Hepburn project

Topics related to Pre - 1898 Remington Rifles
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marlinman93
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 10:47 pm

Hepburn project

Post by marlinman93 »

Just finished saving this poor old Hepburn. It came to me a decade ago as a set trigger rifle with a very heavy octagon barrel, but chopped off at 22"! I took it to a gunsmith back then who welded on 8" of barrel and relined it to the original .40-70SS chambering. But the first time I shot it after about 6 shots it failed to eject! I discovered the newly lined barrel had bulged the chamber!
Tried numerous times to get it fixed under "warranty" but to no avail. I finally gave up and it sat languishing for years. Then in December last year I decided it had sat enough, and asked my friend if he could fix it? He planned to reline the chamber, but discovered the liner was crooked, and was .012" off center at the chamber end, and couldn't be saved easily. So we decided a rebarrel was the only good fix.
I got the "parts" back early this week, and began the process of filing, and sanding the flats of the new Green Mountain .40 caliber #4 weight barrel. We left this barrel at 34" to make a better long-range rifle, and chambered it in .40-65 instead of the original caliber, as I've got a huge supply of .40-65 brass.
I polished out the barrel, and then gave it about 5 coats of rust blue before boiling it. Reassembled it yesterday, and then bedded the old forearm as even the #4 weight barrel was still slightly smaller than the original Remington barrel! After the bedding cured I assembled the Hepburn, and gave the barrel and stocks a coat of gun wax, and buffed it. I didn't want to restore the stocks or action, as both have a nice patina, and I like the look. The gun had original long-range tang sight, and a windage globe of unknown origin? I thought it might be a Lyman globe, but can't find anything like it in Stroebel's or Rowe's old gun sight books, so not sure?

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Hope to get some ammo loaded up this weekend, and get to the range next week for testing!
Bill Allen
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:30 pm

Re: Hepburn project

Post by Bill Allen »

WOW I'm impressed nice job hope it shots as well as it looks good luck Bill
marlinman93
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 10:47 pm

Re: Hepburn project

Post by marlinman93 »

Bill Allen wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:03 pm WOW I'm impressed nice job hope it shots as well as it looks good luck Bill
Thanks Bill!
I hope it shoots well too! I plan to use it in BPCR long-range matches, so will try to wring out what it likes best before those matches start this spring at our range.
Bill Allen
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:30 pm

Re: Hepburn project

Post by Bill Allen »

If it shoots anything as well as it looks you'll do well. Has to be pleasurable just shooting it knowing it's truly your gun. Not many people are willing to work that hard to be able to have a gun that looks as good as it does and I'd be willing to bet it'll shoot just as well. Congrats on a job very well done. Bill
marlinman93
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 10:47 pm

Re: Hepburn project

Post by marlinman93 »

Bill Allen wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 12:16 pm If it shoots anything as well as it looks you'll do well. Has to be pleasurable just shooting it knowing it's truly your gun. Not many people are willing to work that hard to be able to have a gun that looks as good as it does and I'd be willing to bet it'll shoot just as well. Congrats on a job very well done. Bill
Thanks Bill!
This is my 2nd Hepburn rebuild, and my first was a major project. I'd wanted a Hepburn for many years when a friend called and asked how bad I wanted one? He said he'd come across a Hepburn "kit" that was an action with a new .45-70 barrel fitted to it, but not draw filed or polished. And it had two pieces of high grade wood, but they hadn't been shaped at all. Price was what I figured the action was worth, so I bought it and began finishing it.
I went a little overboard, but it is a great gun, and shoots exceptionally well. I did it about 20 yrs. ago, and it's seen a lot of rounds downrange since then.

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Bill Allen
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:30 pm

Re: Hepburn project

Post by Bill Allen »

I'm beginning to see a pattern here (lol). beautiful work just shows what can be done with these old guns if you're willing to spend the time and money bringing them back rather than dismiss them as not worth it. Bill
marlinman93
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 10:47 pm

Re: Hepburn project

Post by marlinman93 »

Bill Allen wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:27 am I'm beginning to see a pattern here (lol). beautiful work just shows what can be done with these old guns if you're willing to spend the time and money bringing them back rather than dismiss them as not worth it. Bill
I've always been on a small budget Bill, so mostly buy train wrecks, and rebuild them to try to save money, and end up with something I like. I have occasionally found one that needed nothing done to it, but it's almost disappointing to me to buy a gun that doesn't need some TLC to bring it back!
Bill Allen
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2021 6:30 pm

Re: Hepburn project

Post by Bill Allen »

Well of all the bad habits a man can have this one sure does seem to be a good one. The end products really show your talent. thank you for posting it, Bill
marlinman93
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 10:47 pm

Re: Hepburn project

Post by marlinman93 »

Bill Allen wrote: Sun Jan 16, 2022 3:27 pm Well of all the bad habits a man can have this one sure does seem to be a good one. The end products really show your talent. thank you for posting it, Bill
My wife wishes it was my only "bad habit". I build cars as a hobby for longer than the 43 years we've been together. But she knew about both hobbies when we met, so not like she got surprised. :D
marlinman93
Posts: 319
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2004 10:47 pm

Re: Hepburn project

Post by marlinman93 »

This is the only Hepburn I own that's not had some work done to it. This particular one is an extremely rare Match B with a 34" half octagon barrel, and chambered in .32-40 B&M marked barrel. From what I can ferret out, it may be the only Match B built with aa 34" barrel?
The buttstock is stamped "C GIDDINGS" under the top tang, which is Charles Giddings, one of Remington's top stock makers, and one of two stock makers at Remington allowed to stamp his work on special guns.
The barrel is also stamped "LL HEPBURN" twice under the forearm, which some say means he inspected a particular rifle himself.
The barrel is unusual in length, but also in it's bore. A .32-40 would generally run around a .321" groove, but this one is a beautiful minty bore and is a .327" groove. That size bullet wont fit a .32-40 case and still chamber in the gun, so it appears it was built for some shooter who shot it as a breach seater and not fixed ammo. I have a custom breech seating tool built by Jerry Cleave I use with it, and it shoots extremely accurate that way.
Sights are typical Remington mid-range vernier rear, but a Lyman #7 windgauge globe front sight.

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