A friend of mine has a prehistoric J C Higgins 20 gauge bolt action shotgun that he thought he might start his daughter off hunting with in a year or two. He bought it at a garage sale like 35 years ago (back when you could do that sort of thing) and took it to and from Hawaii on a 22 foot sailboat so it was pretty much covered with rust when they got back. He took the barrel and action out of the stock and sand blasted it so it is down to the bare metal with significant pitting. Is there any home blueing kit that would do at least a half way decent job of re-blueing this? I know painting it camo might be the easy way to go but the wood on the stock is actually very nice, surprisingly, for a cheapy shotgun.
Also, this is, apparently a full choke gun. My understanding is that it is not wise to shoot steel through a full choke gun. If not, would cutting the barrel down about 2 inches get rid of the choke and make it safe for steel, of would that even be an option?
I've done some research on-line and it appears some have had success opening the choke up utilizing a brake cylinder hone. From what I've been able to find out taking about .0085 off it would make it a mod. choke. From what I understand the only reason steel isn't recommended in full choke (and this even goes for most "modern" shotguns from what I understand) is that steel shot won't compress any, as lead will, which might result in a bulged barrel, not a blow up or anything like that. So, if the choke is opened up to at least a mod. choke that should take care of any problem steel would cause, or would it? With the choke you're only talking about the last couple inches of the barrel, which is why, if it were cut off, you would have a cylinder bore (aka: no choke) barrel. There is .06 barrel thickness at the muzzle to work with so if we took .0085 off we would still have .0515 thickness or 86% of the original barrel thickness at the muzzle.
I'm actually leaning towards not doing this as it is an old gun and safety is the first priority so I'm just trying to get an idea if this is even something that might be possible to safely do and if I'm on the right track on how to accomplish it. If its not something that's safe I think we will just relegate the gun to the safe as a conversation piece to bring out when my friend shows everyone the old Hawaii slide show.