Rust and guns


July 12, 2009, 11:36 PM
I just realized tonite that I have a gun old well used beat up guns that don't rust. One is an old h&r single shot 12 ga. and the other is a remington 550-I that never have been oiled that I know of in at least 30 years.

These guns were used VERY often about 20 years ago. Why do I have newer guns that rust just because and these two just stay the same. I really don't know the age of the guns I mentioned but they had been well used when I first saw them 25 years ago. Their my grandfathers guns.

I actually oiled the 12 ga. tonite for the first time that I can remember just because I felt guilty. I couldn't find a speck of rust was steel made better 60 or so years ago?

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July 12, 2009, 11:45 PM
probably just good workmanship

i noticed that my marlin xl7 doesnt rust but the bolt handle does i think that the bolt handle is made of cheaper steel so it may be replaced i dont like the checkered ball anyway

i know oils from the hand also but even after cleaning and scrubbing the handle if i use the same amount of oil i use to wipe down the barrel and action it will still rust

Boba Fett
July 12, 2009, 11:53 PM
was steel made better 60 or so years ago?

I think rust has gotten smarter. :D

Seriously though, I would say that metallurgy has gotten better compared to 60 years ago.

There are really a number of factors that could contribute to rust or rust prevention on your firearms:
1) type of ammo
2) how often you clean
3) how they are stored
4) what sort of cleaning products you use
5) climate
6) how often and in what conditions you use them
7) physical damage to the firearm that creates a place where rust is more likely to happen
8) manufacturer (could be a bad manufacturer, poorer grade materials, quality of labor and machinery, etc.)

and so on and so on.

What firearms do you have that are rusting and how do you use them? Might give us some insight as to a cause.

July 13, 2009, 12:33 AM
Lets put it this way the h&r and the remington .22 had a very hard life with zero attention and I have mossberg 500's and 870's and also a marlin 60 that just get more attention and haven't been used near as hard and they just don't repel rust

July 13, 2009, 01:29 AM
I think metalurgy has gotten better, but in the old days craftsmen did more hands on finishing. They would polish the metal to almost perfection before applying a hot bluing to the finish. The more polished the metal is, the less rust that will be able to infiltrate the pores of the metal. This is also how Colt and Smith got those beautiful blues.

Today, less time is spent finishing a firearm and the polishing is not that great. This is why your finishes are mostly flat in appearance. I don't think the hands on finishing even exists anymore, except in custom guns. and then it is not on par with craftsmen of the past. Machines do everything now. At least that is my thoughts on it.

July 13, 2009, 05:57 AM
but in the old days craftsmen did more hands on finishing.

Amen. I have pre-WWI S&Ws with hand finishing you can't imagine. Nearly a century of abuse and neglect and they still have 80% of their original finish and a metal condition about equal to, say, a 25 year old Winchester 94, or a 15 year old Norinco 1911a1 (both of those being examples of low-quality metal finish and bluing on average).

Over the last 100 years, the difference in durability is in the craftsmanship, not the metallurgy or blue compound.

July 13, 2009, 08:31 AM
I was thinking the same thing about my 1976 Marlin 336 lever gun. It seems like old steel surface oxidizes or ages more rust preventative. The bluing is half gone yet it never rust and im not afraid to handle it. The surface of the metal just seems slicker also.

My all of my new blued guns like a 10/22 or mossberg 500 will rust over night if i touch them without wiping them down and if i leave them in the safe for a few weeks or months without oiling a few small specs of rust will pop up. It seems like new guns have started rusting before i even get them, even under the packing oil from the factory.

July 13, 2009, 10:10 AM
Here's my observation of guns like this...
I know many people with really old well used guns that they still use a lot.
Most of them don't get cleaned on the exterior.
Looking closely at the guns, they all look like they've had a lot of oil applied in the past, but the oil has built up into a dry, almost baked on, coating. Any part that doesn't have this are the parts that get normal handling wear.

So...if you have a nice old coating of oil on most of it, and the rest gets used enough to knock any new rust off, then you end up with a rust free gun.

Anyone else notice this?

July 14, 2009, 12:03 AM
Shiftyer, I bet your car isn't rusty like mine is either. I think the dry heat and air conditioners in Texas makes a big difference. In a dry environment, you tend to get the grey patina type of iron oxide (magnetite?) instead of the flakey red type. New guns rust faster because they still have traces of acid from the bluing process.

My blued guns would rust if I didn't wipe with BreakFree CLP (2nd best for corrosion in most tests). I've even had a stainless barreled .22 rifle rust here in Michigan.

July 23, 2009, 02:56 PM
Laserspot.......your car rusts from the salt in the wintertime. I'm actually from minnesota and noticed the same thing there.

July 24, 2009, 07:59 PM
That explains the car, but why does my cast iron tablesaw get so rusty? It never leaves the garage.

July 24, 2009, 08:09 PM
Because its "cast tron" not forged. Do you use wax on your table saw? Give it a good cleaning and polish some car wax on the surfaces that contact with wood and saw dust. Saw dust attracts moisture like crazy, so be sure to dust off as much as you can and use an air hose for the rest you can't reach. Of course, be sure to unplug the saw first before you start cleaning.

Dave B
July 24, 2009, 08:22 PM
Also, how humid is it where you live?

July 24, 2009, 08:42 PM
It's pretty humid here; I've tried Johnson's paste wax on the top, but it doesn't help much. I have to re-rust it a couple times a year with steel wool, wire brushes, and a palm sander.

I recently bought a big spray can of Break Free CLP to hose down the saw, other tools, and my guns.

the foot
July 24, 2009, 09:29 PM
From humid South GA-

Here we need to handle every firearm on a regular schedule, clean each firearm even though it has not been fired, look for any signs of rust and take care of them.

I consider it an important part of gun ownership, keeping my weapons functional and looking good.

As far as a cast iron saw table goes, just keep it clean of any substance that will encourage oxidation. Occasionally apply a CLP or water displacement lubricant, and there will be minimal rust to contend with.

July 24, 2009, 09:53 PM
When I lived in arid NV where the humidity averaged 10% on a humid day, rust was a non issue (as was sweat). Now in the sauna called FL, where molds grows on vinyl and rust erodes s.s. gas bbq's, I have found it necessary to keep guns inside under AC, with a goldenrod and three large dessicant boxes in the safe.........

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