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Discussion Starter #1
I recently bought what I think is a 1st Model .44 Russian DA, of course made by S&W, that I am looking at getting restored. I sent away for the factory letter and I will make it match that description as some idiot saw fit to refinish it in a matte black paint (trigger, hammer, and all). I understand that this will up its value, however I'm guessing not as much as an original. Is this correct? Also, the bore is a bit rough so would lapping (hand or otherwise) hurt value? I have already been told that a liner would so I won't go that route. How much does the rough bore deminish value as it is? Would cutting a forcing cone hurt value? I know that reaming most old doubles to modern lenght usually doesn't so does that same concept carry to antique handguns? Sorry about all the questions this is my first pistol restoration. Thanks for the help
 

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Probably but I don't care. I am a shooter first and a heathen so if I have to repair, refinish and modify to make a gun I own a shooter it gets the work done. I don't have wall hangers except for two ancient Damascus barreled shotguns.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had not thougt of that, what exactly is soda blasting? I'm assuming its similar to bead blasting. What material is it exacly? Is there another safe way to remove the paint without hurting the finish under? Thanks
 

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If the paint is enamel it will come off with just about anything, such as alcohol, toluene etc. For enamel on steel Formby’s mild wood finish stripper will remove paint and not harm the metal underneath.

When you get the paint off if there is no color to the case hardening, no blue on the other parts and no finish on the grips you have little to loose in restoring the gun. This class of gun is ideal to make a fine shooter. After you have the letter if your revolver is a standard model with little to make it stand out you might want to consider having it truly restored with flame bluing, new case hardening and lining the barrel.
Many older Winchesters have been restored very tastefully and these rifles make fine looking shooters which are worth more than their unrestored value to someone who wants to shoot a nice example.
Your revolver in 90% condition would have far too much value to shoot and risk damage to the finish or a broken part. But a quality restoration would turn this gun into a valuable shooter.
Warning: as simple modern blue job and no restoration of the case colors will devalue your firearm.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Ok well I had planned on a high polish blue and case color for the trigger and hammer so it would return to what I believe to be the original finish (if the letter states otherwise I will restore to exacly those specs). So am I to understand that relining would add value if I restore the rest of the gun? I have heard things contradictory to this, but I would like to reline it to make it shoot better. I doubt the origninal finish is under the paint as the logo was nearly buffed off from what I'm sure was someone preping the metal for its current finish. Also, the existing finish is quite durable, so I don't know exactly what it is.

P.S. Does anyone know any famous people who used this particular model/caliber? Or did it come too late? Thanks
 

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“I doubt the original finish is under the paint as the logo was nearly buffed off from what I'm sure was someone prepping the metal for its current finish.”

With your revolver in this condition it is unlikely you will hurt its value by lining the barrel. If the roll markings were “crisp” a collector firearm of this type would have good collector value. For a handgun with no finish and which has been heavily buffed there will be very little collector interest. If this handgun had 60% finish or better, maybe grips with quite a bit of varnish on them I would not care very much about the bore as I would want the gun for a collector piece.
In the Denver area it should be easy to find a S&W collector at a gun show, tell him what you have and then what you are planning. An honest collector will give you an experienced opinion based on your description.
 

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If the condition of that finish under the paint is as far-gone as I suspect, I seriously doubt restoration will hurt the value at all. Would I pay more for a professionally-restored, relined gun than a painted beater if I wanted a shooter? Darned right! And unless it's serial #1, it's not going to have much in the way of collector value.
 

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Theres a difference between "restore" and "refinish". Restore means to make it look its age but kept in excellent condition. Refinish is just a new looking gun. You can get the logo and lettering redone but it probably wont raise the collector value. You would have to have someone who does restorations look at the revolver to tell you if its worth the time and money. Sounds to me like you have a good shooter thats needs a little cleanup and a reline.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well I want to get it restored to how it looked when it came from the factory, but I'm a shooter first and a collector second, so I will probably also get it relined. Thanks for all your guys input!

P.S. I'm still curios as to wether or not anyone famous favored this model in this caliber.
 
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