Can you clean off rust without damaging blueing?


October 27, 2009, 09:25 PM
I have an old Remington 513T that my uncle gave me. It has some minor rust on the outside of the barrel. I was wondering how to clean this off without messing up the blueing?

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W L Johnson
October 27, 2009, 09:36 PM
Clean off runt? I know what you mean but that's funny.

October 27, 2009, 09:41 PM
I'll fix it in the title.

For those that are wondering what WLJ is talking about, the OP originally read "clean off runt", not rust. ;)


W L Johnson
October 27, 2009, 09:43 PM
Sorry, I didn't mean to be an a**

October 27, 2009, 09:43 PM
It depends on how deep the rust is. WD-40 will wipe off rust stains. I have used Flitz in the past put you have to be very careful with it or you will strip off some of the blue.

October 27, 2009, 09:55 PM
Thanks for fixing the title. It doesn't look like it's very deep, I'll try using WD-40 and see if that does anything.

October 27, 2009, 10:28 PM
Gun oil or powder solvent + a brass/bronze brush + a delicate hand will also remove it. If it's deeper than the bluing, then there's really no way. But get it off anyway.

October 28, 2009, 08:07 AM
I've used a wooden matchstick when all other methods have failed with oils and solvents. I cant say it didn't do any damage, there was some loss of blueing, but I always thought that was from the rust anyway.
I don't remember where I read this, but it did a great job when I tried it.

October 28, 2009, 09:05 AM
I've used Kroil (similar stuff to WD-40 but I think Kroil is better) and 0000 steel wool. Go real easy on the steel wool as it will remove bluing if you get too aggressive. As others stated above, even if you damage the bluing, its important to get the rust spots off.

October 28, 2009, 09:32 AM
If you can't get it all off I'd try Breakfree CLP. I've actually used BF CLP on rusty treestand bolts and it actually converted the rust. They are still rust free and black 2 years later. I'd give it a try and use it as the lube for a very light 0000 steel wool.

October 28, 2009, 09:46 AM
Wonder Blue gun cleaner on a rag but don't use it with scotchbrite as that will remove the bluing.

Al Thompson
October 28, 2009, 09:50 AM
Flitz or one of the Iosso polishes works for me. :)

October 28, 2009, 10:40 AM
I've used an old pre-'63 penny (mostly copper) and oil lightly and it seemed to work ok for minor stuff.

October 28, 2009, 11:00 AM
I've never tried it but I read somewhere that brake fluid would work.

October 28, 2009, 11:35 AM
take some very thin oil , like rem oil, or clp or kroil, and get some 0000 type steel wool, or that curly , big curls, sheeps hair type steel wool, put the oil on your metal parts, then rub it with the steel wool. Do not use any pressure; just the weight of the wool and your hand is fine; rub in circles. rub for a minute, then wipe away and check. keep rubbing until the rust spots are gone.

October 28, 2009, 04:34 PM
In the museum world we use bronze wool and a fine oil. This will not harm the bluing or patina as long as you don't get too agressive. Much better and less risky than steel wool. Allowing the oil to work for a couple of days softens it and sppeds the process. If you end up with a slight bronze wash, it is removed with a clean cloth dampened with household ammonia cleaner.

Juice Boxes
October 28, 2009, 11:08 PM
If you can't get it all off I'd try Breakfree CLP.

ima second that

Cleaning ALOT of rust off of an old martini Henry rifle with break free and steel wool, it is working good right now.

October 28, 2009, 11:08 PM
I flatten a brass case mouth with a set of pliers. I use the case to scrape of rust with the least amount of damage to the surrounding bluing.

October 29, 2009, 01:41 AM
Blowingsky posted my best remedy. A copper penny works well.

And, thanks to Curator for that tip!

Modern pennies are copper-plated zinc and they'll work, too but the thin copper wears away from the coin edge very quickly so you should turn the coin often while scraping. Neither copper or zinc (unless applied in a special heated process known as "galvanizing") will impart to the steel (and when combined they make brass, which is why higene also gets satisfactory results) and I've never had a problem using modern pennies for light rust removal.

While scraping you'll produce a mess that looks like a rust-copper mix and that can be removed with solvent and a soft cloth, or fine steel wool.

If I was not absolutely thrilled with the results I'd steel wool down to white metal and re-blue with one of the several excellent cold blues available, heating the work with a hair dryer first for best results.

And, TomADC, BLUE WONDER is quite likely the best gun cleaner made! Years ago I received a free sample when the company was just starting up (the owner and I were both on the same gun chat board) and as a bore (and a filthy revolver cylinder face) cleaners go it has no equal. (Of course serious copper removal from my rifle bore still requires an ammonia based solvent-all solvents promise but none truly deliver, and the dealer had to order SHOOTERS CHOICE COPPER REMOVER for me)

Uncle Mike
October 29, 2009, 11:44 AM
Rust has roots, yup, that rust goes all the way to the metal.
Now, you can clean the rust off of the surface, but I bet it comes back, and even if you keep it heavily'll see the rust staring back at you...laughing...thumbing its nose!

Re-blue it...Oxpho blue or Dicropan works well as cold blue goes. And you'll have a blast doing it.... wear latex gloves!

October 29, 2009, 07:20 PM
Oil and bronze wool has always worked great for me.

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