The Rifle Restoration

I write about code, digital, and whatever else I do here on the blog a lot, but like all of you, code and video aren’t the only aspects of my life. This is a little more of a personal piece so I’ll keep it short – so sit right down and you’ll hear the tale of how I discovered and restored a World-War II era rifle.

 The Discovery & Research

I won’t go into the backstory of the rifle too much, as I don’t really know it. All I know is that one day my father handed me the antique and I was fascinated – a piece of history right before my eyes, battle scars and so many untold stories had just been hidden away in a closet. From the moment I laid eyes on it, taking in the gouges, the scratches, and the (disgustingly greasy) bolt-action, I knew what I wanted to do – I was going to restore this rifle to its former glory.

Cleaning & Researching the Rifle

The first and most horrifying part of the process was CLEANING the rifle. From end-to-end, thick oil covered almost everything – completely plugging the barrel, blocking the slide… It was not for the faint of heart. Throwing on some (crappy) jeans and a t-shirt I went to down with a cleaning kit, lots of paper towels, and more Clorox wipes than I can count. A few episodes of The Sopranos later, I had finally cleaned it down to just metal and wood, having to literally scrape out caked nightmare fuel from the wooden crevices just to reach a screw. Still, a good cleaning had done a lot – I could have left it like that, but I wasn’t satisfied.

Now, I had to research the rifle. Using the trusty Internet and the Googles (see it ties in here somehow), I’d gotten in touch with a local expert – I took it to him, and he filled me in as best he could. What I had was a Russian made Mosin-Nagant M44 Carbine chambered in the 7.62x54r cartridge, designed by the Tula Armory and constructed in Izhevsk one year later.

Yay! now I knew what I had, so work could begin. I took a few pictures – the “before” gallery in any reality TV makeover show.

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This would have to be done in two steps – bluing the steel components of the rifle and refinishing the wood. It was kind of painful to do, but I oh-so-carefully sanded down each crevice as to not lose any marks and shined the metal until no rust, wear, or dirt could be found. After three cycles – one bluing overnight, the second bluing during the day alongside the wood finish, and the third wood finish overnight, it was done.

After a tense session with some super-fine 0000 steel wool, I worked out imperfections and now present the newest addition to the collection: My finished M-44 Carbine.

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This was my first rifle restoration, and although it was a fun experience, the time investment and nerves about applying an even bluing were quite a challenge. Next time I’ll probably go for something a little more modern, but there’s one thing that’s for sure…

I can’t wait to take this one out to the range.

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