Part #1 Mechanics
Many of use are fortunate to be the recipient of an family heirloom firearm. Whether it be a 1925 Remington 30-A or a 1932 Winchester ‘97 scattergun. They always seem to come to us put away wet, unused for 50 years, frozen fire control group, and aged springs.
This is a project which requires the ability to detail strip and the use of nothing but the proper high-quality tools. Let’s use the ‘97 Win as an example. Both the solid frame & take-down versions. You will need:
- Proper basic tools such as a Forster screwdriver starter set.
- Plastic, S/S, or fiberglass tank that will accommodate the action.
- 1 gallon + of pure mineral spirits.
- Several natural bristle paint brushes
- Parallel jaw priers.
- Complete cleaning kit with Break-Free lubricant
- New silicon progressive 12ga. mag spring.
- New firing pin & firing pin spring.
- 0000 steel wool & light petroleum oil.
- Compressor with blower, or a gas station tire filler with water filter.
Prior to beginning, assess your abilities with both detail striping and your ability to utilize the proper tools. Use only fine hollow-ground screwdrivers that fit the slots perfectly. Learn to soak any seemingly stubborn screws overnight, and practice the technique of light, constant pressure. Remember, you’re not installing a switch plate. If you bugger a screw head, STOP and pass the project on to a pro. Also keep in mind that due to it’s unique disconnector design, the ‘97 will fire as long as the trigger is back and you chamber a fresh shot shell.
On To Our Metal Restoration
- Using the correct ‘driver, remove the butt plate. Being made of Bakelite, remember that it will be fragile or already cracked. Reproductions are available. Many pre ’20s’ ’97s’ have metal plates. If a pad had been installed, there will be two cuts in the pad to allow access to the Philips screws. Remove the screw and pad or plate. Set aside. Remove butt stock bolt, stock and set aside.
- Next, slide the the breech bolt into battery and carrier is fully up. This aligns actuating groove on left side of carrier with the notch on arm of action slide
- Remove the barrel/mag band and set aside. It’s always best to soak any screws in light oil for a day prior to removal. Place any removed metal parts in the tank of mineral spirits once removed. Watch placement, assemble mating parts such as barrel bands so you don’t assemble with the improper screw.
- Unlock the magazine by pressing on the magazine locking pin.
- Turn the magazine tube anti-lockwise. Pull forward using the action slide until it stops. The action slide should now be free of the receiver. Remove the furniture from the slide, keeping track of & soaking the screws in oil, then the mineral spirits tank.
- Turn the barrel 90 deg. & gently remove from the receiver (take-down Mod). For the solid frame ‘97, Remove the screw in the frame for the mag tub. Then unscrew the Magazine tube. Then remove slide. At this point, you will be able to remove the bolt. Do so and oil soak the F/P pin in order to clean the tunnel And replace the F/P & F/P spring.
- With the butt stock removed, you can carefully drift out the trigger pin. This will allow you to remove the trigger guard & assembly. Rapping with a wood or plastic hammer will loosen years of hardened lubricants.
- With the proper punch, tap out the F/P pin and set aside. TIP: pull the magnet from an old speaker. Place your small metal parts on it an lay in the spirits’ tank.
- Lay the action parts & metal in the spirits’ tank overnight. Next day, thoroughly swap the action with the paint brushes. Make certain to cut through hardened oil, dirt, grit, and swab out the F/P tunnel with a solvent soaked Q-Tip. Leave in the tank another 24 hours, then dress the metal, especially surface rust by Gently rubbing in a circular motion with the oil soaked 0000 steel wool. soak & swab once more. Stand muzzle down, allow to dry and then blow out with the compressor. *Note: Highly varnished or stuck parts will require a stiff brush & elbow grease.
- Inspect all of your work, replace the F/P & spring, a fresh mag spring & clean the follower. Scrub The barrel & mag tube, If the muzzle is dinged, using a small square, Magic Marker or Prussian Blue, square the muzzle with a fine Swiss file and med. stone, dress the inside 45deg. with a Course Craytex bob in your hand grinder.
Reassemble, check the action, F/P operation and mag spring length.
*Note: Early ‘97s’ were chambered for 2 5/8 in. shells. You should have 2.75 inches to the forcing cone. Modern 2 ¾ shot shells are 2 ½” until they open to 2 ¾”. AVOID magnum, heavy, or steel shot. Shoot nothing but upland bird loads.
A word of caution: If your ’97 is a break-down version, the interface between the receiver & barrel assembly MUST be tight & firm. If it jiggles or requires no pressure to disengage, hang the gun over the fireplace. Also this bears repeating; The ’97 is the quintessential trench broom. As such, the disconnector is designed to disengage as long as the trigger is held back. In other words, hold the trigger & pump shot until the tube is empty. So be careful, kiddies.
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