The ultimate challenge to restore a badly neglected rimfire rifle.
by Dick Maheu
A friend brought me one of the most rusted firearms I have ever seen. It belonged to a cousin whose son had left it in a field behind a barn several years before. There it had lain in grass, mud, rain and snow until recently found. My friend asked me to look it over and decide if it was scrap or recoverable. Since it was going to be an ongoing project through the winter in between other work, I decided to give it a try since no particular time frame was involved.
The Springfield 87A is a semi-automatic, tubular fed .22 rimfire firing the .22 long rifle cartridge in semi-auto mode and .22 long and shorts in single shot mode. Single shot mode is activated by pushing the locking bolt (bolt knob) in to lock the bolt and operate essentially like a regular single shot bolt action rifle. Long and short .22 rimfires are unable to satisfactorily operate the action for semi-auto functioning. It has the same basic action as the Savage Model 6 and its variants, as well as Springfield and Stevens models 76, 85 and 187 and their variants. This design has been around since 1938 and is well proven as a reliable semi-auto rimfire mechanism.
Having inspected my new project, I was ready to get into it. The barreled action was covered with surface rust throughout and deeply pitted. The inner magazine tube was missing and the outer tube also covered with surface rust and deeply pitted. The trigger guard was extremely worn and a very dull gray color. Much of the original finish was worn off the stock and a couple of areas were very course and abrasive to the touch where the stock had been in mud for a period of time.
Read more in our January 2015 issue. Back issues are available.