View Full Version : Help on Win 94, dried out/frozen solid

July 1, 2008, 07:32 PM
Strange one here. Friend asks me to clean up a Winchester 94, c. 1926, in storage for decades, no bluing but no rust, but grease/oil dried out rock-solid. Soaked for a week in Kroil; soaked for another week in Coleman's Lantern Fluid; ran through the dishwasher on pots-n-pans cycle. No joy. The trigger/tang assembly is frozen in, no give. As I see it, I can (1) get some expert advice from this forum on what to do next, (2) try something really radical like doing the radiator shop hot caustic solution treatment (anyone ever hot-tanked a gun?), or (3) reassembling it and telling my friend that this is a wall-hanger. I'm stuck. Any suggestions? Thanks.

July 1, 2008, 08:01 PM
Never had a firearm like that, but I have worked on some other things like engines that have frozen or locked solid.
Sometimes you just abut have to destroy something to get it apart or at least sacrifice some parts in favor of others.
I would keep on soaking it in Kroil ( I love that stuff).
I am not sure exactly what the parts look like but sometimes "shocking" the parts help---pick a good spot not likely to be damaged and give it a few good wraps with a wooden mallet ( to start) then move to a heavy brass or dead blow hammer---sometimes a good shock will help break things loose.
It may takes months of soaking---right now, a couple months won't make any difference to that rifle.:)


Old Gaffer
July 1, 2008, 08:08 PM
If you can get access to a large enough ultrasonic tank, you might be able to "rattle" it loose, or perhaps get the kroil into some places where it hasn't yet gone.

Good luck and keep us posted, please.

All the best,

July 1, 2008, 08:44 PM
Try PB blaster from the auto parts store. The stuff is used for rusty and stuck bolts. Works great. Tom F.

July 1, 2008, 08:48 PM
Either electrolisis or soak it a couple of months in kerosene. I freed a 92 Winchester I dug up that was rusted solid by soaking it in kerosene for three months.



July 2, 2008, 12:16 AM
I wouldn't hot tank it, you will remove all the oil and the gun will rust almost immediately. Sounds like the parts are varnished together. Stick it in a bucket of the solvent of your choice and let it sit for a week. If it still won't come unglued, you might try a heat gun.

July 4, 2008, 07:27 PM
I'd like to thank all the folks who came up with ideas and suggestions. Here's what I decided to do: I took a capped off 4 ft. section of 4 inch PVC pipe, put the receiver and barrel into it, added a gallon of Coleman's Lantern Fluid (I think we used to call that 'white gas'), sealed the top, and stashed it in the back shed. Gonna keep it there for, say, three months or so. If that doesn't loosen up that dried up grease/varnish, I'll try it for another three months. If that doesn't do it, it ain't going to happen, and my friend gets a wall-hanger.
But I can't imagine that any dried up grease in the world could survive that treatment.... But we'll see. I promise to let y'all know the outcome of this experiment. Maybe I'll end up trying the hot-tank experiment yet, eh? Boil that sucker in lye, yeah.... :mad: :)

July 4, 2008, 08:17 PM
If the soaking doesn't work I would use a propane torch. Won't hurt the blueing since you don't have any and should work just fine if you take your time and heat it just a little at the time trying it often until it breaks free. Notice I said propane, not oxy-acetlyene, too easy to overheat in a hurry w/that unless you really know what you are doing.

July 4, 2008, 08:32 PM
Good idea---but I would make sure I had a vent hole in the top.


July 4, 2008, 11:19 PM
If it's just old grease take it out after a couple of weeks and try it. You can always put it back in.

July 5, 2008, 01:06 AM
i believe the term white gas has now been replaced by the the term unleaded gas. coleman equipment could not handle the leaded gasoline.

i would think a daily dose of breakfree would penetrate more quickly.

July 5, 2008, 06:27 AM
I think Kroil might be the best thing, except probably too expensive for full immersion like you are doing. I have used Kroil to unstick gun parts that took awhile. I used it on something stuck and after a couple days it was well soaked in, I thought, but part still stuck good. I did not want to use force and mar the parts so I finally just added more and left it and forgot it. After two weeks it finally freed the stuck part for me to the point I could open it without undue force or damage. Fine rust inside is what had frozen it. Outside looked fine. (Used gun). So when it was free I cleaned off the thin layer of rust inside and used breakfree to lube. It just might be a matter of more patience after decades of neglect. Don't spoil it by being in a rush. You still might need a brass hammer to loosen it up at some point.

July 5, 2008, 08:28 AM
Kerosene will soak through any metal given enough time.

July 5, 2008, 11:27 AM
+1,,,i agree with Hawg

put that thing i a bucket of kerosene and forget about it for awhile,,,this stuck thing didn't happen over night and it is gona take awhile

i had a WW II 1911 that a friend brought to me that his dad brought back from the war with him,,,that had been forgotten and it was rusted solid...i took the grips off and put it in a bucket of diesel fuel for 3 months,,,,every few days i would take it out and push around on it,,,,then one day it finally moved,,back in the bucket,,from there it was a piece of cake

my .02


James K
July 5, 2008, 08:43 PM
Hawg, I don't think you meant quite what you said. Kerosene might soak through the rust and crud, but not "through any metal."


July 5, 2008, 10:23 PM
I would test a piece of that pvc in the coleman fuel before going to far, It might turn to putty and make a nice mess.

I am going to try hawg's kerosene bath on an old 94 that was dug up this summer. If it frees this one up it will free up anything!
I want to check this one to see if its loaded!

July 5, 2008, 10:42 PM
That one is worse than my 92 was. It'll probably take longer. Once you get the dirt out of the bore you can take a piece of wood dowel and run it down till it hits solid and measure it. If it goes down to the bolt face it's empty. What's the story on it?

After a second look at the pics the hammer is down and with no mag tube it's most likely empty.

July 5, 2008, 10:51 PM
Hawg, I don't think you meant quite what you said. Kerosene might soak through the rust and crud, but not "through any metal

Well it might not soak through titanium but anything like iron or steel, even galvanized it will soak through given enough time. It will eventually soak through a galvanized bucket and leak like a sieve but gasoline in the same bucket once kero has soaked through it will never leak.

July 6, 2008, 07:28 AM
. Once you get the dirt out of the bore you can take a piece of wood dowel and run it down till it hits solid and measure it. If it goes down to the bolt face it's empty. What's the story on it?

After a second look at the pics the hammer is down and with no mag tube it's most likely empty.

The barrel is bent in a nice "J" from the back hoe tooth. The magazine tube was with it, and just crumbled. The follower was all the way down. I will have to cut the barrel or free the action. An empty case will be even more interesting.
Not much of a story, was pulled up during a utility's dig. But I am sure the old girl has some kind of history that we will never know. The question as to why it came to rest where it did pull at ya doesn't it?

July 6, 2008, 09:10 AM
question as to why it came to rest where it did pull at ya doesn't it?

Yeah it does. I found my 92 while digging for C. W. relics. Was waaaay out in the woods with nothing around for miles. No sign of a house site anywhere nearby. What's really funny is it was completely empty and I didn't find any brass or the buttplate. I figure the buttplate was maybe found by hunters. There's really got to be a story behind that but this old girl ain't talkin. If you can clean it off enough to read the serial number you can find out when it was made. My 92 was a 32-20 made in 1907.

Hunter Customs
July 6, 2008, 09:38 AM
Automatic Transmission Fluid is a very good penetrate, I've used it when other things failed.
Bob Hunter

July 13, 2008, 01:42 PM
The best choice for freeing up the hardened grease and oil is a sonic cleaner but if you don't have one of those, try a hot solvent. You can pick up a food service tray at a restaurant supply for a few dollars. Any other long narrow metal tray will work too. Fill it with some kind of WATER based solvent like Simple Green or the purple stuff? and put it on the stove or barbecue. Heat it to a slow boil and put the rifle in it. The heat and solvent will expand the metal and soften the hardended grease/oil. Lite taps with a brass hammer on a concealed area will help too. Leave it in there for a while and keep it at a slow boil. Keep adding water as it boils away to keep the level up.

It's important that the whole thing is submerged or surface rust will form on the exposed metal. After a while, remove it and blow dry it with compressed air or even a hair dryer. Most of the water will quickly evaporate anyway due to the heat. As long as the whole thing stays submerged, rust formation will be very minimal. This will free it up if it's stuck due to hardened grease.

Do NOT use any kind of automotive type of hot tank cleaning system! Those are fine for steel but if there's any Aluminum or Brass, etc. it will get disolved. A buddy cleaned his Wife's Aluminum lawn furniture in the shops hot tank. It all just disappeared. 100% disolved. He told his Wife somebody stole it out of the back of his truck. Keep yer powder dry, Mac.
Tuff-Gun Finishes. The Name Says It All.
Mac's Shootin' Irons

Bill DeShivs
July 13, 2008, 05:01 PM
Kerosene won't soak through metal. It simply finds joints to penetrate.

July 13, 2008, 05:06 PM
Even if it wont it'll free up a gun that's been buried in the ground for no tellin how many years and rusted up tight. See pic posted earlier.

July 13, 2008, 05:17 PM
Well we ain't heard from stove guy lately. Perhaps he lost the thread or is really taking the two week soak it regimen to heart. Ain't it a shame how people abused old Winchesters? Seen so many 94's that were just ate up and trashed, but if they are pre 64 some idiot seller at a gun show wants 4-500$ for it.

July 13, 2008, 08:49 PM
Hi, y'all. Yes, I'm still soaking, but I'm going to break it open this week and check to see if the dried grease still has it frozen up. I'll let you know what I find. I'm amazed at the number of really good ideas and suggestions that came out of this group. I was just shooting in the dark, but this bunch was coming up with all kinds of great strategies. I'm too old to be easily impressed, but frankly, I'm impressed. When I finally get finished with this project, I'm going to give my friend a printout of all the posts to this thread. That will be a keepsake to stash away with the rifle, which I think is destined to go to a grandson. Anyway, I'll keep you posted.

July 15, 2008, 01:52 PM
the first post said no bluing left but no RUST. i don,t think i would buy any thing from him that he said had (no bluing but no rust) that gun is a dug up relic and no more than a wall hanger. eastbank

July 15, 2008, 02:13 PM
the first post said no bluing left but no RUST. i don,t think i would buy any thing from him that he said had (no bluing but no rust) that gun is a dug up relic and no more than a wall hanger. eastbank

You need to pay more attention to what you read.
Woodstoveguy made the first post. I put up the pic of the dug 92 and Gbro put up a link to a dug 94.

July 16, 2008, 05:38 PM
I think you've gotten good advice here. The only thing I might add is to consider the posibility it may be mechanically locked up somehow, possibly a ruptured shell in the chamber?
Patience is the key here. Don't give up!

July 16, 2008, 09:05 PM
and checked if I could remove the trigger/tang assembly from the receiver. Still frozen in there. However, I did notice that the dried grease/oil on the inside of the receiver, which had been very hard to dislodge with scraping, has now turned into a flakey powder, easily removed. So with patience, the fluid should eventually penetrate between the receiver walls and the trigger/tang assembly. My friend said "Let 'er soak," so it went back in, and it's sealed up for however long it takes. Not nearly as sexy as a sonic vibrator bath, but this retired guy has more time than money. Let 'er soak. I'll let y'all know -- hope to post some pics when it's completed. (How's that for optimism ::D )

July 17, 2008, 07:43 PM
I'd switch to kerosene and any rapping of the action or receiver would be done with a rubber hammer. (Like a hub-cap hammer)