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PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:10 pm 
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I recently purchased one of the untouched Nepalese P-53 Enfield rifle-muskets from IMA on a weekend special. I have taken advantage of my new camera to document what I received and what I have been able to do with it. I hope this thread will be useful to those who, like me, have only limited tools and experience in firearms repair. I am presently concentrating on cleaning the weapon and restoring it to a structurally sound and functional condition. I am not trying to restore it to "like new", or planning to use it as a shooter.
My philosophy of restoration, partly out of necessity because I have few tools beyond a set of gunsmith's screwdrivers and simple gun cleaning kit, is to proceed as a 19th century Nepalese workman would have, relying on manual labor rather than power tools, and improvising with whatever is available. I try to put myself in the mindset of one of those workers with the mantra: "I must not break the King's rifle, or I will surely be beaten severely or killed."
Day 1
The rifle and bayonet arrived in a sturdy brown cardboard box which I use as an improvised workbench. The contents are wrapped in plastic bubble wrap secured with tape, cushioned with a copious quantity of plastic peanuts. Unpacked, the contents resemble something out of an ancient tomb.
The bayonet, after being wiped with a dry towel, is attached to an already- cleaned P-53 hanging on the study wall which did not have one. This gets it out of the way for now and completes a display.
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The rifle appears to be totally complete, including the original butt plate still firmly attached with correct screws. All sights, bands, band springs, sling swivels and ramrod are present. The ramrod is bent, and appears to be rusted badly inside the forestock, causing a longitudinal split. The worst thing is the trigger guard, which is broken in two places. I'll call or email IMA to see about the availability of an extra after I've cleaned and disassembled the whole thing to see if anything else is on the wish list. (If that fails, the Rifle Shoppe has reproductions). Otherwise, the stock is sound and everything looks good to go for a fun project.
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This is a bad picture, but it does show the less-than-perfectly-round muzzle opening, and the interior of the bore. No cleaning has been done, obviously; this is just as it came out of the box.
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Day 2
The barrel is out of the stock, the bands are in the process of cleaning. One side nail out, one still to go. Until I get the lock off I don't know what to expect, but the hammer does not engage or hold when pulled back.
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The stock, along the barrel channel and at the breech, looks like I am going to get to learn how to use AcraGlas. The rammer is thoroughly rusted in place in the stock; that is going to take some thought and careful work.
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Day 3
Not too much time to work on the project today, but some progress. The reluctant side nail finally loosened with injections of PB Blaster-acetone mix. The lock innards are fairly clean, the stock is coming along slowly to applications of denatured alcohol and elbow grease.
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With the help of a friend I was able to drive the rammer out from within the lock cavity.
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It is badly corroded in the middle as expected, but all intact and now being cleaned preparatory to straightening. The initial cleaning of the bore shows distinct rifling, but still needs a lot of work.
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Here is the rammer as removed from the stock: rusty and corroded, and bent like a snake:
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Day 4
It's not quite "straight as a ramrod" yet, but after careful straightening by hand it goes in more easily than it came out.
After a good cleaning the lock works, holds on half and full cock. Slow going, but I'm having a lot of fun on this one.
Image

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 Post subject: Desiderata
PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:15 pm 
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Here's my updated 19th century armoury. The biggest single investment is a set of gunsmith's screwdrivers, without which it is almost impossible to disassemble an old gun, at least without marring the screw heads or doing worse damage. Remember the Hippocratic injunction Primum Non Nocere: "Above all, do no harm."
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Books are a sound investment, but much valuable information is available online for free. Gunboards Forum and British Militaria Forum are especially rich in information, and contain many useful links for information, parts, tools and dealers. Those forums are the best sources of knowledge regarding the use of power tools, epoxy, and all sorts of technological advances made since the Victorian era.
Also needed are a light hammer, wood chisel, sandpaper of varying grits, 0000 steel wool, and all sorts of specialized tools for unforeseen tasks. A vice and workbench make everything much easier I am told. Someday I will get one, and a scale to put on it, too! Many tools can be improvised from unlikely sources, limited only by your imagination and available supply of scrap. Think of the chimpanzee using a straw to extract termites from a mound; imitate his ingenuity, if not his diet. A dental pick is an invaluable tool; if anyone knows what I did with mine, please send me a PM. Notice I have finally found a legitimate use for a cheap Indian lionhead karda!
Keep plenty of old newspapers and cardboard to cover the floor or workbench, as well as rolls of paper towels and old cotton undershirts,
Caution: oil-soaked rags and papers are a potential spontaneous combustion hazard; volatile solvents should be used only with adequate ventilation, away from open flames or other potential ignition sources. Some assembly required; choking hazard for small children; use only with adult supervision; coffee may be very hot; do not drive with sunscreen in place. [/Liability avoidance mode off.] :mrgreen:

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"It is foolishness and endless trouble to cast a stone at every dog that barks at you."  George Silver, Brief Instructions to my Paradoxes of Defence, London-1599.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2010 9:46 pm 
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Day 5
I spent several hours cleaning the barrel and stock, and to my eye it seems I am making progress. Alas, neither my camera nor my photographic skills seems able to capture any discernable change in appearance, so perhaps the perceived improvement is just wishful thinking. :oops:
Here, on the other hand, is something tangible: several hours of scraping with the mild steel karda and polishing with Flitz have revealed that beneath all the congealed grease of a century was in fact a proverbial "glittering bayonet".
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Equally important, the locking ring now functions, aided by injections of PB Blaster and acetone. PB Blaster is an excellent penetrating oil, but the acetone helps it to get into tiny crevices for which it would otherwise be too thick and viscous. A hypodermic syringe is useful here, as well.
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Image
I translate the trigger guard markings as:
Devidutta Battalion
[Company] 9
Number
39

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"It is foolishness and endless trouble to cast a stone at every dog that barks at you."  George Silver, Brief Instructions to my Paradoxes of Defence, London-1599.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:21 am 
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Day 6
Since the denatured alcohol had reached the limit of its effectiveness, I followed a suggestion I found on one of the other forums. I tried using acetone on the stock, with excellent results. Areas like the wrist and forestock which had remained black with stubborn oil and dirt suddenly revealed lovely walnut grain. The effect is somewhat diminished by the camera's flash, so tomorrow I will clean some more and try a few sunlight pictures.
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For now I am calling it a day, having decided to follow the caution label on the acetone container. And no fooling here, this is for real :shock: :
Quote:
If increased odor is noticed, or you experience dizziness, eye watering, headaches, nausea or loss of coordination, cover product and leave area immediately. Do not return until adequate ventilation has been established.
Although I was working in a garage with the door open and an electric fan, I could definitely feel the need to leave the area after about 30 minutes. Good stuff, but use with extreme caution.

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"It is foolishness and endless trouble to cast a stone at every dog that barks at you."  George Silver, Brief Instructions to my Paradoxes of Defence, London-1599.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:22 pm 
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Day 7
Daylight pics, after some more cleaning with acetone.
Image
After one week, the lock now functions (mostly) when installed in the cleaned stock. (Sear engagement is a little iffy, but without the side nails in place to provide tension, I'm reluctant to fiddle with the lock adjustment just yet.) The barrel is marinating in CLP to remove as much active rust from the pitted areas as possible, so it can't go back in the stock until it is wiped down. I am satisfied with the progress so far - it now looks like an antique rifle, not an archaeological artifact. 8)
Image

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"It is foolishness and endless trouble to cast a stone at every dog that barks at you."  George Silver, Brief Instructions to my Paradoxes of Defence, London-1599.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:36 am 
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The end of the beginning
Bad news first: the sear spring is cracked, so that it can't put sufficient pressure on the sear to reliably engage the tumbler.
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No original sear springs are listed on the IMA website; replicas of the British original are listed at the Rifle Shoppe and perhaps other sources I haven't checked yet. SO, until I can replace the defective spring, things are at a good stopping place for now.
The good news: it's a handsome old weapon,
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and it has been good fun so far, and a learning experience at a modest price.
Image

Watch this space for future developments. :arrow:

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"It is foolishness and endless trouble to cast a stone at every dog that barks at you."  George Silver, Brief Instructions to my Paradoxes of Defence, London-1599.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:00 am 
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Berk.Great work I really admire people who can do this stuff, I neither have the ability or the patience. Its been great watching it all come together. Rod


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:44 am 
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Thanks Berk, An entertaining & fascinating read & project.

Spiral


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:49 pm 
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Here's a comparison of the original cracked spring and a replacement from Dixie Gun Works. Did I mention that a set of files is a useful part of the tool kit? :lol:
Image

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"It is foolishness and endless trouble to cast a stone at every dog that barks at you."  George Silver, Brief Instructions to my Paradoxes of Defence, London-1599.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:30 am 
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Several applications of boiled linseed oil and the addition of a sling bring the Gurkha Enfield up to speed for display with some contemporary weapons.


Attachments:
Nepalese weapons c. 1860.jpg
Nepalese weapons c. 1860.jpg [ 394.45 KiB | Viewed 8546 times ]

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"It is foolishness and endless trouble to cast a stone at every dog that barks at you."  George Silver, Brief Instructions to my Paradoxes of Defence, London-1599.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:34 pm 
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Nice display!

spiral


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