Whether it be an old Winchester handed down from an inheritance, or normal wear and tear on your Remington from years of hunting, sometimes our firearms show their age and it's not always the most pleasing thing to behold. While some would view the occasional scratch or dent as something to be worn with pride like a battle scar, there is a fine line between the coveted battle-worn aesthetic and a rifle in dire need of some repair.
When restoring an antique or damaged gun, GunSkins can be a part of that process. Vinyl isn't designed as a substitute for gun repair, but it can prove useful for covering up minor blemishes and preserving the condition of the surface once properly treated. Let's take this 30-30 rifle as a prime candidate for restoration. This poor thing received moisture damage from being left in a basement for too long without proper storage. Let's give this old rifle some new life!
Break It Down
To properly asses the damage, you will need to take apart the rifle and inspect each piece individually. There are clear signs of water damage on the wooden buttstock while the metal receiver, trigger guard, and barrel are covered in rust. The wood and the metallic components will have to be treated differently, so it's good to group them accordingly.
There are many different products and procedures to use when it comes to restoring antique and damaged guns. We'll make some suggestions but you should use diligence, do some research, and find whatever works best for you. We are not certified gunsmiths, and this article is designed to generally cover the topic of gun restoration, not provide an in-depth tutorial. Seek professional help if you do not feel comfortable restoring a rifle on your own.
Clean and Restore
Before anything can be restored, it needs to be cleaned first and foremost. When it comes to removing dirt, grease, and oil, we recommend using a gun-specific degreaser such as Froglube Solvent or Gun Scrubber. A small brush is helpful when cleaning the hard-to-reach areas. Use a lint-free cloth, and wipe down with rubbing alcohol to remove any standing moisture and debris.
The barrel, receiver, trigger, and other metal components need to be treated to remove the rust. Avoid using steel brushes or sponges as this is too abrasive and will remove whatever finish is left on the surface. Shop around for proper metal treatment chemicals and instructions if you intend to do it yourself.
When it comes to restoring the wood grain, you may need to remove the finish on it first before applying a new one. People have different methods when approaching wood restoration, but generally speaking it's common to sand the surface until smooth and then apply a combination of oils, stains, varnishes, and/or clear-coat sealants to protect the new finish.
If you intend to restore the firearm to firing condition, it will be required to re-blue the metal components. Bluing a gun refers to applying a layer of black iron oxide to the metal surface, which is designed to prevent rust, thus extending the life of the gun. There are several ways of bluing your gun, including hot and cold options. These vary in terms of ease of application, cost of materials, time, and durability.
Finish it off with GunSkins
Once all the parts have been cleaned, restored, re-finished, and blued, the rifle can be put back together. At this point, the restoration is complete and rifle is as good as new. However, we thought that we could do better than just going back to the way it was. By wrapping the receiver and barrel in Proveil Victory, the vinyl will act as another layer of protection, keeping the metal safe from moisture and oxidization. We wouldn't want history to repeat itself.
Gun restoration is not a quick process. Take your time and the end result will reflect that. It is important to remember that vinyl should only be applied to surfaces that have been properly finished. It is not a good idea to wrap raw metal or wood. GunSkins can still be a part of the restoration process by extending the life of the new finish, not a replacement for it.
There's no doubt that applying a vinyl covering to your weapon, be it worn and torn or brand new, can make it stand out among the others on your gun rack. While rifle restoration can be a tedious and lengthy process, installing GunSkins is a much simpler and quick endeavor by comparison. Besides making your rifle look like a million bucks, it will do well to keep it in pristine condition for years to come.