View Full Version : cleaning up old guns

May 29, 2008, 09:23 PM
General question, and I'm curious what people like to use to clean up old guns not stored the best.

I have some old rifles many decades old not protected the best by the previous owner. Some rusting in places on outside of barrels or around triggers. I've cleaned the bores, quickly wiped the outside of the riflles with oil for now.

What ways do you like to make the guns presentable?



May 30, 2008, 12:57 AM
Remove the gun from the stock. Scrub the entire exterior of the gun with a solvent or solvent oil like Hoppes, Kroil, Ballistol, or CLP. Leave the surface of the metal wet with solvent overnight. Next day, any areas where the rust is still attached can be lightly scrubbed with a bronze brush or bronze wool. When the gun is clean enough for your tastes, wipe it off with a clean rag, then oil it with gun oil, gun grease, or whatever rust inhibitor you choose. If more than 10% of the surface is rusted, consider refinishing the gun.

The stocks should be wiped down with Scott's Liquid Gold. Any areas of flaking finish should be noted. If more than about 10% of the stock finish is damaged, consider refinishing the wood.

Reassemble the guns, store them in a dry area. If possible, avoid storing them in a case.

May 30, 2008, 07:10 AM
Scorch, thanks, I have bronze wool and brushes, and Hoppes.

I did a quick rubbing last night without bronze wool and recoated with oil last night before I posted this as I knew some needed more care.

Got five older guns recently, two are less vintage and have bluing. They just have some rust in a few specific spots. The others are very old and will need more attention.


May 30, 2008, 08:04 AM
I agree with the above. I use steel wool and Breakfree CLP. Steel wool is ok as long as you make sure to remove any loose particles when you are done (I use an air compressor to blow it off).

The last rifle I had to restore had years of oil gunk under the action (may have even been WD-40 that had dried). To get that off, I used spray carb cleaner. It is really nasty stuff and has to be sprayed outside but it is very effective at cutting through grease. The caveat though is that it leaves metal totally clean and you need to apply something over it afterwards to protect the metal from moisture. That is when the Breakfree CLP comes in.