going to sprout a new forearm on it's own, Century Arms is unlikely to import a load of French 07/15 replacement stocks, so I make my own.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Excellent restoration thread

The following thread originally deals with German imperial Gewehre 98. But it is so extremely instructive and educational that I think it should as well be reposted within this context. Enjoy it :). (Original URL is: http://old.gunboards.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=59702 )

Carcano

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TOVARISCH
Posted - 08/24/2004 : 5:30:41 PM
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Hey, can anyone tell me whether the buttplate, trigger and external floorplate were "in the white" or blued. My receiver and bolt are all shined up and de-rusted almost. I can't tell what else should be blued or white. I am using Brownell's Steel White on the white and Flitz and elbow grease on the blue. God, I need a Dremel!
Here are some progress pix.

before
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before


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before


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After cleaning the bolt:


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madboy357
Posted - 08/24/2004 : 9:24:47 PM
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Floorplate should be blued, and the buttplate in the white. Sear should be in the white as well, while the trigger itself should have a fireblued/straw appearance.

What do we suppose the numbers on the stock are for? Serial of the GI who brought it back?



TOVARISCH
Posted - 08/24/2004 : 9:39:01 PM
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The number on the stock is the SS number of the old coot that left it to my Dad in the 60's. It was apparently, all the rage to gouge your social onto them. It's probably why my dad never sold it. Too much trouble and he though it was just "an old a K98". Lucky for me
I may try the old damp towel/steam-iron thing to draw that out. I really don't feel I should sand it.
Thanks for the tips. I'll dunk the buttplate and keep Flitzing the trigger. It seemed white on the top an sorta blue on the bottom



Newfoundlander
Posted - 08/24/2004 : 11:02:42 PM
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Eeeep! Flitz, although not as harsh or as agressive as other polishes, can actually remove bluing esp. on early RUST BLUED finishes, nitre, and flame blued parts as well as colour case hardening. As a matter of fact the "in the white" parts are actually (non-colour)case hardened or "carbuerized" (sp?).


Get yourself some Break Free, bronze wool, a six pack and a decent video and settle in for a careful cleaning. If you really want to be agressive with hardened grease and dirt get yourself one of Outer's Rust Ridder Sponges or a simliar product from Tipton. These really do work and are quite inexpensive. The link will take you to an online review of a similar product.

http://www.cruffler.com/accessory-review-november-00.html



TOVARISCH
Posted - 08/25/2004 : 12:52:49 PM
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Ok NF, I am still learning. Guess I'll put the Flitz away I was very gentle with it, though.
I've got Break Free. I'll check out the pads. What can I use to polish the blue once I get the rust off?????



War is Peace
Posted - 08/25/2004 : 3:32:59 PM
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It's your rifle and you can modify it as you see fit, to satisfy any whim or desire.

With that obligatory preamble out of the way, please be advised that many collectors, myself included, do not approve of the aggressive cleaning you describe. Some gun owners like their guns to look brand new, in the same condition as the day they were issued. Others believe that when you try to make an old gun look new, you sacrifice the acquired history that makes the gun desirable.

The (honest and natural) patination of metal and wood on an old gun is a tangible reflection of the intangible passage of time. It's something to be appreciated and preserved, not scrubbed away.

If you don’t care about the historical and/or aesthetic arguments against industrial strength cleaning, you may want to consider the economic impact of such action.

It is impossible to tell very much about your rifle from the photos posted above. It appears to be a German Gew 98 in what I think of as “found in the attic” condition (i.e. untouched, uncleaned). If matching and original (other than the SS#), your rifle would be much desired by many collectors. It would probably sell at auction for $450-$600. Cleaned up, shiny and pretty, you would lose the interest of the most serious collectors and I doubt that you would attract bids exceeding $300-$350--unless there was some aspect of rarity that would offset the detriment of cleaning. While I find it comical when some proponents say it doesn’t hurt the value to “improve” a collectible gun, I have no doubt they are being honest. To them, value is not affected. Please keep in mind that the much reviled “purist” collector is the one who is going to pay the big bucks for your gun. I have yet to see a non-purist collector with deep pockets.

It’s your rifle. What’s done is done. My purpose in wasting the time to post these words is not to slap you on the wrist but rather to present an opposing viewpoint to those of an undecided mind who find themselves in a situation like yours.



Nirvana
Posted - 08/25/2004 : 4:58:05 PM
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Well put. I am of the opinion that rusting on a gun should only be messed with if its active rust. Some of the rust on the bolt had that red look to it, that to me says rust. Id use brass or bronze(?) (not steel) wool with some oil and gently work away what was damaging. I also wouldnt mess with the stock too much, (besides maybe steaming the numbers), dont dunk it in hot water, ever get near it with acetone, or even think about refinishing it. All of these things will kill value like none other. SANDING is almost as bad as setting the stock on fire, I would not reccomend it at all, ever, in anytime or place.

That being said, it is your gun, and like "war is peace" said, you can do what you want with it. If we dont say this, then someone will chime in and call people of our opinionation "purists, snobs, etc", and then say it..hah. Gun collectors, as much as being shooters, are custodians of history, sometimes even more so. Your father gave the gun to you, and itll be around long past the time it could go down to your grandchildren, or great grandkids. If you do decide to sell it though, keep these tips in mind as they will keep the gun in its current valuable condition.

Does the gun match? Hows the bore on it? Is it import marked at all? It looks to be a very nice gun, one I wouldnt mind owning myself. Congrats
Chris



WaPrüf2
Posted - 08/25/2004 : 7:46:18 PM
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Bayonet stud and marking disc w screw/buttwasher should also be in the white; buttplate screws blued.



TOVARISCH
Posted - 08/25/2004 : 9:31:12 PM
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Gosh guys, I'm well on your side of the no-sporterizing thing, but I really wanted to restore, not refinish. This thing was a dried up rusted hulk when I got it. It was a beautiful, but neglected piece. Sorry, but rust is an affront to me. I would never re-blue but I can not take the white being brown. It's just too much for me to stand. Where would it be in another fifty years if I let the rust go? I understand your point, but this WAS active rust from my Dad's closet in the house on the water of the quite salty Gulf of Mexico for 35 years. I just don't see letting it go on. If I change my mind, I guess I could leave it out in the rain for a few days:)
I worked on the bore for about 200 patches and still had darkness and debris. Then I got a loooong Dewey rod and a REAL 8mm Dewey brush!!!! It was like I'd never even put a patch through it. Mud, just black mud! It began to shine and the debris was gone, but it needs a few more sessions.
I do not plan to ever sell it. It IS all matching, right down to the screws!WOW!
I would like to shoot this at some point. It is stamped S. I think that is Spitzer, right?
Anyway, I am all ears. Please provide any wisdom you see fit. I am a(new)Russian firearms collector but I can fraternize without getting shot nowdays! I am very open minded.
P.S. it is not import marked. Possibly brought home by the doughboy that killed its owner. Who knows?



Nirvana
Posted - 08/25/2004 : 10:19:55 PM
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I agree, active rust is a problem, and dealing with it was a good choice, we were just suggesting that you not go too far overboard with your well intentioned cleaning. You have no idea how often people post about their all matching guns, asking how to best reblue them, if cleaning the stock with oven cleaner is a good idea, how hard the metal is to drill and tap, etc...it kinda makes me cringe sometimes.

I would agree the gun is a ww1 bring back, maybe even ww2, as they guns had a long service life. Im pretty sure S is for spitzer, this gun should be safe for all modern 8mm mauser anyhow. I would recommend using high quality non-corrisive stuff with the gun, as its not worth risking a gun like that with cheap ammo.

As for cleaning the barrel.. Taking it to the range and putting a few rounds through the barrel will do a lot more than scrubbing ever will. Also, scrubbing the barrel is best done from the chamber end. This is because a real hard scrubbing will wear out the barrels crown, and will destroy accuracy on what is otherwise an excellent barrel.

I speak for myself here, but im sure others would agree, but please post some more photos of your gun. We love close ups of the receiver, maybe some overall shots of the gun. If you could post your maker/date/partial serial number to further our knowledge of these weapons. Thanks again, and again, lovely rifle.
Chris



Nirvana
Posted - 08/25/2004 : 10:20:32 PM
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Here's the survey...

http://www.gunboards.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=19536


TOVARISCH
Posted - 08/26/2004 : 09:45:03 AM
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I posted to that survey a while back(5/20/04).
DWM GEW98 1916 serial is 5565.
Chamber end cleaning always except for muzzle loaders:)
I'll buy the good ammo for her and yes, I am anxious to clean her hot. I think I need to get the headspace checked and maybe a Pro Gunsmiths blessing first.
Tom



TOVARISCH
Posted - 12/17/2004 : 10:49:53 PM
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OK, now I've found a proper bayonet and have passed into the realm of being 40-something. I love this rifle and the new(old) bayo has drawn the wrath of Flitz. It's shining up beautifully but I am getting cramped polishing it by hand.
Are there any caveats against a Dremel or bench grinder's buffing wheel? I just don't have a lot of time with my three-year-old wanting ALL of my available, conscious moments.



TP
Moderator Military Mauser Forum
Posted - 12/18/2004 : 12:15:21 PM
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I pretty much agree with WIP and Nirvana, avoid any of the abrasive cleaners and agressive cleaning on the metal, you will decrease the value by as much as 50% - some would say even more. While you will never sell it, the consideration of saving it in as near the condition as last used by the issuing forces must be considered. When it comes to the SS#, you will just have to live with it I'm afraid. It not only cuts through the finish, it is likely in the wood. Back in the '50s gun owners had it recommended to them that they put their SS# on their guns and other valuables (TV sets, fine silver, etc.) but those thinking about it put the numbers in a covered location such as the barrel channel. Anyway, trying to remove it will require sanding wood til the numbers are gone and only the most involved (read: EXPENSIVE!) professional restoration will make this invisable - anything else will be a botch job. You might consider leaving it as it is since you know who the owner was and when it was done. It is a part of the history of the gun that you have a personal connection with. Enjoy the old girl, she has "been there and done that".



TP
Posted - 12/18/2004 : 12:19:03 PM
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Oh, I forgot one of the most important things any antique gun finish restorationist will tell you - NO DREMEL TOOLS! They are too small and work too fast resulting always in a botched job. Best to have tired fingers and forearms, they'll get over it.
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Edited by - TP on 12/18/2004 12:19:44 PM



TOVARISCH
Posted - 12/18/2004 : 10:50:26 PM
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Dremel. That was my next question. It takes forever. I was hoping for an electronic solution...How about a buffer wheel on a bench grinder... or is that the same thing?



DocAV
Posted - 12/18/2004 : 11:02:25 PM
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There are still some details missing from the "colour scheme" for the Gew98, as at WW I.
Starting from the butt, here we go:

Buttplate:White; Buttplate screws: Blue
Disk (pre 1916) White: Disc-screw Blued.
Dismounting Washer&ferrule (post 1916) White

Butt sling swivel base and screws: Blue.

Receiver Body: White; Bolt latch on side: Blue
Bolt complete: White.

Mag /trigger guard/ Floorplate: Blue; Mag. elevator plate : White

Trigger parts, White, with blue-straw flame finish to trigger curve.
Magazine floorplate latch pin: White
Receiver main and lock screws: Blue
Rear stock screw ferrule : White
Stock Recoil Bolt: usually Blue, have seen some with White head & Body and socket screw.
Cleaning rod retaining plate in forestock :White.

Rear sights: Body and "Hump" and Slide Blued, EXCEPT for side and top plates where numbers are inscribed. These areas are in the White, with the Blue actually blending in after the last Numbers forward.
Bands (sling and "H") Blue.
Bayonet stud socket: White
Retaining Springs for bands "Straw" White or White.
Cleaning Rod : White

There may be some minor variations due to wartime changes, especially in the period 1916-1918, when a lot of smaller parts were simply blued; A lot of Interwar replacement parts were Blued, as were the receivers from the 1920s onwards.

Cleaning : Bronze or brass Brushes/"Wool" with solvent oil/kerosene/Diesel oil. I use Fine Steel Wool #0000;

Patina of Age or "To New Restoration"? depends on the rifle and its History.
I have a Aussie capture ( Stock marked) Gew98, AMN, with rod, that still has most of its original Blueing scheme, incl. the rear sight.
It has been "Restored" to its 1917-capture condition. (The period 1918 -1970 was spent in a veterans hall display, with several coats of Furniture wax. Note I said "1917 capture" condition, Not "1917 NEW factory" condition. There is some field patina on both the Buttplate and receiver, but most of the other parts ( after wax removal) are "as in service".

This restoration was done by Steelwool/ Brass brushes and elbow grease for the metal work, and Hot water, soap, scrubbing brush, and more elbow grease for the Stock wood. Stock was "de-dented" by using a steam iron, although some of the "crushed fibre" dents were not fully expanded, giving it that "trench use" look.
Stock was then BLO treated and rubbed to a medium blond colour (beechwood). A 1917 MauserWerke SG98/05 "Butcher" bayonet rounded off the assembly, as well as an original, if shrunken, leather sling with QD attachment.



TP
Moderator Military Mauser Forum
Posted - 12/19/2004 : 11:49:10 AM
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Originally posted by TOVARISCH
Dremel. That was my next question. It takes forever. I was hoping for an electronic solution...How about a buffer wheel on a bench grinder... or is that the same thing?
No electronic solution, especially if you have little experience using fast moving tools - an antique/collectable firearm is not the place to get that experience! Use hand power and go slowly, there is no other way to do the job. Experienced, competant restorationists will tell you that power tools are the last thing to use - they work too fast and will cost you time since the results will be poor with rounded edges and dished surfaces and original finish cut through when there was salvageable finish there. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. Frankly, after looking at your photos, I'd oil any rust and leave it alone.

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Edited by - TP on 12/19/2004 11:51:19 AM
 

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No matter what one intends, the next owner has no such compunction to adhere to the plan.

If you restore a rifle, mark it as such. JMHO.
 
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