Restoring an 1886 Colt Lightning Rifle back to Life

When you find a relic, will it go on your wall or is it a shooter?
In this case a Colt Lighting rifle was raised from the dead.
Andre Will shared a video with us on this rare collection that he purchased and restored.
The rifle was in fairly bad condition, covered by some sort of chemicals which caused deep rust and cracks, it was badly restored by the previous owner.

The Colt Lighting rifle is a slide pump-action rifle manufactured from 1884 to 1904 and was originally chambered in .44-40 caliber.
The rifle profile resembles the pump-action rimfire rifles made by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and Remington Arms.
The Lightning saw use as a sporting arm in America and was adopted for use by the San Francisco Police Department, but was never as popular or as reliable as the various lever-action rifles of its day.

Many moons ago, in this video Andre observed while he was cleaning up the rifle. Rust that was developed under the non-original finish almost destroyed the barrel and the magazine. There’s not much of the magazine, eaten by rust.

The barrel was cleaned then decreased and hooned with soft polishing paste.

Andre goes on to laser weld some of the deep pitting on the barrel, took a couple of hours.

After the welding its filing and sand papering those pitted areas.

After cleaning up the old finish removal the parts were sent to a local gunsmith to properly rust the bluing and marble finish. The stock was only clean and refinish with tru-oil.
Seems like a pretty cool project to bring a vintage gun back to life as a shooter. If you had a chance would you have kept the rifle in beat condition as a wall decorator or would you fix it up as a shooter?

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