Sanding or Polishing: Do Not Skip Grits

Sanding or Polishing: Do Not Skip Grits

I am planning on refinishing an old Model 97 Winchester shotgun. The gun is very rough with lots of pitting. I know that I will have to do some draw filing in order to get to the bottom of the pits. My question concerns sanding or polishing. Just how important is it for me to go through every graduation of grits as I work my way up to a 400-grit surface polish? As I  look at the number of grits from say 100 to 400 it looks like a lot of sanding that may not be necessary. Going from 200 to 240 does not seem like all that big a jump. Why not just go on to 280 and save some time?


First of all you could skip some grit graduations but believe me; you’ll pay for that in terms of time and labor. If you go from one grit to the next, say 200 to 240, you don’t have to spend as much time polishing to remove the previous grit marks. If you skip 240 and go to say 280 or 300, you’ll find that it takes a lot more time to get all those 200-grit marks out of the steel. It can be done but you’ll waste a lot of time, energy, and use a lot more abrasive! In truth, if you make the smallest possible jump in grits you’ll be amazed how quickly and what little effort it takes to remove the previous grit marks. Your polishing will go much, much faster in the long run.

NOTE: The following content first appeared in Shotgun News in 2010. It is from a featured section titled Ask the Gunsmith, where readers were able to submit their questions to master gunsmith Reid Coffield.


Bolt Stop
Extractor, Left, New Reproduction
Manufacturer: WINCHESTER
Product #: 248260
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