Restoring a Stevens Little Scout 14-1/2

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14,505
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Top of Virginia
This is my wife's great-grandfather's gun, and has a neat background. He used it for harvesting hogs on his farm for family supper. It likely hasn't been shot in 50 years. It has lots of general corrosion, but I don't think it's so roached that it can't run again. I will need to procure a few parts, some of which are available...most of which are not. I'll need to find a local gunsmith who can help me fit some of these parts. It's got an odd William McKinley presidential coin or seal on the right side of the buttstock. I'm not sure what that's about; I haven't seen any others on the internet like this. It looks to have some age to it. What's odd is McKinley's term ended in 1901, and this gun was produced at some point between 1911 and the mid-1920s, so I'm not sure of the McKinley connection here. The model 14-1/2 began production in 1911 and ran through the 1930s. Savage bought J. Stevens Arm & Tool in the early 1920s, but didn't start putting the "SVG" stamp on the receivers until the mid-1920s from what I understand. This gun doesn't have it, so I'm thinking that it's, at its youngest, 90 years old...or as many as 103 years old. Unfortunately, the bore looked like a sewer pipe inside. The rifling was barely present. After a lot of scrubbing, the rifling is more apparent, but there's still a lot of roughness in there. I'm not familiar with this aspect of antique firearm restoration. Is it pretty much a given that this bore will need to be professionally restored or relined or whatever needs to happen in order for it to shoot again? I can handle the exterior, and even some of the mechanicals of the receiver if I can get parts, but the bore is new ground for me. Anyway...here are some as-is pictures. More certainly to follow. I appreciate comments from all, and especially those familiar with these old Stevens rifles or those versed in antique firearms restoration for some tips and pointers. Many thanks...
 
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1,746
Location
Rochester, NY
I was going to ask what caliber, but I can just barely make out "22 long rifle" on the last picture. Anyhow, I don't have any advice, but I'll be interested in seeing how this goes!
 
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3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
Bore: about the only practical thing to do(so long as you want to keep it a .22 caliber) is to have a liner installed. Gunsmith will have to bore out the barrel, then solder/braze/whatever they're doing these days the nice new .22 liner in place. This used to be a very common procedure with old .22 rimfires, since 1. non-corrosive priming didn't appear until the 1920's(ever wonder where Remington got that KleenBore trademark for Remington ammo? grin2 ), and 2. Ammo makers used to put ground glass crzy in the rimfire priming compound.(No foolin'.) I'd ask around & search online for a good gunsmith for the liner installation. Since you seem to have a gunsmith in mind for parts advice/manufacture, might as well start with him. As far as the metal finish- oxalic acid has lots of fans for extreme rust removal, and plain old 000 or 0000 steel wool, with a solvent(long ago we used Hoppe's #9) with elbow grease can work wonders, especially with a scrub a while, soak a day, repeat several times regimen. Wood finish- I'd strip gently, go back with something simple like boiled linseed oil or good ole Tru-Oil. And *please*- leave that medallion in the stock, nails & all! That looks like a home-brew job that has been there for many decades now, & has become part of that little rifle's heritage. thumbsup
 

Hokiefyd

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14,505
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Top of Virginia
Originally Posted By: UncleS2
Bore: about the only practical thing to do(so long as you want to keep it a .22 caliber) is to have a liner installed. Gunsmith will have to bore out the barrel, then solder/braze/whatever they're doing these days the nice new .22 liner in place. This used to be a very common procedure with old .22 rimfires, since 1. non-corrosive priming didn't appear until the 1920's(ever wonder where Remington got that KleenBore trademark for Remington ammo? grin2 ), and 2. Ammo makers used to put ground glass crzy in the rimfire priming compound.(No foolin'.)
Thanks for the info on the relining. I'll have to check into that and see how much of a job that is, in terms of money spent. I'd like to turn this into a working plinker, but I'd have to be absolutely sure I can get the receiver internals working right before I invest in a relining. I don't yet have a particular gunsmith in mind...that's something I need to look up. The medallion is certainly staying. In fact, I will probably not use this stock. It's cracked at the small end and it looks to be cracked--and possibly repaired--at the big end. I wager that I'll probably procure a different stock to actually use with the gun, and keep the original stock as a keepsake associated with the gun. I may try my hand at making my own, using the stock, uh, stock, as a pattern. Thanks...and keep the commentary coming y'all.
 

Hokiefyd

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14,505
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Top of Virginia
Originally Posted By: UncleS2
As far as the metal finish- oxalic acid has lots of fans for extreme rust removal, and plain old 000 or 0000 steel wool, with a solvent(long ago we used Hoppe's #9) with elbow grease can work wonders, especially with a scrub a while, soak a day, repeat several times regimen.
Oh...as for the exterior... There are some marks that hint that the gun may have been subjected to a somewhat crude sanding job earlier in its life. What I did last night is spend about an hour with the barrel in a soft-lined vice wet-sanding it with 2000 grit abrasive paper. I used my regular Hoppe's Elite spray as the liquid lubricant. Before I quit for the evening, I wet-sanded with some Ballistol to stave off any flash rusting. It looks far better than it did when I started. Surface rusting is all gone. There are some dark splotches on the shiny metal...very limited bluing remaining I imagine. My plan is to remove ALL vestiges of the factory bluing and then either have it blued or cold blue it myself. Sound like a good plan, or am I headed in the wrong direction here?
 
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3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
I see that liners are still available from Numrich(Gunpartscorp.com these days), Brownells, and Midway. Maybe other places too. One other possibility is going with a new barrel blank- but you'd lose all the character on the outer surface of that barrel. Finding a good gunsmith to drill out & install may be something of a problem, you might ask over on rimfirecentral dot com. I read that maybe the favored method of installation these days, instead of soldering or braising the liner in place, involves modern super-duper epoxy. Just remember that there's a lot involved- boring out the old barrel, getting the liner right way around(they have a breech end, who knew?), cutting & crowning the muzzle, setting headspace before final gluing/soldering, & more I'm sure. Still, for a family gun it would be worth it. Stock- you might actually find stock blanks available for it, at least something that's close enough to save lots of work versus starting with a walnut chunk.
 
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5,653
Location
Central IA
Dont cold blue it....I have yet to find a cold blue that is durable and looks good for an entire gun. Vans instant gun blue is wonderful for touch ups, but i would not do a whole gun in it. Depending how resourceful you are, I would look into hot water rust bluing. It would give a late 19th century blue similar to pre war Winchesters. I redid my Frommer Stop 1912 pistol with Mark Lee express blue in one evening. it was in the white and had patchy rust, but turned out nice I think. Cost me less than 30 bucks for the materials. Before bluing....had carded off the rust spots but it was mostly in the white and rusted together. Had to soak it in Kroil to get it apart. After shots
 
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1,345
Location
Lexington, NC
Were it mine, with a lot of sentimental value, I wouldn't do a lot to it, particularly the wood. I'd leave the orig stock on, perhaps varnish the fore stock to match. As to the bore, if there's any vestige of lands, or not severely pitted, it will still shoot. As to the metal, I like the idea of rust bluing it, or either go with a cold blue; I've used lots of Ortho Blue from Brownell's and its by far the best of several brands I've used. Not at all fussy about preparation like most others. I see these guns every once and awhile at gun shows. They still go for fairly low prices. So if sentiment is not a big issue, and you want to just have fun rebuilding it, there is no reason not to.
 

Hokiefyd

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14,505
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Top of Virginia
Originally Posted By: tc1446
I'd leave the orig stock on, perhaps varnish the fore stock to match.
I do plan to not use the buttstock, but only because I believe that I'll damage it further by trying to use it. The wood appears to be very brittle already and it's cracked in a number of places. There appears to be some sort of repair at the big end (rear), and there are a number of unrepaired cracks at the small end. I fear that if I try to install this stock (it was separate when they found the gun in the house), it'll split further.
Originally Posted By: tc1446
As to the bore, if there's any vestige of lands, or not severely pitted, it will still shoot.
The rifling is still there. The lands look very narrow...but it appears to have been the way they did it back then. I reckon that the bullet will ride the lands and not really interact much with the floors of the grooves. There is what my untrained eye would classify as "moderate" pitting in the bore. This is not my picture, but I'd say the bore looks similar to this:
 

Hokiefyd

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14,505
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Top of Virginia
Originally Posted By: Robenstein
I redid my Frommer Stop 1912 pistol with Mark Lee express blue in one evening.
Thanks for the pictures; that pistol looks fantastic.
 
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1,066
Location
Minnesota
If it were mine, I'd see about doing the parts to make it operational-shoot it to see how it does-and then hang it on the wall=neat old first boys rifle!
 
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5,653
Location
Central IA
Originally Posted By: Hokiefyd
Originally Posted By: Robenstein
I redid my Frommer Stop 1912 pistol with Mark Lee express blue in one evening.
Thanks for the pictures; that pistol looks fantastic.
I wish it shot as good as it looked. It fires and extracts well but does not feed well. I think a different mag and a new recoil spring would fix that, but these guns are so obscure that finding parts is not easy. So I just keep it as a fun and bizzare piece of WW1 history. I had a beat up Beretta 1951 that I did the same thing to. Looks sharp and actually shoots. Had to rob some parts of an old Helwan clone(grips and mags) to make it work.
 
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3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
That looks better than I had visualized. If it was mine, I'd soak it with a good rust loosening solvent(plain old kerosene ain't bad, or diesel fuel, or Hoppe's #9- make the first soak for a few days), then a good scrubbing with a brass bore brush, then soak some more, then wrap the bore brush with 0000 steel wool & scrub some more, then keep repeating soak & scrub. You have nothing to lose, & it might shoot good enough for close range plinking- say, minute-of-tin-can out to 20-25 yards or so- and it would be 100% original. Is charcoal starter fluid still just deodorized kerosene? It used to be,& years ago I did a rust removal job on an old shotgun barrel using nothing but steel wool & charcoal starter fluid. Came out looking nice too! It even used to say it right on the can. If you have some around the house, worth a look.
 

Hokiefyd

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14,505
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Top of Virginia
Thanks. Accuracy is actually one of the least of my concerns with it...I just don't want to get it out and fire the first bullet off and have it become stuck in the middle of the bore somewhere. As long as this bore should be capable of firing a bullet, even if it's not 100 yard accurate, I'm happy with that. I do have Hoppe's #9, though I don't use it much. I'll let it soak good in that for a day or two and scrub, rinse, and repeat. It already looks a lot better than it did.
 
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43,676
Location
'Stralia
I like the look of the exterior metal a lot, and wouldn't go too hard at it to make it "better"... If you want to get it off, I'd use molasses http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1039412 In fact, come to think of it, you might be able to molasses fill the barrel, and see what you can chelate out of it, rather than scrubbing with steel wool...I'd do that first. The internals will respond to molasses if you can get them apart...if you can't molasses might get them apart.
 
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5,653
Location
Central IA
I have seen Molasses work. People usually use blackstrap/feed bulk molasses. Usually 5 parts water to 1 part molasses. You can use lots of things to take rust off that is unconventional. I stripped corrosion off an old license plate topper by soaking it in vinegar for several days. The acid cleaned it up well. Barkeepers Friend is a great product also for taking off corrosion. Between the abrasive compounds and the oxalic acid...it cleans quickly leaving a brushed finish. I use it on heavily oxidized aluminum auto parts. Things like intake manifolds and valve covers that are vintage. Leave them bright and brushed.
 
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1,019
Location
Va
A cracked and even brittle stock can be salvaged. Walnut is surprisingly resilient. A little research will point you in the right direction. Kroil has a strong following in the rifle community for cleaning extreme fouling. Not sure about corrosion, though. Rust blue would be accurate for the period. Building a box for a gun that size wouldn't be too difficult. Rust blue is not forgiving on surface imperfections, so a true restoration would most likely require re striking the stampings.
 
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