When is it ok to restore a gun?

As the title says, in your opinion, when does it become morally ok to restore an old firearm?

We all know that doing so usually destroys the value of an antique, so where do you draw the line?

Personally, i don’t believe in preserving neglect. Rust is cancer, not character.
I think about the rifle beyond my lifetime.
It can be done respectfully, being sympathetic to the original look. Using traditional materials and methods to bring it back.
Rusty , fked old milsurps don’t impress me, they have simply been neglected.

What he ^ said. However, which gun are you actually talking about? Like, sporter or milsurp or milsurp covered to shorter, etc? There’s restore; and then there’s maintenance and preservation. I suspect you’re talking about the later.


There isn’t a specific rifle I’m thinking about. Just asking for opinions in general.

For me specifically, it would be probably be an original condition milsurp as that’s what I buy.
For example, I have a Turkish Mauser, it’s all original but not matching and not in good condition. Nor is it a rare gun. If the bluing was gone, do you think it’s appropriate to reblue it? Or fix up a previous attempt to reblue the rifle done by a previous owner?

In that case, it’s probably best to preserve it, without extra steps. I have a different post on that here somewhere with links (about 303-25). Preserve, as in, prevent further rust, not preserve it in a sense of leave it alone. Like @Supaduke said, rust is fucking cancer.

‘preserve’ is no different to what an armourer would do. Restore is, yeah, adding metal, removing metal, sanding wood, etc. That’s best left for sporting rifles.

I tend to take a bit more liberal view and if the gun is in all original condition I would do the re blueing and sanding wood ect. For instance an old 303 it may have all matching numbers but has had the sights removed a heavy target barrel fitted in the 50’s. It is not the ideal collector value piece so you may as well restore it to your liking.

Like you said, only if it’s no longer an original… Well, hey, @Nomis it’s your gun, do whatever :slight_smile: You and the government own it (lolz).

Its always a personal decision and case by case. Personally I tend to believe in Conservation rather than Restoration. This has caused quite a few arguments at work over the years, but I am happy that I resisted doing things that were pushed by others. Most of what I work on is historically important, and either very low production or one offs.

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I came across this channel & thought some of it may be of interest to some of you lover of the oldies.

Interesting video he uses the most simple techniques. The question of “When is it of to restore a gun” is still unanswered however. Perhaps it is a very personal question on how you want your rifles to look but that doesnt take into account the value of the rifle are you adding to or taking away from the value again perhaps a personal opinion…

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