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Old March 10, 2013, 05:44 PM   #1
pathdoc
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Making old sights new again

I have second-hand rear sights from SMLE No.1 Mk1 (windage and elevation fine adjustment) and No1. MkIII (windage fine adjustment) rifles. What's the best way to get the grime and rust off without wrecking them? I hope to find homes for them on rifles someday, with a view to active use rather than just hoarding and display.
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:36 AM   #2
MA45XP
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The clean up on small parts with even smaller moving parts can be problematical. If the rust has them seized, long term soaking in a light oil will make things a bit easier. I would avoid any rust removing/ penetrating oils as they can remove any bluing that may be left underneath if soaked for any length of time... I have used a plastic scraper and oil to good effect. Made the scraper from a toothbrush handle. It will push the rust off without disturbing the surface underneath. Slow and hard going, but in a lot of cases worth the effort.
If the bluing isn't an issue (willing to re-blue after cleaning) then drop the parts in a 50/50 mix of molasses and water for a week, pull it out and hose it off... if not yet clean, give it another week. Remember though, this method will remove everything back to the white and will start to rust again within minutes of being cleaned.

If you have a MkI sight with the bone inserts, it might pay to remove the inserts first... how to do this is anyone's guess... not sure if they are crimped in or what.
Another thing to look at, the majority of these sights were modified in service to stop them being adjusted. They might have a tiny screw scotch keyed into the edge of the fine elevation screw from above, or just drilled and pinned. Another "fix" was to centre punch the leaf underneath to lock the windage screw.. usually two quite heavy strikes that will guarantee you will shear the shaft if you try to turn the wheel.

Whatever you decide, slow and steady is the clue.
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Old March 11, 2013, 10:53 AM   #3
PetahW
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.

I seem to remember a fairy recent reference to a sonic-type rust removal / cleaning method, but I didn't give it a 2nd look, because I wasn't interested in it.

I'll try to run it down.

FOUND IT ! - The method's called "ultra-sonic rust removal" (google).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49mtixpnX7g




.
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Old March 12, 2013, 02:15 AM   #4
MA45XP
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I have a 4' ultrasonic cleaner in my workshop at work. I hadn't stuck anything rusted to any extent in it to this point, the gear that goes through it is jut to get the carbon and crap out of the hard to get at places. It makes an M240 cleaner than when it was issued in less then 15 minutes, including stripping, ultrasonic cleaning and lubing, then reassembly.

I might have to stick something rusty in it one day....
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Old March 12, 2013, 05:37 AM   #5
madcratebuilder
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Go to Surpluserifle.com and search "electrolysis tank".
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Old March 12, 2013, 06:01 PM   #6
pathdoc
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Thanks for all the hints, everyone.

MA45XP, am well aware of the pinning thing, but not this time -both of mine work! I've twirled the knobs, I've watched them move to their extreme limits, and I've actually shot with the No.1 MkIII backsight, retrofitted to a No.1 MkIII* - you just drift the retaining pin out, old backsight bar out, new backsight bar in, drift the retaining pin back in and away you go. Works a charm. Unfortunately the No.1 MkI backsight bar resists such easy fixes. The whole assembly has to be mounted on somehow, and I suspect that's a gunsmith's job.

You can understand how loath I am to bugger this job up.
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