Not that I do not have enough on my hands to keep me busy, but I am taking on a small side (hobby) project over the next year.
While taking #2 of 5 to his Firearms Safety Classes, the kids were required to bring a gun (a long gun... No handguns) to class. Each week there would be a wide variety of different shotguns and rifles brought to class. Wood and synthetic stocks / pump, semi-auto, lever, and bolt-action guns.
On evening while talking to a couple of the dads outside of class (about the different guns they saw the kids bringing), one of them mentioned not seeing a bolt action shotgun. They even started reminiscing about a bolt action shotgun that had an unusual adjustable choke that many had seen in the past.
As soon as I heard them talking about such a gun, I had an instant flashback.
I lost my paternal grandfather when I was 5 years old. I have memories of him talking about his outdoor exploits, but never really got the chance to experience them with him first hand. When I was around eighteen years old my grandmother (while cleaning out her attic) found my grandfather's shotgun. It had been stored (in less than ideal conditions) for AT LEAST thirteen (and more likely, for many more than thirteen years) before he passed away. She called me over to her house, and asked me if it was anything I was interested in. At the time, I WAS interested in it. It was something that belonged to my grandfather AND it would be the second gun in my "arsenal".
I am truthfully ashamed to admit that (at that time) I was MORE interested in having a second gun than I was having my grandfather's gun. I don't want you to think that having his gun was not meaningful to me... It was... But "nostalgia" and "18 year old boys" are not always "best buds". On the other hand, an 18 year old boy owning TWO guns IS pretty cool...
Back to the conversation at the Firearms Safety Class... The shotgun they were talking about, was the same as my grandfather's shotgun! It was with mixed feelings that I heard the instructors say that he wished someone would bring one, and I felt that I needed to kept quiet.
Mixed feelings? Kept quiet? Why FOF?
In a moment of "eighteen year old boy thinking" (or in this case "non-thinking"), when I got the gun home I decided I was going to give it a full cleaning, and attempt to sort of "rejuvenate" it. I was going to "re-blue" the surface of the gun.
Since I worked in a small hardware store, and we sold "re-bluing-kits", it was all to easy. I purchased the kit, read the directions, and (in preparation for the re-bluing) I removed a few of the "removable" parts of the gun.
I proceeded to strip the gun of it's "bluing" and then TRIED (tried being the key phrase here) to give it a fresh "bluing". The results were horrific. A few weeks later, I re-stripped it, and TRIED again. The results were still embarrassing. With the intention of finding either a better product, or someone to professionally re-blue the gun, I put it back into the (less than ideal) case it spent the better part of it's life in, and stuck it in the back of my closet so that I would not have to face my own disgrace.
Oh, sure... over the next twenty one years, there were times that I have remembered the gun was still there - but as time went on, I grew up and "nostalgia" became a bigger part of who I am, I became more and more ashamed (bowing my head) that I neglected my grandfather's gun the way I did. The "removable parts" were stored in a box, and moved with me into our apartment when we was married, then from the apartment to our first house, then from our first house to our second house. Sometime after moving into our second (current) house I have lost track of those parts. They are still around somewhere, but I could not tell you where if my life depended on it.
After hearing these guys talk (and jarring my memory) about old bolt action shotguns, I decided... nay... pledged that next year (when #3 of 5 and I take the Firearms Safety Class together) that I want to walk into class, with my head held high and proud, carrying my grandfather's shotgun, restored to it's rightful condition!
Since making that decision, I have retrieved the gun from my (former) closet. I inspected it's condition (noticing only slight degradation from the condition I abandoned it in twenty one years ago). I took inventory of the missing pieces. I noted the manufacture, and the model number - and (thanks to the wonder of the internet), I have located lots of information about the gun, a number of sources that still sell the parts I am missing, sources for replica documentation that came with the gun originally, and I even found a schematic diagram of the gun!
So, to kick of "Grandpa's Shotgun", let me share with you the details of my grandfather's gun.
Manufacturer: O.F. Mossberg
Other: Muzzle is equipped with the "C-Lect" choke system.
The Mossberg Model 190 was made from 1950-1955 (and may now be considered a "Curio and/or Relic gun"). I am unable to pinpoint the year of origination of this gun since it was manufactured prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968 (which required firearm manufactures to put serial numbers on guns). Unfortunately, without a serial number there is no way to trace the date of origin of this particular gun.
I will try to document this gun's journey from it's sad (yet not hopeless) state, to it's hopefully proud and rightfully honored place among my most prized possessions! (Stay tuned for some photographs.)
I am looking forward to having a little of my grandfather with me, and my boys (his great-grandsons) on a few of our future hunts!