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Old 10-31-2014, 07:48 PM
SGW Gunsmith
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Eradicating Pits



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Have read a few posts here that were directed toward getting metal prepared prior to bluing. A bluing job will only look as good as the metal preparation before the bluing. One of my favorite projects, as time will allow, is restoring older .22 rimfire rifles that have seen some horrendous neglect, like this Stevens 1915 Favorite. Here's the before and then after, pictures of what the barrel looked like before it reached my bench.





Barrel pits will tax your patience during the removal process, and it can be a tedious task not suffered by the faint of heart. When you get involved with removal of pits in metal, put away the clock and use the calender.



Here's an octagonal barrel from another Stevens Favorite 1915. Barrel steal on these cool old rifles is much softer than any of the barrel steels use on centerfire guns. That makes these rifle barrels easy to work on and "draw" file. For me, I find that the first step in removing pits is with a smooth cut file worked perpendicular to the bore, using as long of strokes as space allows. Although I'm displaying an octagon barrel here, draw filing can be done in the same manner on a round barrel.
The pits in the flat on this part of the barrel have already been dressed away by draw filing somewhat. The file was continued to be used until the pits were faintly visible in the metal. Then, I began with a series of emery paper grits starting with #150, then #220, #400 and finally #600, with the small squares of emery backed with a hardwood block. Hardwood sanding blocks I use are made from left over pieces of gunstock blanks that were band-sawed to rough shape. Maple or English walnut is a good hard wood that will make for good sanding blocks. After progressing through the various emery paper grits, that same barrel flat is now smooth and flat for the length of that single flat. Corners have now been brought back to crispness, where prior, they were quite rounded over.



The above picture still shows a few lines from the previous emery grit, #220, that was used, so then some #320 grit was used to remove those before going on to the #400 grit. Included in the picture below is the draw file, and a couple of the sanding blocks that I use, to keep the flats, flat and straight.



Now, everybody doesn't work with octagon barrels all the time, and neither do I. Round barrels get pits in the metal surface also and just because we'll now be working with a 'continual' radius, doesn't mean that draw filing is out of the question. We'll still need to use long strokes with the file, but we'll also need to follow that radius to not make flat spots in the round barrel. Then, when the pits are reduced to the point that they are barely visible, I'll use some cloth backed #150 aluminum oxide with a "shoe-shine" motion, perpendicular to the bore line to remove the remainder of the pits and keep the contour of the barrel round.



After the pits are no longer seen, then proceed with progressively finer grits, using the shoe-shine method until you get the finish you desire. Once I get there, I'm ready to rust blue the metal.

Last edited by SGW Gunsmith; 10-31-2014 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 10-31-2014, 09:35 PM
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Good tutorial Sir.
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:45 PM
snotgrass
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A very nice job! One year I bought a Sako and couldn't see the bad pitting in the auction. I spent the whole summer off and on removing the pitting from the Vixen. The pits were so deep I should have filed them out but used sandpaper and the like. I eventually ran out of patience and I didn't want to take more steel off the barrel so I degreased and painted the metal with Brownells Alumahyde II and it came out very nice if you don't mind matte black. The epoxy paint actually helped hide the pitting that I didn't remove and it looks like new.
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:22 AM
SGW Gunsmith
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Originally Posted by snotgrass View Post
A very nice job! One year I bought a Sako and couldn't see the bad pitting in the auction. I spent the whole summer off and on removing the pitting from the Vixen. The pits were so deep I should have filed them out but used sandpaper and the like. I eventually ran out of patience and I didn't want to take more steel off the barrel so I degreased and painted the metal with Brownells Alumahyde II and it came out very nice if you don't mind matte black. The epoxy paint actually helped hide the pitting that I didn't remove and it looks like new.
Actually, a matte finish on a hunting rifle is probably a better option for badly pitted metal surfaces. Those shiny Weatherby's reflect sunlight like a mirror. I have had a few older rifles that were so badly pitted that I just blasted the metal with #240 grit and then Dura-Coated the metal with a "pit leveling" product they sell, and then gave the surface a flat black, or O.D. green finish that looks just GREAT! Very durable finish that doesn't need to be oiled.
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Old 01-12-2015, 05:58 PM
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I use soda blasting or glass media and coatings from Brownells...
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Old 08-14-2016, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SGW Gunsmith View Post
Actually, a matte finish on a hunting rifle is probably a better option for badly pitted metal surfaces. Those shiny Weatherby's reflect sunlight like a mirror. I have had a few older rifles that were so badly pitted that I just blasted the metal with #240 grit and then Dura-Coated the metal with a "pit leveling" product they sell, and then gave the surface a flat black, or O.D. green finish that looks just GREAT! Very durable finish that doesn't need to be oiled.
old post I know. If you have some pictures or more info I would love to here and see it.
Thanks!!!
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