Sanding Rubber

My wife was recently given her grandfather's hunting rifle.  The Remington Model 721 in .270 was purchased new in 1952.  It has been on many a hunting trip.  Her father used it to take his first deer.  When we got it, it was in need of a little TLC.

There was a small crack at the front of the stock and the recoil pad was the original from '52.  We removed the old recoil pad, watching it disintegrate as it came off.  We then plugged the old holes with dowels and glued the crack in the stock.

We applied linseed oil to the stock and got to work on the recoil pad.  I picked up a Limbsaver grind to fit as I had heard that they were fairly easy to install and worked great.  We mounted the pad and traced out the contour of the rifle.  We then removed the pad and got to sanding.  My wife went first and after a half hour came in covered in tiny black rubber particles and oil.  Apparently finishing the recoil pad would be my job.

I started with dry 60 grit paper on a rotary sander and soon applied oil.  I got the general shape roughed out and switched to the fine stuff.  I got it shaped well, but I had gotten too aggressive and melted the rubber in a few spots.  I brought it back in and started to mount it up, but it was still too big.  Somehow we hadn't scribed the shape quite right.  I tried tried again and got it right.

Then my wife took it to the range and got it right, right from the start.  She was shooting 1-1/2", 5 shot groups at 100 yards with little effort and 20 year old ammo.

A flat shooting 58 year old rifle, full of hunting juju, I'm looking forward to November.

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