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Shotgun Refinishing

6705 Views 197 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  TrueGrit
Happy Monday all,
I was recently given this Stevens 311a in .410 as a project gun. It needs a new buttplate, the blueing is rough and the stock could definitely use a good sanding/stain.

I’ve never done something like this before so I thought I’d ask you all for some tips/tricks to refinishing. Recommended products? Preferred procedures? I’d like to do this right so any advice is greatly appreciated!
Rectangle Helmet Wood Everyday carry Knife

Wood Sleeve Bag Waist Beige
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I've done several guns over the years. I used wet/dry sandpaper on the metal parts. I recommend starting with 220 grit and working up to at least 800 or 1000. That should give your bluing a nice lustre when finished.
As for brand of bluing to use, I'll leave that suggestion to some of the other guys on here as I wasn't really pleased with the last stuff I got at Bass Pro. Can't remember the brand but its in a blue plastic bottle. One thing I will mention though is that degreasing/cleaning the metal parts very thoroughly before bluing is critical to getting a good result.

As to the wood, I've always carefully scraped off the old finish and then sanded with progressively finer sandpaper going up to at least 180. Here's a tip, once you feel the stock is nice and smooth after sanding with say 120 grit, wipe off the dust and then dampen the entire surface with a clean wet rag. This makes the tiny wood fibers stand up once the wood is dry. Then sand and repeat a couple times with finer grit paper. This will help any grain stand out a bit better and give you a smoother finish in the end. It doesn't take very long to dry each time, a day maybe if kept in a reasonably warm dry spot. Just don't soak the stock and then put it next to the wood stove as you might cause cracking. Unlikely but no sense taking the risk. I've used urethane on some stocks and linseed oil on others. Urethane will shine more than an oiled finish usually but either works well.
Having said that, the stock doesn't look to bad in the picture. If it isn't too bad you might want to just keep the original finish. I most cases you will find that the wood is light coloured, maple or birch or birch maybe, under the existing finish. I've found that its hard to get back to the original finish colour using stain but some of the guys on here may know of specific products that work well.
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All this makes me want to find an old gun to play with this winter!!!
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Even a hair dryer too warm?
Or hot tap water? I've always heated metal parts using hot water when bluing.
Now I'm second guessing what I have. To me, it looks more like the beech (right) than walnut.
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But then it also looks like it could be Birch (right side)???
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I'm no expert but in my experience the colour does not go very deep in stained wood. Of course this is a fairly old gun so the wood may well have aged and darkened some iver the years, but, if it were beech or birch I would expect the wood to be lighter coloured under the stain. So to me Tyson's suggestion that its walnut makes sense.
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Here’s a good look at my crack repairs, turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. Some light sanding and it’s about as good as it can be!
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Now back to the wood debate, regardless of what type it is, I took a wet cloth to it last night to see how it might look with some Tru Oil, Darkened up quite nice I think? I’m thinking I may not even need any stain.

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I'd go with whatever clear finish you want but that's my preference. Colour will look very nice like it is.
I'd carefully sand over the crack repairs again then the entire thing with 220 paper. Dampen it all lightly then thoroughly dry and repeat with 220 a couple times.
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Spencer and I have been doing some stock work simultaneously and have been stayin in touch as we went along. Not a thread hi jack Spencer.. just a little addition to show the process I do as well.

... I did a BLR 81 stock set over for a good friend of mine. Unbeknownst to him too I might add. I'll be taking the receiver assembly down to Sean @ Ironwood and get him to breathe new life into the tired faded metal of the gun.
Older Brownings usually require 3 coats of 1850 to completely lift the old finish.
Couple of pics of the b4 and after (11 coats of Tru Oil) more coat to finish it off tonight !

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Wow looks great now! Nice work!
Are the before pictures taken with stripper on the old finish? If not, what the heck happened to the rifle for it to look like that?
Come on now you are talking to the spray can junkie doing old cars antiques etc :p:p I have like a few 100 tips I save off every can on the top of my tool box before I toss the can and find most cans use a standard size and if a tip that does as you say take the tip off every coat and soak it and they normally don't clog just remember to give a quick squirt in the air to prevent any thinner from hitting the wood I do pretty much the same on the checkering masking it off unless it is just a quick job and I am not fussy if it gets full like that superx1 field I did
It is those dam spray foam cans I have the issues with have I would say at least 10 in a milk crate that are new and no way will anything come out of them and don't say return them since I found out they have a best before date :( Yep more stupid hoarding. Buy a case when on sale for the next project and don't use for over a year and now useless most of them. One works I have to keep going until it is empty since there is no restarting
Try acetone to clear the tip. I looked online and that was the suggestion. Another was to put a toothpick into the noozle when still wet so you can pull it and the dried foam out later in. Haven't tried either yet. But, I have a can here I'm going to try to bring back from the dead. A tiny bit was used and then the can was let sit.
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Sooo after doin my buds 308 BLR stocks, I thought it's high time to take my Browning 425 apart and give her a face lift for 2023.
Stock stripped and sanded off to 400 grit...wet sanded 4 or five more times with 600 grit. Soaked the receiver butts of the stock in alcohol and degreased it.
Added some stain..resanded...then Tru Oil time. Few sanded pics then 10 coats of Tru Oil pics.

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That is an absolutely beautiful stock! Damm nice work there too !!
No, just used tongue oil.
I've used tung oil and also linseed oil. Never heard of Truoil until this thread but it seems to be great stuff based on the results we're seeing here.
Cool. Did you use the common stuff or the industrial grade you can get at home hardware I use that one to kill weeds inside the greenhouses and it will IT is double strength and cheap
Does it kill grass as well as weeds? Suspect the answer is Yes but not sure.
Yes on any thing green
I found it doesn't do as well out side with out a few applications and there I mix it with a bit of dish soap and table salt and make sure no rain is coming for at least 3 days but it is as good as the new round up which is crap
In the greenhouses I spray straight and close everything up and the temps go to like 140 and the next day everything is brown.
I do spray it outside on the driveway since I don't want anything there that could hurt the dogs down the road. Not much out there any more good
Good read here on it

Sorry woodmaster for a side track
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Well I attempted my first go at Cold-Bluing today. As I mentioned, the colour case hardening on the receiver was sanded off so I degreased and cleaned the bare metal multiple times until it was nice a clean. Heated up the metal with a hair dryer as some had recommended and simply followed the instructions on the Bluing. I’m using Birchwood Casey Perma Blue Paste. I’ve read that the paste gives a denser finish than the liquid blue and is a little more controllable when applying. Did 6 coats, 0000 steel wool between each. Might still need to do a few touch ups, but I’ll let it sit for 24hours and see. I have to say, I think it looks pretty good. Definitely not factory, but I’m still quite pleased with the results. I even did a test fit with the refinished stock.

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That's looking really good!
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Very,very nice! I'm jealous now. I need an old gun to refurbish.
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Heres the start on the stocks , stripped down then first round of 150 to get remainder of finish and stain off . Removed grip cap and butt pad prior to applying remover , then once stripped and cleaned with some solvent . Wiped clean again then put the grip cap as it was not fit right to begin with and same for butt pad , few high spots on the wood itself , Went at it to sculpt the butt pad and grip cap so now it all feels good in the hands of fit and finish , not to mention be cautious as not to remove too much around the tang , reciever and front cap on the fore stock . Now to sand lightly till 600 grit . Once then I will start a hand rubbed finish of Minwax Poly most likely Satin finish and coat of walnut oil stain , bring out the grain . Before stripping and sanding ,
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After Stripping and Sanding View attachment 100527
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Looks great.
I'll be interested to see the after pictures.
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Since there has been interest in the finished product of this refinishing , even tho its on a rifle and not a shotgun , I'll share after few days to get the finished effect and cleaning up here is the Marlin .444 .

14 coats of hand rubbed poly , sanded between with 800 grit , then cleaned with tack cloth before next coat , no sanding on last 2 Coats . Cleaned up the grip cap & white liner as well as clean up the white liner on the butt pad , fix high spots around grip cap and butt pad . Full tear down of all internals to remove old factory grease and dust bunnies from sitting so long , Bore was checked with light and scoped to check for any residue and was clean and unfired as former owners son stated . No carry wear or action wear . Bluing has few spots where slight rust specked the finish other is excellent . Not bad for 41_yrs old View attachment 100583
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Very, very nice! Beautiful rifle.
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