Another old gun given new life!

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, my family moved from Pasadena, Texas, to the wilds of Newton County on the Texas-Lousiana border. I had just turned 13 at the time, and was torn between getting to live “in the woods” against leaving friends and familiar neighborhood. To help me “adjust”, my parents bought me probably my best birthday present ever – a Marin 81G bolt action .22 rifle!

As a “kids gun” the old Marlin got a lot of “experience” and probably less TLC than it might have wanted. It killed hundreds of squirrels, rabbits, coons, possums, a few nutria, and an occasional fox. I once hit a dove flying with it, and it put down more than it’s fair share of feral hogs. After all these adventures, it collected quite a bit of rust on the metal parts and some scratches and dents in the wooden stock.

After my “success” in refinishing the Herter’s .44 magnum, I was looking for another project, and found the old Marlin to be staring me in the face. Several years ago I had re-finished the stock, sanding to bare wood, trying my hand at stock checkering, re-varnishing it, and painting on a black end cap. Now it was time to address the metal

With all the rust and faded finish replaced by the new brown, and the stock sanded and given several new coats of satin varnish, the old .22 looks better than it did when new!

With all the rust and faded finish replaced by the new brown, and the stock sanded and given several new coats of satin varnish, the old .22 looks better than it did when new!

This Marlin Model 81G bolt action .22 was my first firearm!

This Marlin Model 81G bolt action .22 was my first firearm!

First step was removing the old finish and accumulated rust with Naval jelly, then taking the extra step of using a wire brush on a hand drill and steel wool to smooth it all out.

Naval jelly does the best job for removing both rust and blueing.

Naval jelly does the best job for removing both rust and blueing.

Again using the rust brown solution from Laurel Mountain, I changed the color and the look of the action, and I hope better protected it from ever getting so bad again!

The rust brown "look" is nice on this barreled action

The rust brown “look” is nice on this barreled action

I did not want the dark “plum brown” color I strived for on the Herter’s, so I stopped after only three treatments of the rust brown solution. I think this coloration complements the stock very well.

The brown metal work reached a "finish" point after only about three treatments with the Laurel Mountain solution

The brown metal work reached a “finish” point after only about three treatments with the Laurel Mountain solution

To complete this “re-birth”, I again sanded the stock and put several coats of satin polyurethane on it.

I REALLY like the way this project turned out, and it will hopefully last until my grandson takes his turn at owning it!

More of a full view of the finished product

More of a full view of the finished product

About MikeH

Texas hunter and fisherman for 50 years, published outdoor writer since 1979, licensed charter boat operator from 1982 to 2013. Past Member, Board of Directors, National Association of Charterboat Operators, current member Environmental Advisory Committee to the DOE and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Married to Dorothy since 2000, one son, Michael who is recently married and living in Nederland, Texas. My wife and I live in Oyster Creek, Texas, near Freeport, and have a hunting property outside of Brazoria, Texas.
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