This started over in the Matini forum under a question on bluing. I had just picked up a pretty rough looking Stevens 416 action and barrel (complete except for the safety) and was asking questions about bluing prep since I had never done it before. I got a lot of good advice and proceeded to go to work on the barrel.
I started by sanding at 220 grit and noticed that I had some gray areas on the barrel so I used naval jelly and that seemed to brighten things up a bit. I sanded up to 500 grit and, holding my wonderfully done piece of work in my trembling hands, I entered the smith shop expecting to hear how fabulous the finish looked and, BTW, would I like a job since I obviously has so much talent for this. Here is what I walked in with:
Those of you who have done this already know what comes next. The smith pronounced my work unfit for human consumption and would I please follow him back into the shop so he could show me what to do next? The tears in my eyes made it hard to see but, once I got back in there, I got the best tip I have ever received in my life. He grabbed a big, flat, mill, bast**d file and stroked down the length of the barrel with file perpendicular to the barrel! I had never seen such a thing (and I had 6 straight years of wood/metal shop when such things were offered in high school - maybe I was sick the day the teacher covered that) and each stroke of the file made these little curly shavings and left a uniform finish on the barrel. He told me that my barrel was covered in small pits and that they had to go first and then I could get to work on the finishing part.
I went straight to Lowe's and picked up a 12" flat, mill, bast**d file and came home and went straight to the workroom and started filing. I'd say the filing work took maybe 6 hours to get done and I started on the sand paper. This was on Saturday of last week and the family didn't see me all day. I was like a composer working on my masterpiece and couldn't be disturbed!!!
By mid-morning on Sunday I had gotten up to 1200 grit and I figured that doing the final polishing on a lathe would be a good idea. I have access to a 10" x 40" number at work so I headed there and chucked things up.
Again, stupidity got the better of me and I violated what I now know is a cardinal rule of polishing - when you have things looking good at a certain grit, don't go backwards in grit size. I hit he piece with 500 grit on the lathe and left some fairly stiff scratches that now weren't going to come out with the 1000 and 1200 grit I brought with me. Back home I went.
Making the story short, I went back to 220; 320; 500; 1000; 1200; and finally a 3000 grit, wet paper that is used to polish clear coat automotive finishes. All done by hand and I would say that it took probably 5 hours to get it like this:
Took it back to the smith on Monday and the work was accepted this time (still no job offer, though) and it went into the tank and I picked it back up on Wednesday looking like this:
[In that last pic you can see the holes for the scope mount on the barrel. When I got the piece, the mount had been brazed onto the barrel. I used the lathe at work to cut off the mount and after getting the screws out I could see why the mount had been brazed -the rear screw was really buggered up. I opened the holes up and re-tapped them to 8-40.
As everybody who chimed in said, the prep work is critical and necessary. Even what I did her could stand to be better. I can see a couple of places where I didn't do a good enough job. My guess is a total time of ~25 hours to get what I got. If I had a really fine piece, I'd more than likely let an expert do the prep work but this was a fun project for sure. The piece is back in the stock I found and with the temps here in Pittsburgh getting into the mid-50's today, I'm hoping to get to the range to she how it shoots.
Pipe - yes it is. This kind of stuff keeps my idle hands busy!
Flint - I'd like to try the rust bluing at some point but it looks like you need to rig up a couple of different kinds of humidity and rinse boxes. Maybe on the next project gun I pick up.
And I did get a chance to shoot it yesterday. Less than optimal conditions and my cheesy scope mount worked itself loose at some point and I didn't catch it until I was done but, excluding the obvious thrown shots from my poor shooting, I saw roughly 3/4" groups at 50 yards. Should get better with a better rest set up and scope mount that isn't wiggling around.
Hey Tony,,,you chimed in on my post about my mess of a 416,,I just finished polishing mine out,,,hopefully get to bluing guy soon,,,I gave it all a vinegar bath and the bluing came off quick,,real quick,,Tony I see in your pics you didnt put your barrel strap back in???,,,i dont like it either i dont want to put it back,,Im thinking about using the rear magazine screw hole as another mounting point??,,,maybe like a threaded pillar???,,,still in engineering stages,,Im thinking with existing mount and one in action with a bedding job it should be plenty solid,,,,just looking for opinion,,,yours came out really NICE,,,looks great
I imagine the barrel band is the second anchoring point for the action. Mine seems to shoot pretty good w/o out it. The target was me at 50 yards just trying different ammo to se what it like. Was kind of cold and windy and the highlighted bull was 5 CCI SV so I think it has promise.
You really have to get gutsy with the file to clean things up. My first effort was woefully inadequate. Pitiful, really. Once the smith introduced me to the right file and how to use it, things became much easier. I think I probably had about 8 hours into it to get it to look like it did.
You'll have to get some pix of yours up when you get it done. I've been trying to find a rear sight and a few have come up here and there but I haven't felt like spending the cash. I'm using a Weaver side mount now and a 20X Redfield 3200 and it looks and shoots great!
Tony if you would like PM me your phone # and Ill send you pics,,,Im going ahead with the added action screw,,,the rear mag housing screw lines right up with existing hole in trigger guard,,the threads are 1/4x28,,I found some allen head set screws at my local Ace,,soo im gonna drill a piece of stock and lock up set screw in that at proper depth to lock down mag well,,then drill and tap other side to lock up stock