I stumbled on a S&W Model 916A pump action 12-gauge that had been left on a shelf in a damp cellar for 15 years. The poor girl has such a case of surface rust, she looks like a Brown Bess.
I have a couple of problems. Mechanically, she's sound. But unlike a modern 12-gauge where you can remove the barrel with a twist of the wrist and a pull, which also lets you remove the bolt and bolt carrier, the 916A's barrel is threaded on. Taking a 916A down involves a special screwdriver and drifting out two pins so you can get at the bolt. I'm scared to do that. I can get the rust off, but then how do I reblue her?
So what I need is a reliable cold blue I can use on the receiver, barrel and magazine tube without stripping down the shotgun. I have a Birchwood Casey cold blue kit on hand, but I'd like to know if there are any alternatives. I'd go with Dura-Coat if I could detail-strip her, but as I said this shotgun was made in the days when if you had a problem bad enough to take a shotgun down, you took it to a gunsmith and paid him to do it.
Mooseman684 has cautioned me NOT to try and get the barrel off the receiver. It requires a special vise and not even all gunsmiths have one, so I'm pretty much limited in what I can do for refinishing. A friend of mine in the Carolinas asked her local gun shop what I should do, and they said the same thing: don't even try and take it down and for heaven's sake don't fiddle with the barrel!
I'm pathetically grateful for any advice anyone can give me here. This shotgun was one of the first made for the 3 inch magnum shotshells and she deserves to be brought back to a nice look. Please help me bring her back.