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Thread: Maintenance and the Collecting of Milsurps

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  1. #11
    Contributing Member CINDERS's Avatar
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    Stopping any further spread of rust is priority, light oiling and a wipe down whilst trying to preserve the patina is important to me my 1916 303 was a good learning curve with a brought over the phone for $100 some 18 years ago yep all there she's good to go faaark me dead not even close when I picked it up what a sorry ar*ed sight but basically intact cost nearly 9 times its price to get it to where I wanted it. (I discovered it was a 5 MD thats why I took it)
    There are those that seem to think highly polished oilers and shell cases are the go they are not they were only ever shiny when brand new even then shiny stuff is just what an enemy is looking for as dirt and trees are not shiny unless wet!
    Anyway me I do try and preserve as much of the patina as possible without it looking like its to go out on a parade ground for inspection by the OIC.

    Cleaning a stock from crud build up and oiling it up is mandatory but you dont have to go over board with the unissued look if its clean to handle and oiled properly they look good, all my shooters are just oiled up I dug allot of crap out of the hand guard flutes on the 4's all had a light rub over with 0000 steel wool then oiled and there you go they look good.
    My 1920 Lithgowicon's fore wood and top guards are in the white and never been sanded down from the time they were replaced, were they replaced in service I don't know did a gunsmith replace them I don't know I have just left them as is and done as above and left them its part of that's rifles story why should I change it a 99 year old rifles appearance just to suit some one else's view.

    A pic taken a few years ago of my meagre 303 collection top - bottom 1916 5MD Lithgow MkIII, 1920 Lithgow MkIII, 1945 MA MKIII, 2 x 1942 Savage No.4's, All original 1944 M47C No.4 T with its original MkIII 32 scope.
    All they have all had was a little stainless steel wool & WD40 on the odd rust spot and BLOicon/Turps mix after a light rub down with 0000 steel wool (The wood parts only) then just wiped down re-oiling every now and then.
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    Last edited by CINDERS; 12-02-2019 at 06:29 AM.

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  4. #12
    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scout Sniper View Post
    I can honestly say I'm surprised to see more in favour of clean and maintain than to preserve the dirt.

    On the flip I have seen No4 rifles with a super high gloss varnish finish. You ruined it!
    My pet hate on a milsurp .... Quite often the varnished look is purely down to incorrect use boiled linseed oilicon, eventually giving the wood a hard Glos finish...

    To be fair, I think this mainly comes from post war target shooters who had absolutely zero interest in these rifles from a collectors perspective...

    They were simply inexpensive (and plentiful) rifles for target shooting and hunting at a time when Joe avarage didn't have disposable income.

    So they got the same treatment as the shotgun, boiled linseed warmed up and palmed on...

    I would say that many of the rifles that sit in our collections today, might well have not survived if it hadn't been for the post war target shooters and hunters giving these rifles a purpose.

    It's very satisfying removing all that crap though, that's for sure!

    ---------- Post added at 11:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:30 AM ----------

    Lovely collection Ron, a credit to you.
    .303, helping Englishmen express their feelings since 1889

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  7. #13
    Contributing Member 22SqnRAE's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments, folks, will leave this running before responding. Good insight coming through.

    The only observation I can make is, no matter how hard one tries to hit middle ground, some one will still interpret an extreme, as if that's the point of the discussion...
    Trying to save Service history, one rifle at a time...

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    Contributing Member 30Three's Avatar
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    Whether it is an old firearm, motorcycle or automobile; some collector's just don't get that maintenance is required at regular intervals; even if your not actually using it.

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  11. #15
    Contributing Member mrclark303's Avatar
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    Very true Shaun, if anything it's worse with vehicles, they literally die if there not used regularly.
    .303, helping Englishmen express their feelings since 1889

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  13. #16
    Really Senior Member Sunray's Avatar
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    "...why is it that..." No NCO giving 'em that look. Mind you, a milsurp can come from a place where nobody cared. The Sudanese AR-10's that came through the shop long ago, still had desert in them.
    "...items like bayonets..." Those have gone up in value at a much higher rate than their rifles have.
    "...collector, who never fired it..." There are lots of 'pure' collectors who do not shoot anything they own.
    Spelling and Grammar count!

  14. #17
    Advisory Panel Brian Dick's Avatar
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    I'm on board with CAREFUL and EDUCATED disassembly, cleaning, inspection, repair as needed and service to spec. Unfortunately, I'm on the receiving end of many rifles; especially Lees, where these rules weren't followed and more damage was done disassembling and assembling them incorrectly, mostly to the forends so I get dismayed a bit by folks who just dive in but are clueless as to what they're doing. Buying books and researching properly beforehand is a necessity in my opinion. I could write a book full of horror stories about guns i've had to put right here after the well meaning owners took the process a bit too far with limited or no knowledge of what they were doing. Just my two cents after 20+ years of it.

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  16. #18
    Contributing Member 22SqnRAE's Avatar
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    By means of a sample of evidence of my frustration and failure to comprehend the attitude of some when it comes to cleaning, inspecting, repairing, lubricating and preserving, the attached photo is the residual dirt and slime left from filtering about 1.5 litres of kerosene. The kero was used to soak and clean four Lee Enfield sized rifle bolts. The match is for scale.

    This filth was inside the working parts of rifles. Probably indicative of the level of work they actually did.

    I'm still struggling to comprehend how any barely rational individual can believe (with such vehemence, usually) that this deleterious material can improve or enhance the mechanical safety and serviceability of any machine component.

    Perhaps, with some very astute observations above, we are coming closer to understanding the limitations of the perpetrators of this mechanical maintenance crime?
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    Trying to save Service history, one rifle at a time...

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  18. #19
    Senior Member Scout Sniper's Avatar
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    That's sum serious crud!


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    Contributing Member Eaglelord17's Avatar
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    To me maintenance doesn't mean constantly cleaning a firearm. Realistically cleaning is only really needed when accuracy or function is affected. Believe it or not carbon doesn't harm a firearm, some of the best condition firearms I have made nice again are old .22s that were used a ton over years and never cleaned. Once the carbon was wiped off and the bore cleaned, poof they looked pretty good (I wouldn't say excellent, the finish was long gone thanks to those years of use).

    More damage tends to be caused by over cleaning than under cleaning. Broken parts, stripped screws, overtightening, damaged crowns, etc. I accidentally broke the firing pin retainer on a Swissicon 06/29 Luger by taking it apart when I didn't have to (which was a pretty expensive mistake).

    Not to say that this means to not oil or to put away the firearm wet or anything, simply that most people clean a firearm significantly more than they need to.

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