How To Restore A Gun And Antique Firearms

Feature | How to Restore an Antique Firearm

Do you have a gun you just can't let go? Keep it and restore it to its former beauty and glory. Below are tips on how to restore a gun and antique firearms.

5 Steps to Restore Guns

There are some firearms about which the old saying is true: they don’t make them like they used to.

In that case, your only option to fire an antique beauty is to restore it to prime condition. That's after deciding whether a gun is worth restoring or not.

Or maybe, you just want to restore an old pistol or rifle out of respect and appreciation.

Regardless, here’s a short guide to restoring an antique firearm.

This basic rundown will assume that you have at least some experience in gun maintenance and repair.

Otherwise, you’ll be better off hiring a gunsmith for most of these steps.

1. Determine Its Specifics – Make, Model, Caliber, Value

The first major step you'll need to complete will be figuring out what kind of firearm your to-be-restored weapon is, all the way down to the nuts and bolts.

You'll need the correct make, model, caliber, and overall value of the weapon before you can start restoring it.

Depending on your experience level and profession, you might be able to do this yourself.

But you can also get a gunsmith or historical firearms expert to inspect the weapon for you.

They can give you these details and more and even advise you on the antique restoration process.

Write down everything you learn so you can reference the information easily later.

2. Take It Apart


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Your next job will be to disassemble the firearm piece by piece.

Very carefully (especially if the firearm is damaged or fragile) disassemble the weapon and set all the parts out separately.

It will help to organize all the parts for easier restoration later.

You may need special tools that aren’t easily available depending on the make and model of the weapon.

You can speak to a local gunsmith for specialist tools or even hire them to do some part of the assembly process for you.

3. Clean Every Piece Individually


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Next, you’ll need to clean every piece of the disassembled firearm one by one. That means inspecting every piece for rust, debris, cracks, and so on.

Clean everything that you can by hand, and use anti-rust tools like steel wool and oil to do the majority of the work.

If you do see pieces that are cracked or otherwise broken, set them aside for later.

Depending on how fragile the pieces might be, you can try to clean them yourself or give them to a gunsmith or restoration expert for gentler cleaning efforts.

4. Replace Irreplaceable Parts, Repair Others

Sometimes, antique firearms will have a few irreplaceable parts that can no longer be purchased at regular gun parts stores.

In this case, you might need to do a little part hunting or investigation to find appropriate replacements or identical copies.

Depending on how old the firearm is, you might be able to get exact copies of all parts made using 3-D printing technology or gunsmith assistance.

They might be able to make a new part from a mold that still exists.

However, other firearms might require adaptations of old parts simply because the “real” old ones can no longer be made.

You should also repair any broken parts that don’t need to be fully replaced.

Certain pieces like grips or barrels might be able to be prepared with the help of a gunsmith or your own tools if you have the skill.

5. Restore the Gun’s Finish


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Lastly, you’ll need to restore the finish of the weapon. Finishes aren’t just there to make your firearm look pretty; they also make it safe to fire.

You’ll specifically need to “re-blue” the parts by using a bluing solution, like Brownells’ formula.

This can be applied after you’ve thoroughly cleaned the surface of the firearm of any oil or debris.

The solution restores the look of the metal and protects it from wear and tear (though you’ll still need to periodically clean the weapon from rust and other debris, of course).

Old Guns Can Be Good as New

It's not easy to dispose of old guns and antique firearms that have been passed down from generation to generation.

However, maintenance of old guns can be a daunting task, and one that many gun owners tend to neglect.

No worries, these steps should be easy enough. When you're in doubt, seek the help of a gunsmith!

Have you ever tried restoring an old gun or firearms? Do share with us some tips in the comments section!

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7 Responses to :
How To Restore A Gun And Antique Firearms

  1. Levi Armstrong says:

    I find it helpful to know that it’s important to determine the make, model, caliber, and overall value of antique firearms before having them restored. My husband wants to start collecting antique firearms, and he plans to purchase an old pistol for sale downtown. He wants to have it restored once he purchases it, so I’ll let him read this article of yours. Thanks.

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