rifle restoration project


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I asked in another post about barrel bluing but thought I would start a thread on my latest project.

I picked up a very tired and somewhat battered John Dickson variant of a Parker Hale 1200 in .270 for an absolute steal.
The barrel is as far as I can see "as new". mint, crisp rifling and throat, few scratches on the outer crown but nothing to worry me.
Blueing was wearing away in all the usual spots.
Action cycled easily and there was barely any wear on the rub strip where the bolt slides leading me to believe that the low use barrel was confirmed as such.
The wood was still sheathed in its horrible if somewhat chipped and battered factory varnish and this is what immediately let it down.

As all blokes who like messing with tools will do, I stripped it down to its constituent components within seconds of getting indoors!!

I will take and post pictures of the metalwork later but I foolishly didn't take a picture of it in its entire original condition such was my haste to "get tore in"!

having read up and now proclaim myself an internet expert and received a great deal of PM advise from a very kind chap on here I set about getting tooled up with the various hardware and consumables to sort the furniture.

nitromors paint stripper
sand paper (various grades)
assorted blocks, dowels, corks and things to wrap sand paper round
orbital (random motion) sander
wire wool
toothbrush, nail bruch, soft paint brush.
clean rags
wood stain of appropriate colour (make sure you get the dye type rather than the paint type)
white spirit
Grain filler
English Walnut Oil Preparation (its not just oil, that will get sticky on hot days)

having finally managed to get the manky old butt pad off I hung up the naked stock and slavvered it with nitromors taking care to keep it moving to assist in the "lifting".
once fully blistered and stripped I washed it (in the bath if you must know...not advisable unless you live alone which I don't!).
I took a tooth brush of medium consistency with some soap to the checkering to get rid of 50 years of dead skin and crud out.
left to dry in a warmish but not overly warm room to dry over a day or so.
once dry I hit the dings and dents with the proven "iron over wet cloth" treatment to steam out as much of the dents as possible.

Once dry I then set about with the sand paper, taking care not to hit the checkering and keeping the strokes with the grain.
once mostly done I hit it with a fine grade on the orbital sander to polish it up.

looks quite sorry for itself in this state:

Once dried and dusted (having a compressor and airline helps but) a good brush out of the checkering with the soft brush does the job.

with a certain amount of trepidation I hit the wood with a small piece of rag soaked in stain.
It soaks in very quickly and it is easy to see when too much has been applied as it seems to dry like a paint ON the surface rather than IN it.
I used a toothbrush to apply to the checkering and then wiped immediately to stop the surrounding areas getting darker.
left to dry, couple of patches were given a tad more colour to bring them up to the same overall tone.
left to dry again in a mildly warm room for a day. I then decided to wing it from the advice and I rubbed the wood down with fine grade wire wool.
This turned out to be a master stroke as it not only polished up the wood, got rid of excess dye but it gives the illusion of slight ageing on the corners and edges that would naturally be worn.
I then decided to stray from the norm again and avoid the grain filler. the wood is very smooth and I really didnt like the idea of the dings and marks I couldn't steam out getting filled with what is really just a filler.

so on to the first coating of the magic walnut oil.
applied with the hands to give some warmth to the process and surprisingly theraputic.

apparently the course of action is to apply:
once a day for a week
once a week for a month
once a month for a year

still looks a bit wet in the pictures but since I took them it looks great. photos dont do it justice but I will do a few more applications and add the pictures.

few weeks of this will give me time to find a decent recoil pad!
still have a while to go on the metal work before it is put back together.
more on the metal later


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looking good there its abit daunting at first isnt it,but soon starts to come together ,atb wayne


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Just one thing wire wool can leave tiny bits of steel that eventually rust which is why people use either Bronze wool or those scotch brite pads. To lay the grain down and smooth the wood you can use a technique called "Boning" they used to use a Beef rib bone dried and cleaned of course but a hard wool dowel, I use a round suds bush handle, this is rubbed with the grain and it polishes the surface of the wood giving is a shine. It's a very old technique.

On mine I never used stain by Red Oil (Alkanet Root Oil) which slightly darkens the wood and highlights the grain another old technique.

However your stock is looking good :D.

For a pad try Norman Clark as he might have some P-H ones or of course as it's a upmarket version a red silvers type would be just the ticket.. It seems Midway.UK does a version of them:- and they have a large selection so have a look and see. This is the Silvers type:-


Look forward to seeing it all finished.


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£100 for a recoil pad! jesus.. it better massage my shoulder after the shot for that!

thanks anyway.
I will have a look at their others although I could have retired and sold the rifle by the time midway deliver! some of those items have a 60 day order time!

made sure all wire was brushed off before treating, quite easy to spot under light
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£100 for a recoil pad! jesus.. it better massage my shoulder after the shot for that!

thanks anyway.
I will have a look at their others although I could have retired and sold the rifle by the time midway deliver! some of those items have a 60 day order time!

made sure all wire was brushed off before treating, quite easy to spot under light
yeah you want to try and order 17rem brass..... gave up in the end!!!!


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sorted, all ordered. they do a nice deluxe version for a few quid more.
just off on a 6 week sponsored walk from Lands End to John O'Groats....parcel should be arriving shortly after I get home! (joking obviously)

next on the list is a replacement for the horrible plastic pistol grip "cap". toying with the idea of a nice contrasting hardwood or a nice bit of brass


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I'll check to make sure but I have a feeling I have a bit of Buffalo horn that might just do you to make one out of. Need daylight to rummage in the workshop. I was in the process of making a horn butt plate for my P-14 BSA Model C rebuild and had brought a horn to do so, only a small one but there should be enough to make a grip cap out of. Just have to make sure it's still there.


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that would be great. thanks
let me know
quite like the idea of a metal one, sand have seen some interesting pictures
The problem with metal blacked ones in my personal experience is that they look tired fairly quickly as the blacking wears especially on the edges. I do not have a photograph of the steel pistol grip cap on the Medwell & Perritt but the front edge has worn thin on the blacking where my fingers catch it. Horn you can just re-buff it a bit to bring back the finish and of course is a traditional English/Scottish capping material along with Rosewood and Ebony. The black plastic I presume is a much cheaper option and an attempt to look like the pukka thing.

Whilst looking for an example of a nice Horn Fluted cap I saw I came across a rifle model that i missed and still kick myself about. The one I saw, which is the only one I have ever seen in real life, was slightly different to the one I found on the net as it had bank of express sights not just the "Stand and two leaves" that the one in Canada has. The rifle is a BSA Model 1923 Hi Power sporting rifle in .33 BSA. The dealers claim it shoots the .338 Win Mag superbly. The one I missed was marked 330 BSA which also marked it out as not the norm :banghead:.:-

Model 1923 BSA High-power Calibre .33 BSA
I went away to do a little research on it and when I got time to drive up tot eh gun shop which was litle drive away, bout 120 miles away, I found the gunshop had closed :eek: and have never been able to find out what happened to the stock. It seems BSA beat Olin Winchester to the idea by about 50 years of course launching a new Hi Power rifle at the start of the worlds greatest, so far that is, depression was a very bad time to do so. Add the fact that they only loaded light for calibre bullets instead of offering a range of bullet weights and well as history tells us it failed.
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Ahhh just checked the Horn status and the only bits I can find are too small ............................... sorry.


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I brought a small Horn and cut the bits I needed or so I thought. I cut a slab to make the butt plate and an insert for the fore end but that's as far as I got and until I can get the stock back I cannot do any more. I have found a couple of pllaces that set Horn and Bone discs which might be large enough to make grip caps from.


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Ok here is what that grip cap looks like a bit closer up:-

on the 1100 Deluxe

1100 Lwt.............. those are about the best I have of them right now.


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yes, my 1100lwt has a nice dark rosewood one.
just ordered a slab of water buffalo for a tenner! should polish up nicely for some bling!