Educational Zone #32 – Refinishing an Old Rifle

I recently got my C&R and have been having a great time finding and refinishing some old military rifles.

I was looking at an old SMLE that I own that was built in Lithgow, Australia.

It appeared to have once been painted olive drab green.

Here’s a pic.

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So, I checked with our resident expert on SMLEs, my friend Swingset.

I asked him if he thought painting a SMLE would be okay.

He assured me that he thought it was fine, as long as it was well-done.

I told him that if I did it, I’d say he told me it was okay.

He said, “I don’t mind… Providing you don’t spray over a ’24 Lithgow in Queensland Maple! If you did that, I’d cry.”

So, with that assurance, I ordered another Savage SMLE.

It came by way of the Brown Truck O’ Happiness.

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Here it is, in it’s original state.

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And here.

Kind of rough, but with good wood and lots of potential.

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I ordered some olive drab paint from Brownell’s called Gun-Kote and Tman had some flat black engine paint that he has used before.

We decided to clean it all up first. 
I took it apart and cleaned up all the metal. Tman stripped the stock and we were ready to go.

Tman refinished the stock and it looked great.

He applied the paint and let it dry, per instructions. He then baked the painted parts in a small oven at 300 to 325 degrees for one hour.

It gives a very tough finish.

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Here’s the result.

Continued below...

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And here.

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Before anyone protests, let me be clear on this… We did not “restore” the rifle. We “refinished” it to better condition than when it was new.

This is not a “Bubba” job. Nothing was changed by cutting off wood, or sawing off the barrel.

If someone wanted to return the rifle to original condition, all they would have to do is remove the stock finish and remove the paint.

They could then bang it against a telephone pole a little and it would be just like it was when I got it.

Here’s some details.

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And here.

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Here’s the end of the muzzle.

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And we cold-blued the bolt.

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Lessons Learned:
Shooting stuff is fun. It’s even more fun when you are using nice-looking guns.

1 Comment on Educational Zone #32 – Refinishing an Old Rifle

  1. “…This is not a “Bubba” job….” Yes it is. NO Lee-Enfield ever looked like it was Parkerized. You cut its value by half.
    And that’s not an SMLE. ONLY No. 1 Mk III’s were SMLE’s.

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