1. Hey Ian, I have an SMLE H&H marked original sniper, with the original scope base still screwed to the receiver but not ring tops. They were replaced at some point. Barrel shortened, stock not original, no orginal scope. It is currently wearing a modern scope and shoots quite well for a 70yo rifle. Would it fall enough into the “rare and valuable” group to make it worth restoring?

    • Joel

      Have two of those. One I am certain is real, the other I suspect a fake. Reason I bring it up is because there are lot of fakes out there. There are also a lot of real deal Enfield snipers out there. Your restoring it may bring it back to original in many ways, but the look may convict it of being a fake.

      In short, once Humpty’s shell is broken, fixing it, even a near perfect job, makes people wonder if it’s really Humpty.

      Just my .02, good luck whatever you do.

  2. If someone is skilled enough at woodworking to make a new stock, or skilled enough at metal fabrication to make new barrel bands and such, I could see a person like that doing the restoration just for the joy of doing it, or the feeling of accomplishment that comes at the end.

  3. I’m working on a Winchester made M1917 and the hardest part was finding the “W” stamped parts at a reasonable price. I am a couple parts away from complete and I can agree with your message. Mine started out as a sporter project where I wanted to make a carbine or “tanker” version of the M1917 (I have Mark Novak to thank for that inspirational idea), but when I picked the barreled receiver up from my FFL I realized that the barrel had been unaltered and the rifling was in great shape. I then decided to restore it to near factory condition (factory condition being impossible as the rear sight ears had been milled off) with a Lyman sight. It was a fun, though rather expensive, project that I have no regrets on. I still have plans to take a sporter and make a tanker out of it, but that’ll be later when I find a good donor. Sometimes I’ll purchase sporters as parts guns for when I find a great rifle that might happen to be one or two parts shy of complete.

  4. Probably, it makes sense to play with recovery only if shooting from historically authentic-looking weapons is of interest.
    And if “for fun”, for me, it’s easier and more interesting to build a frankengun.

  5. Just did not realize what they were doing years ago when they sporterized rifles. They were cheap and plentiful. I have the old NRA Guide to Gunsmithing book (a collection of magazine articles from decades ago) and it has multiple sections on how to sporterize 1917’s, 03’s, and even Grands. Makes one sad just looking at the pages.

    It is too bad that the military history of the given arm arm was diminished, and in most every case I have seen, a lost cause to return to original condition. But if a sporterization is really well done, might it be collectible of sorts own its own? It reflects a post-war time in history when some people would prefer at-home gunsmithing to saving up for a facotry rifle. Properly done, it was a lot of work to shoot at a deer once a year.

    • Griffin & Howe Springfields, as well as first class British sporterisations of military rifles like Dutch Mannlichers, are already collector’s items of far higher value that their military donors.

    • You have a good point about well-done modifications (economical reasons and during post-war recovery, ordinary folk were certain that Nazis weren’t going to just magically pop out of the bushes behind their houses). Plus, sporterized rifles tend to look less “extremist” and more “neighborly” in the eyes of ordinary people.

      Off-topic: Anyone know more about this?


      • “Anyone know more about this?”(С)

        There is very little information.
        The site link, apparently, is incorrect information.
        It is unlikely that this rifle was adopted, as it is written there. Most likely, this is a usual, irresistible desire for a given area to embellish and wishful thinking.
        It was developed on the basis of the Fedorov rifle with the compilation of the solutions of other inventors.
        Like almost all Degtyarev designs, fragile, expensive and unreliable.
        There was an attempt to make a small batch for army tests, but they could not do this at the factory.

  6. I have noticed that some everything-but-the-barreled-action parts kits on ebay bring about as much as the whole gun would have.

  7. Sort of a weird question Taking Ian’s junker as an example. It still had the receiver, with the serial number. Now, does that make it a “firearm” that needs to be registered as such, or do you also need a barrel and trigger mechanism. What about if you add those items, do you then have to make it a DEWAT if you just want to hang it on the wall. I realize this depends on the jurisdiction and if you want a definitive answer, contact your local authorities, but I’d like your opinion.

    • In U. S. federal law, the receiver is the only thing that is a firearm. Take all the parts off it, it’s still a firearm. All the other parts all together, not a firearm.

      This is different from some other places, like Britain and the EU, where some parts alone, like barrels or bolts, are also considered firearms.

      I’m not aware of anyplace where a receiver with all parts removed is no longer legally a firearm.

      (Having said that, the Gras was made before 1899, which makes it an antique and not a firearm.)

  8. An ethical consideration is to NEVER reproduce markings on a firearm. If one reproduced markings such as inspector’s marks, factory markings, issue markings and especially serial numbers, then one is no longer restoring, one is forging. You may sell it as a restored rifle and be honest about the faked markings, but a future seller may conveniently “forget” to mention that. The auctioneer handling your estate for your widow won’t know. Faking serial numbers to make parts match, e.g. bolt to body/receiver or scope and bracket to rifle, or adding special markings e.g. USMC. Refinishing is tricky too. Deceptive markings and refinishing, if done well, can turn a worn out $500 firearm into a $5,000 one if the buyer does not know what was done and assumes that it is mint or excellent matching original condition.

    Restoring cars had long been acceptable but it used to be that restoring firearms was frowned upon. The was especially the case with older firearms such as mid-1800s rare Colt revolvers.

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