I wish I had taken "before" picts, while not QUITE a "basket case," it was a sorry sight laying there on the table, while I saw it was more or less "complete," the toe was broken off the stock, and it was nailed back on with finish nails, not very well either and since they always broke on the lower buttplate screw hole, so the screw was unusable, they had NAILED the darn buttplate, which BTW was not original and did NOT fit. BIG gouge in the top of the handguard too...and the bolt seemed to hang up on retraction, MAYBE just gunk, or a bent extractor... But like I said, complete, only missing the buttplate screw, heck bolts are like $30, what do I have to lose? The stock had a LOT of cracks and gouges in it too, so I figured it would take a LOT of sanding to refinish. Besides that some dufus had put it back together with the barrel bands upside down! Anyway, the guy wanted $60 for it, I offered $50, and "split the difference" at $55...I figured it would be a project for this week... Well, after looking at it closely this morning, a LOT of the gouges and scratches were "intentional..." whoever had it scratched stuff into the stock...Like "Z23" (you think MAYBE he was assigned to a ZSU 23 AA gun? Romania issued the M44 to "support" units until the 1990s!, so MAYBE....) some others look like faint names and places, and there are 4 distinct tally marks on the forend...(Kills made with the rifle? Ladies "killed" on leave in Bucharest?) Anyway, the stock looks like it has "history" to it, so I decide, very little sanding if any on this one.... So first, see if the toe is salvageable...(first time I ever had to use a claw hammer and a nail puller on a rifle refurb...) Guess what, except for a couple of SMALL nail holes and a little whittling, (with the little Buck I bought yesterday too!) I got the toe to fit REALLY closely, without having to sand to reshape the stock like a lot of times (many times you will NOT get a tight fit even with both original pieces, and if you try to mate them better, then you don't get an exact fit and have to sand to mate them, thus have to sand the whole stock a lot to match....) Then mix up the 15 minute epoxy ( this stuff is the best I've used, 5 minutes to play with it, 15 minutes to set, 1 hour to complete strength...you can get it at WalMart for like $3...) and set the toe, tape it tight.... 15-20 minutes later, not even halftime of the Bills-Bengals game on TV, the stock is set up nicely, and a NICE joint...I may NOT have to even SAND it...I touch it up with the little Buck, scraping away excess hardened epoxy..and a little of the joint to smooth it...then I fit a spare buttplate I had that matches the general finish, and attach it correctly with spare screws I had...and I get an idea... I have a Quart of "Furniture Refinisher" in the Utility room. so at half time I take it outside and rub it down with a worn out pair of underwear soaked with the refinisher and I'll be darned if the grain just doesn't jump right out, even from around the wrist that is usually oil soaked! After a few rubbings, I decide AGAINST "Tru-Oil" in lieu of some refinisher I bought a few shows ago after a Demo ( I would have been an easy mark for a "snake oil" salesman in years past, heck, I might have even bought a MAUSER from PT von Mauser himself!) (just to see if you're still awake PS...) that I haven't used yet... "One coat,hand rub until dry" (It doesn't say it takes like 3 HOURS to dry even RUBBING it...) So while in the kitchen so I can watch the last two quarters on the good TV, I start rubbing it...(and spill like half a bottle of the stuff on the kitchen table, so I tell my wife I'm refinishing the table TOO when I'm wiping it up with the newspaper it was on...) Anyway, after the Bills win, and the Colts game starts, I FINALLY get it almost "dry," (the kitchen table is still pretty tacky, though...) it's shiny, so I 0000wool it to "satin," and then I put it back together, and the darn thing doesn't look half bad! CLean the chamber area a little, oil the bolt, it's works a lit smoother... That's when I look outside...it's still enough daylight! Grab the earplugs, a target, a stripper of polish milsurp (ALWAYS keep them handy!) (and it took the stripper about as good as most...)and two shots for headspace check from the hip, and three offhand at about 40 yds awfulhand...nice group, about 1 1/2" about 3 " high and to the right of the bull! With the bayonet extended it prolly would have been about right on, a little high... Another keeper, I even have an actual Romanian Leather dog collar sling on one of my 91/30s, I'll put it on this one, and put a web Russian sling on it! I used to have a whole set on display , from every manufacturer until I got bored with them and sold them, but I think I just might start another... all I need is a decent Hungarian, and a decent Type 53 and I'll be complete again... I wonder if I can find any of them "needing" TLC and a "good home..."