Richard Craver

Musings about this world, and the world to come.

My Dad’s Rifle

Written By: richardwcraver - Jan• 29•18

We lost my dad eleven months ago. We had lost my mom 21 years prior and my dad remarried who I thought was a good woman. The only things of my dad’s that I got were his Remington Nylon 66 rifle and two break action shotguns which have been locked away in the safe for the last 6 months. I’ve just not mustered up the emotional wherewithal to do anything with them.

This past weekend our 12 year old grandson was with us and asked if he could see my guns. So I opened up the safe and showed him my modest collection. I subsequently went to the range and took the old Remington with me. It was the first gun I ever shot, and I must admit it still ran very well with only two failures to eject out of about a hundred rounds shot on steel; a hundred OLD rounds that my dad had bought over the years. Some of the ammo boxes had no bar codes and had ‘price stickers’ from the Brendles catalog showroom store that has been gone for over twenty years. There was one box of 50 rounds that cost the princely sum of 97ยข! A few made a poof sound instead of a pop, but all fired. The old rifle was still reliable AND the rounds that went pop were pretty accurate!

Well … time to clean it. I honestly don’t remember us ever detail cleaning it. I remember wiping it down and his shotgun with an old t-shirt and some 3in1 oil. So with some trepidation I began removing screws and setting parts aside in the order removed. I was frankly impressed at the amount of powder residue, dust and utter lack of maintenance I found, it was dry as dust, caked and STILL RAN GOOD!

I lined up parts in a baking pan and sprayed them with brake cleaner until they were submerged and let them soak while I turned my attention to the stock and the trigger group components. It looked scary. So I enlisted my friend Google, and soon was looking at a video on YouTube by LouieMacGoo on disassembly of a Nylon 66. Fitting, in that my dad’s co-workers called him Magoo. The video was 10 years old, but when dealing with 50 year old rifles that doesn’t matter, nothing has changed. Mr MacGoo went through the disassembly much quicker than I did, I suppose I should have consulted him first, but he then warned about stripping the lower as there were flat springs prone to breakage and I probably didn’t want to do it anyway. There is a website, www.nylonrifles.com if I really wanted to go through the lower. But I heeded his advice and chose to flush the housing with Lucas Brake Cleaner (I’ve found it doesn’t melt plastic components and assumed nylon was safe, it was.) and brushed with an old toothbrush.

The barrel surprisingly did not look bad at all. I ran a bore brush through it several times with Hoppes 9 cleaner, about a dozen Hoppes soaked cotton patches went through until no more gunk came out. Dry patches followed by patches soaked in Ballistol and finally two dry patches to to make sure it was protected with Ballistol but not soppy wet.

Then I turned my attention and the toothbrush back to the soaking parts in the pans. Years of caked on powder residue were soon removed and the parts dried. Everything was wiped down with Ballistol and the moving parts got oil. Amazingly it went back together quicker than it came apart and got a benchtop function test. A final wipe down with Ballistol and it went back to the safe.

It’s not my great grand pappies shootin iron that went up San Juan hill, but family firearms are still a treasure revered by generations, at least in some parts of the country. This one was for plinking cans in a gully on the farm, it put down beef cows on the farm, eradicated skunks that were eating my dad’s honey bees, and put down a couple dogs that had been run over by cars. It was a different time, watch Old Yeller sometime.

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