View Full Version : Rust

April 10, 2011, 12:53 PM
I noticed a couple of rust spots on the front of the slide on my Colt Govt. Model, .45. This gun is a safe queen, was in excellent condition, don't know now? Stored in a gun sock, oiled inside a safe w/ a dehumidifier. Admittedly, I don't always recharge the dehumidifiers (type w/ the crystals inside that change color) on time so I'm not sure about what moisture levels exist in the safe. After I observed the spots, I just wiped it w/ more oil and put it away. I didn't dare attempt to in any way remove the rust obviously, for fear of causing additional damage. What to do? Piece is nice, from the '70's w/ ivory grips and I really like it. What to do? Thanks!

April 10, 2011, 01:42 PM
Stored in a gun sock

Get it out of the sock.

The cloth can hold moisture.

April 11, 2011, 02:24 AM
Gentle rubbing 0000 (4 zero) steel wool and lots of oil.

April 11, 2011, 05:33 AM
Kroil and a teflon pad.

April 11, 2011, 09:39 AM
the best way to prevent rust is to take the pistol out and shoot it. bring it home, clean and oil it, wait two weeks, do it again.

April 11, 2011, 11:40 AM
Thank you guys! I appreciate it.

April 11, 2011, 12:57 PM
For a collectable, I would take the gun down while wearing nitrile gloves to prevent contamination with finger oils and salt. Remove the slide and thoroughly degrease the rusted portion with virgin solvent. Gun Scrubber or no-residue spray solvents work. I prefer to hook a stainless wire through something like that and lower it into a jar with enough virgin naphtha in it to cover the workpiece. (Naphtha is sold by the gallon at Lowe's.) I leave it for a day or so to let it pull all oil from the rust. That does a gentle job and protects it from further rust while it's submerged.

The next day, remove the part from the solvent by the wire and hang it until it dries. Next, lower it into boiling distilled water and keep it suspended there for about 15 minutes. That will convert the red rust to black magnetite and also loosen it so it is easier to remove away. When you pull it out, the heat should dry it fast. Nonetheless, you will want a clean rag handy so you can grasp the slide and shake extra water off and out of crevices to get it to dry faster. Drying hot like that makes thin blue oxide rather than red rust on bare steel.

Next, do something that will make you want to cringe. Submerge it for a day in WD-40 (Auto suppliers have it by the gallon). Alternately, use the water-displacing oil sold by Brownells for Parkerizing. Either one will draw water out from the front sight tenon or any other place it might have gone into a crack.

After a day of soaking, handle the slide with Nitrile gloves to avoid fingerprint contamination. Start wiping with a cloth patch to pick up the loose rust. It's just abrasive enough that you want the soft cloth to pick up what it can gently. Follow that by light scrubbing with an old toothbrush, then another patch . Finally, use a coarse brown paper towel to get the rest.

At this point, if you used WD-40, you want to remove it or it gets tacky over time. Put it back in the naphtha to accomplish that. After a day, pull it out and let it dry, then hose it down with LPS2 or Birchwood Casey Sheath or some other rust inhibiting surface lube. Put the gun back together.

For storage, you want something 100% synthetic to avoid holding moisture. I've used kitchen plastic wrap around guns to be stored in their original cardboard boxes before, having see the cardboard initiate rust. That's actually worked pretty well. You have to wipe the gun off with fresh rust preservative after removing the plastic, as it leaves a pattern in the rust inhibitor, but no damage is done to the gun. A polypropylene hiker's sock liner might do OK. Just test whatever you use with the preservative oil you want to use first, so you know it won't soften and adhere to the gun.

It occurs to me that, after boiling, the loose oxides could probably be removed in a large ultrasonic cleaner without incurring abrasion of any kind, but I've not tried that personally. Anyone up for the experiment should report on it.

I should also mention that I've encountered rust before that did not seem to want to convert by boiling, though I expect grease saturation that did not leech out completely and the sheer thickness of the deposits may have been responsible.

April 13, 2011, 05:51 PM
unclenick proposes a very solid preservation method, but me thinks he may be just a little ocd :)

April 14, 2011, 10:24 AM
Heh, heh! Actually, in work I'm frequently accused of the exact opposite. I hardly ever do anything exactly the same way twice. Always testing some new variable. Keeps it fresh. ;)

Don P
April 14, 2011, 10:57 AM
I have had out standing success using RIG Grease for long term storage and do yourself a favor toss the sock. Socks are meant to be worn on the footsies.:eek:

April 14, 2011, 11:03 AM
Quadriple 0 Steel Wool and a spray of WD-40 About every wipe. Or if you don't want to take a chance of scratching it. Take it to your Local Gun Store and ask someone to get the rust off for you.

April 17, 2011, 04:34 PM

April 17, 2011, 07:51 PM
Yep G96,,,, and what Unclenick says!!;)

April 18, 2011, 05:59 PM
Another great post! Thank you for taking the time to go through that.

OP--When you get it rust-free, keep it that way...

4V50 Gary
April 18, 2011, 06:57 PM
Safe queens should be treated with Renaissance Wax. It's ph neutral and will protect metal, wood, leather (and probably even ivory).