How to Restore an 1858 Remington

Written by robert dyer
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How to Restore an 1858 Remington
Restoring an 1858 Remington revolver gives you a piece of history to be proud of. (Doug Berry/Photodisc/Getty Images)

While a rust-encrusted 1858 Remington New Army revolver may look like just an old rusty museum relic to some, with a little work you can make this revolver into a beautiful work of art. Using some simple tools and a little knowledge one can easily restore this revolver. Once completed, this revolver will be a collector's item that is worth keeping for years to come.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Cold apply gun blue kit
  • Cotton balls
  • File
  • Rust removing solvent
  • Bucket
  • Steel wool
  • Replacement pistol grips
  • Replacement bullet cylinder
  • Replacement hammer
  • Replacement springs
  • Replacement loading lever
  • Replacement cylinder pin
  • Replacement trigger
  • Old rags
  • Tack Hammer
  • Jeweller's Chisel
  • ¼ inch diameter 12 inch long oak dowel
  • Sandpaper
  • Varnish

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  1. 1

    Pour rust removing solvent into the bucket until it is about 4 inches deep. Place the revolver into the bucket, submersing it in the rust removing solvent.

  2. 2

    Soak the revolver in the rust removing solvent for 24 hours.

  3. 3

    Remove the revolver from the bucket of solvent.

  4. 4

    Wipe the revolver down with an old rag.

  5. 5

    Pull the hammer to the half cock position if possible. Otherwise unscrew the screw that is just above the pistol grip and remove the hammer. This should allow the cylinder to spin freely.

  6. 6

    Unlatch the loading lever and move it to the halfway position under the barrel. Then slide the cylinder pin forward to the stop. If these parts won't move, unscrew the screw in front of the cylinder and remove these parts from the revolver, then place them back into the rust removing solvent.

  7. 7

    Remove the cylinder out of the right side of the revolver. If the cylinder is stuck at this point, cover the revolver with an old rag and gently tap the cylinder out of the revolver using the tack hammer.

  8. 8

    Unscrew the screw in the middle of the pistol grips. Remove the pistol grips from the revolver. It may be necessary to use the jeweller's chisel to gently get under the edge of the pistol grips and pry them off of the revolver. If this is the case, once the grips are removed return the revolver for another 24 hours to the rust removing solvent. The revolver should now be stripped down to just the frame of the revolver.

  9. 9

    Wrap steel wool around the end of the ¼ inch diameter oak dowel and then push the steel wool through the bore of the barrel to polish the inside of the barrel and remove any rust.

  10. 10

    Replace any parts that are damaged too badly to be reused. In order to maximise the value of the revolver, use as many of the original parts as possible.

  1. 1

    Rub the entire revolver and all parts with steel wool to polish them and prepare them for reassembly.

  2. 2

    Attach the grips to the pistol by screwing the screw in the middle of the pistol grips back into place.

  3. 3

    Return the cylinder into the right side of the revolver. In this process return any parts such as the loading lever, cylinder pin, and hammer and springs back into place. Screw back into place any screws in front of the cylinder or above the pistol grips that had to be removed during disassembly.

  4. 4

    Slide the cylinder pin back into place, holding the cylinder in place on the revolver.

  5. 5

    Return the loading lever to a position where it is under the barrel and is latched into place.

  6. 6

    Return the hammer to the position where it is engaged on the cylinder. The gun has now been reassembled.

  1. 1

    Apply varnish to the pistol grips by rubbing varnish on them with an old rag.

  2. 2

    Pour gun blue onto a cotton ball.

  3. 3

    Rub gun blue onto the barrel, loading lever, and frame and hammer of the revolver. Allow this to dry for 24 hours.

  4. 4

    Cock the hammer of the revolver into the half cock position, allowing the cylinder to spin freely.

  5. 5

    Pour gun blue onto a cotton ball and rub the gun blue on the cylinder of the revolver, spinning it as needed to completely cover the cylinder with gun blue. Allow this to dry for 24 hours. At this point the pistol is restored and can be loaded and used or placed in a case for display.

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