The following is a good criteria to use in deciding on restoration.
- Is the gun a classic or collector grade gun?
- Is it a family heirloom?
- Is it unique or rare in some way?
- Is the gun mechanically sound in both wood and metal?
- Does the gun retains at least 40% of its original patina?
If the gun meets any of these criteria, only a professional cleaning and
inspection is prudent.
A large percentage of classic doubles have been poorly refinished, restocked,
re-blued or tampered with. In that case, a competent restorer can determine if
it can be restored to its original condition.
Restoration work is vastly different than refinishing. Restoration requires a
great deal of research and an understanding of original finishing techniques
used at the time of manufacture. If a restored gun looks refinished, it is not
done correctly. Oil soaked wood, bare or rusted metal, all lead to larger
problems if not attended to.
If your double looks good, is original and sound, shoot and enjoy it. If not,
have it properly restored and it will certainly look pretty and ensure another
100 years of service.