Index Home About Blog
From: "Mahlon G. Kelly" <>
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Fix-em-up
Date: 9 Jul 1995 09:13:05 -0400
Lines: 74  writes:

# 02 Jul 95 11:51, "Mahlon G. Kelly"  wrote to All:
#  "GK> What I am about to say will not be encouraging. However, about
#  "GK> 80% of our restoration business consists of correcting the
#  "GK> attempts that folks made to "fix up" their guns. Restoring a
#  "GK> double barrelled shotgun is NOT the job for an amateur. About
#  "GK> 20% of our business consists of sleeving guns that have blown
#  "GK> up after folks have tried to "fix-em-up."
# What does "sleeving" mean?
# As someone who has bought about 6 shoddy old guns, taken them apart, and tried
# to fix them (with success as far as I know), I'm curious to know what some of
# the common errors, in your experience, in "fix-em-up" are.

Well, let's see. First, sleeving a shotgun consists of cutting
the barrels off at the monobloc, and then inserting new tubes,
putting on old ribs, etc.

Here are some of the booboos that we have to correct.

1) Reblues barrels, does not remove tiny dent, dent becomes
bulge, needs to be sleeved.

2) Reblues barrels, using hot blue with soft soldered barrels.
Barrels must be rebuilt.

3) Reblues, using Brownell's directions, blurs screw holes,
engraving. We must reweld corners of holes, re-engrave.

4) Refinishes stock. Sands out dents instead of steaming them
out. Dents then raise, stock must be refinished.

5) Refinishes stock, getting oil into the checkering. We must

6) Reams chokes, gun will not pattern, we must hone the chokes.

7) Tries to fix up blue with cold blue. Looks horrible. We must

8) Believes propoganda about Oxpho blue. Same result as cold
blue, but after a year or two.

9) Tries to polish gun before rebluing, then discovers that the
pits get bigger as he polishes. We must draw file, then reblue.

10) Doesn't understand the difference between color
case-hardening and temper colors. Tries to use a propane torch
to color the frame. IF HE DIDN'T DESTROY THE METAL we case
harden it. Otherwise it gets thrown away.

11) Tries to ream chambers from 2-1/2" to 2-3/4". We must
rebarrel (ca. $2000) or throw it away. (Usually the reaming
will work, but the wall thickness must be checked first).

12) Installs titanium firing pins in a sporting clays gun. The
pins are so hard they break the hammer. We make a new hammer.

13) .... Well, I got sick of typing, but there are even worse
Associate Professor (Emeritus)
University of Virginia

From: "Mahlon G. Kelly" <>
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: [Gunsmithing]  Rebluing (and other) questions ...
Date: 7 Jul 1995 15:48:50 -0400
Lines: 24  writes:
# I believe that the greatest contribution to a great re-bluing job comes from
# a person's skill at polishing metal. I plan on trying some restorations on
# junk pieces, and the first step will be to aquire good felt buffing wheels
# and compound, then practicing on scrap metal until I get it right.
# -John Weeks-

I was going to say "HOORAY" about your comments until I came to
the part about buffing wheels. It is IMPOSSIBLE to do a good
polishing job with wheels, unless they are fitted to the pieces
being polished. Do it by hand. If you do it right, it will not
take much more time.

IMHO the worst enemy of arms collectors is the instructions
from Brownells' and others about using wheels.
Associate Professor (Emeritus)
University of Virginia

Index Home About Blog