I had previously mentioned in the ‘Bluing techniques’ thread that I had 2 pistols in need of refinishing. The first I’ll be doing is a Pre-WW1 FN 1905(06) vest pocket 25ACP. It is nearly impossible to find the exact manufacture date as it is a first variant with a 5 digit serial number(28,XXX). No records I could find seem to go back that far.
Sadly I failed to photograph the pistol in its previous state but I’ll try to describe it as best possible. The slide DID NOT move and the magazine was stuck. The parkerizing had certainly seen better days and the surface rust seriously obscured any marking. By feel it seemed deeply pitted and likely not all too salvageable.
I began by soaking the pistol in PB Blaster penetrating oil and fighting with the stuck slide/magazine until they finally worked loose. After degreasing with brake cleaner the parts were soaked overnight in plain distilled white vinegar. This was followed by carding with a stainless steel brush, a second night in fresh vinegar and more carding. The following photo is its 3rd and final vinegar bath. So far the results are promising.
There is certainly some pitting, most prominent on the magazine, but none appears deeper than the original markings. The next step will be breaking the pistol down completely and sanding the flats, likely with 400 grit followed by 600 grit and oil. This should get me close enough to begin HAND polishing with 0000 steel wool and some Flitz(no Dremel on this job) in preparation for bluing.
If you have a pistol or other firearm in need of stripping, I give vinegar
It’s not as fast as some chemical strippers or media blasting but works surprisingly well. I’ve tested it out on a small piece of blued steel(hammer from a .380 I had laying around) and it worked even faster than on the century+ old parkerizing this go around.
The next installment will be after the pistol is fully broke down and sanded. I’m waiting on the sandpaper and steel wool to be delivered(no one local has anything fine enough in stock) and I squeeze in the time to do it. It’ll be a few days.
I considered Evapo-Rust but had plenty of vinegar on hand. If it didn’t do the job I would likely have gone to a chemical solution. The vinegar worked quite well and I’m pretty much at the end of the ‘de-rusting’ phase. I’ve been pulling the parts out and carding them every once in a while. At this point it is going to come down to sanding/polishing the minor pitting away. By the end of the day I will scrub the parts with hot soapy water, douche with WD-40 and pack them away until my abrasives arrive.
These are the remnants of the sear/trigger/magazine catch spring. So far I have managed to not spend a single dime out of my own pocket on this gun. The sandpaper and 0000 steel wool were bought with a gift card from Christmas. The deep fryer turned bluing tank I ordered was funded by getting rid of some stuff on Ebay. Now I’m forced to drop $22.50 on a new spring
Oh well, I might as well order the full ‘service pack’ from Wolf as well.
The service pack was already planned for. The recoil spring basically crumbled when I got the slide off. What sucks is Wolf makes all the springs for the pistol, including magazine springs, but that one. Numrich is the cheapest source for it but that one spring is more $$$ than the full service pack with a +5% magazine spring.
By the way, does anyone know how to actually change the mag spring in these? The floor plate is fixed and I don’t want to screw up the feed lips ham-handedly trying to get the follower out.
Could it be similar to 1911 mags? Push follower down, capture the spring with a punch through one set of the holes in the mag body. Follower is loose and is turned out of the mag mouth without damaging either.
But we all know it is not always about the money. If it was, you would have to see how many hours you were spending on it, because “time is money”, and you are about to spend quite a bit of it sanding and polishing the metal.
For me, working with my hands is therapeutic. Some people see shrinks and pay them insane amounts of money. I get to have better relief tinkering with stuff and for far less money, and when I can do this for a living I may actually be making money while getting relief from stress.
So I know your secret.
P.S. I have 3 revolvers, each barely pulling $100, that I will be working on in the future. And I already bought some parts for them.
This pistol really is getting refinished for selling, but no I’m not counting my time. I’m just shy of an insomniac. It’s either veg-out in front of the TV at all odd hours of the night, or do something productive.