Educational Zone #96 – Refinishing a Mosin 91/30

Some of you may not know this, but my friend Ponyboy has been hosting The Box O’ Truth for me for several years now, on his bandwidth that he uses for his business. We have become good “Internet friends”, even though we have never met in person.

He recently sent me an e-mail and said, “Send me a copy of your C&R, as I have an early Christmas present to send you.”

I did so, and waited for the package to arrive.

The Brown Truck O’ Happiness dropped off a big box.

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I opened it to find these three Russian Comrades.

They were the roughest looking Mosin 91/30 rifles I had ever seen.

It looked like a challenge to me.

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Here they are in the sunlight.

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I stared out by looking down the bores, but it almost made me cry.

They looked like a dried-up muddy road.

I ran some patches down the bores to see it maybe it was Cosmoline.

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But notice this patch…

The rust in the bore actually tore holes in the patches.

This is going to be a big challenge.

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I took a picture of one of the bores (they all looked about the same)

Not much rifling, but lots of rust and corrosion.

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I asked my buddy Ted what he thought might be the best thing to remove the rust, and being an old Sailor, he suggested Naval Jelly.

I got some and started to clean the bore of the first rifle.

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I dipped a .308 caliber bore brush in the jelly and ran it into the bore.

I let it soak as per instructions, and then patched it out.

Here’s what came out.

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I did it again, and again, and again.

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They got cleaner, little by little. 

When it looked like it was as clean as it was going to get, I cleaned up the barrel with the normal methods.

It was still rough, but looked a lot better.

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I took the rest of the metal parts and washed them in Mineral Spirits to remove any Cosmoline on the parts.

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Here’s the bolt as it came out of the rifle.

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Here it is after I cleaned it up and polished it on the fine wire wheel.

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I then went to work on the stock.

I sprayed it with Easy Off Oven Cleaner.

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…and let it soak for about 15 minutes.

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Then I took a water hose and a brush to it and scrubbed the remaining finish off the stock.

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One last wash.

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After letting it dry over night, I was ready to sand it smooth.

I then applied some stain to the wood. 

I then applied about 5 coats of Wipe-On Poly to the stock for a tough finish.

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I started to work on the metal parts. I sprayed them with some Krylon Camouflage Olive Drab paint.

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This is a nice, flat color that is easy to repair if it gets scratched.

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I put several thin coats on the metal, even the parts that will be under the wood, as it helps with rust prevention.

Continued below...

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More.

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Here’s the finished rifle.

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Close up.

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Butt stock.

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I put some cork under the front of the barrel.

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Other view.

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Well I went to the range this morning and shot it at 50 yards.

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And here’s a typical group.

Not the best possible group, but not too bad for an old, worn-out, 80 year old rifle.

My experience has been that a lot of shooting and cleaning will improve accuracy.

Shoot and clean, shoot and clean, shoot and clean…

You get the idea.

I may try bedding the action and playing with the cork under the barrel and see what I can do to tighten up those groups.

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Today, I finished the second rifle and thought I’d post some pics of the finished product.

I didn’t take any pics of the process, as it was basically the same as the first one, with one difference.

I painted this one Semi-Gloss Black. And here it is after some hard work.

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General view.

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Bolt detail.

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Butt stock.

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It came out pretty good.

I can do things to the outside, but the bad news is that only Jesus can put rifling back in a corroded barrel.

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We’ll have to see how she shoots with the barrel as clean as I could get it.

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Just so you remember how these three Mosins used to look like.

They were as rough as cobs.

This week I refinished the last one, and it was the roughest of the three.

It looked like someone had used it as a boat anchor.

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I painted this one in Flat Black High Temp Engine paint.

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It turned out pretty nice.

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The muzzle end.

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Took a lot of work, but it looks as good as new now. 

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Conclusion:
Thanks Ponyboy, for a fun project.

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