resoldering old double barrels

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by gunNstuffer, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. I'm looking for information on how old double barrels were soldered together
    including the top and bottom ribs. I'm in the process of restoring an old
    percussion 12ga. double barrel. I've done my share of working on old guns
    but have never had the opportunity, or misfortune, to re-solder the barrels
    and ribs back together. The gunsmiths in my area I've talked to all gave the
    same reply, "I've done it, or tried it but will never do it again!" I'm not afraid
    to try it I just don't know how it is done. When finished the gun will probably
    end up being a wall-hanger anyway; but I still want it to look nice.
    Any advice or resource information would be most appreciated.
    I'm rather new to this forum and not sure if, or how personal responses can
    be made. If permissible feel free to contact me personally with information
    and/or resources or procedures.
    Thanking you in advance.
  2. Squeak

    Squeak Member

    StoneChimney - - - you're on!

  3. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

    Nov 27, 2010
    Yyyyeeahhhh..... if we were to take on that project, here would be my suggestion. Make up a jig to hold the barrels in position. Fashion three pair (top and bottom) of brackets that will fit between the barrels and low enough for the top rib and bottom rib to ride on top of the brackets. Soft-solder the brackets into place to hold the barrels into place. Use black-colored Acraglas full length to adhere the top and bottom ribs into place and help hold the barrels together.

    This will NOT make the gun a shooter, but will make it a representable wall-hanger. In fact, we would only do this project on the condition we would permanently render the gun non-shootable.

    Of course, I am assuming this is not an other high-value shotgun but a typical percussion side-by-side that you would find with the barrels separated.
  4. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    Only a few shops in the country do (or did) that kind of work and the cost was prohibitive unless the gun was something extremely valuable. The shop I was working at sent a Parker to be resoldered and IIRC the bill was on the order of $1200. And that was some years ago.

    Since most old doubles, percussion or cartridge, aren't worth a tenth of that, the suggestion by StoneChimney seems good.

  5. grcsat

    grcsat Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2010
    I have resolderd old dbl shotgun barrels in the past. It is very time consuming and is not really worth the time or bother. But if you have to do it then I would suggest the method I was taught in school.
    I always start with making a jig for both ends of the barrels to keep them inline.
    Next start heating the top or botom of the barrels were there seems to be the most damage.(the weakest rib).
    All this MUST be done while the barrels are lying half submerged in a pan of water . The water stops the complete seperation of the barrels so you don"t lose the barrel alighnments. After you have very carefully removed one rib, then clean out all the old rust deposits while this is still in the water bath. I use a chemical rust remover.Now I start to resolder the rib I just took off , while everthing is still in the water bath. Make sure that the rib you took out is as staight as possible and always start at one end and slowly work towards the opposite end. When finished, flip everything over and do the other side. And remember that everything is done while the barrels are in the water bath.
    After this , its a job of doing the solder cleanup and other than a reblue your finished.

    I do not suggest anyone tryng this method without doing a fair amount of practice on some old junk barrels first. This is a job that requires paitions and practice .
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  6. Thank you for your reply and value your information. What I probably forgot to mention
    is that the barrels are already apart. So, I guess that generates a few questions!!
    1. how to realign the barrels
    2. what kind of jig do I design to do the job
    3. once barrels are aligned do I solder them then add the ribs or all in one process
    4. What brand of solder and flux
    5. How do I know where to place the ramrod escutcheons
    I realize this is a real undertaking and very time consuming; and might fail in the process and make a real mess of things. But I am not one to back down from a challenge knowing full well I could screw it up. But what the heck! I'm disabled and all I have is time and hopefully enough patience and skill to pull it off. I've done my share of work on old firearms but this will be a first.
    Any other words of wisdom would be most appreciated. Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
  7. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2010
    Ardmore, OK
    The more I see of threads like this, the more I see opportunity for a "Gun-Fixer Tutorial Forum".
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  8. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    The problem is in the word "align". It sounds simple to just get both barrels sort of pointing in the right direction and that is OK for a gun that will be a wall hanger. But if the shotgun is to be used, then you either do a "good enough" job (like most U.S. factories did) or you go the whole way and do the job right. That involves soldering at the breech, then using wedges to align the barrels, shooting, adjusting the wedges, shooting again, and so on until both barrels "look to" the same point. It is that tedious and time consuming work that accounts for a lot of the high price charged for the best doubles. Colimators work, but the experts say there is no better way to be sure how a barrel will shoot than to shoot it.

    If I wanted to just keep those barrels together for a wall hanger, I would remove the ribs, clamp the barrels with a steel spacer to keep the original spacing, tack weld the spacer and the barrels together, then solder or glue the ribs back on.

  9. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Over the last 150 years (with the coming of wood pulp paper) lots of books have been written about almost every imaginable subject by proficient practitioners. Often their authors just wanted to document pass on obscure or unusual subject matter to posterity. {I remember the author of probably the first book on gold leaf techniques remarking that "gold leavers" were a secretive and closed (family member to family member) trade who would ostracize him for writing his book.}

    In any case, the subject under discussion in this thread has likely been well documented in print by by some proficient authors. The problem is to find it. The Internet often allows us to discover or find obscure information that was effectively lost in time say 30 years ago.
  10. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    There is no real secret to (re)soldering double barrels, but it is a tedious and time consuming process. That means it is costly and not worth doing or having done for most of the old guns. While some folks, like GunNstuffer, might want to tackle the job just for the heck of it, it is not really feasible to spend $1200 to fix up an old shotgun that is worth $50 or less.

  11. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    I agree with Jim K. Unless one wants do do something like the subject of this thread "just for the heck of it" which is to say "have the experience of learning how to do it". When such is the case, old hard to find (or access) printed material can be very valuable. The Internet often makes it possible to find such information that used to be almost impossible to find.
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