Grandpa's Shotgun - Post 1

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
Model: 190
Action: Bolt
Gauge: 16
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!


  1. Cool to hear about man. I bet those parts turn up.

    Right after you order the replacements.

  2. Nice memory. I'm in a similar predicament with some old furniture of my grandfathers.

    I went up to KY to retrieve it from my aunt and uncle, who have no children and who I presumed, would leave the furniture to some unknown party. Unfortunately, the furniture was in such sad shape, that anything short of a minor financial miracle, rendered me incapable of doing anything with it.

    So, I have a huge old desk in my basement that is doing little more than acting as a benchtop for my little projects. I keep telling myself that I'll fix it, but it's A) a bit beyond my humble skills and B) Never going to look authenticate anyway.

    Post some pics when you're done!

  3. Hey,

    Too funny - on Sunday afternoon, I went through the gun cabinet to clean and oil everything, and I paid some extra attention to my 20 ga. 190.

    It was purchased by my late father when he was in high-school; and I've got to say - that's one "unusual-looking" firearm.

    Good luck putting yours back together and thanks for posting the link to the exploded diagram.

  4. Great post Dave!

    I can't wait to see the finished project! I'm sure with your attention to detail it will turn out perfect! I can't wait to see an in-progress post!


  5. Mike - I'd sure love it if they did.. Even if I bought new parts.... The closer to "genuine" I can get, the better I'll feel!

    Postulates and Pasttimes - That is what I am "slightly" worried about here. The one task I took upon myself many years ago frightens me a bit... I may have to pay someone to handle that part of it for me..

    Eric - does your 190 have the C-Lect Choke? It is "odd" lookin', but like yours, mine has more sentimental value than "gun value".

    Thanks Bill! Maybe I'll bring it by one of these days!

  6. No David, mine came with three separate screw-on chokes: improved, modified, and full. Also, I have reason to believe it was ordered through a Sears catalog in the 50ies.

    Mine has sentimental value in that the current crazy incarnation of my life - dogs, duck boats, early mornings, long trips, an irritated Mrs, etc - all started with that weird looking bolt action shotgun.

    I enjoyed the post above as well - keep it up!


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