Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Polish M-44...to restore, or not to restore...

    I picked up a beautiful Polish M-44 at the gun show in York last weekend. The gun is all matching, blueing is as close to 100% as you can get, and upon examination is unfired. It's dated 1953.

    Here are some pictures:

    2010-03-01 18.44.51.jpg

    2010-03-01 18.45.03.jpg

    2010-03-01 18.45.20.jpg

    2010-03-01 18.45.30.jpg

    2010-03-01 18.45.53.jpg

    Now, it's hard to tell from the pics but there is a very thin shellac on the stock. It's uneven, in some places feels like it isn't there at all and in others it's visibly present. The dealer said he bought it from an estate collection several years ago. I don't know if this uneven finish is the original factory finish that has simply worn off or was poorly applied, or if it was an attempt by the previous owner to refinish the stock.

    My inclination is to clean it up, seal the wood, and apply either a rub on polyurethane or maybe TruOil coating. I don't want to do anything radical to it, but I do intend to shoot the gun--and I'm known to go shooting in the rain and snow so I'd like to keep the wood in good condition.

    I'm not much of a collector of guns, I buy them to shoot them. With this one, I bought it because of it's mechanical condition and the likelihood of it being an awesome shooter. However, as I learn more about the gun, I've begun to understand that the Polish M-44's are on the rare side.

    So my dilemma is do I keep it in it's current condition and preserve any historical/collector value, or do I risk losing that by cleaning up the stock?

    If it weren't in such nice condition, or was a typical Mosin arsenal refurb, I wouldn't hesitate to do what I feel like doing--but considering that this one is about as close to perfect as it gets, and is unfired....

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Polish M-44...to restore, or not to restore...

    Leave it. Or if you want, I have an all-matching Yugo M48A I'll trade ya.
    All of my guns are lubed with BACON GREASE.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Polish M-44...to restore, or not to restore...

    Quote Originally Posted by mak47 View Post
    . . . Now, it's hard to tell from the pics but there is a very thin shellac on the stock. It's uneven, in some places feels like it isn't there at all and in others it's visibly present.

    My inclination is to clean it up, seal the wood, and apply either a rub on polyurethane or maybe TruOil coating.
    Not only no, but "hell no!" DON'T DO IT.


    I don't want to do anything radical to it, but I do intend to shoot the gun--and I'm known to go shooting in the rain and snow so I'd like to keep the wood in good condition.
    Poly or Tru Oil is radical.

    The original finish is shellac. If you MUST repair the finish, use fresh shellac. Cans are dated on the bottom. Buy a can that was made in the last six month. Remove the stock from the action, and all metal. Use gunsmith screwdrivers to avoid buggering the screws (It seems most owners bugger screwheads while applying their polyurethane finish as they transform $250 milsurps into $125 milsurps). Wipe down the stock with a LINT-FREE cloth dipped in denatured alcohol. STIR (do NOT shake!) the fresh shellac. You do NOT want air bubbles in the shellac. The alcohol wipedown will just start to remelt the old shellac, and will help the fresh shellac to bond to the old. Wipe on the fresh shellac or brush it on IN ONE DIRECTION using a bristle (not synthetic) brush. Allow to dry 4-6 hrs and apply a second coat. Allow that to dry 24 hrs and reassemble.

    Many Mosin collectors do not consider a reshellacing to harm the value, but some ultra-purist collector types do hold that ANY finish repair is a detraction. Personally, a well-done shellac job is about impossible to tell from an out-of-the-crate Mosin in really nice condition.

    Noah

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Polish M-44...to restore, or not to restore...

    OK. Obviously its not wise to do anything to it.

    At this point I think what ill do is carefully remove the stock and pack it safely away. Then ill put it in a surplus stock or maybe even one of those poly ones so I can take it out shooting without worrying about screwing up the original wood. Hopefully I can find a surplus stock online somewhere, I really hate the look of those black poly ones.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Polish M-44...to restore, or not to restore...

    Quote Originally Posted by Noah_Zark View Post

    The original finish is shellac. If you MUST repair the finish, use fresh shellac. Cans are dated on the bottom. Buy a can that was made in the last six month. Remove the stock from the action, and all metal. Use gunsmith screwdrivers to avoid buggering the screws (It seems most owners bugger screwheads while applying their polyurethane finish as they transform $250 milsurps into $125 milsurps). Wipe down the stock with a LINT-FREE cloth dipped in denatured alcohol. STIR (do NOT shake!) the fresh shellac. You do NOT want air bubbles in the shellac. The alcohol wipedown will just start to remelt the old shellac, and will help the fresh shellac to bond to the old. Wipe on the fresh shellac or brush it on IN ONE DIRECTION using a bristle (not synthetic) brush. Allow to dry 4-6 hrs and apply a second coat. Allow that to dry 24 hrs and reassemble.
    ^^^ what he said ^^^

    It's a Mosin, you can buy them for $100 - $150 at most gun shows in various condition. I had one like the one you bought, but with a laminated stock, traded it with some other stuff in a AR deal.... kick my butt for it was beautiful for a Mosin

    Numerich, www.e-gunparts.com has Mosin parts
    Honesta Mors Turpi Vita Potior ~ 3%

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Polish M-44...to restore, or not to restore...

    This looks like one of the brand new polish M44s I saw at Navy Arms in Ridgefield, NJ in the early 90s. They were brand new and cost $75. I made the mistake of not buying one.

    Leave it as is that's the way they came from the factory.

  7. #7
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    Jun 2008
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    East Hempfield, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Polish M-44...to restore, or not to restore...

    How much did it set you back, if you don't mind me asking?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Polish M-44...to restore, or not to restore...

    Quote Originally Posted by OvadekP View Post
    How much did it set you back, if you don't mind me asking?
    $290. A little pricey for a Mosin, I know, but it was just so damn pretty. Plus the idea of shooting a "brand new" Mosin Nagant was very enticing.

    I took it out today. Far more accurate than any surpus M-44 or 91/30 I've had the pleasure of firing. In typical M-44 fashion it did shoot to the left if the bayonet wasn't folded out. With it out though, dead on.

    With some practice and quality ammo, this thing could be quite impressive.

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