Richard Craver

Thoughts, Musings And The Occasional Rant

D.I.Y. Gunsmithing – Part 1

Written By: richardwcraver - Jan• 16•16

At my last post, I had been to the gun show and had picked up a Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun. This is in preparation for an upcoming church skeet shoot event, I went to it last year with a borrowed gun and had a blast, if you will pardon the pun. As the barrel is fitted with the Accu-Choke system and I really didn’t know what choke was in it, I picked up a ‘Skeet’ choke on the way home.

The plan was to install the skeet choke,  and go out to function test the gun. Then I would take the gun to work for a through cleaning so that any future dirt and fouling would be my own. Using the choke wrench that came with the new choke was a no starter, the choke was solidly stuck. So off I went to work, plugged the end of the barrel with a plastic plug and filled the end of the barrel with a super-dee-duper penetrant and thread release product that we use with great success on cars. In the foreground you can see the rinky-dink stamped steel ‘wrench’ and the new choke tube.

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The barrel sat upright in the plastic measuring cup while I went about my work. Coming back feeling confident I chucked it up in a vice with padding around the barrel, but joy was not mine to have. The penetrant is a solvent type product, maybe I need to use a petroleum product to give a little lubrication. So the barrel was drained and blown out and my old buddy WD went to work.

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Notice the plastic cup is now melted, I poured the solvent based fluid into it while I went to the vice to try to remove the choke. I came back to find my measuring cup kinda squishy feeling. I guess I won’t be measuring air conditioner compressor oil with it anymore. A hour or so of soaking and another failed attempt at removal of the choke.

What else do we use in the shop for stuck fasteners? Heat! But this is a vent rib barrel, and most such attachments are silver soldered in place. So the oxy-acetylene torch, affectionately called the red wrench, is out; and heating the barrel to cherry red would have destroyed the bluing. I resorted to the heat gun.

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About this time, friend and co-worker, Jim comes by and takes interest in the struggle. In the background you will see a gray container with the yellow and black label; Jim is the inventor of a product called Gitta-Grip, a grip enhancing compound he developed. “Come on, humor me, try some Gitta-Grip on it.” At this point I had already started rounding out the slots that are visible in the end of the barrel. So Gitta-Grip was applied, and with Jim steadying the barrel from turning I clamped the tool in a pair of 10″ needle nose pliers and proceded to twist the barrel from his hands before the corners of the wrench finally gave up. The normal next options are hammering a broken bolt extractor in the end of the barrel or welding a bolt head in the barrel as an extension and twisting it out, both require heating the barrel above what the heat gun can muster and could irreparably damage the barrel. When you find yourself in a hole it is sometimes wisest knowing when to stop digging, I declared all digging ceased, cleaned up and oiled the barrel from all the chemicals and heat. Whatever choke is in there will have to suffice for this skeet trip.

Replacement Mossberg barrels are relatively inexpensive. There is a 18.5″ cylinder bore ‘home defense’ barrel available. A 24″ rifled slug barrel and scope combination, a .50 caliper muzzle loading black powder rifle if I should wish to try my hand at deer hunting, and of course replacement 28″ vented rib field barrel with Accu-Choke like I have in standard and compensated; all that is required is money, so it will be awhile.

But I did go to my uncle’s place this afternoon to run a few shells through it and to check the pattern on cardboard at roughly 10, 20 and 30 ft. I short shucked it after the 3rd shot and had to clear the spent shell by hand.


I intend to do future installments of D.I.Y. Gunsmithing as time and funds permit. My plans are to:

-Refinish the stock and foregrip in something darker than the current orangey stain.

-Sand, then either paint, powder coat or cerakote the receiver.

-Then my most ambitious project is stripping and either nitre bluing or parkerizing the barrel and action tube. I would try bluing the receiver, but Mossbergs famously have an aluminium receiver, bluing only works on ferrous metals.

Clay pigeons beware!

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