From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John Bercovitz)
Subject: Re: Corrosive Rust?
Organization: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley CA
In article <CyAG1G.Kx4@zimmer.csufresno.edu>,
Bruce Nelson <email@example.com> wrote:
# What I found
#is bright orange spots in the gas tubes and gas blocks.
# My question is this; Since I have scrubbed and scrubbed
#the tubes and blocks with Hoppe's, GI bore cleaner, and hot water and
#soap, have all the corrosive agents been removed although I seeing bright
#rust stains in the tubes and gas blocks? In other words, can I simply
#lubricate these areas with grease without worrying about removing the rust
#stains and rest assured that I have stopped any further rusting although
#the rust stain are left intact.
Once rust has started, it's very difficult to keep it from advancing.
I would get rid of the rust using steel wool. If it's very light
rust, you can even get rid of it with abrasive paper without taking
away too much metal. Steel wool will take it down to the bluing you
will find under the rust, which is a good enough place to stop.
John Bercovitz (JHBercovitz@lbl.gov)
Rust never sleeps.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clark Towle Gunsmith)
Subject: Re: Rust control
Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation
In article <9208111454.AA01260@gilligan.webo.dg.com>,
email@example.com (Joe Gugliemino) writes...
#I've taken to storing my less-used guns in the attic in gun sleeves.
#This keeps them out of sight of prying eyes and calms my somewhat
#This morning I had to get something out of the attic, and just for kicks
#I pulled a few out of their hiding place to check on them. I was
#shocked to see they had started rusting, one severely. Obviously I have
#made a few mistakes in assuming that a) my attic was relatively dry;
#b) the polyester sleeves would keep what moisture there was off the
#guns; and c) potential damage to the woodwork from oiling outweighed
#potential rusting from not oiling.
#Now that I've had this revelation, I have two questions. What is the
#best way to clean the rust off? Steel wool is the obvious choice, but I
#don't want to damage the remaining finish any more than I have to. Is
#there some sort of cleaning compound that I can use? The rust is
#primarily on bolt handles, magazine boxes and receiver backs, although
#there is a little on one scope, and my HK single shot has seen better
Steel wool, 000X or 0000X will do it without damaging the remaining blue.
Don't use anything like Naval Jelly or anything like that or you'll remove
the blue for sure.
#Once I do clean them up, how do I keep the rust from returning? I've
#thought of applying silicone, oil, or WD40. I'm not too excited about
#cosmoline - from what I've heard it's a long-term storage compound that
#would have to be removed/reapplied whenever I wanted to head to the
#range. Obviously I need more weathertight gun cases - any
I've always had good luck with any of the pure silicone products. I've had
guns in storage for years after application of silicone and have never had any
rust problems (I live in very humid New England)
Oil, like motor oil or plain gun oil (any kind) or WD40 is not recommended.
The Moderator is correct in that WD40 can remove blueing.
Another consideration for long term storage is to choose a container that
will either completely seal out the elements, (PVC pipe) or choose a container
that will let the gun breath, (cotton cloth) to help prevent moisture buildup
from heating and cooling cycles. The ideal thing though is to choose a storage
location where the temperature does not vary. A closet somewhere inside the
house is a better storage location than the attic where considerable
temperature fluctuations occur. Without wasting lots of disk space on the
cause and effect thing, the daily heating/cooling of the guns and the
attendent moisture that occurs because of it is what causes and promotes rust.
#Should I consider rebluing? What does that do to the value of the gun?
#I've already damaged them by letting them rust, but I don't want to hurt
#them more than I have to. What are the pros and cons? Are there other
Steel wool should do the trick. Reblueing devalues a gun unless its a
clunker to begin with, so if the items in question have any collector status,
don't reblue them.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clark Towle Gunsmith)
Subject: Re: Rust control
Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation
In article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Dan Sorenson) writes...
# The real reason I posted! I use WD-40 on my Remington model 48
#12ga autoloader as both a lubricant and as an anti-moisture measure, and
#it seems to work fairly well at both functions. The main reason I
#started using it was that even gun oil became too viscous at -20F to
#allow the action to cycle reliably, and WD-40 was a cheap and easy
#solution. I'm not saying Dry-Slide won't work better, but none of the
#bluing has been removed from my guns due to WD-40, and I figure an
#opposing view is in order. After over 20K shells, it still works fine.
#It also makes a good aternative to Hoppe's #9 solvent when you can't
#get it. For that matter, so does diesel fiel or kerosene. All give me
#a shiny barrel and clean action, but no harm to my blueing.
#[MODERATOR: Well, a couple people have written to testify on behalf of
#WD-40. I could swear I have seen the effects on bluing in the past, but
#I don't have a specific example in mind now to support this. So for what
#its worth, and being curious about this, I started a simple experiment in
#the basement last night, and will report if I find anything interesting:
#I am restoring a couple old bayonets, and, since I need to take the old
#blue off with some of the crud before rebluing, I dipped half of the them
#in WD-40 and am letting them sit out for a while. At regular intervals,
#up until I get bored on the effort at least, I will clean a little of it
#off and see if there is any obvious effect. My hope is that the advice
#I gave before is true, since I always prefer the lazy man's way out, and
#I'd love to avoid dusting up the house with rouge as inevitably happens
#when I polish a piece down with the bench grinder.]
In my experience the reasons for WD40 being responsible for damaging blueing
on guns in storage is it seems that WD40 does not provide the impenetrable
moisture barrier silicone does so moisture gets under it and thats how the
rusting/blueing removal happens.
Recently a S&W model 27 came into the shop that had been cleaned then
sprayed down with WD40, then stored in one of those zip up pistol rugs. The
side of the gun that was on the bottom of the rug was completely orange from
front to rear and severe pitting had occurred on the cylinder, the barrel and
under the grips. Once the rust had been removed, little blueing was left on
that side. Admittedly, pistol rugs act more like sponges than protectors so
guns should not be stored long term in them anyhow, but had the owner used a
silicone product he more than likely would not have destroyed the guns
I have had similar experiences with rifles and shotguns also so the above is
not a fluke.
WD40 is a good lube when used as a lubricant during firing and is an
excellent aid in cleaning and would more than likely be ok on a gun not being
stored *inside* a case, rug, etc. but I wouldn't bet any of my guns finishes
on it. :-)
It'll be interesting to read the Moderators findings.
[MODERATOR: So far nothing, though it would be surprizing to find
anything so quickly. I predict I'll run out of patience and want to
get on with my refurbishing ..... but stay tuned....]
From: email@example.com (Doug White)
Subject: Rust Prevention (was Dessicant)
In <firstname.lastname@example.org> JEFF0974@aol.com writes:
#I have a gunsafe and don't have ability to plug in my goldenrod dehumidifer
#which has worked great in the past because of location. I need a mail order
#supplier of dessicant to keep guns dry even in cold/wet weather. Don't ask me
#to explain where is the best place to get "safe size" dessicant?
Below is some stuff I put together a while back for the rec.crafts.metalwork
I have a lot of expensive tools/toys that I have a LOT of trouble keeping
from rusting. Over the years, I have tried many different tricks and
products, and I've summarized my results below.
The paper is called VPI Paper (Vapor Phase Inhibitor), and it's available
from Brownell's (address in FAQ), as are raw crystals. You want to make
sure that the 'dusty' side of the paper faces the tool, and don't be
surprised if some plastics (vinyl tool pouches) end up with a funny white
surface. It doesn't seem to hurt the plastic, but it's disconcerting until
you get used to it. The tools will stay rust free much longer if they are
sealed in a tight box, or a zip lock bag. In theory, you should replace
the paper annually if it's exposed to the air on a semi-regular basis.
There is also another similar product called Zrust. This comes in a number
of forms, typically plastic 'cartridges' and flat plastic squares. They
are also available from Brownells, but if you think you are going to be
using alot of this stuff, you're better off locating a dealer and buying
direct. The cartridges can handle an entire tool box or cabinet, and the
little squares are good for smaller containers. Once again, the tools
should be stored in some sort of container. The more airtight it is, the
less frequently you will need to replace the rust-inhibitor.
A company called Hydrosorbent sells silica gel desicant in several
convenient sizes. The nice thing about these is that they have an
indicator to tell when they're saturated, and you can 'recharge' them in
the oven. I use the small aluminum packs for some of my tools, and
all of my target pistols. There is a new company that makes the same sort
of thing in a plastic case that you can recharge in the microwave. If
anyone knows where to get these, I'd love to find out.
I also use a dehumidifier in my basement. I live near Boston, and in the
summer when my basement is still cool, the relative humidity goes through
the roof. I have a 25' x 30' basement, and a 25 pint capacity dehumidifier
can keep the RH down to around 50% without running continuously. It's
best if you have a drain, so you don't have to remember to empty the
bucket all the time. Mine costs me about $20/month in electricity for
3-4 months each year. If you go looking for a demumidifier, get one that
has a freeze-up cutout, and a hose connection on the machine, not the
tank. This saves a lot of space, and gets the water source up higher for
easy draining. as it is, I have mine up on top of a small set of shelves
so that it will drain into the laundry sink. Check Consumer Reports for
the most efficient model you can get, it will pay for itself in electricity
in short order.
Brownells also used to sell 'Gunsmith's Soap', which was supposed to
neutralize the pH of your skin before handling things. They discontinued
this before I could get a chance to try it, but I have found that washing
your hands to remove salts from persperation can help. If anyone knows
a source for 'Gunsmiths Soap', I'd love to try some.
The one last trick I use whwn I'm handling something I don't want to rust
(like when I'm disassembling a target pistol) is to wear cotton 'inspection
gloves' that have been lightly sprayed with a thin rust preventative oil.
This simulataneously prevents me from etching things with my corrosive
persperation, and lightly coats everything I touch with oil. If you are
concerned about what the oil does to your skin, you can wear latex gloves
underneath the cotton. It doesn't work well for really delicate work,
and you have to be careful not to let anything slip through your fingers.
There are several spray treatments that work well for storage. My current
favorite was developed by Boeing, and is called Boeshield T-9. It's
available from many marine supply houses. After the carrier evaporates,
it leaves a thin surface film that does an excellent job of protecting
steel from corrosion.
I'll try to track down address info on Hydrosorbent and Zrust tonight,
and post them tomorrow.
I posted some general blathering about approaches to dealing with rust,
but I didn't have all of the details handy. I raided my 'corosion prevention'
file at home, and can provide the following:
Ashley Falls, MA 01222
Sells Silica Gel descant packages in the following sizes:
750 gram aluminum canister, 6"H x 4"D, protects 57 cubic ft., $24
360 gram carton, 2" x 4" x 5", protects 27 cubic ft., $10.75
40 gram aluminum box, 4" x 2" x 1/2", protects 3 cubic ft., $5.95
26 gram packets, 2 12" x 4", protects 2 cubic ft., $12.00/10
All but the packets are re-chargeable in an oven. Post-paid, but
$2.00 shipping charge. They take MC/VISA
Nothern Instruments Corp.
Lake Industrial Park
6680 N. Hwy. 49
Lino Lakes, MN 55014
These folks sell a variety of VPI products. The two most useful ones
are their Zerust Vapor Capsules and Plastabs. The capsules are plastic
and have and adhesive strip to stick them into tool chests, machine tool
cabinets etc. The Plastabs are small squares cut from a 1/16" yellow
The capsules come in several sizes, and are rated by radius of protection,
VC-1-1, 1' protection radius for 1 year
VC-2-1, 2' protection radius for 1 year
VC-2-2, 2' protection radius for 2 years
VC-6-2, 6' protection radius for 2 years
The only ones I have a price on is the VC-2-1, which were $5 each. The
protection life varies with the degree to which the container is sealed.
The capsules have a label to mark when they were installed so you know when
to replace them. Considering the cost, you may be better off with the
silica gel canisters. They will need recharging more often, but have
I couldn't find any detailed literature on the Plastabs, but I bought a
sack with over 500 1/2" squares for $60. They are much easier to use
than VPI paper for small tools and parts. I just toss one or two into
a zip lock bag of small tool case. These are sold in the 3/4" size by
Brownells as 'Rust-Blox' (see below), where they claim they are good
for 300 cubic inches. Brownells wants $27.20 for 100, which is a good
bit more expensive than buying them in bulk from the Zerust people.
You'll need to call them to find a local distributor. The shelf life
is probably limited, even well sealed in a plastic bag, so if you don't
need a lot, Brownell's may still be cheaper.
200 S. Street
Montezuma, IA 50171-9989
This is a gunsmith supply house, and sells a lot of good tools and other
gadgets that even non-gunsmiths can use. They have an extensive range
of rust preventing supplies. They sell the Hydrosorbent canisters for
slightly less than Hydrosorbent does, and they carry the VPI tablets in
small (but more expensive) quantities than N. Instruments. They also
sell VPI paper and Cosmoline (THE original GI rust preventative grease).
The paper comes in 12" sq sheets, and can protect 1 cubic ft. for 2 years
MINMUM. Typically, it lasts much longer. They carry half a dozen
varieties of aerosol rust preventatives, greases etc.
415-100-040 40 gram silica gel cartridge $5.50
415-100-360 360 gram silica gel carton $9.95
415-100-750 750 gram silica gel canister $22.50
084-058-050 50 Rust-Blox Vapor Tabs $15.70
084-058-100 100 Rust-Blox Vapor Tabs $27.20
084-031-010 VPI Paper, 10 sheets, 12" x 12" $4.20
084-031-010 VPI Paper, 50 sheets, 12" x 12" $14.88
I think that exhausts everything I know about rust prevention. I've
been fighting the battle ever since I moved from New Mexico 24 years
ago, and I hope this can save someone some trouble.
MIT Pistol and Rifle Club
From: Gale McMillan <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: WD-40 and gun cleaning
Date: 22 Oct 1999 21:36:21 -0400
The water gets into the WD40 as the aerosol propellant expands the
cooling causes water in the air to condense. If you are going to use it,
spray it on a rag and let stay a few minutes to allow the moisture to
evaporate before using.