Ray’s Technical Corner

Q Ray, I went to a local gunsmith to get my Parker shotgun reblued, and he told me he could not reblue it because he only used “hot bluing.” He went on to say that this would cause my barrels and ribs to come apart. What’s up with that, and what should I do?
Mike Rush – WA
via e-mail

Hello, Mike. Fortunately, your gunsmith is knowledgeable for I had an incident where a customer brought in his side-by-side barrels and two ribs all in separate pieces! Your Parker was soldered together using low temperature solder, and modern “hot bluing” will cause the solder to melt. The good news is your Parker can be reblued using the “slow rust” method or what is also referred to as either Belgium Bluing, hot water bluing or Express Bluing. These particular methods do not go above 212 degrees whereas modern hot bluing operates between 275-295 degrees. By the way, Parkers and other older shotguns have more iron in them and no chrome alloy, and with quality surface preparation, their bluing color is very appealing.

Q I acquired an older shotgun which I have identified as a Marlin Model 26. It has been neglected and malfunctions when cycling. Are you familiar with this shotgun, and what do you recommend regarding the repairs?
Leonard McBride – CA
via e-mail

Hello, Leonard. Oh, how I remember the Marlin 26! Like the Winchester Model 1897, the Model 26 has a lot of parts and they are seldom seen anymore. The repair of this shotgun will require an experienced gunsmith, and if parts are needed, hopefully they can be located or the gunsmith can make them for you. Keep in mind, Leonard, your shotgun is possibly 100 years old, and before firing it, a complete evaluation of its condition should be done to assure it is, in fact, safe to shoot.

Q I own a Beretta 303 and while shooting it, the shotgun would no longer fire and the bolt now freely moves forwards and backwards. What do you think is wrong?
Charlie – GA
via e-mail

Hello, Charlie. I am relatively sure the “bolt slide strut” broke on your 300 series Beretta. This is a common occurrence, but the good news is this is an easy and inexpensive repair. It does require removal of the forend wood, barrel, slide action assembly with the bolt and the trigger housing. I would recommend you keep an extra bolt slide strut on hand, Charlie.

Q There has been a shotgun in our family that has been “handed around” for several years. It was basically put away in storage because it just would not reliably cycle and eject. It is a High Standard Supermatic, and my grandfather purchased it many years ago from Sears & Roebuck. I would like to get it working and decided to write to you. Can you help me?
Art Duncan – SD
via e-mail

Hello, Art. I am familiar with High Standard shotguns, and your model has a gas control system that was claimed to automatically adjust to shells of different power levels. Almost every time I came across one of these Supermatics, the malfunction culprit was in this system. It is somewhat unique, and the entire mechanism must be kept clean for reliable cycling, including the barrel chamber. If you are so inclined, complete some research on this shotgun, and diligently note the disassembly and reassembly of the gas control system. Once you have it thoroughly cleaned and have the mechanism back together, then shoot some different brands and load levels of shells in the shotgun. You may discover one or two brands or types of shotshells reliably cycle, and some others may not. If this does not solve the cycling problem, then an experienced gunsmith will be needed. By the way, parts may be difficult to locate for your shotgun. Keep me posted about the outcome. For the record, Art, I have always liked the Supermatic. SS

Ray Jacobs has been a gunsmith and a machinist for over 40 years and has completed apprenticeships with both Al Timney and Dan King all while attending technical school. For the last 30 years, Ray has pursued his passion of repairing and restoring shotguns while operating a machine shop. In 1986 Ray became affiliated with the Shotgun Sports Shootin’ Accessories product line while also providing technical advice and consulting services that are shotgun related. Having spent most of his life in California, he now resides in Georgia (which has long been recognized as the Quail Capital of the World) with his wife Lisa, a bird dog named Waylon and several cats.

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