Remove Light Surface Rust?


July 27, 2007, 11:19 PM
Have a pistol that has perfect bluing. . . . except for the back strap. There is very light surface rust. I am not aware of any way to effectively remove surface rust without harming the finish and requiring a refinish.

Years ago I used copper pennies to remove some light rust on a pistol and it worked, but the blue was not the same.

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July 27, 2007, 11:29 PM
Get some 0000 steel wool hoppes# 9 or a good gun oil. Wet the wool, wet the gun. GENTLY rub in circlular motion. Should clean up most surface rust.

July 27, 2007, 11:33 PM
I suggest bronze wool NOT steel wool. Steel wool will remove bluing bronze will won't.

July 27, 2007, 11:36 PM
Flitz metal polish is advertised as not harmful to blued finishes. It might remove the rust without harming the blue. I've never tried it, but might be something to think about....

July 28, 2007, 12:00 AM
The wool works well, bronze is better. You can also get the bronze and stiff plastic brushes, which is what I use. A little Hoppes or something on it helps as lubrication. Go lightly, very lightly; you can always keep at it, but once through the blue, you're up SC. Once the rust spots get deep and pitted, this process is just a stopgap. Keep it oiled to retard further pitting.

In a humid climate, especially, don't store guns in a case, sock or rug. You WILL get rust. Even scope rings will rust. After shooting or hunting in cold weather, condensation will form on the gun metal sometimes when you take it inside, so a wipe-down is in order.

Once the gun is wiped down, use a light coat of gun oil for the blued finish.

July 28, 2007, 12:14 AM
I use CLP and a bronze brush (12 ga or 45 bore brushes work well). Apply CLP, wait about 10 minutes, gently scrub, making sure to get the rust at the bast of the pitting. Apply more CLP after wiping off rusty mess. Repeat until CLP wipes off without much discoloration. I haven't seen any blueing loss or scratches in the surrounding finish even with vigorous scrubbing.

Flitz will wear the blue thin, and eventually will wear it off. Steel wool can scratch, and bronze wool doesn't allways get to the bottom of pits which can leave active rust on the gun.

July 28, 2007, 12:20 AM
One very successful way of doing it is to use Casey's Super Blue. First degrease the steel, then apply some Super Blue to fine steel wool and rub up the affected area. Wipe clean and repeat with fresh steel wool. Wipe clean then repeat using non-cotton fabric. Wipe clean and repeat a few more times with fabric. THEN, remove all traces of blueing salts. Dish washing liquid on a damp cloth works. Dry, then wipe down with Hoppe's No. 9. Oil well and that should be that!

(Check often for any signs of fresh rust for a few weeks and keep oiling).


Jim K
July 28, 2007, 12:22 AM
Bronze brushes (like toothbrushes) can be found at most hardware stores and at gun shows. Bronze/brass wool can be found in the kitchen department of any super market.

Stainless steel brushes are pretty good for removing powder stains and the like and are soft enough that they don't damage bluing if used in moderation.


July 28, 2007, 10:39 AM
Thank you very much for all the tips. I thought of even using some 600 grit wet or dry sand paper to remove the surface rust completely, then use cold blue, but I have never read anything overly positive about cold blue.

I'll try the bronze brush, I can see how the tips of the bristles can get into the pores of the surface rust. The rust on this pistol is very light.

Might be time for hard chrome.

July 28, 2007, 06:59 PM

You are right about the cold blue. The Super Blue, when applied heavily gives a deep, long lasting finish. By applying it initially with fine steel wool, any surface rust is iether removed or 'blued'. It also polishes the metal surface, which is what the Super Blue is designed for - polished and hardened surfaces. Sanding will remove the polish so rather don't. The key here is numerous, repeated applications. When done on top of existing blue, as a repair job, the results are very satisfactory. Applying it with cotton cloth seems to weaken it. But the salts MUST be neutralized! (Of course, rubber gloves should be worn - stains ones hands).

But just rubbing it with fine steel wool and Hoppe's no. 9 will help.


July 28, 2007, 08:57 PM

Are you saying I can sand the backstrap to remove the light rust and apply the Super Blue until I get a "match" and the Super Blue will give good wear results?

July 31, 2007, 03:44 AM

No, don't sand. Just use fine steel wool to apply the first few coats of 'Super Blue'. My appologies of for being confusing. Sanding damages the smooth surface. If I knew how to post pictures I would show you the results of re-blueing my 1902 303 Brit.:)


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