On December 1st I posted about my desire to de-tacticallize my long guns and move away from the all black guns to a more traditional look without sacrificing any of the functionality. This 870 was the 1st victim.
The gun started out as a 2 year old 870 Express with an 18.5″ barrel and factory 7 round extension. Since I had owned it I had maybe 50 shells through it and I just didn’t connect with it. I hated the finish and the feel of hollow plastic stocks. I need to make a decision and either sell it and purchase something I liked better or give it a makeover… I chose the latter.
The first step was to disassemble the gun and polish the barrel, mag tube and receiver. The 870 express finish is pretty tough but could be removed by sanding alone. I don’t have the patience to get all of the small nooks by hand and I didn’t want to risk rounding all of the corners so I hit the garage looking for a chemical stripper that would remove it. After a couple of failed attempts I used some tile stripper that literally made the finish vanish. I then went through 4 levels of sandpaper finishing with 600 and a final polish with 0000 steel wool before bluing.
Part of the reason that I under took this project was to explore fire bluing and oil quenching as an option, but because it could cause your receiver to warp during the quenching I am not going to explain it in detail.
But I will say I attempted to focus the effect where you might imaging the heat building up under prolonged sustained fire, like the chamber, the ejection port and radiant heat on the magazine tube from the barrel.
While the effect was really cool, it looked a little too Ruger rimfire for me and I decided to tame it down with some cold bluing. To my surprise the bluing had a hard time taking due to the heat that was applied and when it finally did it muted the colors far more than I expected.
The final result was a shotgun that looked like it had been used VERY hard over the past 70 years, but with very even wear. A reader of the blog offered to send me a used police stock for the project and I think it is a great addition and really completes the look. If permitted I will publicly thank them.
In addition to just refinishing the shotgun, I have decided to add an enlarged safety, an improved follower, a different sling attachment, a new gold bead and I have already given it a treatment of Slipstream Styx.
I have improved the function and functionality of this firearm, I transformed it from a gun that I had no connection with to one of my favorites and I have made it look less tactical… This was exactly my goal. What do you think of the project?