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Thread Like Summary
Glacierjohn, Imperdix, SKB
Total Likes: 8
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by Glacierjohn
Glacierjohn
In the US we seem to have an aversion to the idea of rebluing, refinishing the stock or otherwise restoring an old classic, whereas it’s no big deal in England. A 1920s gun that has gone grey with a beat up stock and or bad barrels can be re-stocked or refinished, barrels can be sleeved to the point that you can hardly tell and gun parts reblackened, and nobody calls the vintage police.

One thing you rarely see over there is a re-color case hardened action, probably because even lesser guns over there are much more finely engraved than our lower grade guns here.
Liked Replies
by Stanton Hillis
Stanton Hillis
I should never suggest what people should do about the tight chokes in their guns, having made a mistake with one once myself. But, since you asked I will relate my feelings about the two times I had a vintage double's chokes modified.

First time was a 32" barreled, beautiful, graded S X S that had the original tight chokes, in the .035" range. A fine duck gun as it was, though restocked. I had both chokes relieved to .020" to use it on clays, and have regretted that decision for many years. I'm doing penance, of sorts, for my mistake.

The other is a 20 ga. Fox Sterlingworth Ejector that I traded for, intending it to become my go to quail and woodcock gun. I had the chambers lengthened to 2 3/4" and had Dean Harris open the chokes to .006" right and .016" left. I added a Silvers pad to get the LOP right for me, and faced it with a piece of leather from my Grandad's old defunct leather hunting coat. First two shells fired out of it on the first covey rise netted two quail with the right barrel and one with the left. I've used it enough in the past year on quail to know that what I did to it was spot on, for me. Thursday afternoon we hunted with it again and I went 8 quail for 9 shots fired. No regrets.

So, I'm left with no grounds to recommend anything to anyone about this subject. I do know this, though. This old boy will never open the tight chokes on a fine old duck gun again, for any reason. My wants and wishes are just too apt to change in time, and there's no way to put those barrels back to their original condition once mucked with. If I had known then what I know now about using spreaders to open the patterns I wouldn't even entertain the thought of putting a reamer to it.
2 members like this
by KY Jon
KY Jon
It is the lack of collecting culture over there that is the difference. Buyers are going to use a gun and will invest in regular maintenance or improvements. In the US there has been a group of buyers who are obsessed with owing as near to original mint condition as possible with no interest in shooting a gun because from their viewpoint wear destroys a guns value. I know of Browning and Winchester who will buy a gun based on high original condition but would never think of shooting it. In fact many never shoot at all anymore.

As to re-case coloring it has gotten a bad rap in some circles. Colors not true to original colors and the possibility of warping the frame are seen as reasons many here no longer want to re-case color guns. But I always thought a owner was free to do what ever he wanted with his gun.
1 member likes this
by KDGJ
KDGJ
Originally Posted by Glacierjohn
In the US we seem to have an aversion to the idea of rebluing, refinishing the stock or otherwise restoring an old classic, whereas it’s no big deal in England. A 1920s gun that has gone grey with a beat up stock and or bad barrels can be re-stocked or refinished, barrels can be sleeved to the point that you can hardly tell and gun parts reblackened, and nobody calls the vintage police.

One thing you rarely see over there is a re-color case hardened action, probably because even lesser guns over there are much more finely engraved than our lower grade guns here.

The collecting in England is the same as here in the states. A high original gun will command a premium over a redone gun (look at Rocketman's spreadsheet). Guns that are restocked need to be done to same level as the original or the price takes a bigger hit. Sleeved guns, even though, still very serviceable will take a bigger hit than original barrels (there is still somewhat of a negative stigma with sleeved barrels even ones that are undetectable). Re-case hardening has to be done very well (to include potential pick-up of engraving) or it sticks out like a sore thumb (see this article Re-Case. There really isn't a lot of difference except of barrel bluing and a minor stock refinish.

Ken
1 member likes this
by Stanton Hillis
Stanton Hillis
I will pose the same question I have so many times in the past. How many can tell that a gun has been perfectly redone and used for a dozen years or so, is not an original in high, but used, condition? I have seen guns that were in very high condition, claimed to be original, that I believe cannot be absolutely determined to be so. They could have been reblued, and the wood refinished, even had the action recased, used for some seasons afterward, and look like a slightly used but well cared for original.

The persons who can tell the difference are exceedingly rare, IMO.
1 member likes this
by ed good
ed good
wise collectors used to have "bench mark" guns, original examples that exhibit factory original finishes, not as when they left the factory, but now, as they exist, after many years of natural aging...

for example, the wood finish on a 100 year old gun is not going to look the same now, as it did 100 years ago...it will most likely be darker and perhaps have some crazing of the varnish...

thanks to modern color photography, we now have printed or digital images that take the place of the traditional benchmark gun...

also, perfectly redone guns are easy to spot...their very perfection is a big clue that they are not original...an old, original gun, should have some flaws... a ding here, a scratch there, a little case wear, all good indicators of originality...i jes luv to see crazed varnish...but like stan said, it gets difficult, when a well redone gun has some age to it...

there is no substitute for experience, guided by skepticism...

"if it looks too good to be true, it probably aint"...
1 member likes this
by lagopus
lagopus
Here in the U.K. a gun in good original condition will always command a higher price than a similar one that has been restored. I think the thing is that most American made guns are machine factory made and to a collector one unused and in its original box will be the ultimate aim as each gun is more or less identical otherwise. In the U.K. each gun is a one off so one that has been restored back into good shootable condition is no big deal. Lagopus…..
1 member likes this
by damascus
damascus
Eightbore I do fully agree with you now though I was trying to point out that at the time we Brits where only interested in making the gun usable and not going down the road of a full restoration well the gun in question at that time was a scrapper and actually not spending ant money on unless you where a young man like myself with more money than sense willing to take a risk on the gun being made workable. A couple of years back I did visit a gunsmith with thoughts of having new pins made and engraved.. Now I do not know if the top maker factor of charging for work is prevalent on your side of the pond but it is alive and well here. They take one look at the name on the gun and the price is adjusted upward accordingly, the cost went to the point that my thoughts went to "the gun has worked flawlessly for all this time with the original pins" given that I was not about to start on the path of diminishing returns because the cost of the work would not be recouped when I pass the gun on to the next owner. Also I have realized that a new owner of an item always wants to put their stamp on their latest purchase, so they can have the pleasure of having them replaced . Well I spent a good deal of money in the 1960s to put the gun in the condition it is now,
1 member likes this

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