Cosmoline: How does the military remove it


March 28, 2007, 12:43 PM
If you have spent even as little as a week on the gun forums you will run into the age old question of how to remove the brown goo. There are many ways. Some work better than others, but this thread is not about those.

My question is, the militarys of the world use cosmoline to put old fire arms into storage, but I never heard of how they ever planned to bring those fire arms back into service if ever needed. So, how does the military plan to remove cosmoline from its surplus.

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March 28, 2007, 01:11 PM
So, how does the military plan to remove cosmoline from its surplus.

Sell the surpluss to us on the open market and let us deal with the cosmoline :neener:

March 28, 2007, 01:39 PM
When I was asst armorer, we received 87 new Berettas to replace our 1911s. They were in plastic and cosmoline, but it was liquid, not very gooey. I stripped it off of all of them with rags, toothbrushes and break free.

Now when I got my Yugo SKS, on the other hand, I used a quart of Coleman fuel and a wire brush to strip the goop off. (I'm much more confident of the SKS to resist harsh solvents than the Berettas.)

Mikee Loxxer
March 28, 2007, 01:40 PM
The guy my aunt married after my uncle died was a Marine BAR man who saw action in Korea. He states that when he was issued his BAR it was covered in cosmoline. I asked him how they removed it. If memory serves he said that he used cold water, a rag and elbow grease. Having de-cosmoed rifles before that does sound like much fun. Then again this was the 50’s and he was a Marine in a combat zone.

March 28, 2007, 02:09 PM
My father, a Korean War U.S. Navy vet, said gasoline was normally used to remove cosmoline. That ... and elbow grease.:D

March 28, 2007, 02:09 PM
It's been a good many years since our military routinely used cosmoline to preserve stored arms and equipment. It has been replaced by other technologies which have proved to be both equally effective and less labor-intensive to use.

Back when we still used it, the troops did the bulk of the cleaning. On standard-issue small arms this was usually the responsibility of the individual to whom they had been issued, but it was also done by maintenance/repair depot units when necessary.

IIRC, there was generally an area set aside for this in each company area. There would be large containers for solvent and brushes for communal use. The usual drill was for the whole platoon to take their newly issued weapons there for the initial clean-up. In most cases I believe that the usual solvent was kerosene or diesel fuel.

By the mid-1970's, the use of vapor emitting materials in packing and storage containers by manufacturers and depot armories pretty much eliminated the use of cosmoline for stored small arms.

March 28, 2007, 02:10 PM
Blinker fluid.

March 28, 2007, 02:10 PM
I think I'm supposed to start this post with, "Back in the Old Army..." Anyway, when we were issued cosmolined weapons in a new unit I joined in 1963, we used mess hall immersion heaters to boil water in garbage cans and used the boiling water to clean out the gunk — a row of cans, moving from water that was pretty foul to the last one which was the final rinse, so to speak. By the time they came out, they were hot enough to dry almost instantly and you could then oil them lightly.

I do know that because of corrosive primers, the old Soviet Army had boiling water systems available in infantry barracks for cleaning weapons.

March 28, 2007, 02:22 PM
My guess would be that the Army would first have to get Cosmoline down from Alaska, then they would start him on a workout schedule, then . . .

Oh you said remove cosmoline from weapons, not remove extra from Cosmoline, ooops.:neener: :neener: :neener:

El Tejon
March 28, 2007, 03:11 PM
How does the military remove cosmoline from weapons? It goes a little something like this:

"Marine, you will remove this cosmoline!"
"Yes, Gunny."

One of the refusniks I went to grad school with was drafted into a labor battalion. Somehow he survived dedyuska (means "grandfather" in Russian and new recruits, especially if Jewish, are beaten like dogs) and was sent to a complex of warehouses in the Urals. There he packed and unpacked battlefield pick ups from the Great Patriotic War (this is almost 40 years after WWII). Apparently the USSR didn't throw anything away.

Mostly they were moving crates around and greasing up guns (everything apparently) but when one needed to be out of storage they would use 55 gallons drums of boiling hot water and then strip the weapon and detail it with elbow grease.

March 28, 2007, 03:23 PM
An old gunsmith I knew told me that the standard procedure was to dunk the guns in a series of drums full of diesel.

March 28, 2007, 03:58 PM
Time for Google. There are hundreds of sites out there. There's an AR-15 site that has a very detailed cleaning method. The Good sites will show where you don't need chemicals or hot water (hot water is fine for the metal but not the wood) to clean the stored weapons. What you need is dry heat and places for the cosmoline to drip onto. I used this method (wife's hair dryer) on some early SKS's and it worked like a charm.

March 28, 2007, 04:02 PM
Blinker fluid.

Now get yourself straight. Is it Blinker Fluid or Headlight Fluid?

March 28, 2007, 04:45 PM
Now get yourself straight. Is it Blinker Fluid or Headlight Fluid?
Ha, you're both wrong.
It's bumper coolant. :neener:

March 28, 2007, 05:11 PM
Lets see, 55 gal drum of gasoline painted black set out in the sun to get good and warm. 1. Drop weapon into drum, 2. go have a brewski from the nearby 55 gal drum full of gasoline painted white with the compressed air bubbling through it to cool the brewskis. 3. After proper disposal of brewskis, return to black drum and shake the weapon around a bit, pull it out and work the action, drop it back in. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until weapon is clean or it doesn't matter anymore.:neener:

March 28, 2007, 05:28 PM
...mess hall immersion heaters to boil water in garbage cans...

Thats what I worked very well.

March 28, 2007, 05:50 PM
Repeat steps 2 and 3 until weapon is clean or it doesn't matter anymore.

March 28, 2007, 06:50 PM
The standard WWII and Korean era procedure was 55 gallon drums of diesel or Number 2 bunker oil.

Take the major groups apart and drop your receiver and trigger group in the barrel. The stock group too if needed. (Not your sling stupid!)

Take some parts out, scrub, clean and redip as needed, re-assemble ... and make the guy buying your Garand or Carbine from the CMP 60 years later wonder out loud why the numbers never match.

March 28, 2007, 07:00 PM
Blinker fluid.

Prop wash.

March 28, 2007, 07:08 PM
I think proper blinker fluid beats the other candidates soundly. USSR Mil-Spec Blinker Fluid with a 1970-1973 date will clean anything from teeth to tar pits. Prop Wash is generally considered a better cleaner when dealing with wood on the gun - so that you keep your finish.
Bumper coolant can react with the corrosive burnt powders found in some old rifles (chiefly Swedish) and eat the threading out. Headlight fluid is a dilluted form of blinker fluid.

March 28, 2007, 07:30 PM
Boiling water and 20 gal trash cans full of diesel/gasoline mix . Oh BTW , did you guys have to hang the weapons out on 20 ft of flight line to dry ?

March 28, 2007, 07:52 PM
Have the individual soldier it is issued to clean it!:evil:

Prince Yamato
March 28, 2007, 08:00 PM
Dawn gets grease out of the way.

March 28, 2007, 08:54 PM
we used toluine and a toothbrush

March 28, 2007, 10:09 PM
post deleted...

sorry wrong thread

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