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Remington 121 Fieldmaster - Restoration Project


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#1 KP Texan

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:24 AM

I inherited an old Remington 121 Fieldmaster from my deceased grandfather and plan on restoring it. I absolutely love .22s and I think this little pump will be a fun addition to my Winchester 9422 and Marlin 25MN. That being said, the varnish on my stock is in poor condition, there is a small crack on the end of the forearm, and there is light surface rust on the receiver and barrel. Additionally, the rifle does not seem to feed reliably but I have an idea why: I'm guessing the rifle spent a large portion if its life with a fully loaded magazine because the inner magazine tube spring seems to be very weak. The follower and brass tube are in perfect shape, but I think the spring may be shot because simply shaking the tube can cause the follower to move in or out. What should I do about this? Is it as simple as knocking the pin on the end of the tube out and then replacing the spring? Or even easier, can the old string be stretched back? Thanks in advance for all your help; I'll update this thread as I progress on my project and ask more questions in here along the way.

Thanks so much,

Wes

#2 Pdwight

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:49 AM

A Very Big RFS Welcome Texan, a nice gun you have there. As for the rust on the bluing try some 0000 steel wool and a little oil, it will remove the rust without hurting the bluing at all. Carl is our Remington "goto" guy and he can tell you more.....but I suspect you are quite right about that spring. Stretching it will probably only help for a short time, once a spring has lost it's "bounce" it needs to be replaced. Refinishing should be easy, lots of things to use such as Tru-Oil for an beautiful finish.

Dwight

Gun Parts lists the Magazine tube as in stock

http://www.gunpartsc...aspx?catid=4251

I have one of these guns and need a carrier if anyone ever spots one.
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#3 KP Texan

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 01:18 PM

Dwight,

Thanks for the quick response. Unfortunately, I have the 17-1/2" magazine tube which shows to be out of stock for me (unless I'm looking at the wrong part). I was able to pull the pin out of my magazine tube and disassemble it. I wonder if this spring would work as a replacement?: http://www.brownells...-brownells.html . I already have the 0000 Steel wool to carefully remove the rust without damaging the bluing and I will definitely take a look at the Tru-Oil. I also read somewhere to use stripper to remove the old varnish rather than sanding it off because it could mess up the fit of the stock.

Thanks so much,

Wes

#4 Technical Director

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 02:11 PM

Hi KP Texan,

Here's what I do when I remove wood finish and if I don't have to do any major sanding. I really don't like to sand if possible because it does reduce the size of the item you're working on. Based upon my research, the one main component in a lot of finish strippers is acetone. I like to use acetone by itself (with gloves and in a well ventilated area) because it doesn't leave any residue, plus the wood is not adversely affected. It makes for an easy one step process for removing wood finish. Good luck with your Remington restoration project.

Hope this helps, Technical Director

#5 LongPlay

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 02:25 PM

Dwight,

Thanks for the quick response. Unfortunately, I have the 17-1/2" magazine tube which shows to be out of stock for me (unless I'm looking at the wrong part). I was able to pull the pin out of my magazine tube and disassemble it. I wonder if this spring would work as a replacement?: http://www.brownells...-brownells.html . I already have the 0000 Steel wool to carefully remove the rust without damaging the bluing and I will definitely take a look at the Tru-Oil. I also read somewhere to use stripper to remove the old varnish rather than sanding it off because it could mess up the fit of the stock.

Thanks so much,

Wes


KP Texan,,, First welcome to the little forum here, and good to see another Texan join in here!!

That spring find from Brownell's looks to be a real great idea. How bad can you get hurt at $3.05 for a spring!! I will definitely remember that part!!

I would agree with others here about sanding on your stock. Besides, you have that fore arm that would be really tough to get the grooves to come out looking right with sand paper anyway. I am a chemistry kind of guy any way, so let me caution you on strippers. Get outside, no matter how bad you want to be inside where it is warm. Almost all of these chemicals do NOT need to be in your lungs. They vary on intensity and also in chemical make up, for different kinds of finishes to be removed. Lately, there have been some mentioned from Home depot ( I forget the exact name) but they say theses are actually good at even taking off the poly urethane finishes. With those, I would tell you, if it will get the Urethanes, it will likely get almost any other finish I can think of. Just be safe, do it outside, and keep the eye protection on and use the kind of gloves recommended on on the stripper packaging. Many of the gloves will melt like butter when in contact with some of these strippers..

And............ it goes without saying, pics are always welcome here, and no hosting service is needed here either!!!

Again, WELCOME ... I am up on Toledo Bend at the Texas Louisiana border.... Let us know what else you shoot and where........

Edited by LongPlay, 03 January 2011 - 02:26 PM.


#6 Patrick N

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 06:50 PM

Hi KP Texan,

Welcome to RFS! I'll enjoy seeing how your 121 project turns out. I'm really beginning to appreciate the slide actions. I've looked at few different model 12's recently but I think I'll wait until I can find a 121 in decent condition/decent price to go with my Win. 61. Two of the 12's were really nice but simply out of my price range (one was d&t'd for a side scope mount). The third was closer to my price range at $365.00, was unaltered with a light patina. Unfortunately, there were several sizable scratches on the right side of the receiver and the finish on the buttstock had seen better days so I decided to hang on to my pennies and wait until I can afford a nicer example.

You've already received some sound advice about your project from some of the other guys so there's no need to add my 2 cents. The replacement mag spring from Brownell's sounds like a great start. Hopefully, Carl will be along soon to offer any additional advice he may have on your feeding problems. FYI, I've used Tru-Oil on several refinishing projects and really like the results.

Good luck and keep us posted on your project.
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#7 Carl

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:34 PM

You can knock the cross-pin out of the knob to access the inside and change the spring. Without ookingto be sure, I think Brownell's have generic replacements. If not, Jack First in Rapid City, SD may have them. If you haven't already, a good cleaning and light lube of the entire receiver area would be good. these are good sturdy rifle and a probably the best slide action .22 ever built. I know people that have both 121s and Win. 61s and for shooting and carrying, they prefer the 121.... like they say, "Winchesters are for collecting, Remingtons for shooting".
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#8 KP Texan

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:51 PM

Thanks for all the helpful responses! Longplay, I call Corpus Christi my home although I grew up in the Dallas area.

I just got my little 121 out to unthread the breakdown screw and do a little cleaning. A couple patches of Hoppes #9 followed by a patch of Remoil had the bore looking great with no pits and the rifling clearly visible. I cleaned up the action and it really is smooth as can be. You can tell they built these rifles right; all nicely machined steel parts. I also love the way this rifle balances and points... this is going to be a fun little shooter once I'm done with it! Anyway, I took a few photos of her for y'all; she's not much of a looker right now but hopefully after some hard work she'll be looking good. The pics make the stock look worse than it actually is and there are no bad gouges or scratches in it. Using the date sticky at the top of the forum, I figured out that she was built in 1947. Amazing that this beauty was built two years before my father was born! Anyway here are the pics:

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-Wes

#9 RustyNut

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 05:25 PM

That one should clean up real nice. Looks like a good winter project.

#10 KP Texan

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 10:19 AM

I got my new magazine spring and Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil in the mail yesterday:
Posted Image

Do you guys have any tips on how to size this universal spring correctly? I'm guessing that it should be slightly less than fully compressed on a full magazine? I took the rifle to a safe area and cycled a bunch of .22 LR shells through it to see how it was feeding. It actually fed most of the rounds pretty well but towards the last couple of rounds it would act up a little bit (guessing due to the very weak magazine spring). It would actually jam somewhat when pulling the slide back, rather than forward; hopefully the new spring will help to alleviate some of these problems. I also had some questions about the Tru-Oil; as I understand it, this oil is just the outer coating for the wood. Will I also need to re-stain the stock after using stripper on it? If so, could you recommend some good shades to me? I'm guessing that some variety of basic Minwax would work fine: http://www.minwax.co...ns-color-guide/ ?

I had a conversation with my father about this rifle last night. My grandfather purchased it from a coworker in 1963 for $15 and it was apparently in like new condition at that time. My dad enjoyed shooting the fine little rifle when he was a kid; his usual targets were tin cans and rats down by the river. Sometime during the early 80's, the rifle ended up in an uncle's possession and that is the point where it was somewhat neglected. The rifle was then transferred back to my grandfather during the 90's and remained with him until he passed away in 2004. I'm really looking forward to getting it back into nice condition so that I can enjoy it with my children when that time comes!

Thanks so much,

Wes

#11 Carl

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 12:25 PM

There are others on here that are better wood-workers than I, but I will pass on my experience with Remington wood. Whatever finish Remington used for a lot of years seemed designed to make them all look alike as much as possible. Therefore, they sometimes hid some beautifully figured wood with that finish. I have stripped the old finish, lightly sanded and re-finished without staining. You can steam out some shallow dents, but the ones I have re-finished were in pretty good condition dent and scratch-wise and I chose not to do any dent removal. My idea on re-finishing may be different from others, in that I don't try to make them look new again (looks too fake to me), but rather I like them to look like a well cared for old used gun.
I have used BLO on my re-finishes, but Tru-Oil I believe to be about the same thing with maybe some additives.
I put the BLO on by thinning about 1/2 with turpentine (I use an oderless turp that my wife used when she did tole painting), rubbing it in with my fingers... rub with 0000 steel wool after 24 hours, and repeat... thinning allows it to penetrate more. About the 3rd coat, I cut the BLO with about 1/4 turp, and repeat the process. After about the 5th coat, I use straight BLO and repeat the whole process of coating with my fingers and steel wooling until I think it's the way I want it to look, usually 6 to 8 coats total. You can get the feel of when it seems to not penetrate any more, and after that it seems to be a build up process that just improves the protection and quality of finish.
This will not duplicate the original finish, but it will bring out the woodgrain more and IMO look better than original.
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restrain the people; it is an instrument for the


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#12 KP Texan

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 08:45 AM

I'm with you on making this one look look a well cared for old gun; I don't think the bluing will ever look brand new again and this nice little gun isn't going to be a safe queen. I plan on shooting it!

I finally got started on the project last night and had the parts all laid out on our breakfast table fairly quickly (my wife just loves it). I first tried to see how difficult it would be to remove the rust with a some oil and a little bronze brush. Although it made a difference, it really didn't work too well. Then, I decided to start in with the 0000 steel wool. This worked much better and I made sure to keep the rust residue cleaned up so it wouldn't damage the bluing. All in all, this made a big difference and the rust seems to no longer be there. What I am a little disappointed in is that there seems to be some staining in the bluing left from the rust. The rust did not pit the steel since I can feel no surface damage, but there just seems to be some staining. Bear in mind that I was being very careful with the steel wool and did not want to damage the bluing. If I continue with the steel wool, do you think I can remove this staining without damaging the bluing? I left a heavy coat of Breakfree CLP on the parts last night so hopefully it will soak in and help me out a bit today or tomorrow. Regardless of what I'm able to do with it, the finish already looks ten times better. Also, you will notice that there is a little crack in the fore-end. What would be the best way to repair this? I was thinking of getting some Titebond wood glue deep inside the crack and then carefully clamping it with some plastic jawed wood clamps. I will also refinish the aluminum butt plate; would a high quality primer and gloss black spray paint work fine for this? It almost seems like the original finish was anodized but I'm not too sure.

Thanks so much for the help,

Wes

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#13 pump .22s

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 04:01 PM

KP Texan,,, First welcome to the little forum here, and good to see another Texan join in here!!

That spring find from Brownell's looks to be a real great idea. How bad can you get hurt at $3.05 for a spring!! I will definitely remember that part!!

I would agree with others here about sanding on your stock. Besides, you have that fore arm that would be really tough to get the grooves to come out looking right with sand paper anyway. I am a chemistry kind of guy any way, so let me caution you on strippers. Get outside, no matter how bad you want to be inside where it is warm. Almost all of these chemicals do NOT need to be in your lungs. They vary on intensity and also in chemical make up, for different kinds of finishes to be removed. Lately, there have been some mentioned from Home depot ( I forget the exact name) but they say theses are actually good at even taking off the poly urethane finishes. With those, I would tell you, if it will get the Urethanes, it will likely get almost any other finish I can think of. Just be safe, do it outside, and keep the eye protection on and use the kind of gloves recommended on on the stripper packaging. Many of the gloves will melt like butter when in contact with some of these strippers..

And............ it goes without saying, pics are always welcome here, and no hosting service is needed here either!!!

Again, WELCOME ... I am up on Toledo Bend at the Texas Louisiana border.... Let us know what else you shoot and where........


Hey Longplay....do you live close to Center? I live about five miles out on 7 west. Been looking at all this discussion on 121s. Nice rifles.

#14 LongPlay

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Posted 12 January 2011 - 05:00 PM

Hey Longplay....do you live close to Center? I live about five miles out on 7 west. Been looking at all this discussion on 121s. Nice rifles.


I am quite close there Pump22!!

I live about 18 miles south of Hemphill just off of hwy 87.

Ride by your place sometimes on my bike when it is not so blasted cold!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to the forum here. We have a bench rest match second saturday of each month starting in February... come on out and shoot with us.
We have plinker class and sporter class, and all are a lot of fun....
Lots of good folks and some fun at the same time.
Lionel

#15 pump .22s

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 06:12 PM

I am quite close there Pump22!!

I live about 18 miles south of Hemphill just off of hwy 87.

Ride by your place sometimes on my bike when it is not so blasted cold!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to the forum here. We have a bench rest match second saturday of each month starting in February... come on out and shoot with us.
We have plinker class and sporter class, and all are a lot of fun....
Lots of good folks and some fun at the same time.
Lionel


Thanks LongPlay....if you will provide more specifics on time of day and location, I might find time to drive down and see what you guys are doing.

#16 KP Texan

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 12:43 PM

Dwight,

Thanks for recommending the Tru-Oil. This stuff makes an awesome finish and is so easy to apply! I've spend a decent amount of time doing woodworking and have used lots of stains and polyurethanes; I think this is the best finish I've ever used!

-Wes

Two coats of Tru-Oil and quite a few more to go:
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Fixing the crack in the foreend:
Posted Image

Edited by KP Texan, 04 February 2011 - 12:44 PM.


#17 Bigboy

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 09:58 PM


An unfired 1949 Remington 121

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Edited by Bigboy, 05 February 2011 - 10:02 PM.


#18 Pdwight

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 10:05 AM


An unfired 1949 Remington 121


WOW
A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different, because I was important in the life of a child.

for Zach, Everett, and Lilly

#19 Patrick N

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 06:48 PM


An unfired 1949 Remington 121


I'll agree with Dwight, WOW! I don't think it would remain unfired very long if it was living at my house.

Beautiful rifle!
Gun control is like trying to reduce drunk driving by trying to make it tougher for sober people to own cars.




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