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I hate to see a bubba-ed military rifle as much as anyone else. Question is, what do you think of restoring the rifle and how much would you do?

Case in point: We received a 1903 Springfield from the CMP last year. It was flooded with cosmoline - even the stock. Paint thinner removed the cosmo but the stock was still soaked with grease. After alternate applications of heat and the thinner I got some of the old cosmoline out. Though the metal looked good with about 95% blueing, the mostly blackened stock still looked like hell with bunches of storage dents. Paint stripper removed the finish and removed even more grease. I used steam to raise the dents and steel wool to smooth the wood a bit being careful not to damage the stock markings. After the wood dried I rubbed several coats of Tung Oil into the stock. When I put it back together the rifle looked like it did a couple of years after issue - used but in VG-EXC condition.

I couldn't stop there though. The receiver serial number indicated a Springfield Arsenal manufacture date of 1933 and the barrel had a matching date of 1933. The bolt however was a non-matching WW2 Remington. After a lot of searching, I located a correct year stripped SA bolt. The headspace was perfect when I slipped it into the receiver.

Except for a few small parts my old warrior is historically correct and he looks and shoots great.

Well, what do you think? Did I bubba or restore? Whatever the verdict I'm still proud of my rifle and the effort that went into it. I'm thinking of doing some work on my Garand next. The metal is good but the wood is really a mess. Wonder if I should even touch it.

Does anyone else do work like this. Any stories of your own?

RIKA
 

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RIKA,
I collect and routinely restore Mosin Nagant M44's. I know exactly what you mean when you discribed the cosmoline! Most of my M44's come in that condition. As a matter of fact I just put the last coat of tung oil on a stock this morning, the 3rd and final coat on a Russian M44.
I don't restore all of them, only those that need it. I have a m38 and a M91/30 that arrived in excellent condition just as they were. Only requiring a good clean and inspect before putting them away in my collection.

Bubbaizing... is best discribed in what I found about a year ago in a local pawn shop. I was broushing and saw what looked like a "sportsterized" MN in all black. Someone had cut down the stock and tried to rework it into a hunting rifle. They had also cut and filed off the bayo lug too.. and it wasn't a very good job either.

Anyway, what was really surprising was that there where Chinese (sp) markings on the breach! I had never seen or heard of such a MN. When I asked how much the pawn shop guy looked at me sideways and I quickly explained that it was a MN and that I'd use it as a "parts gun" since it was ruined. He let me have it for $20.00!
After getting it home I just took a few days to disassemble and clean the weapon and give it a good "clean and inspect". I found it to be in good working order, just chopped up. It even shot well!
I was torn between completing the "sportsterizing" or restoring it back to original. Of the two restoring was going to be the hardest as parts that are clearly Chinese are not readily available (that I could find).
In the end I decided that it would take more time, effort and money to restore it than it would to finish the hack job of sportsterizing the weapon. I made it my "Mosin Nagant Scout project". Hea for 20 bucks I couldn't loose.
I started on the stock with a finish sander, removing layer after layer of semi gloss (???) black paint and found that bondo had been used in the forend to shape it. They had also tried to rebed the barrel with bondo too. This, thank god, was chipping out in large chunks on it's own and required bery little help from me to completly removed the rebedding abortion.
I found beautiful wood underneith all that paint, save for the bondo nose job, the stock really turned out very nice. It was a shame that someone had cut it all up. I opted to keep the bondo nose job, but reshaped it to look better and finished the wood in an antique golden oak stain. The nose was taped out and paint with a flat gun black to cover the bondo and the entire thing got a couple of coats of satin polyurthane for protection.
On the metal side of the project the barrel received the amonia treatment, then a good cleaning. The bolt was disassembled, cleaned, and polished along with the feed ramp.
In the end (over a year later as I was undecided at that point on making it a "scout rifle") the rear site was replaced with a B-Square mount and a Simmons 4x power scout scope placed in it's place. I also added a rubber butt pad as I have long arms and needed another 1" of length. I have to say that it looks pretty sweet!
Here's a pic before:


And one after:


Here are some pictures of other true Mosin Nagants that I've restored over the years:
1955 Romanian

1952 Polish


Oh and the bed is a refinish job too!! Someone had thrown it out!

Hunter
 

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Rika?You restored.& prolly did a darn good job too.Pictures tell alot you know.:)

Hunter?That rifle looks darn good.Light & handy w/a fullsize cartridge.
How's the balance?

I keep hoping that some enterprising soul will make a trench mag for the 91/30 rifle.Ooooh makes me all tingly.
 

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Hunter, you are good. I admire your talent. Your scout Nagant is just remarkable. A fellow on another forum mentioned buying 1912 Mauser barreled actions that had been reworked to 308 in the 1960's. He paid $20 each and bought several. Since they had already been pre-bubbaed he turned them into sporters. Now that would be a neat project. Unfortunately somebody else posted further down that they were sold out.

Anyway, your Nagant restorations are really nice and something to be proud of. The bed is a beauty too.

RIKA :)
 

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41mag said:
I keep hoping that some enterprising soul will make a trench mag for the 91/30 rifle.Ooooh makes me all tingly.
How bout a 20rd trench mag for your Mauser 98? Sarco had some a while back. May still have some.

RIKA
 

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RIKA, I'd say you restored it. Technically, you should go with the original finish on the rifle (don't know what it was for Springfields, but to use Hasher's example, the tung oil is the wrong finish for a Mosin, they were shellaced).

Bubba-izing is when you destroy the collectability of a rifle. Usually this take the form of "sporterizing" a stock (which I have no idea why anyone would do that to begin with), or permanent butchering, like rechambering a perfectly good action just because you're too cheap to buy the right ammo, or grinding off the damn bayo lug on a Mosin. Finding the right parts and putting them in the rifle is definitely NOT Bubba-izing.

The thing I find hilarious about Bubbas is that they could get what they're after by buying a factory Savage rifle, that will most likely outshoot their butcher job, for less money than they will pour into a mil-surp. Not to mention, even the butt-fugly Savages look downright beautiful next to most Bubba's hack-jobs.
 

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Hasher, I really hate to see that done to a mil-surp. The idiot that ground down that bayo lug should be publicly flogged. That rifle was pretty much unrestorable, IMHO, and you did a fine job of making it into something. That's the best that could be done in that situation.
 

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Magnum88C,
That was how I looked at it, as you can see from the pictures the project spanded over two years, or nearly so. The biggest delay in that time was in deciding what to do with it. I really wanted to restore it, but basically that was going to cost me and arm and a leg.
Then I read an article about a guy making a MN into a scout rifle. And that gave me a idea of where I wanted to take the ole MN. The only thing I didn't do in that respect was cut the barrel down to make the MN truely within "scout rifle" dimensions, and that could still happen in the future because that front site is really in the way. But for now....I leave her well enough alone.

Hunter
 

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41mag said:
Rika?You restored.& prolly did a darn good job too.Pictures tell alot you know.:)

Hunter?That rifle looks darn good.Light & handy w/a fullsize cartridge.
How's the balance?

I keep hoping that some enterprising soul will make a trench mag for the 91/30 rifle.Ooooh makes me all tingly.
I like the balance and feel of the rifle, of course it being light comes back to haunt you in recoil, but the rubber butt pad takes care of that. I've given thoughts to shortening the barrel, cutting it just behind the sight sleeve, and would have had the front sight sleeve off by now if it hadn't been for the fact the previous owner ground down the bayo lug and in the process hid the front pin that holds the front sight sleeve on! You can't even find it anymore and I've ready many stories of the horror of trying to get these front sight sleeves off and would rather just cut it off and recrown the barrel.

Hunter
 
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