Letters filled with rust!


December 5, 2004, 06:36 PM
I've inherited two beautiful blue handguns (a S&W 19 and Ruger MkII) from my recently-deceased grandfather. They're both in incredibly good shape and MOSTLY free from rust with the exception that ALL the stamped letters/numbers are rust colored.

I've got some Birchwood Casey "Rust Ridder", that works GREAT on bare/stainless steels, but I'm concerned that it may be too harsh or harmful to the beautiful old blue finish that's unharmed other than the stamps.

What's the best way to get rid of the existing rust inside the stamps and halt it's further progress?

AND, should I COMPLETELY disassemble the two guns to search for any rust in the internals?

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December 5, 2004, 06:44 PM
I've had pretty good luck scrubbing rust spots with 0000 steel wool and hoppes #9. Not sure how that would apply to getting inside the letters. Maybe try it with a toothbrush and some hoppes.

4v50 Gary
December 5, 2004, 07:15 PM
Oil & a brass wire bristle brush. Steel wool will remove the bluing around the letters and won't get down into the bottom of the letters to remove the rust.

December 5, 2004, 07:22 PM
Got it. Brass brush. No Rust Ridder?

Jim K
December 5, 2004, 07:34 PM
May be a dumb question, but are you sure that it is rust? Generally, stampings tend to hold oil and so don't rust.

But, some folks like to use a "gold inlay" paste that can be rubbed into the lettering. It looks great for a while, but then tarnishes and turns brown, looking for all the world like rust.

The brass brush should get rid of it, and if not a soft steel brush will do so without harming the bluing.


4v50 Gary
December 5, 2004, 08:08 PM
I prefer to use BreakFree CLP to remove rust when I use a brass wire brush. It preserves as the same time the brass scrapes off the rust.

Standing Wolf
December 5, 2004, 08:39 PM
...should I COMPLETELY disassemble the two guns to search for any rust in the internals?

I would. I'd have to figure if there's a little, there's more.

December 5, 2004, 09:30 PM
That may be rust or may be dirt .Soak with some oil first , then try brass brush. If that doesn't work then try carefully with a needle and scrape it out , a magnifier may help.

December 5, 2004, 10:06 PM
Thanks for the kept guys. I'll try Breakfree CLP and a wire brush and/or needle and then take the whole thing apart. I can't be POSITIVE it's rust, but it's got to go all the same.

Zeke Menuar
December 5, 2004, 11:12 PM
I had a similar problem with the lettering on the action on my Turkish Mauser. It wasn't rust, it was just dirt and crud. Used brass toothbrush, steel wool, dental pick and Breakfree to get the lettering clean.


December 6, 2004, 02:23 PM
You can also remove rust using electrolysis. Perform this process in a well-ventilated area, or outdoors because of hydrogen gas. Mix 1 tablespoon of Arm and Hammer washing soda (found in the laundry detergent aisle of your local grocery store; do NOT use baking soda) to 1 gallon of water and mix well. Place a steel rod (do NOT use stainless steel as it gives off toxic fumes) in the solution near the rusted part, also immersed in the solution. DO NOT ALLOW THE STEEL TO TOUCH TO RUSTED PART. Connect the negative lead of a battery charger to the part, and the positive lead to the steel rod. When you plug in the battery charger you will immediately see bubbles. This is hydrogen and oxygen coming up from the breaking apart of water molecules. Depending on the size of the part, the amount of rust, and the current of the battery charger, leave the part in for 2 to 4 hours. This process will remove all rust but not harm the bluing. I've done a 1911 frame and a Marlin rifle bolt this way. With the 1911 frame I put the steel rod through the mag well and used O-rings to keep it from touching the frame. The Marlin bolt was engraved and the engraving was filled with rust. After the electrolysis process the letters were clean and free of rust, and no harm to the bluing.

Have fun!

R.H. Lee
December 6, 2004, 02:28 PM
Just carefully scrape the letters clean with a pin or needle. I painted the letters in my CZ75 B with yellow and red model paint.

AND, should I COMPLETELY disassemble the two guns to search for any rust in the internals?

December 6, 2004, 04:07 PM
No one has addressed the man's question about using "Rust Ridder."

I have no experience with that product, but most rust removal products are acidic. Bluing is a form of oxidation that is readily removed with rust removers, so you are right to question whether to use the product. I would be very hesitant to use it on a blued firearm.


December 6, 2004, 04:20 PM
Hmmm. Maybe I can find a spare part or try it a little on the front of the cylinder.

December 9, 2004, 02:38 PM
I am VERY hesitant to use any kind of abrasive, whether tool or solution, on blued parts. I have had good luck with Kroil, the penetrating oil, and a Q-Tip (along with elbow grease). I tried some Flitz once on a small area of corrosion on a Python barrel. It worked wonderfully on the corrosion but took the bluing right off!

Now, the electrolysis process is definitely intriguing! Just don't get zapped! I gotta try that, though.

4v50 Gary
December 11, 2004, 11:50 PM
Well Clemson, you're right. I didn't talk about "Rust Ridder" because I prefer a neutral oil and a soft brass brush. I don't use steel wood where I can use a pre-84 copper penny instead.

July 22, 2008, 02:27 AM
the brass brush yall are talking about where can i get one that wont hurt the bluing and what specific type of brass brush is it? I have a .45 model PT 745 and its laser engraved with the model and serial number on the side as well as the Taurus logo and whatnot and there is rust in the engraving that i have yet to get out of with anything else. would like to know where i can get this specific type of brush that will actually get down in the laser engraved parts on the slide...thanks for any help

July 22, 2008, 12:42 PM
Just use the same brass bore brush you use for cleaning the barrels.

I agree with Jim and the others in thinking it is not rust confined only to the lettering.
It is in all probably, gold colored lacquer folks used to use to highlight lettering, or just plain old dried oil & dirt.

You can also remove rust using electrolysis.Not on my guns you can't!

I have a very difficult time understanding how electrolysis can tell the difference between Iron Oxide rust, and Iron Oxide bluing.

They are basically the same thing!


Jim K
July 22, 2008, 12:50 PM
The softest brass brushes are those made for use on suede. Harder "toothbrush" ones are sold in most hardware stores and at gun shows. For more widespread rust, I prefer brass or copper wool (sold as pot scrubbers in grocery stores) and oil, instead of steel wool which can scratch bluing.


log man
July 23, 2008, 01:20 AM
Now that it's been 4 years since fullolead, the OP, asked the question I wonder how it came out.:scrutiny:


July 23, 2008, 12:00 PM
Dag Nabit!
I got to get in the habit of looking at the dates on these threads.

The Zombie threads just keep coming back from the dead again and again!


July 23, 2008, 12:04 PM
kill it!

July 23, 2008, 04:19 PM
As a rule start with the least destructive method. Old plastic bristle brush and oil (Kroil), then move to bronze wool, brass brush, etc

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