Thursday, September 26, 2013

Reviving an H&R Model 1900 Shotgun, Part 2

Both the metal and wood of the H&R Model 1900 that I bought last weekend were pretty grungy. The metal had a mix of grease, dirt, patina, and rust. The forearm wood had been cleaned but the buttstock was nasty, with a couple splits in the wrist.

I started cleaning up the metal first. I used Kroil, steel wool, and paper towels to clean off the active rust while leaving most of the patina. Here’s the action, showing the patent date stamps above the pivot pin, which had been completely obscured.

(If you right-click on the photos you can then view them full size in another tab.)

The top of the barrel at the breech:

The choke is probably a full choke.

The wood was filthy. I took this pic to show the contrast between uncleaned wood (the wrist) and cleaned wood (the butt).

To clean the wood I used steel wool wet with lacquer thinner, and periodically wiped off the resulting slurry with paper towels. Except for the cracked wrist it’s perfectly sound. I flushed the cracks out with lacquer thinner then let the stock dry in the sun. I then flooded the cracks with superglue.

The only way to know if the glue is enough to prevent further cracking is to shoot it. If not, I’ll wrap it with wire like you see on a lot of old guns.

After the superglue dried I gave the stock three coats of dark walnut tint Watco Danish Oil. It came out pretty nice, IMO.

After cleaning up the barrel I hit it with some Birchwood Casey cold blueing solution. I applied several coats and let it sit for a couple hours. The white scratches that were on the barrel are now gone, and it has an overall brownish patina.

The cleaned and refinished gun looks good now. It doesn’t look new. It looks like a well used, old gun, rather than a neglected, filthy old gun. It should have some life it in yet.

Reviving an H&R Model 1900 Shotgun, Part 1

Last weekend I bought this H&R Model 1900 shotgun from the neighbor of a friend. I paid $60, which considering the gun’s condition, was probably too much. However, the neighbor is a widow selling off some of her late husband’s guns, so I don’t really care in this instance.

It’s a single shot 12 gauge. After getting it home I identified it as a Model 1900, which places the date of manufacture between 1901 and 1915. It was probably made with a 2.5” chamber but I measured it at 2.75”, so it’s likely that it was lengthened by a gunsmith. This was a fairly common operation after 2.75” shells became popular.

The Model 1900 was made with either an extractor or an ejector, and a twist steel or plain steel barrel. This one has a plain steel barrel and extractor. If it had a twist steel barrel I’d relegate it wallhanger status, but this one is mechanically sound so I feel comfortable shooting it with low brass loads or Aguila mini-shells.

In my online research I found this scan of an old catalog:

When this shotgun it came into my possession it was covered in about a century’s worth of rust, dirt, and dried up grease. Also, the barrel looked like someone had taken a Scotchbrite pad to it in an effort to clean it up, but never got around to finishing it. However, it is mechanically sound and locks up tightly.

Unlike other top break single shots I’ve seen, the way you take it down into two pieces is by removing the barrel pivot pin.

Open the action, lift the toggle, rotate it 90 degrees, and then you can pull it out. Now, you can separate the barrel and forearm from the frame.

I put a few shots through it last weekend and the choked barrel throws a pretty decent pattern at 15 yards, centered on your point of aim.

The gun cleaned up OK, which I’ll detail in Part 2.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remember 9/11, Twelve Years On

On 9/11/01 I walked into the break room in our Plymouth Meeting, PA office a few minutes after the first plane hit the WTC, stopped dead in my tracks upon seeing the TV, and said aloud, "Holy shit!" A coworker repeated this about 30 seconds later.

We didn't know it was an attack yet and so I left for a job down in Philly, where I was to me one of our VPs who wanted to see a customer installation in person. We got down there and I completed most of the job before we decided it was time to leave, and I told the customer I'd come back to finish the job. Once I heard about the second plane hitting, I knew it was no accident, that this was an act of war. I recall CNN's website crashing under the load as seemingly everyone hit it in an attempt to find out what was going on.

It took awhile to get home because traffic was bad. My wife made it home OK after her students were dismissed. I spent much of the afternoon trying to find out the status of family in Manhattan, on Long Island, and down in Arlington. I later learned that one of my cousins was working downtown near the WTC and had to run for her life. Thankfully, she made it.

One thing that impressed me was how the Internet functioned as designed that day. When a large central router was taken out in the collapse of the WTC, the Internet routed around the damage and I was able to reach a cousin on Long Island using AOL Instant Messenger. Phone calls to the NYC area were basically impossible.

In the wake of 9/11 the country came together like I had never experienced, but unfortunately was soon torn apart over what turned out to be misguided foreign adventurism with the goal of nation building in a backwards shithole that we should never had invaded. Worse, IMHO, is how members of both political parties took advantage of the country's mood to ram through anti-freedom legislation like the Patriot Act, the creation of the TSA, and engage the USA in a never-ending War On A Tactic.

Having ruined the Republican brand with foreign interventionism, the American public proceeded to elect Not-Bush, thereby removing Carter from the position of Worst POTUS Ever. His signature accomplishment will give the Federal goverment control over about 20% of the US economy despite massive and increasing public opposition.

The Attorney General of the US -- the nation's highest law enforcement official -- has repeatedly refused to investigate slam-dunk cases of voter fraud. Worse, to undermine the Second Amendment to the Constitution -- which he swore to uphold and defend -- he oversaw a gun running operation to Mexico causing the deaths of hundreds of Mexicans. If another country perpetrated something like Fast and Furious on the US we'd rightly consider it an act of war.

The IRS, never a public service agency, has been transformed into a tool of oppression by targeting political opponents. The exact effect this had on the 2012 presidential election cannot be quantified but was no doubt significant in stifling Tea Party voter turnout efforts.

Under the guise of "protecting us from terrorism," the US govermnent has created a surveillance state that would have Hitler, Stalin, and Mao doffing their hats in respect and awe.

One year ago one of our embassies was attacked and four Americans, including the ambassador, were murdered. The reaction of the the administration was to launch of cover-up, making anyone paying attention wonder just what they are covering up. Could it be gunrunning through Libya to Syrian rebels?

A dozen years on we've gone from having a POTUS who at least knew the enemy was, to a POTUS who now wants to turn the US military into Al Qaeda's air force. In the face of overwhelming opposition he delivered a disjointed speech last putting on display for all but his most devoted worshippers how incompetent, indecisive, and amateurish he is.

Twelve years after 9/11/01, I feel like I stepped through a portal into Bizzaro World. Does anyone know the way home?