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Thread: 100 year old rifle question

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    100 year old rifle question

    I've got an almost 100 year old rifle, M1917 Eddystone barrel dated 4-18 and serial #is in that month. It was rearsenaled during WW2 at Odgen Arsenal and put in cosmoline. The rifle was prestine then and nothing appears to have been done to it other than inspection and cosmoline. It really looks like it's never been issued. I've had it about 20 years and it's still in the grease. My question is do I want to clean it up and shoot it with cast or should I just leave it in the grease and hand it down to posterity? It's not like I don't have other 30-06s to shoot. So what do I do? Appreciate any responses.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    If this was a collector forum you would mostly get collector answers. Since this is a shooting forum, you're going to get mostly shooter answers,,,,,.

    Personally, it makes me a little ill when firearms never see the light of day.
    More "This is what happened when I,,,,," and less "What would happen if I,,,,"

    Last of the old style Group Buy Honcho's.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    It's Easter, time for it to be resurrected.
    Political correctness is a national suicide pact.

    I am a sovereign individual, accountable
    only to God and my own conscience.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    I have 4 Winchesters and regularly shoot them with cast boolits without destroying their collector value!

    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Beautiful rifles, can you tell us about the two rear sights, I've never seen one like them before. Also, is the bottom stock a P-14?

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Other than being a tad heavy (~10 pounds) for my tired bones to carry, there's not anything else I can say not-good about the rifle you have! If it were mine, I'd spend the time and clean it up! To remove the Cosmoline is often not a quick and easy operation, sometimes requiring multiple applications of solvent complemented with arduous wearing out of both brass and nylon brushes! That said, you may wish to identify the parts complement in your rifle. Albeit you note it as "pristine", it is indeed rare that, say, a Remington is ALL Remington; a Winchester ALL Win, etc. The armorers at Ogden, I'd surely venture, had the integrity of the parts they replaced as their #1 priority; WHO manufactured them as their lowest. I have four 1917s, and all came with mixed parts.
    A couple of gents -- http://oldguns.net/catacc.htm -- offer a service where you may swap out almost all 1917 parts to enable you to make yours 100% (or close ) to any one manufacture, if you wish to do that!
    If it were mine -- I'd clean it up. De-cosmoline it. If there are parts you wish to swap, get in contact with John &/or Mark to swap as needed. Take it to a reputable gunsmith to ascertain it being safe to shoot. And... take it to range!
    Vis "handing it down..", I'd think, too, it be worth more to an heir that both YOU restored and fired it; PLUS, handing down a gorgeous, accurate, shootable firearm! The 1917s action was/is so good, it became the base for many sporterized custom rifles through the years -- you indeed have a prize to be cherished!
    BEST!
    geo

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Low heat is one of the best ways to remove cosmoline. I built a box lined with tin foil with a couple of light bulbs inside. A bar across the top allowed the disassembled rifle to hang and a drip pan in the bottom caught the drippings. No chemicals or scraping needed. Wipe down the parts with a little mineral spirits when through.
    Shoot Safe,
    Mike

    Retired Telephone Man
    NRA Endowment Member
    Marion Road Gun Club
    ( www.marionroad.com )

  8. #8
    Boolit Master TNsailorman's Avatar
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    I have seen rust under cosmoline before. It depends on how well the rifle was stored (dry, clean storage). I would clean it up really well and then you can make a decision from there. I like the 1917, it is one of my all time favorites. Yes, it is heavy and getting heavier every year. my experience anyway, james

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Bad Ass Wallace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gewehr-Guy View Post
    Beautiful rifles, can you tell us about the two rear sights, I've never seen one like them before. Also, is the bottom stock a P-14?
    There are a mix of M17 and P14. The rear sights are Parker-Hale 5B which fit neatly between the action ears. They have 1/2 minute clicks. They shoot cast boolits very well.



    Hold Still Varmint; while I plugs Yer!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Cleaning up that old girl would be a labor of love. Get after it and let it roar again. I'm jealous to tell the truth.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    lefty o's Avatar
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    clean it up and shoot it. so long as you dont abuse it and take care of it, shooting it wont hurt its value.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Why pass life by, so someone else can enjoy it? Clean it up, and enjoy it.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Take a photograph of it as is, then clean it up and shoot it!

    ukrifleman

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    True cosmoline has a wax-like consistency after drying, but automotive type grease would probably be similar to cosmoline after drying long enough. If it's still a bit greasy it can be cleaned off of the metal parts with kerosene or mineral spirits. Put the small pieces in a pan and put them outside to soak. Kroil is good to clean the bore if you have any; if not, the above will do until you get the bulk of the grease out.

    Clean grease from the wood with mineral spirits and patience, and ignore suggestions to put the stock in the dishwasher or use oven cleaner to degrease it. Neither are designed for use on wood, but mineral spirits will do no harm.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    The greatest value you can get from a nice rifle is to carefully use it until it is worn out. No cash value can ever match the satisfaction of long use.
    EDG

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    I used to clean them with a can of gasoline and a parts brush. All steel parts in the bucket, lean the stock up against the metal shop in full summer sun and keep wiping away the cosmo as it bleeds out of the wood. Good times!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    When I was a kid,I bought a M17 E solid with cosmoline for $12.....all the money I had.I dug it out with ice cream sticks.....and got the sticky waxy goo everywhere.Any time the gun was out in the sun,the stock would sweat liquid oil,and be so slippery you could not hold it without wiping down..........but a couple of years later ,I went to work ,and the surplus barrelled actions were put through a tri chlor ethane bath,the cosmoline simply disappeared,and was left in the sump of the machine .

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    almostgone,

    I would degrease the rifle thoroughly & shoot, shoot, shoot it. = GREAT rifle for shooting most any game in the Western Hemisphere from a tower blind, inasmuch as it IS heavy to tote when stalking.

    Every 1917 that I've ever shot did fine out to 300+M with M2 ball or an equivalent handload.

    The BEST way that I've discovered to degrease an oil/grease soaked stock is sealing it up in a BLACK plastic trash bag with kitty little & putting it out in the direct sunlight for a HOT Texas day. = Let EL SOL do the hard job & then disassemble & complete the job with mineral spirits & a stack of cotton rags.
    (I've sometimes put the barreled action & other metal parts into the Scout camp's commercial size dishwasher & running it on "heavy duty" cycle. - Then thoroughly dry & re-lubricate the metal parts.)

    BEST WISHES, tex.
    Last edited by texasnative46; 04-02-2018 at 09:35 AM. Reason: add

  19. #19
    Boolit Bub
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    Thank you All for your responses I really value your opinions. My inclination was towards cleaning and shooting, since I've got the urge to do something with it. I was looking to see if someone had a really good reason not to. I appreciate the tips on cleaning it up. It's curious that it appears to be more like grease than the cosmoline (Russian & chicom)I have run into in the past. I will take some before and after pics and hopefully learn how to post. So far all I've found is nice blued steel and a OGEK cartouche. Thank you

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    If it were mine I'd have been shooting with it since I first got it. For those who still have doubts about this sort of thing I suggest that they first offer it for sale as is and if no one offers far more than its really worth simply because its in the wrap then clean it up and have at it. If they are willing to pay double what it would cost for a cleaned up example then buy two good rifles with low mileage.

    Mummy wrapped No.4s were going for ridiculous prices a few years back.

    In some cases old Cosmoline can shrink away from metal as it ages leaving an air space where moist air can condense in the cold and rust the steel with no one the wiser till the cosmo is removed.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check