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Re: 1873 Rifle SN 46974

Posted by JasonZ in MO on Thursday, 4 November 2010, at 4:01 p.m., in response to Re: 1873 Rifle SN 46974, posted by JasonZ in MO on Monday, 1 November 2010, at 12:32 a.m.

I’m looking for some advice about cleaning / restoring SN46974 trapdoor rifle. I have read through the restoration portion of this website but I'm still confused on the difference between dirt, grime, rust and patina. First, a little about the rifle.

Rifle SN 46974: stacking swivel barrel band is dated, the hammer is correct with very defined hash marks, very defined and dated lockplate, slotless screws for rear site, two click hammer, high arc breechblock with Model/1873/eagle/arrow/US. Breechblock and thumb piece is tight, the barrel/receiver index marks are dead on. The bore is very nice, no pitting, and very defined rifling. A short comb stock with a partial (50-60%) ESA cartouche and circle “P” firing proof. The stock is solid but well worn with numerous marks and scratches. There is also a series of lateral gouges in the wood between the trigger guard and lower barrel band. Could these possibly have been made by rubbed on a pack or cartridge belt on a long march? Or is that way to glamorous?!?! The owner I received it from has owned it since 1942 and it has not been fired since in her possession. It was given to her by a neighbor and included a bayonet but the tip is broken off. It is missing the cleaning rod. The firing pin is the correct spring loaded type but the ends floated around. I was able to remove the pin and it was broken into 3 pieces plus a waded up spring. I assume it was broken by dry firing.

Back to my question. I removed the barrel and below the wood the metal is excellent. I wiped it down with oil to remove the grime. There is a distinct line on the barrel from above the stock to below. You can feel the difference as well. Above is brown in color, below is smooth and shiny with some light streaks of color. Under the barrel bands looks just like the bottom of the barrel. Some have suggested used 0000 steel wool dipped in oil or their favorite cleaning concoction. My question is, when do you know when to stop? What does the “patina” look like?

I have also wiped down the stock with linseed oil, mineral spirits, and olive oil. I expected to really pull the dirt off but it doesn't really change and the rag doesn't get that dirty. I'm sure it wasn't sanded but if it was coated with varnish or some other finish is there a way to tell and how can it be removed?

Sorry, this pilgrim has so many questions...


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