View Full Version : Cosmoline removal

February 16, 2002, 09:17 AM
What do you use to effectively and easily remove the cosmoline form a surplus rifle? I am going to completely disassemble my recently accquired Mosin Nagant M-44 to perform a thorough cleaning.
Jim Hall

Joe Portale
February 16, 2002, 10:19 AM
For the metal, just alot of paint thinner, acetone, Gun Scubber, or similar and elbow grease.

For the wood. Mix up a big bucket of hot water and Tide (or smiliar). A soft scrub brush, chair and apron. Put on the apron, sit on the chair, dip the scrub brush in the hot water and Tide and have at it. When you get most of the surface cos' off the wood. Let it dry.

Next, stop at the local supermarket and pickup a can of oven cleaner the type that doesn't require heat. Hang the wood in a space that you don't mind getting the overspray from the oven cleaner on. Soak the wood with the oven cleaner. Let it stand for a few hours. Wash off with plain water. Dry with some old rags. Repeat and let stand over night (depending on where you live, keep it from freezing). Wash it off again and use the scrub brush. Now let the wood to dry for a few days. Evaluate the wood. Repeat as needed.

When happy with the degreasing, lightly buff with 0000 steel wool. I know this is to some heresy, but if you want sand the surface dings and scratches out with progressive grits of sand paper . Be sure to feather any deep gouges to cover the sanding tracks. Your last grit should be 180 or 220. Recoat with oil finish of your choice. I use Tung oil, and then surface finish with a good wax. But that is another story.

February 16, 2002, 11:46 AM
A torpedo heater works pretty well in heating the stuff up so it runs out. Really brings it out in the small parts and the stock.

February 18, 2002, 12:28 PM
I have tried just about all combonations I have read. What has worked best for me was hot water and laundry soap, then a few trips to the oven (250 degrees). After the stock heats up you will be surprised how much crap runs out of it. You will need a lot of junk rags to clean it good.

Another nice trick I like to do with the stock (to get dents out) is to cover it with a very moist towel and hit it with a hot iron. This raises the grain on all but the largest dents.

Also, once a wood stock has been treated with the cosmoline the only finish it will take is wax or oil.

February 18, 2002, 05:25 PM
I have tried the gun scrubber route (emphasis on scrub) but found it took a lot of work. What I have used with excellent results is the neighborhood car wash. I went early one morning with a completely disassembled Enfield. The high pressure hot water removed almost all the cosmolene with ease. I would caution you to make sure the rifle is disassembled. Someone running around a car wash with a rifle will raise eyebrows. On the other hand a barreled action and a handfull of parts doesn't look very threating to the average person. I expect that no one I saw had any idea what I was cleaning. As long as you don't have any ammunition with you I am certain this practice is perfectly legal. It would be no different than transporting a firearm to the local gunsmith. After the car wash, clean it as you normally would taking particular attention to the areas that will hold a little water. I am sure you will be amazed how easy it is.


February 19, 2002, 05:17 PM
For the stock, what's worked for me is Gunplumber's method of boiling...the thing comes out bone dry devoid of any grease. Check out this link, hope it's still up


February 19, 2002, 05:21 PM
Sorry, it doesn't...just go to www.arizonaresponsesystems.com click on the "notes" button and select the "guide to wood stock restoration" Lots of other good stuff too...

February 19, 2002, 05:28 PM
oops...double tap

February 19, 2002, 06:28 PM
I have had good results with denatured alcohol solvent and a toothbrush.

February 19, 2002, 09:27 PM
all good suggestions. use what you have, imo. i found some orange cleaner under the sink and it worked just fine for me. quick note: just when you think you are done getting all of that nasty stuff out of the wood, clean it one (or two) more times.

ps. shooting is a good way to get some of this stuff out of the wood. the heat really brings that crap out. keep a rag handy.

February 23, 2002, 07:24 PM
after cleaning 20 plus milsurps I have decided that the best way is to drop em in a trashcan full of boiling water and dishsoap.