Sks Cosmoline and Mineral Spirits?


November 4, 2007, 10:50 PM
The heat for the most part is gone in my part of Texas which means that I can wander into the garage to do some gun projects that I wanted to do this summer, but it was way to hot.

I have an old sks that is still in cosmoline and its time that I get it cleaned for a range trip. The firing pin was stuck so I but the bolt and the bolt carrier into a bucket of mineral spirits as I do not desire to take the bolt apart.

My question is, can I put the blued/ parkerized parts into mineral spirits to soak overnight or even for a few days with out the removal of whatever that coating is? Mainly the trigger assembly and dust cover. Suggestions?

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November 4, 2007, 11:29 PM
Hot (i.e., boiling) water works best for me on all the metal parts. Go ahead and take the bolt apart and get the cosmoline that mineral spirits, or carb cleaner, or gasoline, etc. won't get.

November 4, 2007, 11:43 PM
Mineral spirits,K-1 Kerosene what I used,HOT boiling water or brake cleaner are all good I would boil the bolt for awhile blow it out with an air hose through the firing pin hole and make sure it rattles freely, I never took my bolt apart either and it works flawlessly. After I scrubbed everything up well and wiped it off I used a high pressure air hose to blow out all the little places I couldn't get to,looking at it you would never know it ever had any Cosmoline on it. Don't oil the firing pin or the gas piston they function dry. Don't forget to take the opps rod and spring out from under the rear sight and clean those and the channel it runs in grease that up with some light grease before reinstalling.

How to take down and clean your SKS.

November 5, 2007, 08:01 AM
Last gun I got with cosmo in/on it, I tried mineral spirits for the first time and was not at all impressed with the results even after a lot of soaking.VERY hot water however, did its usual job of removing cosmo and floating to the surface of the pot to be skimmed off, in mere seconds.Havent tried brake cleaner on cosmo, just started testing it out on a few guns for regular cleaning.

November 5, 2007, 08:26 AM
WD-40 is the ultimate Cosmo eater. Spray it down, wipe it down, then lube it with a good gun oil. Good to go I have cleaned several SKS's this way. Make sure you clean the pin and spring under the rear sight assembly also. You can get it out by rotating the take down lever located there just a little farther than you need to, to get the top hand guard off. BEWARE THAT IT IS SPRING LAODED AND WILL TAKE AN EYE OUT IF YOU ARE NOT CAREFULL!!!!! It also will dent drywall across the room as well.

November 5, 2007, 08:47 AM
WD-40, a bunch of q-tips and rags, and boiling water. thats what i did. oh, and put the stock in the dishwasher after you wipe off as much goo as possible. dont use powder or brick soap, use that green liquid dish soap. the powder and brick soaps maul the wood. the dishwasher will not be harmed, you can still put food dishes in it and your glassware wont taste like cosmo, it removes all the grease and raises up all the dings in the stock. also leaves the wood bare so you can refinish it in any color you wish.

November 5, 2007, 08:48 AM
WD40 rags and qtips worked pretty good for me.

November 5, 2007, 09:34 AM
Purple Power (automotive degreaser) from Wal-Mart does a good job on cosmoline too. You can take old oil finishes off of stocks with it too.

Tropical Z
November 5, 2007, 09:39 AM
Ive had great luck over the years using mineral spirits.Just make sure you wear nitrile gloves while cleaning.

November 5, 2007, 09:43 AM
im abit leery of chemicals near MY firearms. do what you wish with yours. BTW, oven cleaners like Purple Power are ment to be corrosive as possible, so if you miss a spot while using it......your gun will look like swiss cheese. not to mention the danger to you and your family/pets.

November 5, 2007, 10:19 AM
Hot water's cheap, simple, and nontoxic. Whenever I use degreasers or the like, the fumes bother me and I'm leery of getting it on my skin. Far easier to fill up a five-gallon bucket with really hot water from the tap, squirt in some dishsoap, and shove the barreled action in there for a bit, stirring occasionally.

November 5, 2007, 10:21 AM

November 5, 2007, 12:49 PM
I used brake cleaner, no problem. WD-40 might be good at removing the cosmo, but I would make sure all the WD is thoroughly removed as well. (It is silicone-based and builds and gums up.) ON THE OTHER HAND, it's an SKS for pet's sake. It will probably work no matter how you try to destroy it. That's one of the reasons I bought one.

Harley Quinn
November 5, 2007, 01:01 PM
Diesel fuel is the best thing going. It is a match for the cosmoline and really does a good job.

I use one of those small concrete mixing tubs (black in color from Home Depot) allow it all to sit in the sun for a while soaking and warming then dry it off and blow out the hard to get spots, and run some patchs around the normal locations.


November 5, 2007, 01:04 PM
One of those Portable Steamers works wonders as well!

November 5, 2007, 01:07 PM
I use mineral spirits on very thick cosmolene and finish off with hot soapy water. I always give the cleaned metal a thorough soaking with WD-40. In 35 years of using the stuff(WD-40) I have never experienced any gumming.

November 5, 2007, 01:20 PM
Ever rebuild a carburetor?, you get a bucket at the auto parts store that you dip the carb in... well the SKS trigger assemble and small parts will all usually fit in there.

That's what we did with a Yugo, couple Russians and a Chinese SKS... worked very well!

November 5, 2007, 03:19 PM
A heat gun or a blow drier will melt off the cosmoline. Wipe off the excess.

November 5, 2007, 03:28 PM
I have found that Q-tips are imperative to being able to clean an sks of cosmoline. Today i just stripped the entire thing to get the cosmo out of the wood, trigger and magazine assembly. WD 40 did a fine job dissolving the grease.

If you want it out of the wood and its cold outside, use a hot incandescent lamp. Or if you need to get in the little nooks and crannys, use a lighter (preferably a candle lighter with the long nozzle) and bring the flame close to the wood, just dont keep it there long enough that the wood burns. If you do it correctly the grease will ooze right out of the wood before your eyes. Lastly i used a little murphys oil soap and that shined the entire stock up pretty well.

November 5, 2007, 03:37 PM
watch out with that lighter trick. cosmo burns well....

November 5, 2007, 03:41 PM
I have a 1971 Yugo SKS that I got covered in cosmo. Here is how it ended up:

I used mineral spirits to clean all the metal parts after I had sprayed the removed metal parts with brake cleaner. Originally, I did not want to take the bolt apart either, but the instructions on made it VERY easy to do. It didn't let the firing pin rattle before because cosmo was still in there, even after sitting in MS for quite a while.

For the stock, I wiped down excess, then applied a nice concentrated solution of Simple Green (in hot water). I used a rough sponge to work it in a bit and let it sit for a while. Used a fresh rinsing of Simple Green then dried it off. Repeated several times. Then I used a heat gun to heat up the stock a bit to bubble out some cosmo. Yes, I DID keep the heater moving all the time. Once I got the stock sufficiently de-cosmod, I applied another coat of Simple Green to get any remaining cosmo off the surface. Let it dry a day or two.

I then applied a coat of Howards restor-a-finish to bring out the grain a bit. Once I had the stock like I wanted it, I applied a layer of Howards feed'n wax which is orange oil and bees wax. This rifle will not see the conditions for which it was made and the stuff I used is what we use on our furnitures. Once the oil/wax soaked in after a couple of days, I could handle it w/o getting any oil or wax on my hand or clothing when handling it.

I'm VERY happy with how it came out and I've had several nice comments. I personally do not want to use any harsh chemicals on the wood.

Another option for cleaning the stock and treating it can be found at He has a formula for cleaning a stock and has some REALLY good stock wax he's made that everybody on CMP's website loves to use for their M1 Garands.

November 5, 2007, 03:53 PM
^Nice sks

watch out with that lighter trick. cosmo burns well....

Are you sure? No cosmoline burnt whenever i did it. All that happened was it fizzled out of the wood, then it wiped it down with paper towels. Well if it bursts into flames with other guns then i dont reccomend doing it.

November 5, 2007, 03:55 PM
it has a high flashpoint but its petrol based, soooo........naturaly it burns fairly well. almost lost the butt of an enfield to that.

November 5, 2007, 06:04 PM
So soaking the trigger assembly, magazine assembly and bolt cover in mineral spirits in a bucket for a few days will not harm the black/blued finish?

November 5, 2007, 08:40 PM
You need to take that bolt apart and be sure its clean. It really isn't hard to do and you won't wind up with any surprises.

In the meantime you might read about one of our posters who didn't get the cosmoline all the way out of his makarov and wound up shooting himself in the hand. Sticking firing pins after cosmo heats up isn't at all an unheard of event in the sks.

November 5, 2007, 11:21 PM
So soaking the trigger assembly, magazine assembly and bolt cover in mineral spirits in a bucket for a few days will not harm the black/blued finish?
While I can't speak for your SKS, I soaked the parts of my WASR in mineral spirits for over a week and had no ill effects. Parts on that are parked and blued. Pick up a can of brake cleaner too. Attach the straw and use it to blast out the stubborn stuff and make sure the bolt/firing pin is free and clear.

As for the stock, Formby's Antique Furniture Restorer works very well. I used that on my M1 stock, followed by boiling water, followed by Dawn dish detergent rubbed into the stock and rinsed off with more boiling water. This will raise the grain, so be prepared to do some minor sanding. It'll also raise minor dents and cartouches (do SKSes have cartouches?).

November 5, 2007, 11:26 PM
I used brake cleaner (cheap stuff from Advance) on the metal. We found a nice product called "De-Solve It" at Wally-world. Orange scented, has an oil of some form in it, and it eats cosmoline. A few wipe-downs and it was done. I'd think Krud-cutter and Simple Green would work just fine. I also respect the guys who don't like usings chemicals on theirs, but my stock was no beauty to begin with.

As far as cosmo burning.... a few of the rags I used on the metal parts were still in the bin I was spraying them in a year later. I took the now dry and yellow rags and tossed them in the fire in the backyard. They went up pretty quick. Much faster than rags do alone. A nice high flame, also.

November 5, 2007, 11:31 PM
Hot water and Dawn Dishwashing soap did the trick for me.

November 5, 2007, 11:59 PM
I heard the best method was to get a Metal Trash Can, put a rack in it on a downward toward the opening angle, mount several heat lamps in the top, insert cosmoline covered gun, put lid on, plug heat lamps in overnight, next day remove gun with no cosmoline on it.

November 6, 2007, 02:48 PM
+1 for Mineral Spirits and hot water. I used a paint brush to help in the tight areas and a few old rags. For the barrel and trigger group, hot water did the trick. I also used a few assorted nylon brushes.

November 6, 2007, 09:37 PM
Paint thinner(mineral spirits) won't harm anything metal. Take the bolt apart!! It must be absolutly clean to be safe. I soaked my SKS bolt in gasoline and swabbed it thouroughly.

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