I have always been interested by vintage SxS shotguns, however never took the leap into owning one.
As a hobby gunsmith(if I can dare call myself that) I became interested in the idea of restoring a vintage shotgun back to shooting condition, both in esthetics and function.
My interest led me to researching the various manufacturers of these beautiful firearms, and ultimately searching the online firearms dealers forums to try and find a suitable project. I had ran across a few W. Greeners, as well as Smiths that I had found potential candidates for my project intentions. I must add....as a believer in all things American made...I was biased from the get go... Though I found a few potential candidates online, I did not take the leap to hitting the purchase button.
A few days latter, the crazy idea ran through my mind to go browse the local gun shop for the slim possibility that a suitable firearm be there.
I went in with high standards, and too my disbelief...all the way down on the furthest section of the gun rack...there she was...a LC Smith with Damascus barrels, visible case hardening, and a solid stock with slight figure. I opened the breech, and as expected...pits..my heart sank. There she was in my hands..everything was perfect except those pits, as I wanted a shooter, I had reservations. I reluctantly handed the weapon back to the store worker, and drove home. What do you know, after some serious soul searching I found my way back to the shop to purchase her. Man, am I glad I did!
After some research I had concluded the barrel pitting didn't make it unsafe to shoot, and with some slight honing, most pits should disappear. The barrels dimensions have adequate thickness left to meet safe shooting recommendations. I am sure she will be safe for my intentions of light black powder loads.
As to the so called restoration.. After bringing her home and giving her the once over, I decided against making her look brand new, and instead decided to clean her up and leave her hard earned dings for all to see. I wanted her to look used, but not abused. When purchased, the stock had a horrible varnish put on it(I doubt original), so I stripped it and applied many hand rubbed coats of linseed oil finish. I ensured to not remove any more wood then necessary for raising the grain and smoothing it out in preparation for the oil finish.
The barrels did not show any of the rust blue finish left on them. They were bright with a thin coating of rust. I smoothed out the patina with oil, and some kids white chalk. I then brushed them with a bath of hot vinegar and coffee to slightly bring out the Damascus pattern without making it look out of place.
The remaining metal with case hardening received a coating of True Oil to protect it. I feel that it turned out nice. The barrels are yet to be honed...and the safety isn't working correctly which kind of has me baffled.
After all that being said...here are a few pics. Please let me know what you think, or if you have any information for which you could provide. Thanks for taking the time to read this long post.