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Old February 5, 2008, 06:02 PM   #1
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Best cleaner to remove cosmoline...

I went to Home Depot and Lowe's to purchase some cleaner for removing some cosmoline from a new rifle purchase. After going to the paint departments at both stores, I became a little confused. I believe that I have read that mineral spirits is the usual recommended cleaner for removing cosmoline from guns. After finding the mineral spirits, I realized that there are two kinds...paint thinner (100% mineral spirits) and oderless mineral spirits. What is the difference between the two and which is the better of the two. I also see that both stores have various other cleaners such as acetone, naptha, toluene, xylene, denatured alcohol, laquer thinner, etc. Are any of these any better than the mineral spirits for removing the cosmoline? I ended up getting the paint thinner (100% mineral spirits) but I guess I can carry it back if I purchased the wrong thing or if there is something better. I figured that some of the other cleaners might be so strong that it also strips the bluing and/or the wood on the rifle also. Thanks for all comments back.
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Old February 5, 2008, 06:13 PM   #2
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I've used Reminton Bore Bright on my 1903 springfield which was entirely packed with cosmo, and also on my K-31 which had a good share of it as well.

It worked fine and with out issue. I wiped off as much as i could first spray down the parts let it rest for a while and wiped it down again.

I don't know about using straigh mineral spirts, especially when there are gun cleaning products specific for doing the job.

also i hate home depot but that is another story
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Old February 5, 2008, 06:30 PM   #3
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Well one old method was dropping in a vat of boiling water. The cosmo melts easily and rises to the top and the parts come out and dry fast due to the hot metal and water. Kerosene cuts it well if you use it in a safe fashion, like outdoors and not in a huge quantity, like in a coffee can, with a paint brush or acid brush. Away from sparks etc. Guess you should just wipe off as much as possible with paper towels and get down to the last remnants for the close work. Two most important places to clean are bore and around the firing pin in the bolt so it moves freely.
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Old February 5, 2008, 06:33 PM   #4
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Mineral spirts will work fine. Diesel fuel works, as does gasoline. Naturally, the gasoline is more volatile and therefore more dangerous. Rumor is that the benzene in the gasoline is especially hazardous to your health. I really don't know the difference between odorless and regular mineral spirits, but I would imagine the difference is minor. Lacquer thinner is very volatile and I would avoid for this purpose. I've always used diesel since it was once fairly cheap. Solvents are solvents, regardless of the marketing.
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Old February 5, 2008, 07:00 PM   #5
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In the service, we would soak our rifles in a 55 gallon drum of diesel fuel.
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Old February 5, 2008, 09:28 PM   #6
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Diesel fuel and gas for that matter do work, but at $3.00- 3.50 per gallon, maybe mineral spirits would be a better choice, and non flamable as well. Check with your local Home Depot, Menards, Lowes.....and yes....there is one hell of a difference with odorless.....Takes several days of showers to get that smell off my hands....
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Old February 5, 2008, 11:39 PM   #7
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diesel or kerosene.
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Old February 6, 2008, 07:32 AM   #8
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in the Navy, we used 115-145 AvGas
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Old February 6, 2008, 08:11 AM   #9
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I'm a gunsmith and work on a lot of old guns, often loaded down with cosmoline or just gunked up, nasty old grease. The best cleaner I've found to deal with just about any greasy nasty gun situation is Ed's Red. Why? It does a good job of cleaning and doesn't strip the metal of all oils, since it contains lubricants. In addition, 20 bucks will make a huge quantity for two or three guys. You can find out how to make it by googling Ed's Red.


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Old February 6, 2008, 08:17 AM   #10
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Kerosene or HOT Water,small paint brush,couple stiff tooth brushes,and a high pressure air hose to blow out all the little tight places you can get a brush on.
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Old February 6, 2008, 11:14 AM   #11
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I noticed several people mentioned kerosene and diesel one any better than the other. What I am trying to do is remove as much cosmoline as possible without stripping the wood of its varnish or shilac or the bluing off of the metal parts. I believe gasoline is a lot more likely to strip the wood than either the diesel or kerosene.
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Old February 6, 2008, 01:03 PM   #12
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Kerosene and diesel are essentially the same thing. Kero =#1 diesel, regular diesel is normally #2 diesel. #2 is slightly more oily than #1. The diesel is probably easier to buy. You can buy at most gas stations nowadays. $3.50 or so a gallon. If you live in a cold area and they have winter blend diesel it is probably 1/2 kero anyway.
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Old February 6, 2008, 01:30 PM   #13
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mineral spirits will dissolve it...hpg
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Old February 6, 2008, 02:54 PM   #14
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Boiling water works very well to melt the grease off. If you have one of the turkey friers and a galvanized wash tub. Pour the boiling water over the metal and wood pieces you need to remove the cosmoline from, but be careful not to burn yourself. Much safer if you don't burn yourself than working with diesel or kerosene in the long run health wise. Putting the wood stock in a black garbage bag and setting it in the sun will help sweat a lot of the cosmo out of the stock as well. The wood will actually be harder and take longer to get cosmoline free than the metal pieces.
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Old February 6, 2008, 03:01 PM   #15
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BOILING WATER, BOILING WATER, BOILING WATER. No volatile solvents, no expense, no smell, no clean up. It works, and it cleans better than anything else. The hot water heats the metal so the water evaporates and there is no rust. Just oil it down when you're finished. Why buy expensive solvents when you already have the best? What's not to like? Try it and if you are not satisfied you get yur money back.
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Old February 6, 2008, 03:02 PM   #16
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All you need are mineral spirits,nitrile gloves and a natural bristle paint brush.
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Old February 6, 2008, 03:13 PM   #17
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for removing the cosmo from a stock or other wood here is my trick (learned it from another guy years ago). Simply strip all metal off the wood and then stuff the stock (if possible) into the dishwasher (make sure wife is not around) and run a few cycles. The wood comes out looking new (with exceptions of the dings/dents). You will probably have to run the dishwasher a few cycles with nothing in it and extra soap to get the cosmo' smell out.

For metal, I soak it in bore solvent or mineral spirits and use a natural bristle brush to scrub, scrub, scrub.

An alternative to the dishwasher method is to get a contractor grade garbage bag and shove the wood in to the bag and then coat liberally with unscented oven cleaner. Let sit an hour in the sealed bag and then rinse and repeat if necessary. This works as well, but the wood looks ok and not as nice as the dishwasher method.
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Old February 6, 2008, 04:54 PM   #18
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For the wood, no matter what method you use, it's important to let it dry naturally and not try to speed up the process. This can warp, crack, or otherwise damage it.
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Old February 6, 2008, 08:08 PM   #19
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I use an electric heat gun to melt off the cosmoline without damage to any metal gun parts. I would be cautious using it upon any plastic, rubber or wood parts.

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Old March 14, 2008, 03:33 PM   #20
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I found after renovating several old Mil. stocks, the cheap oven cleaner that does not require heat will, after two or three applications remove all the cosmoline and even paint or varnish that buba may have put on it in the past. Rinse with a lot of cold water and after the last application, rinse with a 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water. This will strip it down to the bear wood and you will notice that a lot of small digs and dents have popped out too. Let it dry completely and then go over it with 0000 steel wool to remove all the little fibers that were raised by the water. Put on a finish of your choice.
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Old March 15, 2008, 06:32 PM   #21
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I heard somewhere about using a hand steamer to deal with cosmoline in a stock.

Anyone here have any experience with that approach?
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Old March 15, 2008, 08:23 PM   #22
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yeah, i have tried the steamers that shoot pressurized steam for cleaning around the house etc.... and they work on small parts, but would not recommned for a stock.

that is why I either use the oven cleaner in a bag or the dishwasher method.

some of the yugo sks stocks clean up real nice and add a bit of oil and you have a great looking gun stock

I am TDY to denver right now, otherwise I would take a few shots of my albanian sks that looked like a big chuck of [email protected]#$ , but clean off the junk and then sanded down and added some oil and it looks really nice. now the gun looks nice, but the albanian sks is junk in general do to poor craftsmanship from the factory. Now, my yugos and my mausers all cleaned up really nice with the exception of a few that I have not touched due to the markings and stampings that would have been ruined.

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Old March 15, 2008, 08:38 PM   #23
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For the metal parts: Simple Green, paper towels, heat in any form, elbow grease.

For the stock: Wrap in newspaper, put in black trashbag, put bag on hot dashboard. Wipe and repeat. Works REALLY well and doesn't stink up car.
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Old March 15, 2008, 08:51 PM   #24
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Good luck finding that ANYWHERE in the last 10 years even in th Miami area now!

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Old March 15, 2008, 09:19 PM   #25
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diesel or kerosine works also, but would have to let site for long time soaking.

Maybe JP-4 or JP-8, but jet fuel prices are cost inhibitive.

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