I posted this on another forum but thought I'd put it up here too since I had pretty nice results and it's not the typical home repair. I'm NOT a gunsmith by any measure but I have been an aviation mechanic for 20 years and then an industrial mechanic for the last five so I've been around tools a bit...
Been quite a long time since I've been on the board but I just recently got to playing with a repair I thought maybe some of you might be interested in.
However, like all stories, a little background is probably in order. All my life, I've always wanted a quality SXS shotgun similar to the Fox Sterlingworth my dad has. I bought one once for $75 from a pawn shop with a broken stock and a dent in one barrel but it still had the typical Fox "vault door tight" yet "butter smooth" action. The plan was to make my own stock and have the gun reblued/repaired as needed. Lesson learned on that gun? Don't let a gunsmith who doesn't know old double guns work on one no matter how reputable, expensive, beautiful or customized of a rifle he builds. Old shotguns are a whole 'nuther ball game. This fella fixed the dent then threw the barrels in his hot blue tank where they and the ribs ended up laying in pieces after all the solder melted. But hey, he didn't charge me for his work...
Fast forward about 20 years.... I finally happened across another SXS that was in my price range. It's a German Guild gun with only the name Remo on the rib. Krupp barrels, a Suhl action (If I recall correctly. Not sure of the spelling either...) Anyway, with the European style cheekpiece and the stock spec's it fit me better than just about any other gun I've picked up and it was possibly even smoother and just as tight as Dad's Fox. Blueing showed wear and case colors were about gone but man what a gun! Chambers are the European 2 1/2" so ammo would be a little tricky I thought but then the guy in the Cabella's gun room said it should handle low brass 2 3/4" shells just fine. Said he had an old Fox with short chambers and had shot hundreds if not thousands of 2 3/4 shells through it. Cool!
Well.... went and shot the gun the day I bought it and loved it but then noticed the lever sticking, the action hard to open and once reclosed, it was a little loose all of a sudden and I'd only shot half a box. So... back to the store and they say they can fix the gun as that should never have happened. Months later I got it back and it looked like it had had the stock clamped in a vice, screws buggered and the bottom plate put back on crooked. There's more of my bad luck with gunsmiths and doubles... Took it back and showed it to the head honcho in the gun library and he was clearly disgusted and said he'd make it right. I wasn't sure if I wanted their guys working on it again and told him so. Told him I'd planed to eventually do a refinish and have something really nice to pass on to my kids. He came back with the question of "When did you plan to do that?" I wasn't sure but just said "someday". He then took out his card file and gave me a card to a gunsmith that he said worked on his personal guns. A guy who had worked in the Browning custom shop and specialized in double shotguns. He even went so far as to offer that they would pay half for a full restoration and I thought that was pretty fair.
Long story longer...
The gun came back absolutely beautiful. Everything had been redone except the wood. Screws retimed, case colors, barrel blue, back on face, hinge pin, etc etc. The gun was mechanically like brand new.
Back to the range again but with proper 2 1/2" shells and dang what fun! Even had me one of them fancy clay bird throwers that have three legs you shove in the ground, cock and pull a string to throw. Beat the heck out of my usual hold gun in left hand, throw with my right, drop thrower and shoot routine. About a box of shells into the fun, I'd developed a routine where I stood on two of the feet of the thrower to keep it from coming out of the ground, shoot a clay, break open the gun to pull the empties and then reach down, cock the thrower, load it, load the gun, pull the string, shoot and repeat.
Unfortunately for me, at one point when I had pulled my empties and was cocking the thrower, the catch didn't hold properly and just as I let go of the thrower arm, it decided to release and it came flying around and hit the right barrel of my gun which was opened and in my left hand! :twisted:
ops: :roll: @$%!#$!!!!!
Made me almost physically sick.
Here's a picture taken today before I started the repair.
Over time, I got over it (sort of) but I always wanted to get it fixed. The day it happened, I called the gunsmith who had done the restoration thinking "this guy I trust to work on it" only to have him say "we don't fix dents".
"Because NOBODY is ever happy with the results."
So there it sat for about two years. I eventually started shooting it again and had no problem but really wanted to fix it. Did a little reading and research and found the common method was to use a hydraulic mandrel that inserted into the bore and when in position pressure was applied to push the dent back out. However the tool was pretty expensive and I don't have extra cash laying around most of the time... But if you look in the pic above, you will see my solution. I'm a professional industrial mechanic by trade with an aviation background and know several machinists and have access to tools and materials.
Dang, just looked at the clock and saw it's time for me to head to work right now....
I'll continue this later.