The Firearms Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
451 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've found a gun restoration company that does very nice work in case hardening restoration. I have a Winchester model 1886 which had the case hardening stripped off 30 years or so ago and am thinking of having that original finish put back.
While it would still not be original finish, it would be back to as it was from Winchester. Would the replacement of the original case hardening bring the value back to the gun? I'm not looking to sell it, but, it does kind of bother me that it is not in it's original form.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
68 Posts
The choice is yours. Don't know what they charge. In most instances of restorations you seldom if ever get your money back that you put in to it.
On the other hand in todays marketplace it's a crapshoot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,716 Posts
The case hardening wasn't stripped off it merely lost the colors. Rehardening it will decrease the value of the gun unless its pretty well trashed and needs a full restoration to be worth anything. In that case it will probably only be worth the cost of the restoration.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,290 Posts
Collectors, as a general rule, want the gun "original".

If you've got a 66 Mustang that someone put a 455 Chevy in, and you pull it out and put the correct 289 back in it, you have "restored" the Mustang, and increased its value to a collector.

Guns ain't like that. Collectors want it perfect, but they want it original perfect. Values of guns are normally listed as a percentage. This number is the percentage of original finish left. So a gun that has some minor mechanical problems, but 95% of original finish left, is going to be worth more than one that is mechanically perfect, but has a lot of holster wear.

Stupid? Yes. But that's the way it seems to be.

A gun that has been refinished might LOOK brand new. But it's not the factory finish, so it is a "refinish", and the gun is normally valued at 10% or less.

If you've got a gun that originally was case colored, and the colors are gone, and you want them back - heck , go for it. It's your gun. If you want it to be case-colored because you think it will look better case colored, jump on it.

But your gun, which now has faded-out colors, and is a 50% gun, will forever be a "refinished", and no better than a 10% gun. Value will drop significantly.

If you want it for you, and don't plan to resell it, then it does not matter if the "resell/collector" value drops.

But if you are "restoring it", for resale, you're gonna lose money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
451 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The case hardening wasn't stripped off it merely lost the colors. Rehardening it will decrease the value of the gun unless its pretty well trashed and needs a full restoration to be worth anything. In that case it will probably only be worth the cost of the restoration.
Nope. It was stripped. I know this because I am the culprit. I worked at a metal finishing shop back then, and, my Dad had possession of the rifle. He thought the case hardening was varnish. The rifle spent some years on a lobster boat when owned by a great uncle, so, it made sense that he might have applied a coat of varnish for protection against the salt air, and, the case hardening did have a look to it like poorly applied varnish. So, Dad took it apart and I brought the pieces to work. I stripped it to clean steel and applied a black oxide finish to it. The black oxide has stood up very well and it doesn't look bad, at all. It just isn't what it was when it was made.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
451 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
If you've got a gun that originally was case colored, and the colors are gone, and you want them back - heck , go for it. It's your gun. If you want it to be case-colored because you think it will look better case colored, jump on it.

But your gun, which now has faded-out colors, and is a 50% gun, will forever be a "refinished", and no better than a 10% gun. Value will drop significantly.

If you want it for you, and don't plan to resell it, then it does not matter if the "resell/collector" value drops.

But if you are "restoring it", for resale, you're gonna lose money.
That's it. I really like the look of the case coloring and the shop I found that does it does a really great job with it. Further, they appear to have a warm spot for this particular model, as they are actually reproducing them out of their shop. With that, I think they would have a special appreciation for this rifle.

I have no plans to sell it. It has been passed down since 1887, when it was purchased new by my grandfathers uncle. When it was handed to me, it was not in working condition. I took it to a gunsmith who restored it mechanically and it functions great. It's a .45-90 model 1886, so, it has some value in any condition. The metal, bore and functionality is all there. Just not original finish. Plus, I have the family history to go with it. When I hand it to my son, he can retell all those stories, including how I stripped the original case coloring from it. Maybe he can add that I also had the case coloring put back, if the money is right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,290 Posts
Well, since YOU stripped the colors and black-oxided it, it is already a "refinished" gun, and whatever you do won't hurt the price.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
451 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Well, since YOU stripped the colors and black-oxided it, it is already a "refinished" gun, and whatever you do won't hurt the price.
Good point! Not sure why I hadn't thought of that already.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
451 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Got a reply from this shop from my request for a quote. They say they can't provide a quote without seeing the gun and I don't feel I want to send this rifle to a shop in NY for a quote. So, this one is probably a dead end, for now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,290 Posts
Turnbull?

I see, from their page, that your gun would be 300 dollars, if it was sent to them disassembled and polished, ready for the work.

But, if they have to tear it down and polish it, it would be more, which makes sense to me, and without seeing the gun they wouldn't know HOW much polishing would be needed, so "need to see the gun before quoting" also makes sense.

They do do good work, though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
451 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Yes, Turnbull. I am genuinely impressed with the photos of the work they do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,099 Posts
Here's my Turnbull job before & after. Cost was $350. I sent the frame/barrel, they charged $50 remove/reinstall barrel, $300 for color case. No prep work involved. The gun is lettered as a .38 Colt & had a hi-quality refinish full blue in the past. I wanted it's frame case colored.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,290 Posts
These are US Firearms. Turnbull did their factory color case work.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
451 Posts
Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Very nice! Thanks guys. I'm almost convinced to do this. Let's see how my side work goes over the next few months. I would really like that rifle back to color case. It's a beautiful gun, a collectible model and a real low, 6XXX, serial number. Wish we knew then what we know now, but, what's done is done.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top