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  1. #1
    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    1897 Project No. 2

    Here we go! Still has matching serial on the extension and original 30" full choke. 739xxx, early 1924 according to https://www.winchesterguns.com/conte...ture-dates.pdf. Forend was very loose and already on it's last notch. A swap of the adjusting sleeve cured that problem.

    The last one I just finished was far worse off - bent and dented barrel, broken extension. This one's major defect is that it's just plain filthy. Filthiest firearm I've ever encountered (including the mosin's I've done - one that appeared straight out of the sewer and another still packed in cosmolineicon).

    Lot's of old dried grease/oil mixed with carbon/dirt/dust/sand forming a concrete in every corner, under every spring.


    The consistency of grime changes with likely exposure during storage. Areas around the bolt and front of the carrier are a loose mix of dust and grease, forming almost like a soft packed felt substance. In the rear and along the sides, its rock hard and gritty. Brake cleaner wouldn't touch it. After a soak in wd-40 followed by a brass scraper to chisel out the worst of it, then a brass brush to get the rest of major deposits, I have it all boiling in water to get the remainder - while I prep the receiver for rust bluing.

    Note the deep striations in the outside receiver. I saw these in the last 97 project, although they hadn't worn as deep as this one. From my experience there, these are caused by the metallurgy of the receiver. They present a challenge in bluing to get rid of them. I'll capture this in my next post.
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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssgross View Post
    Note the deep striations in the outside receiver. From my experience there, these are caused by the metallurgy of the receiver.
    That's what we thought too, from looking at '94 Winchesters, rifles and carbines from early 1900s.
    Regards, Jim

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    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    This one needs/demands new wood. Boyds sells original pattern forends. Their butts are available in XX walnut, but their pics are horrible so no telling what I'd get. The wrist looks a little stubby. However midwayusa has a pick of a Boyd butt that looks perfect, but they out of stock. I'm thinking I want something mid-grade, not over the top but with a just bit of curl. When I'm done practicing on scraps, I think I'll make my checkering debut on this one. Has anyone used one of the Boyds stocks? are they indeed as ugly and misshapen as their single photo lets on? or is the wrist longer like in their version sold on midwayusa?

    the Boyds stock on Boyds website...
    the midwayusa Boyds stock...

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    Legacy Member Tom Doniphon's Avatar
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    739xxx would have had its serial number applied in October 1920.

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    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Doniphon View Post
    739xxx would have had its serial number applied in October 1920.
    Thanks, Tom. Can you provide your source as that is different then what I found, linked above?

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    Legacy Member Tom Doniphon's Avatar
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    Winchester Polishing Room Serialization Records. They show when the serial number was applied to the receiver. They are the most accurate way to date a Winchester. Most all of the other serialization tables are incorrect or have some errors in them.

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    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    long overdue. got busy.

    So the topic I promised was rust bluing with these "flaws" in the metal that was producing the striations which wear faster than the surrounding metal, and then look like long deep scratches after 100yrs. After lots of trial and error with the last 97, this one went along pretty uneventful.


    as soon as you degrease, these lines flash rust, deep and fast. Don't worry. just don't let it sit - go ahead and wipe on your first iteration.


    I'm using mark lee's express blue no. 1. you can see the striations aren't playing nice. Just ignore them and keep going


    it gets worse in the boil. now, when it comes out and after carding, grab a square of clean paper, and lightly go over the area until the lines disappear. In my initial prep, I usually finish with a piece of worn paper, so I go one step of finer grit this time so there is nothing that stands out. The etching of the rust process will make any variation irrelevant and unnoticeable in the end, so long as you finished at ~320grit or beyond (depending on manufacturer of the paper. no benefit to going finer than needed. 400 seems to be a good number that works across many brands, even the cheap stuff.) You can't see it, but there is just barely enough magnatite over the striated spot to keep it from flash rusting again, so at the next application the striations catch up.


    here we are after the second application, just before boiling.

    now where did I save the final pics, with the bolt and everything? ugh.
    Last edited by ssgross; 01-10-2023 at 08:54 AM.

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    Contributing Member fjruple's Avatar
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    Good luck on your project, please keep us advised of your progress!!

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    Legacy Member RAM1ALASKA's Avatar
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    Always a pleasure watching the many steps it takes to bring these projects to life!

    Thank You

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    Contributing Member ssgross's Avatar
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    here it is.

    There was some prior moderate corrosion top front that made the oval-pw stamp pretty faint when it was all done, even though I tried to be as delicate as possible to that area. It's still there, and stands out if you hit the light at just the right angle.
    The barrels (original 30" full choke + NOS norinco 20" riot) still need blued, along with mag tubes, slides, and extensions. I think instead of bluing this weekend I'll be drinking away my sorrows over the wood I got in the mail today (see other thread in this forum).

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