Vintage Firearms Inc

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Gunsmithing

Vintage Firearms Inc provides a full-service double gunsmith shop producing some of the finest work in the country.  In the double gun world, it is hard to find a gunsmith who not only knows the mechanics but understands how to make the restorations historically accurate.  That’s where we come in.  Top notch service, done right, and we stand by it with a solid warranty.   From a simple strip and clean, to full, historically correct restorations, we can keep your fine shotgun in top condition.  

How To: Maintain And Service Your Shotgun

Full Evaluation.
Have VFI review your gun from butt to muzzle so you know that the gun is safe to shoot and use.  We check trigger sear engagement, minimum safe barrel wall thicknesses, safety function, locking mechanisms that lock the barrels to the breech face while firing the gun, and inspect the wood for hidden cracks that could cause catastrophic failure of the stock.  



All of this is recommended to protect you, your shooting friends, and your loved ones who may use the gun in the future.  We also provide a document stating when it was made, how many of your make/model were made (if the information is available), amount of original condition remaining on gun, whether parts are all original to gun, specifics of choke constriction, trigger pull weights, weight of the gun, stock dimensions, bore diameter, and market value at the time of evaluation.  This document will serve as an official appraisal of value for insurance and estate purposes, as well as giving you a solid idea of what you own and how it may best be used and serviced in the future.  
 
Many of our clients who buy a firearm over the internet utilize this service to determine if they are going to keep the gun or return it on the 3-day inspection.  
Cost will range between $100 and $200 depending on the amount of detail requested.

VFI Certified.
Our most popular service.  We recommend the “VFI Certified” process on every vintage shotgun.  This is a full strip, clean, & inspection of the mechanical systems of your shotgun.  The action and forend iron are stripped to the smallest part, cleaned in the Ultrasonic cleaner, inspected for integrity and function, lubricated and reassembled.  VFI CERTIFIED GUNS have a 90-day mechanical warranty.   This service often cures sticky safeties, gummy triggers with stiff pulls, ejectors not functioning properly, and misfires caused by poor hammer hits


Gun Fit.
We bend hundreds of stocks every year.  Altering the stock dimensions to better fit your shooting style through bending the stock or altering the length of pull can make all the difference in your effectiveness with the shotgun.

Mechanics. 
Have us inspect springs, sears, hammers, firing pins, locking mechanisms, and more for damage, wear, etc.  This is a service that should be performed at least every 5 years to keep the gun safe and in top condition for another hundred years.


Wood.
Fix cracks and chips before they get worse.  Clean the oil and grime from the surface and feed your stock finish with replenishing oils to protect the wood and bring out the fine figure trapped under the dirt.  Stocks with oil soaking should have the dirty oil that has penetrated the wood for decades drawn out and the stock finish restored.  Oil-soaked wood deteriorates and causes cracks and breakage that can be very expensive to fix, or even require expensive replacement.  Recutting the worn checkering on your fine vintage gun will bring life back to the gun as well as provide a firm grip as intended.  Restoring the wood to historic correct finish will not only protect the wood from the elements but also bring out the beauty intended by the maker.  
 
Metal.
Our full-service shop can restore the protective blue on barrels, trigger guards, and other small parts.  Actions should always have the protective finish as originally provided by the maker of the gun, either case colored, blued, or French grey.  We can replace worn or weak springs and parts with our extensive inventory or make parts that are unavailable.  Dents in barrels, pitting in the bores or exterior surfaces can be made to disappear.  Metal that has been improperly processed in the past can be made new again, with engraving touch-ups, expert filing and stoning to correct rounded and blurred images.  Barrels that are loose on face and continue being shot will become damaged more quickly through use.  We can properly bring your barrels to be tight on face and renew the locking mechanisms so they engage as intended when new.  It is a simple process to eliminate that wiggle on the hinge pin when the barrels are open on the action.  Loose ribs can completely pop off the gun if you continue to use the gun without repairing this issue.  It is always less expensive to fix the issues before major damage occurs from ignoring the problems.
 

Full Gun Restorations

Beyond just maintaining your firearms, here is where you put some money towards the “art” of the gun.  The benefit in having your work done here is that we will always advise you on how the changes you are making will ultimately affect the sale value of your firearm down the line.  We specialize in the history of these guns, the selling market, and what buyers/collectors are looking at.
 
Examples:
Repair cracks or chips and make them invisible, grain lines blended to perfection.  Take a so-so finish and have us strip it, fill in grain/pores, and re-finish to whatever result you desire  (high gloss, mid gloss, matte, etc).  Make your gun lighter and give it a sleek European style stock by removing the pistol grip and making it straight stocked.  Go all out with a Purdey-style leather covered pad.  
Re-engrave the receiver to factory engraving and full case color.  Need a second set of barrels for more shooting versatility?  We will find a set for you and fit them up, engraved to match. 

Extra Services For Your Gun

Anything you want, we can build.  We have customers do full restorations for many reasons.  You may be taller, and need a longer length of pull than usually found in the vintage doubles.  You may want a matching pair to a gun you already own.  Or simply, you want to pick the wood on your gun, and you want it built to your specifications.  We can find a gun that will fit your restoration needs, and take care of the whole process start to finish.  The owner, Jay Shachter, will oversee this entire process with you.
 
1.  Establish your dimensions.  Discuss the vision for project with our guidance.  
2.  Pick your wood.  Stock shaped and fit to receiver.
3. Engraving 
4. Case coloring
5. Finishing work.  Fine checkering, hand rubbed oil finishes.
6. Custom built case to store gun, if desired.

Services & Prices

ACTION/RECEIVER

Maintenance/Mechanics

  • “VFI Certified” – Ultrasonic clean action, scrub and inspect parts for function and integrity, measure spring tensions, lubricate properly, 90-day mechanical warranty : $275
  • Ultrasonic Clean ejector forend, details same as above : $100
  • Safety issues– safety buttons that are stiff, loose, gummy, or malfunctioning can be easily made right.  We commonly take three position safeties as found on L.C. Smith guns and eliminate the rear position that is actually “FIRE” mode designed for clay target and live bird shooters.  We call them “WIDOW MAKER” safeties as most guns are in the safe position when all the way rearward. 
  • Repair buggered screws– many can be made excellent with punch, files, and a short amount of time; some need welding, engraving, or to be made new from scratch.  Cost ranges $50 – $250 per screw.
  • Ejector timing and repair– many times Ultrasonic cleaning solves the problems.  We can fix any issues we find, including springs, sears, ejector hammers, etc.  We have a large inventory of parts for most makes and models
  • Triggers– many times Ultrasonic cleaning greatly improves trigger function, crispness, and pull weights.  We can tune triggers to suit your needs.  SINGLE SELECTIVE TRIGGERS REPAIRED AND MADE TO FUNCTION RELIABLY.
  • Top lever left of center– we can adjust your action so the top lever performs as designed and bring the top opening lever to right of center to properly lock the barrels to the action
  • Rejoint side by side shotgun– MAKE BARRELS TIGHT ON BREECH FACE- we properly square up the breech face of the barrels and bring them to be tight on the standing breech of the action. Costs average from $550 to $950
  • Tight on hinge pin-if your barrels wiggle on the hinge pin when they are fully open, we make them tight as new again.  Costs average $240 to $380
  • Engraving– we have several Master Engravers that do our work under contract, the finest in the country.  If your vintage shotgun has worn, damaged, or “soft” engraving, it can be touched up to look as it did when it left the factory.  Price by quote.
  • Case color– we carefully prepare your action to remove flaws prior to sending to Turnbull Restorations for their world-renowned bone and charcoal case color.  Our shop can provide expedited service and reduced costs compared to going direct, and we manage the entire project.
  • Trigger guards– most makers used a charcoal blue on their trigger guards.  We faithfully reproduce the factory finishes.
 

The heart of any gun, most of what we work on are double barreled shotguns.  We can perform the same services on any shotgun barrel.

  • Measure up bore diameter, choke constriction, and minimum barrel wall thickness, check for sound ribs.  This is always done before altering a set of barrels : $15
  • Lengthen chambers– most guns can be made to shoot 2 ¾” modern ammunition.  We always measure up the barrels to determine that we can work within safe tolerances before beginning work.  $80 Per Barrel
  • Extend forcing cones– most guns have short, abrupt forcing cones measuring about 5/8” long.  Extending the taper of the cones to 1 ½” will noticeably reduce felt recoil to the shooter and, more importantly, to the fine original wood that is susceptible to cracking under heavy recoil.  A gentler transition from chamber to bore causes less pellet deformation and can improve patterns as deformed pellets tend to leave the pattern $100 Per Barrel
  • Remove dents– many can be removed without disturbing the blued finish. Approximate Cost per dent :$60
  • Sight replacement– we have many styles of shotgun beads from vintage shotguns, including genuine ivory.
  • Choke alterations– open existing chokes to a choke with less constriction- this service is performed from the breech end with tooling guaranteed to keep the cutter on the axis of the bore…the only correct way to alter chokes.  Most gunsmiths come in from the muzzle end risking off center chokes.  $150 Per Barrel
  • Ribs– the ribs on most vintage double-barreled shotguns were soft soldered in place and occasionally come loose in small sections.  We can properly relay the ribs, and sometimes small repairs can be done without the need to reblue the barrels. 
  • Slow Rust Blue– fine shotgun barrels are slow rust blued to protect the metal from the elements.  We make sure to not soften any lettering or stamps in the process, and the workmanship is the best available.  Barrels that need extra prep work would have an extra charge.  : $475
  • Recut lettering or stamps that have been softened over time, price by quote
  • Fitting a new set of barrels to an existing receiver.  We can make your gun into a 2-barrel set with matching serial numbers, engraving, etc.  We have barrel sets for sale for most​American vintage side x side shotguns. 

Maintaining the protective finish on the wood of your gun preserves the integrity and beauty of the wood.  Cracks and splits should be repaired before they get worse.  Stock fit is important to shooting a shotgun well.  Sometimes we need or desire to completely restock a fine gun.  General pricing for some of our services are below.  Most projects require discussion and choices.

  • Restore existing buttstock and forend, including recutting the borders only on the checkering.  Usually includes removing old finish, drawing oil from stock, inspecting for cracks or splits, and applying a hand rubbed oil finish layer upon layer until all pores are filled.  Desired sheen to be specified by the client : $750
  • Cracks, splits, splinters of wood missing, poor fit to action, or other flaws will be addressed if present.  Cost of repairing properly will be discussed with client.  Repairs are done with a goal of longevity during decades of use following the repairs.  Repairs are not strictly cosmetic.  Properly done, most repairs will hold up to recoil and use and not be noticeable.
  • Staining– we can change the color of your stock to more suit your tastes
  • Checkering– we recut existing checkering and properly finish to return the diamonds and points to original quality.  We also do new checkering on uncheckered wood.
  • Rubber Recoil Pad installation– we pay great attention to detail fitting and shaping the pad to your stock.  The black hard rubber base is polished and free of sanding marks.  To do properly requires 3 hours of time.  We maintain a supply of vintage pads, reproduction vintage pads, and modern pads for your selection. 
    • VFI top quality work – Average cost for superb work, including cost of pad:
      • Regular, modern, or reproduction pads  : $350
      • Premium pads – Silvers or original Hawkins $385
      • Leather covered pads: $625
      • QUICK PAD WITH SANDING MARKS IN SPACER, REGULAR PADS: $285
  • Stock bending– hot oil stock bending to help get your favorite gun to fit your properly.  We bend a lot of stocks and have superior equipment and methods that work.  Minimum cost : $250
  • Restocking your gun– we have $25,000 worth of fine walnut blanks in our inventory and more at our immediate disposal.  We can restock a fine double to your shooting dimensions with your choice of wood to personalize your gun to your tastes.  We understand the importance of historically correct shaping, checkering, and details so that your new stock will look just like the original maker would have made it, except it will fit YOU.  More important than the way it looks is the way it is headed up to the action so that it does not split and crack during use.  Prices start at : $2700

Restore your gun to factory new from butt to muzzle, with extreme attention to detail and historically correct finishes.  We review the gun thoroughly and give an estimate of cost to restore every aspect of the gun, ie wood, action, barrels, screws, mechanics to make the gun look and function as a new gun from the original maker

BUILT ON VINTAGE AMERICAN DOUBLE GUN BARRELED ACTIONS

We have an inventory of Fox, L.C. Smith, Parker, and Ithaca guns with broken, short, or otherwise bad wood that were purchased for their actions and barrels at a reduced price.

These guns (mostly Fox guns) can be stocked with the quality of wood of your choice and to your dimensions, checkered and finished to your liking, the barrels can be choked to your specifications, and the receivers will be restored to new to give you a truly custom gun built to your specifications.  Two-barrel sets are available as well, with 26”, 28”, and 32” barrels presently available.  We have several world-class engravers that can create the engraving you choose. 

We help you choose a hard, trunk style case for your gun and custom fit the case to your gun so there is no movement during storage or transport. 

The areas that typically wear in a traditional case are reinforced with heavy saddle leather.  Accessories (nickel snap caps, oil bottle, ebony or rosewood cleaning rod, and cleaning brushes, jags, and swab) and leather trade label are added to help properly display your gun.  Cases can be new or select from our inventory of vintage cases for your vintage gun. 

  • Canvas and leather custom fit cases start at : $950
  • Leather custom fitted cases start at : $1250
  • Oak and leather custom fitted cases start at : $1650

We evaluate your gun or one you are buying from an outside source on a 3-day inspection, so you know what you have or are buying.

We have the proper tools to measure barrels, stock dimensions, and the experience to spot hidden repairs, problem triggers, ejectors, guns made tight on face by illegitimate methods, restocked guns represented as original, etc.  Know what you have, or make sure you know what you are getting.  The cost of our evaluation can save you thousands during a 3-day inspection if the gun has hidden flaws that you may miss.  Cost : $125

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