I have a contract to purchase a C&R M3 (actually a 1 owner gun from since 1964). It is a lend lease gun with the bar over the mag catch. It was painted black at some time (I assume in British service). It is mechanically quite good. Unfortunately, the owner stuck bow camo tape on it some time ago. The tape is stuck on and I am not sure how to get it off. When I get the gun, I will be faced with a couple choices: 1) Take the tape off somehow without ruining the underlying finish and leave it like that; 2) remove the tape and refinish in black; and 3) remove the finish and parkerize. I would like some input including any opinions as to how to get the tape off without removing the black paint underneath. When you look at the pictures, you will see some trench art cut into the paint. That is original as received by the owner in 1964. It may be interesting to preserve that.
M3 Finish Issues
Posted 31 January 2016 - 03:10 AM
I first probably would not have bought one in that condition but since its done I would suggest stripping it and starting over.
Posted 31 January 2016 - 08:10 AM
Man, that is one fugly gun. FWIW, if that thing found it's way to my doorstep I would strip the camo tape and black paint off of it and then evaluate what's left. If I could live with the remains of the Parked finish, it would stay. Otherwise, it's off to the Parking tank!
Posted 31 January 2016 - 08:47 AM
If it has the usual Brit proofs and acceptance stamps on it and is clearly a lend-lease example, my suggestion would be to bead it and repaint it with black enamel, which would be the correct finish on it rather than duracoat, or any baked on finishes. Or if you feel that it needs to look like most other M3s, bead and park it.
Posted 31 January 2016 - 09:26 AM
Very interesting M3.
You could remove the paint with chemicals or glass beading and paint with "Rustoleum" flat black stove paint and it would look like everyone else's British grease gun.
No point in Parkerizing it since the mag catch guard identifies it as a British gun. So black paint is the way to go.
Or you could leave it as is and enjoy. If Black River Bob is correct, your gun could have an interesting history well after WW2.
When you go to your gun club don't be surprised if the other members walk past the Thompsons to look at your historic M3
Posted 31 January 2016 - 10:15 AM
If it were mine...
I would bead-blast it, parkerize it then paint it black with semi-gloss Norrell Moly-Resin (ez-to use, needs baked in an oven after spraying)
Moly resin is tough, oil and Hoppes #9 won't dissolve or damage the finish, a problem with regular paint.
But it isn't mine, so your call...
Posted 31 January 2016 - 11:39 AM
Roscoe, there has to be a price at which you would purchase. Or are you saying you wouldn't buy at any price?
By the way, the serial number is under 200,000 if that is important.
Posted 31 January 2016 - 11:59 AM
Posted 31 January 2016 - 12:00 PM
Posted 31 January 2016 - 12:47 PM
To restore it back to Guide Lamp days the mag catch guard would need to be removed and the weld ground down flush, without touching the serial number.
Any pitting caused by the welding would have to be filled in.
It would need to have the missing letters restamped precisely like original.
If parkerized in a light shade the heat from the welding would show.
You would probably be better off selling it and buying one your happy with.
Don't pay too much attention to the detractors, Roscoe doesn't like M3s and the rest may be envious.
Posted 31 January 2016 - 01:01 PM
Annealing the sheet metal after welding deals with the discoloration possible from parkerizing. I'd leave it alone for the time being, take it out to the range, take it to shows, let others see it, shoot it and appreciate it for its uniqueness. Interarmco imported tons of odd stuff back post war and this gun has a legitimate and very interesting provenance. Anyone can show up with a standard M3 or A1 or a Brit lend-lease guns, but that's the only one I've ever seen in such a weird and fascinating condition. Seen a lot of them, too…..
You can get it 'restored' at any time but you can't go back…. 8^)
Posted 31 January 2016 - 01:16 PM
Posted 31 January 2016 - 01:30 PM
I'd strip it and you may find the engraving doesn't go past the paint/tape. It if does a new lower is fairly cheap. or try bead blasting it out first at that stage. I'd park it and leave it there unless you are committed to the black color, but you can always do that later and it's preferred to do it over the park anyhow. On a gun like that I'd use black spray paint and never a baked on finish as those need to be bead blasted off and multiple blastings over time will one day destroy the gun. For resale the painted guns have always taken a little longer to sell than parked guns. I'd probably leave the mag release the way it is and try to preserve any brit proof marks (which you should see after a good aircraft paint stripper application/s). If you get on it with a bead blaster right away you may wash away some history?
Virtually anyone can repark that, so pick someone close and do it same day. You don't need professional restoration on a grease gun, you can take it to a furniture stripping place then to a park job monkey and it will turn out fine. LOTS of guys park stuff, ask around at a gun show in your area. Or get it stripped first and post some pics and you'll get better advice once we can see what's under the paint? You never ever want to ship any MG if you can at all avoid it.
Underneath there is a nice gun that probably a lot of guys overlooked, while to me it's a few hours and a few hundred dollars away from nice.
Posted 31 January 2016 - 03:57 PM
I think it is fair to point out that no reputable gunsmiths that I know use heavy grit bead blast media on firearms, such as Black Beauty or equivalent, but for prep for parkerizing, medium glass beads works perfectly which does not remove metal or affect even very light stamping, electro-pencil or etching. Having used medium and light beads for many years, on hundreds guns, there is absolutely no worry about damaging the metal or any imprints.
As for the local hobby guy in his garage doing the work, that is not especially good advice, in my opinion. If he has had a lot of experience with prep work and parkerizing, and you can see his product, that would help. Careful prep is essential, and of course parkerizing is forgiving, but finishes can come out mottled, spotty, thin, or with other anomalies. At least a park job that isn't very good can be painted over, if your choice is to return it to Brit specs. If your effort is to improve the value of your gun and leave it parkerized, and are seeking a high quality restoration, use an accomplished parkerizing shop.
With all due respect, I doubt that johnson41 would take his M41 to the local hobbiest to be parked. I know I wouldn't take mine to the local guy up the hill whose work is sub-par even thigh he is a friend of mine. Of course, maybe johnson41 knows a really good local park hobbiest…..
Grease guns are expensive collector MGs, as you know, and when you go to sell it, you will be, or should be, questioned by the buyer about everything you know about its history while in your hands or anything else that you know of that has has happened to that gun. Everything that detracts from its originality detracts from the price, and your gun is starting a ways back in the scheme of things. So, in my opinion, if the best restoration possible is your intent, it is clearly in your favor not to take shortcuts that a knowledgeable buyer will be able to see. FWIW
Posted 31 January 2016 - 05:00 PM
Posted 31 January 2016 - 05:10 PM
Posted 02 February 2016 - 07:12 AM
I have been working on restoring my M3 back to the British spec as it had the magazine release "bar" welded on then removed at some point in its life leaving 2 ugly "tits" as I called them. Now all I have to do is refinish it with black paint as I had to replace the original barrel, leaving me with a park'd barrel on a black gun.
In my opinion, guns that have had the "bar" removed look terrible as the markings are half gone and can never be replaced. It seems to be a trend that guns without the bar ever being added command a higher price than those that have had it removed. M3's with the "bar" still intact fall in the middle.
Posted 02 February 2016 - 11:09 AM
I have an M3 Greasegun that was a Lend-Lease gun. When I first laid eyes on it, it had that British black paint finish, which itself was nicked and worn. I had the dealer strip the paint and reparkerize it, before I even took possession of the gun. It looks practically new.
I don't think that removing British black paint and reparkerizing reduces the value of a Greasegun, provided all the markings are kept intact.