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My Free Gill Gun

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One of my oldest friends is a fellow classmate who runs a barbershop. I've worked on several of his guns over the years. So, whenever I'm in his chair the conversation usually gets around to our guns. We were discussing the ones each of us still wanted to acquire a week ago. When I mentioned that I've never had a gill gun, but was interested in getting one, another customer said he bought a used one that he never could get to work properly. He said it wouldn't feed ammo, was rusty, a little moldy, and missing some parts. I explained that those are the only sort of guns that I could ever afford to collect. He just laughed and said I could have it for free if I was willing to haul it off. Needless to say, I took him up on the offer.

As it turned out, the gun still had a very good bore. It was only missing a rear sight elevator, a butt plate, some screws, and the factory scope/peep sight hole plugs. I already had most of those things in my spare parts drawers. One of the former owners had managed to break off the gill in the extractor port. If you didn't know it was supposed to have one there you'd never notice it. The problems they had with jams and feeding ammo were attributable to the fact that someone had reassembled one of the lifter side plate spacers with the wrong side facing out. The cartridge guide spring had been dislodged from its slot on one side and was gripping the outside of the feed tube instead of doing its job. Here are some before photos:














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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Cleaned up and ready to reinstall, reblue, or reanodize.


After a soak in Evaporust, I mask off the roll stamps to draw file and shoe shine polish the barrel with 220 grit Emory cloth.


For rust bluing, 220 grit is usually okay. I never use anything finer than 320.


In progress shot during refitting the barrel and action. I usually strip and boil the wood to pop out any dents, kill the mildew, and help eliminate any soaked-in lubricants. I use a Jack Fisher inletting scraper to correct any swelling or warping of the barrel channel afterward before putting on the final stock finish top coats.


I borrowed a Stevens butt plate for these photos. I'm still waiting on a new one to arrive from N.C. Ordnance that I can grind to fit on this one.

I decided to put a matte finish on it










So far my free gill gun has only cost me $24 for a reproduction butt plate. One of my grandsons tried it out and reports that it shoots and cycles just fine and that he wants to keep it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the compliments. I enjoy repairing and refinishing old guns purely as a hobby. I occasionally do get asked to restore one to an authentic factory appearance. This is not one of those projects. I like to post examples of my rescues here just to show how easy its is to get good results and encourage others to try their hand at it too. If you are afraid of ruining your collectible firearms, by all means limit your experiments to cheap parts or project guns that are no longer in collectible condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What a beautiful job you did. Amazing job. Labor of love. I'm sure it'll be a great heirloom piece.
In this case, it was an instant heirloom. At 70+ years my eyes aren't really suited to iron sights anymore. So, I usually get one of my children or grandchildren to range test them for me. I don't think I'm getting this one back.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
What stain and topcoat did you use?
I usually mix up my own stain when I'm trying to match a factory finish, but this time I thought I'd try some Rustoleum 1 hr Cabernet just to see how it would come out. I had pretty good luck using their Cognac shade from the same product line on the new stock and forearm I made for my Norinco Trombone:
I use TruOil thinned with clear mineral spirits for everything from high gloss to matte and just knock it down with 600-3000 wet or dry, Scotchbrite pads, rottenstone, Barkeepers friend or whatever's close at hand. :)
 
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