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  1. #1
    Member billy67's Avatar
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    Remington M1903 4-1942

    Hi,
    I have this M1903 and the stock look to be refinished with dark brown painting. What kind of product I can use to remove that and preserve the original finish (if its still there) ? Or leave as is ?


    thanks


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    It looks to me like dark stain was applied, and allowed to dry without wiping off. A close up pic would give more info on what is actually there.

    I would start with mineral spirits and a scrubby. works well for light duty stuff like surface grease/oil, grime from recent (not 80 year old) handling.
    Laquer thinner would be the next on the list, with a scrubby or steel wool. It will lift grime out of the wood pores. On old (not painted) rifles, the red-oxidized color gets moved around, but not removed. Larry Mr. Potterfield at midway usa has a video of cleaning up an old Trapdoor Springfield in this way, so you can see the results for yourself. This was sufficient to remove heavy white rack numbers on my trapdoor and blend in with the rest. Color was left great, and you can't tell they were ever there.
    The next most aggressive would be acetone. In terms of what happens to the original "color", it will work the same way as lacquer thinner, but much faster and much less forgiving. If you are not careful, then before you know it all the color will be gone and you will have bone dry old wood to work with. I went this direction on an old krag that had hung in a smoke-filled VFW bar for probably the last century. It reeked and was blackened with time in that smokey environment. Finish looked almost plasticized over the grain. The color brightened a bit, but was still there. I re-oiled it well with raw linseed oilicon and it's now in pristine condition, with that nice deep red color - and now you can actually feel the wood again!

    I would not recommend any soaking methods. And please do not run it through the dishwasher or use oven cleaner.

    EDIT: It was a rolling block he was cleaning up and not a trapdoor.
    Last edited by ssgross; 10-14-2021 at 11:42 AM.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    I got to say, all the above is correct...I use 1850 furniture stripper, even though there are those that don't believe in the harsher liquid strippers. It will turn all that crap to sludge and wash it all off with hot water. Then dry with paper towel and allow to completely dry before oiling. You follow instructions and it's excellent. Available at your local Canadianicon Tire. No easy off oven cleaner as mentioned...
    Regards, Jim

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    Pour a quart of 91% Isopropyl Alcohol (Walmart) in a large bowl or bucket then using 0000 steel wool or a fine scotch bite pad, holding the stock over the bowl, drench the steel wool in the alcohol and rub the stock with the grain, making sure to keep everything wet. THis will remove the old finish gently and there will be no need to sand the stock. If that is a stain, and you want to get rid of the stain you will need to be patient using the alcohol, it will eventually work most of the stain out.

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    I would leave it. It doesn't strike me as a bubba job. I've seen a lot of military stocks that are just that dark and they came our of Govt Surplus that way.

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    Thread Starter
    thank you very much for your inputs and suggestion.
    Here's some additional pics taken at day light today. That brown colour look like something like Glidden or Sherwin-William painting lol For sure, its the first time I see something like that on a milsurp. underneath the tang we can barely see what would be a circle for the P cartouche ? Also, I notice some vice marks around the reciever and beside the rear sight, don't knwo what would cause that.
















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    Typical, this question brings you the phone book. Looks to me since the rifle was in Canadaicon, we don't have the choices of so many replacement parts or repair facilities. Someone without imagination painted it to hide their shame. You may find a bit of work when you clean it...don't fear, we've all been there. The marks at the receiver opening are grind marks. The others by the rear sight are an overstrike for some reason, to cancel some marking.
    Regards, Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by browningautorifleicon View Post
    Typical, this question brings you the phone book. Looks to me since the rifle was in Canadaicon, we don't have the choices of so many replacement parts or repair facilities. Someone without imagination painted it to hide their shame. You may find a bit of work when you clean it...don't fear, we've all been there. The marks at the receiver opening are grind marks. The others by the rear sight are an overstrike for some reason, to cancel some marking.
    thats my thought. after a longer inspection, I suspect that heavy brown paint is just to hide something even worse lol But the rifle is a real shooter and the trigger very sharp. Actually too sharp to be a milsurp and with reason, it was changed for a timney trigger lol Come see me at VFGPA and take a look at it since you live in Victoria as well

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    I could tell if it were paint holding it in my hand...closeup pic looks like a stain that wasn't wiped off but allowed to dry. Follow the advice above, starting at the least invasive, to clean up the wood. All your markings will pop when you are done. If all the solid brown color comes out and it looks too bright or still has too much brown, raw linseed oilicon...same as the "flaxseed oil" from the organic section of your grocery store, and a year of patience will start to bring back the reddish tones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by billy67 View Post
    Come see me at VFGPA and take a look at it since you live in Victoria as well
    I'll see you at the Halloween show at Saanich fairground then. Pick up all the odds and ends for the rifle there...
    Regards, Jim

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