Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

Welcome to the Leverguns.Com Forum. This is a high-class place so act respectable. We discuss most anything here ... politely.

Moderators: Hobie, AmBraCol

Forum rules
Welcome to the Leverguns.Com General Discussions Forum. This is a high-class place so act respectable. We discuss most anything here other than politics... politely.

Please post political post in the new Politics forum.
Post Reply
Message
Author
smdeeg
Levergunner
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:48 pm
Location: SillyCone Valley, CA

Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#1 Post by smdeeg » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:39 pm

Hello all. I recently inherited a Winchester model 53 25-20. It was my grandfathers and was found behind my grandmothers water heater when she passed several years ago. (I don't remember it as I would have grabbed had I seen it, but that's what mom says, and who am I to argue.) My step father passed this last week, and I discovered it in his closet. Once I realized that I was looking at a Winchester lever gun that was my grandfathers, I wrapped my arms around it and have refused to let go.

Picture(s): http://www.flickr.com/photos/smdeeg/set ... 669224449/

In doing research I ran across this site, and I'm hoping for a little help/advice. I plan to keep it in one form or another, but my preference is to have a working piece not a museum piece. It seems to be in pretty good condition to me considering its lack of care, but I will have it inspected by a local shop before doing anything crazy like chambering a round. I'm a hands on, tool using sort of guy though, and want to do what work I can until I really need a specialist, but I really want to make sure that I do no harm. What I would like to do first is clean it up and stop any more damage from being done. There's dirt and rust as you can see in the pics, but nothing that a little time and elbow grease can't get a handle on. My plan is to attack it with water, gun oil, wd40 for the rust, rags, stiff plastic brushes, small picks, and navel jelly for the rust I can't get with the wd40. Am I totally off base here? What about using brass brushes instead of plastic?

I shot a little 22 target in high school, and got plenty of experience cleaning M16s/M60s in the Army, but I haven't owned a gun in 20 years. Obviously I need a cleaning kit. Anything special to consider here? Are there 25 gauge bore brushes?

And then there's the basics: what the heck is the tear down procedure for one of these bad boys?

Thanks for taking the time to read. All thoughts, advice, opinions, pointers, and general words of wisdom gratefully received and appreciated.

- Scott

jdad
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 3177
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:55 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#2 Post by jdad » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:54 pm

You're making it too difficult, keep it simple, and things like water :shock: ,naval jelly & WD40 should be kept away. You just want to clean it up and use it as a shooter.....not strip it down to bare metal.

Coat the metal with Break Free, let it set for 10 minutes, then lightly rub with 0000 steel wool...nothing coarser and use light pressure. Wipe it off with heavy paper towels, then repeat as needed. You can even mix a little "Flitz" into the slurry. The wood just needs a couple coats of Howards "Feed N Wax". You can find it at home depot. If the bore and chamber are fine, then you will have a fine shooter.

Just my .02
I know a whole lot about very little and nothing about a whole lot.

User avatar
Rimfire McNutjob
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 2611
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:51 pm
Location: Sanford, FL.

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#3 Post by Rimfire McNutjob » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:01 pm

The model 53 is descended from the venerable Winchester model 1892 which was of course designed for Winchester by John Browning. Fortunately, I believe you can get factory 25 WCF (25-20) for it at a well stocked gun shop. And certainly you'll need a .25 caliber bore brush. Yours looks like it's done hard time in a warm damp place. You may want to have it checked for proper function by a gunsmith.

Kirk will probably be along shortly and can give you more info on the 53 as he's been doing some research on them.

Your gun should make a fine shooter with some cleanup. I don't know if I'd use any naval jelly on it though.
... I love poetry, long walks on the beach, and poking dead things with a stick.

jnyork
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 3765
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:33 pm
Location: Wyoming and Arizona

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#4 Post by jnyork » Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:47 pm

Spare the naval jelly at all costs!! :o

Just proceed as previously stated, BreakFree, fine steel wool, etc. +1 for the Howards.

If the bore is good and the internal parts are not all rusted up, you should be good to go, but you need it inspected by a qualified gunsmith. If the bore is bad, the barrel can be relined at not too exorbitant cost and it will be good for another century of service.
Image

User avatar
AJMD429
Posting leader...
Posts: 22341
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:03 am
Location: Hoosierland
Contact:

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#5 Post by AJMD429 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:05 pm

When I cleaned up the family 1889 Marlin of 1890's vintage, I used some WD-40 on a rag to wipe it all down (stock and metal), then used a pick to pick out crud from the screw slots. Any which wouldn't un-do easily got a shot of break-free. Use a perfectly fitting screwdriver if possible.

On-line diagrams and disassembly instructions are available, but FIRST, just take the stock off and clean it up a bit, then turn to the metal. You'll likely find the worst rust under the wood, especially the forend. Good news is the magazine tube is easily replaced if needed (compared to other parts).

WD-40 is safe on the metal, in my opinion, though other cleaners may be better in the long run. I'd run some patches through the barrel from the breech end if possible, then eventually some brass brush action.

If the muzzle rifling isn't too worn, that's good.

If the chamber isn't pitted (use a fiber-optic light like for a Mag-Lite, and a small 'dental' mirror) that's even better.

If the rifling in between is not showing pitting (you may have some aggressive brushing to do at some point), that's really good.

Winchesters are easier to take apart than put together, so at that point, it might be 'gunsmith' time, so they can check for internal part integrity, and perhaps use a bore-scope to really check out the bore and chamber.

If you want a 'shooter' and not a 'museum piece', it could come down to re-lining the barrel, and/or re-chambering it in another round. If the cost isn't too bad, it may be worth it to keep the 'family' firearm. If it is too great, the money a collector might pay for it, could perhaps buy you a contemporary equivalent in say .357 Mag or .32-20, which would be a very practical and fun 'shooter'.

Sounds like fun...!
Image Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws
"first do no harm" - gun control LAWS lead to far more deaths than 'easy access' ever could.


Want REAL change? . . . . . "Boortz/Nugent in 2012 . . . ! "

Booger Bill
Senior Levergunner
Posts: 1969
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:23 pm

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#6 Post by Booger Bill » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:08 pm

If it turns out that the bore is hopeless, I would get it bored out to .357. I did that once to a shotout 25-20 92. Also you could get it resleeved to whatever. I always wanted one in 256 win mag. I dont really know if that would be that much better than 25-20 though. Anybody know?

User avatar
Rimfire McNutjob
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 2611
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:51 pm
Location: Sanford, FL.

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#7 Post by Rimfire McNutjob » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:15 pm

Booger Bill wrote:.... Also you could get it resleeved to whatever. I always wanted one in 256 win mag. I dont really know if that would be that much better than 25-20 though. Anybody know?
The .256 Win Mag has about 900fps over the 25-20 I think. I'm not sure it's factory loaded anymore though ... since there were so few factory guns chambered for it. That oddball .256 Win. Mag is on my list of oddballs to own one day though. Certainly in a '92 if at all possible.
... I love poetry, long walks on the beach, and poking dead things with a stick.

jdad
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 3177
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:55 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#8 Post by jdad » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:24 pm

WD40 residue will eventually turn to a gummy varnish after it penetrates into all the internals. That's the only reason to avoid it.

You can get it relined to a 25-20 or 32-20 since the carrier is the same. If you decide to reline it I and others can recommend John Taylor. http://www.johntaylormachine.com His relines are nearly invisible.
This is an example of his work.

Image
I know a whole lot about very little and nothing about a whole lot.

User avatar
Griff
Posting leader...
Posts: 17395
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 4:56 pm
Location: OH MY GAWD they installed a STOP light!!!

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#9 Post by Griff » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:31 pm

I'm a fanatic about NOT using steel wool on my guns unless I want all the bluing gone. If cleaning up is all that's required, you'd be surprised how much BRONZE WOOL will do. AND leave the bluing unless used agressively.

Ok, after viewing the pics... steel wool. Rebluing may be needed when done.

Since the assembly of the Winchester 53 is just like the Winchester 1892, and the Rossi is so similar, that the same steps can be used to disassemble. Check out Marauder's Rifle Tips for Rossi hints. Also, you might like to get Nate Kiowa Jones' DVD on the Rossi.

Looks like a neat project, regardless of what you ultimately decide... keep us up to date with your progress.
Griff,
SASS/CMSA #93
NRA Patron
GUSA #93

There is a fine line between hobby & obsession!
AND... I'm over it!!
No I ain't ready, but let's do it anyway!

Booger Bill
Senior Levergunner
Posts: 1969
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:23 pm

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#10 Post by Booger Bill » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:32 pm

Rimfire mcnutjob: Trivila: I once had a new ruger hawkeye in .256, it left to help pay my divorice lawyer. I fell in love with the cartridge. Later I had a martini made up in 256. That went too. I do have a T/C barrel in one. I have seen a 92 converted to .256. It is a honey!

User avatar
rangerider7
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 2427
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:37 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#11 Post by rangerider7 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:12 pm

My suggestion is to only use bronze or stainless steel pads and use plenty of elbow grease, Old English on the stock after going over it ever so lightly with fine steel wool, clean it thoroughly, and shoot the heck out of it if the bore is good enough to keep the bullet from tumbling. IMHO :)

P.S. Sorry for the run-on sentence.
"That'll Be The Day"

User avatar
Tycer
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 6305
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:17 am
Location: Asheville, NC

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#12 Post by Tycer » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:06 pm

That's going to be a great gun!

Clean it gently and have it checked and then shoot the snot out of it. The 25-20 is a great round and the 53 is a great gun. These old Winnies are not easily ruined and were well made. Congrats!

IF the bore is really trashed, the 32-20 would be an easy rebore and is a super round also.
.
And as things fell apart, nobody paid much attention. -David Byrne
----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.saf.org - http://www.peakprosperity.com - http://www.guntalk.com

smdeeg
Levergunner
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:48 pm
Location: SillyCone Valley, CA

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#13 Post by smdeeg » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:24 pm

Thanks every one! I went off to bbq some jerk chicken, and was thrilled to see the responses.

jdad: by water I mean a slightly damp cloth for cleaning the smootz off the non-metal parts. I haven't used Howards, but will check it out. I'll certainly keep John Taylor in mind if I do decide to go for a relining.

In general I think WD40 is great for cleaning parts and working on rust, but I don't use it as a general lubricant. I'll ask my gun smith to recommend a good gun oil for that. I was unsure if navel jelly was considered cool for guns, but given the response I think I'll just not use it. :)

I'll give the bronze wool a shot, and save the steel for the really stubborn parts. There's no bluing left there anyway, and that rust has got to go.

Then, after a cleanup it'll be off to the gunsmith for a full evaluation. If it's not something that can reasonably be brought back into service, then I'll perhaps make it available to a collector or simply put it on the wall, but if it can live again I know my grandfather would want to.

HEAD0001
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 659
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:59 pm
Location: RIVESVILLE, WV

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#14 Post by HEAD0001 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:06 am

IMO that rifle should be a crown jewel in your family. Personally I would take it to an expert and have it completely restored to as close to original as possible. Then hunt the heck out of it. It sounds like the rifle has real history for you, so for me it would not matter what the cost was. Good luck with whatever you do. I have a few firearms form my families past, and to me they are priceless. Tom.

User avatar
gamekeeper
Spambot Zapper
Posts: 10229
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 3:32 pm
Location: The wrong side of the pond.

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#15 Post by gamekeeper » Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:53 am

Welcome to the fire Scott.

Please post photos of the finished rifle, it is great to find a family gun, even better to restore one, your Grandfather would be proud.. :D
I LOVE GUNS & BACON.

jlchucker
Levergunner 3.0
Posts: 542
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:44 pm

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#16 Post by jlchucker » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:17 am

Rimfire McNutjob wrote:The model 53 is descended from the venerable Winchester model 1892 which was of course designed for Winchester by John Browning. Fortunately, I believe you can get factory 25 WCF (25-20) for it at a well stocked gun shop. And certainly you'll need a .25 caliber bore brush. Yours looks like it's done hard time in a warm damp place. You may want to have it checked for proper function by a gunsmith.

Kirk will probably be along shortly and can give you more info on the 53 as he's been doing some research on them.

Your gun should make a fine shooter with some cleanup. I don't know if I'd use any naval jelly on it though.
They still sell 25-20 factory ammo, but it can be pricey and comes like it always did--50 rounds to the box. Also you can get new brass for it but you may have to look to see who has it in stock. I used to handload for that caliber, both for a Marlin levergun and a Savage Model 23. It's a fun caliber to shoot, but if you try to hotrod it, you'll eat up a lot of expensive brass for your trouble. My advice is, later on after you've cleaned it up, start handloading for it with cast bullets. Cast bullets are easy on old barrels, and can be very accurate in this caliber. They don't bounce off small game animals, either.

.45colt
Advanced Levergunner
Posts: 2812
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:00 am
Location: North Coast of America-Ohio

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#17 Post by .45colt » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:09 am

Welcome to the Fire. this is just too cool. :). alot of good advice here. Good Luck with it.

Cruise
Levergunner 2.0
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 1:33 pm
Location: High Desert of Central Oregon

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#18 Post by Cruise » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:23 am

A big reason to use the bronze wool is that the particles left behind will not rust and leave rust marks on the wood as steel wool will. If you have a boat with teak decks around salt water the rust spots show up fast on the decks as a result of using steel wool. Sanding wet with oil may help for stubborn spots. I keep 2000 grit 3M wetordry around for that purpose.

User avatar
AmBraCol
Webservant
Posts: 2470
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 8:12 am
Location: The Center of God's Grace
Contact:

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#19 Post by AmBraCol » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:00 am

Naval jelly is a no no for springs. My wife's uncle had a dandy muzzle loading pistol that he cleaned up with naval jelly. The main spring snapped soon after. :( And I've heard other horror stories of similar problems.

Light oil (BreakFree, WD-40 or even Singer 3 in 1) along with steel wool or even a Scotch Brite kitchen pad will take that rust right off there. Don't get in a hurry and use plenty of oil as you go. Invest in a good set of gun screw drivers from Brownells. There's no substitute for a properly fitting specialized screw driver. Regular household/mechanics screw drivers tend to bugger up the screw slots on gun screws.

Once you get the wood off use the oil freely as you clean it up. Carburetor cleaner will let you flush out the tight places and get rid of accumulated gunk. Take your time and don't get aggressive around the lettering. What I saw looks good and strong. If you decide to have it redone you don't want to have the letters smoothed off, you want them crisp and sharp as possible.

Make sure you get a good 25 caliber bronze bore brush and proper 25 caliber patch jag. As mentioned above, once you pull the bolt out, clean the bore from the breech end. Our family rifle was in similar condition from being stored in a fleece lined zippered vinyl case in less than optimum conditions. Light oil and fine steel wool cleaned off the surface rust. It is a 25-35 and the bore was in great shape. It doesn't look like much, but it shoots great. My brother took his first deer with it, just like our dad and uncles did. There's nothing like getting an old family rifle up and shooting again.

We've seen the "before" - can't wait to see the "after" pics. :)
Paul - in Pereira


"He is the best friend of American liberty who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion." -- John Witherspoon

http://www.paulmoreland.com
http://www.pistolpackingpreachers.us
http://www.precisionandina.com

User avatar
Pete44ru
Posting leader...
Posts: 9747
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:26 am
Location: Southern New England

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#20 Post by Pete44ru » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:12 pm

I too, would keep steel wool FAR away from your survivor.

Image

Some Howard's Feed 'N Wax would do wonders for the stock wood, though.............

.
IF IN THESE TYMES OF JEOPARDY,
MORTAL PERIL INVADES THY THOUGHT,
TAKE UP THIS TRVSTY PIECE,
TRVST IN THY GOD, AND FEAR THEE NAUGHT.

(The avatar is me, in 1948 ! )

.

User avatar
J Miller
Member Emeritus
Posts: 14231
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: Not in IL no more ... :)

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#21 Post by J Miller » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:07 pm

Scott,

Welcome to the forum.

I've read most of the replys and suggestions so I'll just add what has worked for me.

I live in icky humid IL. I used to live in icky humid Phoenix in a house with a swamp box cooler. Neither is good for steel things.

I bought a product called G96 Brand Gun Treatment.
http://www.g96.com/gun_treatment.html
It's in a spray can and does remove rust. I've used it on tools and equipment and some gun parts that had picked up rust over the years. It worked for me. I'd spray it on and watch as the solvent turned brown removing the rust. Wipe it off and then do it again. A couple treatments and the rust was gone. For your rifle it would need some help from steel wool or equivalent.

I've used 4-0 steel wool to clean surface rust from guns. I used it with Hoppe's #9 and that worked. Never had any problems with rust caused by the steel wool itself. You do need to clean off all the fragments but that goes for any type of scrubbing material.

Having said that, were I to inherit that rifle I'd simply disassemble it, clean it thoroughly and carefully, remove the surface rust then reassemble it, lube it, and go shoot it. I wouldn't even consider rechambering it or altering it until after I'd really checked it out.

Joe
***Be sneaky, get closer, bust the cap on him when you can put the ball where it counts ;) .***

User avatar
Ysabel Kid
Moderator
Posts: 23679
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:10 pm
Location: South Carolina, USA
Contact:

Re: Winchester model 53 (25-20) ... what do I do with it?

#22 Post by Ysabel Kid » Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:59 am

Welcome aboard and congratulations on such a fantastic find!
Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Bing [Bot], claybob86, Exabot [Bot] and 6 guests