My little grandnephew was coming up for his first birthday, and I decided to get him his first rifle.
I looked around for an old, but high quality rifle that I could refinish for him.
I finally found one at a local pawn shop.
It had some wear on it, but under that wear was a Remington Model 512 rifle, a .22 repeater with a tube magazine under the barrel.
It had some rust and a lot of grime on the bolt area.
It had some dings and a poor finish on the stock.
It had some rust on the metal.
And it even had some dirt and rust on the butt pad.
But it was a Remington 512, and I knew it could be brought back to life.
I started by completely disassembling the rifle to see what I had.
It looked complete under the grime and I got started.
I started out by cleaning all the metal and the magazine tube and the bore.
It was filthy, but cleaned up really nicely.
I took the stock out back and used Easy Off Oven Cleaner to remove what remained of the original finish.
n the sunlight and then sanded it with 220 grit paper to smooth it out.
I left a couple of dings, as they just give it character.
I then stained it with some stain I made from Rit Dye and let it dry.
Then I finished it with some spray polyurethane.
I used Semi-Gloss.
After each coat, I let it dry in the sunshine.
There is nothing better to dry a stock than some sun.
After about 6 coats, I let it dry overnight and the next day I sanded it very lightly to remove any “whiskers” and sprayed a last coat.
In the meantime, I had cleaned all the metal parts, and applied cold bluing where needed.
I lubricated everything and was ready to reassemble the rifle.
I drilled a hole about 2 inches deep in the buttstock and placed a note for Carter to find some day, with the information about him and me, and the occasion.
I then screwed down the butt plate over it.
Here is the information on the top of the barrel about the rifle.
Here’s the finished rifle.
Here’s the bolt area after I cleaned it up and polished it.
I did not strip the bluing and only cold blued where needed, as I like the patina of an old .22 with the brown/blue color on it.
I can’t let him have it until I am sure it shoots well.
A trip to the range was needed.
This old rifle loads through a tube magazine under the barrel.
It is easy to top off.
It loads the next round very positively with a turn of the bolt.
I set up a target at 50 yards, a reasonable maximum range for an iron-sighted .22 rifle and shot a few groups.
Here’s one of the groups.
I cleaned it up and waited for Carter’s birthday.
Here he is with his new/old rifle.
He seemed pretty excited about it.
I will let his Dad keep it for him until he is old enough to shoot it and then he and I will go to the range, and shoot it, Lord willing.
Hopefully, someday, Carter can tell his son, “This was my first rifle, that I got for my first birthday. My great-Uncle Don refinished it for me. It is my favorite rifle.”
If you have a child, or grandchild, or nephew or niece, consider looking for them an old quality rifle and refinish it for them. They are not making rifles of this quality any more, but there are many of them available in pawn shops, if you can look past the grit and grime. Try to imagine what they will look like when they are restored to their former state.