For so many Montanans, myself included, guns are part of our heritage, our daily lives, and our memories. It seems like just yesterday that my little Marlin® Mountie Model 39 came into my life; alas that day was almost 60 years ago. As the old saw goes, “time flies…” While I don’t shoot that little .22 lever gun much anymore, every time I open my safe and see it, I get, as some would say, “a warm fuzzy feeling” not unlike the wide-eyed boy who finally received his first gun.
Over time, a lot of firearms have come and gone in my life; the ones that really mean a lot to me never leave. One in particular has come and gone a couple of times and now it has gone away again. But it now has a new permanent home.
In the early sixties, my Dad traded his Model 70 .270 Winchester® for a Remington® 760. Dad never liked bolt action guns and opted for the Remington® pump. In hindsight, this was not a solid financial decision. Today, the Model 70 is worth bunches more than the pump gun, but money isn’t always the most important factor in our decisions. The 760, in carbine form, was just what Dad wanted.
A few years later Dad’s .270 became mine, albeit temporarily. For a couple of years I carried that rifle during Montana’s hunting seasons and I took my first deer with it. After a few more seasons and several more mule deer bucks, I stepped up to the more powerful ’06 and Dad took his little .270 back. I don’t think he ever took another critter with the pump gun, always giving us kids first shot. He was content to let the boys do the shooting, enjoying his time with his sons, daughter, nieces, and nephews.
Debilitating illness took my Dad from the field and eventually from us at an early age. The 760 pump gun then went to others in our family. It spent its life in a gun case for over 30 years. Our family grew with more nieces, nephews, and our grandson. The current owner of the 760 decided to give the gun to our nephew for his high school graduation. He brought the gun to me about a year ago; the stock was dinged and scratched, the receiver and barrel pitted with rust sports, but the bore was clean. I decided a restoration of this 50 year rifle was highly appropriated.
I use Birchwood Casey® products and I’m especially fond of their Tru-Oil® finish. I use the aerosol version as it gives really nice even coats. I have no idea how many coats I put on the stocks, but dozens would be an accurate estimate. After the last coat and several days to “cure”, I wet sand the stock with a fine sandpaper, followed by a couple of pumice rubs and a final polishing with rottenstone. The results are a wonderful satin finish that will last decades.
The refurbished little pump gun looks new again and is now with its new owner, my nephew. His middle name is the same as Dad’s and I believe that the two belong together. An old gun is new again, and more memories, I’m sure, will be forthcoming.
Be safe and good shooting.