New Page 2



!!

You are a Guest at TalkHunting

As a guest here, you are able to view some of the topics to get a feel for how this site works. However, you will not be able to post replies until you become a member. We hope that you will register (free) and become a member. This will open up all of the website for you to see. We are a very friendly group and we do not allow any bashing, fighting, or vulgarity. If you are looking for a family friendly site to talk about hunting, you have found it here at TalkHunting. You will find this a very comfortable and friendly place to visit and hang out. We hope to see you soon!

If you are having problems getting registered or you didn't receive your activation email, click the "Contact Us" link at the top left of this page.

New Page 3

Google Ad

Author Topic: Rusty Restorations  (Read 510 times)

Offline Dutch-Hunter

  • TH Staff - Contest Team
  • 12 Point Double Droptine
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 4350
  • Location: Dunn County, Wisconsin, US
  • Doin' what I love!
Rusty Restorations
« on: January 13, 2014, 06:59:45 PM »
New life to rusty old beautyís: The innards!

I am going to start with the bore. Unless you just want to hang it on your wall the bore must be evaluated first. If you can bring the bore back to shooting shape then you have really accomplished something. If it will or wonít shoot you still have a nice old wall hanger. I have an Enfield that looks like a spade handle that was left in the garden for a few decades. When I go to public ranges I like to take it out first. Iíll set up at the bench with this rust rod and drill the bull at 100 yards. It ainít gotta look pretty to shoot pretty.

The only way to smooth the bore is to go over it with an abrasive such as silicone carbide, which is basically like super-fine sand. There are two ways of getting the abrasive into the bore. The quickest is to coat a bullet with abrasive and fire it through the bore. This is called fire lapping and has become quite popular in the last few years. I have found this not to be very effective on old barrels. When these older barrels are in pretty rough shape the fire lapping only improves the first third of the barrel. Granted if you run enough fire lapping it will clean up the entire barrel. The first third will have been worn away and any hope of accuracy will be lost. The other method, which I prefer, is a more traditional lapping technique using a lead slug, abrasive, and a sturdy rod. Now keep in mind that Iím talking about rifles with barrels just one step away from being used as tomato stakes. Iím not talking about super-nice commercial barrels or wringing sub-minute-of-angle accuracy from them. If youíve got a barrel like that, go see a good gunsmith. Iím dealing with ratty old barrels, and any improvement I make is a net gain.

Making lead lap slugs: (The attached PDF has pictures)
 
(left) The molten lead is carefully poured into the muzzle end of the barrel.
(center) Note the lead ďbuttonĒ that has formed as the lead spreads out into the crown of the muzzle. The flange of the ďbuttonĒ must be removed before the lap can be pulled into the bore.
(right) A small, coarse, flat file is used to cut grooves around the lap (top), and the abrasive paste is applied sparingly to the lap (bottom).

Traditional lead lapping of a barrel begins by disassembling the rifle and thoroughly cleaning the bore. Spend as much time as necessary to remove any carbon or bullet-jacket fouling. After an extensive cleaning, you may be surprised to find the bore actually looks worse and even rougher! In cleaning, you may have emptied the pits of built-up fouling, and the bore appears to be worse. That has happened to me on a number of occasions.
With the bore cleaned, take a sturdy cleaning rod with a jag or metal patch loop and insert it from the breech end until the jag or loop and a half-inch or so of the rod projects from the muzzle. Take a bit of regular cotton twine and wrap it around the rod just ahead of the muzzle. Use enough twine to form a good seal around the rod. This will prevent the liquid lead we use to form the lap from flowing past the twine seal and into the barrel.
Use a hot air gun or propane torch to heat the barrel from the muzzle back about 3 or 4 inches or so. The barrel doesnít have to be super-hot, just very warm to the touch. A heated barrel will minimize voids or imperfections in the lead casting. Itís also a good idea to heat the jag or loop.
 
Cotton twine is wrapped around the rod to seal the bore under the lead lap. (pictured in PDF)

When you have it properly heated, pull the rod back into the barrel until the top of the loop is about an inch below the muzzle. Pour in melted lead until the lead is even with the muzzle. Needless to say, be darn careful and wear gloves and protective clothing. Hot, molten lead can cause severe burns. Thatís also another good reason to have the barreled action out of the stock and supported in a padded vise. I forgot to caution you about doing this in a well-ventilated area.

By the way, I use almost pure lead because itís softer than lead with a high tin or antimony content. The pure-lead lap moves through the bore much easier than a hard lead-alloy lap. The lead I like to use is 98/ 2, which is 98% lead 2% tin. Cerrosafe is too soft for lapping.

Allow a few minutes for the lead lap to cool and solidify. Donít let it get cold before you try to move it. If you can put your finger on it and leave it there itís probably too cold. Heat it up some with the blow drier or torch. Next, push the rod from the breech so the lap extends forward out of the muzzle about 3 inches. Not all the way out! You may need to lightly tap on the rod with a small hammer of block of wood. I use a 6-inch coarse flat file to remove any lead extending out further than the diameter of the bore. More often than not there is a ďbuttonĒ of lead that extends into the crown (refer to middle picture above). If you donít file it away, youíll never be able to pull the lap through the barrel.

Use a small file to cut some grooves around the lap. This can be one long spiral groove or several separate circular grooves; it really doesnít matter. The important thing is that you have these grooves to help carry some of the lapping abrasive.

While you could use almost any abrasive, with these old barrels I have found that Clover silicone carbide grease-based abrasiveĖgenerally available in automotive parts storesĖworks just fine. Itís used to seat (lap) the valves. I have a shop sampler kit with 2-ounce tins in grits from 120 up to 800. I seldom need to use finer than the 240 grit.

I apply the grit by simply putting a bit on my finger and rubbing it over the lap. It doesnít take much. In fact, if you use too much, itíll make pulling the lap through the bore almost impossible. If you get the lap stuck donít panic and start to hit it. Simply determine where it is in the barrel and heat it up some to get it moving. Remember some of these old guys have been around for a very long time and can be difficult to deal with. Remind you of anyone? ##$%#1119

With the lap loaded with abrasive, the cleaning rod is pulled back through the bore. By the way, I use an old cleaning rod designed for use with the M14 rifle. Be very careful that you donít pull the rod so far that the lap disengages from the rifling. Watch carefully in the chamber for the twine to appear then just a little farther until you expose some of the lap slug. If you accidentally pull the lap out of the barrel, just melt the lap off the rod and start over. A piece of tape wrapped around the rod about 4 inches below the lap is a good, simple means of keeping track of the location of the lap as it nears the chamber.

Pulling the lap through the barrel can be very tough initially, especially if the bore is rough. As you work the lap back and forth in the barrel, it will begin to move more easily. After about a dozen strokes or so, youíll feel a noticeable difference. This is due to wear on the lap and the abrasive smoothing the bore.
 
Watch for burrs and nicks, file them off. (Pictured in PDF)

As the lap wears, youíll want to melt off the old one and recast a new, tight lap. I use my hot air gun to do this, but you can also use a propane torch. I generally replace the lap three or four times while using the same grit of abrasive. Once I have completed a series of three or four laps with the initial 120-grit abrasive, I clean the barrel and check my work.
 
I generally notice a significant difference in how easily a cleaning patch will move through the bore. There is also a visual difference in the brightness of the bore. It just looks and feels better!

Depending upon the condition of the bore, I repeat this cycle of steps with 180- and then 240-grit abrasive. Each time, the bore should look and feel smoother. Just how far you should go with higher grit abrasives or how long you should lap the barrel is entirely subjective. Do it until youíre satisfied. If you later decide you want the bore smoother, just pull out the lapping supplies and go for it.

Lapping old military rifles or Great Plains relics will not make a rusty tube into a prize-winning match barrel, but it can help to make the rifle more enjoyable to shoot. Itís just amazing what you can do with a little bit of sand, time and sweat.

You don't need to be a master gunsmith to do this. It can be very rewarding to bring one of these old guys back to life. If you can safely remove the stock great. If not be careful not to harm it. A bench with a firmly mounted vise is highly reccommended. God only gave us two hands and for this kind of project you'll need them both. The first time you try this try to have someone there to help. There are no specialty tools needed and if you start on a real poor shaped customer what have you got to loose. You will still have a nice old wall hanger. A propane torch and a ladle is all you need to melt the lead and thats about all the sophistication required. Give it a try and if you get stck just let me know and I'll get you through it.



« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 07:08:37 PM by Gutshot »
Gun Geek! Proud of it!
Old enough to know better!
TO old to care!

Offline russcat

  • 2015 TH Ultimate Outdoorsman Champion
  • TH Staff - Contest Team
  • 14 Point
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2009
  • Posts: 5945
  • Location: Small Town North Texas
  • "behind every blade of grass"
Rusty Restorations
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2014, 09:57:05 AM »
That is some great info there Dutch. That must be very satisfying to take an old rusted up rifle that has been retired and give it new life.

Question....could this also be accomplished using a slightly oversized cleaning swab that is already threaded for the cleaning rod?  I'm talking about the cotton style. Could you soak it repeatedly in the lapping compound and work it back and forth in the bore? If not on an old rusted up bore how do you think this would work on a new bore to facilitate breaking in a new barrel? 
Team Buck Dynasty
39 Years "Out There"

Where Jesus is, is Heaven
Where Jesus isn't, is He11.
               -Joshua Crutchield

Offline Dutch-Hunter

  • TH Staff - Contest Team
  • 12 Point Double Droptine
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 4350
  • Location: Dunn County, Wisconsin, US
  • Doin' what I love!
Re: Rusty Restorations
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2014, 11:44:32 AM »
russ, If you want to just touch up a barrel that isn't to bad. Just some minor pitting and rough lands I think a new stiff brass brush would work better. It will not super shine anything but will take off some high spots. As you know anytime you are working from the muzzle end extreme care should be taken not to damage the crow. I have taken an old good and stiff cleaning rod and used some heat shrink tubing on it. It is just a little more protection. A single wrap with a good electrical tape will do it too. It just won't last as long. Carbon fiber rods won't hurt the crown but usually not stiff enough for the extra pushing when lapping. As far as this helping the break in, it won't hurt if you can remove the high spots the voids will fill in quicker during break in.
Gun Geek! Proud of it!
Old enough to know better!
TO old to care!

Offline Dutch-Hunter

  • TH Staff - Contest Team
  • 12 Point Double Droptine
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 4350
  • Location: Dunn County, Wisconsin, US
  • Doin' what I love!
Re: Rusty Restorations
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2014, 07:46:22 PM »
Here's a link to Mcmaster-Carr: http://www.mcmaster.com/#lapping-compounds/=qa5ymq

They carry Clover lapping compound for moly barrels and a really high quality compound for stainless steel barrels.
Stainless is harder and needs a stronger grit and the one they sell has boron carbide and the only thing stronger is diamonds.
Gun Geek! Proud of it!
Old enough to know better!
TO old to care!

 

New Page 3

Google Ad