I hate cosmoline!


February 27, 2010, 01:37 PM
Not the guy on THR, but the actual stuff they packed the SKS in. I recently bought a Norinco SKS off gunbroker and it is is great condition, but every single nook and cranny in this rifle is packed full of cosmoline. Even the cleaning kit in the butstock is full of this aweful gel. Does anyone else have similar frusrations with this stuff?

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February 27, 2010, 01:37 PM
It's a love hate relationship.

February 27, 2010, 01:43 PM
I love getting a milsurp packed in cosmoline.
Scrape out what you can, WD-40 for the rest.

February 27, 2010, 01:44 PM
I like the stuff, and I wish I had a 5 gallon bucket of it. The guy is pretty cool too.

Just use some boiling hot water, diesel fuel, or mineral spirits. I like the smell of diesel fuel myself.:D

February 27, 2010, 01:47 PM
I have all the metal parts soaking in diesel, but the stock is full of the stuff. I took the butplate off, and the cavity where the cleaning kit goes is filled to the top. I don't think I have enough WD-40.

February 27, 2010, 01:48 PM
I hate it too.

I restored an old Mosin 38 last year and am in the process of doing the same thing to an M44 now. I am giving up on the wood on this one. No matter how much I heat this one, the stuff still keeps weeping. :banghead:

I am going to see if I can swap the one I already refinished to the M44 and get a sporter stock for the M38.

February 27, 2010, 01:55 PM

How did you heat the stock? I am interested because I want to try and get it all out. I have scrubbed it down with rem oil, but it dosen't seem to do a thing.

February 27, 2010, 01:57 PM
My first thought was "What's wrong with Cosmoline?" and then I realized, oh, cosmoline.

Is that what CZ greases their pistols up with?

February 27, 2010, 01:58 PM
I use a space heater. It makes the cosmoline seep out and every few minutes I wipe it off.

General Geoff
February 27, 2010, 01:59 PM
pressurized steam will get all the cosmoline out of the stock.

February 27, 2010, 01:59 PM
I think he's a nice enough guy, give him some more time before you judge him.


Seriously, it does suck.

fireman 9731
February 27, 2010, 02:00 PM
Thats part of the joy of shooting an old milsurp.... put a hundred rounds through it and you get to enjoy the magical stuff spontaneously generate out of all the cracks and crevices that you had previously thoroughly cleaned.

February 27, 2010, 02:05 PM
I've heated wood in the oven (to dry it), at the very lowest setting, which is around 170 degrees. I don't know if that would work on cosmoline though, if you can even fit the furniture in an oven.

February 27, 2010, 02:09 PM
Thats part of the joy of shooting an old milsurp

um. . . joy? Joy would be Scotch spontaneously generating out of all the cracks and crevices. :evil:

February 27, 2010, 02:15 PM
Its about to be summer time you can set the stock outside in the summer it will all come out.

February 27, 2010, 02:18 PM

How did you heat the stock?

Like Chrono, I usually use a space heater. It works while I watch tv. Wipedown during commercials. :D

Not so much with this one though. ugggggghhhhh

February 27, 2010, 02:32 PM
I've use a heat gun on the low setting, the high setting can scorch the wood if you are not real careful.

February 27, 2010, 02:36 PM
Mineral spirits, cheese cloth and a toothbrush... all it takes to melt it away. Without the cosmo, your rifle might not have survived this long in storage.

February 27, 2010, 02:57 PM
Well, it took me two hours, but I finally have a good bit of the cosmoline off. I gave up, because as soon as I had the rifle put back together, more seemed to seep out of places I just cleaned. Oh well, it is time to go run a few hundred rounds through it and forget about the cosmoline issue.

February 27, 2010, 04:04 PM
Boiling water is your friend. I had 12 old Sten mags that were packed full of cosmo. I dropped them is an old ammo tin along with a cup of simple-green cleaning solution and water. I put them on the side burner of the BBQ till the water boiled and pulled them out one at the time and drained the mag. They were so hot, they dried right off and not a spec of cosmo on them. It had all melted and settled out to the bottom of the tin. Works with parts too. A funnel will help pour boiling water down the bore and a heat gun will get the rest.

Shadow 7D
February 27, 2010, 05:34 PM
I've been told, if you live in a hot part of the country, just take the stock and put it in a bag of kitty litter in your trunk, kitty litter draws the oils out, and the heat weeps them out, check it every week and it will get there with a little time, I usually just drop the whole rifle in a troth of mineral spirits or paint thinner and pull it out the next day, or when every I remember, then I worry about the stock after I finish with the metal. I've found that Tung Oil makes a great finsih, or Danish oil, if you want the rubbed look.

A note of caution, if you let the wood soak in solvent, you have to wait for it to "dry" before a finish will set, and yes I learned that one the hard way, and the kitty litter works wonders, if you have the patience.

For the inpatient, I would suggest oven cleaner and an oven, at about 200 -250 F, but it gets a little stinky. Spray the stock with oven cleaner, let it sit until you see it get slimy, wipe dry, and look see if you need to do a second time, remember to flush the stock with water or vinegar to neutralize the oven cleaner, (it will eat you skin and soften you fingernails, be safe) then bake in the oven, wiping every 15 to 30 minutes.

Repeat until your wife's yelling gets beyond what you can stand, or until you get board, which ever happens first, then wipe dry and set aside for a day, steam the dents and refinsh.

February 27, 2010, 05:38 PM
A kitchen dishwasher can be used to remove cosmoline. If necessary pull the racks out and wedge the stock in diagonally. Run it on pots-and-pans cycle and hot water setting, Use regular automatic dishwashing detergent. Sounds odd but works like a charm. Raises small dents, too.

Or, for wood that’s really deeply soaked with cosmo. One that leaches oily secretions. On a hot summer’s day, leave it in a car sitting in the sun with the windows rolled up. Periodically through the day, as the stuff oozes out of the wood, wipe it off with a rag soaked in paint thinner. Repeat as required, for a few days… or weeks.

Tully M. Pick
February 27, 2010, 05:51 PM
A kitchen dishwasher can be used to remove cosmoline.

That's what I used on an SKS I purchased. Worked like a charm.

February 27, 2010, 05:55 PM
whats a fair price of a SKS? I heard people really like them and there like an AK built to last. They are chamber in 7.62x39 correct? Is $370 a good price for one?

Yeah cosmoline is hard to get off. It is everywhere!

February 27, 2010, 05:56 PM
Seriously, removing cosmo from the stock is not that bad of an ordeal!

1) Remove all metal parts so you just have the wood.
2) Soak rag in mineral spirits and run it up and down the stock.
3) Repeat step 2.
4) Repeat step 3. (you get the idea. Just do it until you stop seeing brown crud on the rag.)
5) Lightly sand the varnish off the stock. I use ~300 grit wet/dry sandpaper soaked in mineral spirits.
6) Once all finish is removed on the stock, rub it again with mineral spirits soaked rag.
7) Cnce you see that the wood is clean and clear, just sand with finer sandpaper and refinish with BLO or Tung oil and you're good to go!

I've done several stocks like this and have gotten fantastic results.

February 27, 2010, 06:02 PM
I used a 5 gallon bucket of hot water and Dawn dishwashing detergent. Took it right off, and I never saw even a little bit seap out after that. Same thing for the metal.

Nothing to it.

February 27, 2010, 06:04 PM
i love the smell of cosmo

February 27, 2010, 06:05 PM
Stop by your buddies garage and hit it with his steam cleaner. For the parts go to your parts cleaner(Varsol under slight pressure and a brush). Have set parts in gasoline and the cosmo just melts away. Use only outside in a safe area-no sparks. It is dangerous because of its flamability. Do not allow anyone close to it with cigs or a lighter as the fumes can travel many feet along the ground.

February 27, 2010, 06:06 PM
i love the smell of cosmo

I just love the smell of cosmoline in the morning. Smells like... Victory!

Maj Dad
February 27, 2010, 06:13 PM
Get a ~4 ft section of 6" or 8" metal (sheet metal, round or rectangular, not expandable or the like) ducting with a register section (Lowe's/Home Depot) and set a small rectangular (preferably) space heater in it, put the stock in it, and crank it up. There are standard sizes, one being 10"x10"x4" x 4 ft that will work well also. Tilt the ducting up a few degrees, cut out a drain hole/gutter near the back (heater end) and put a bucket/something under it to catch the oil/cosmo/goop as it runs out. Very effective and cheap, and it will pull oil out of stocks you thought were bone dry. Works even better in the summer.

February 27, 2010, 06:38 PM
Zak ---- yes SKSs are in 7.62x39 , same as most all AKs.
What state are you in ?? I know a local guy with a NIB SKS for sale cheaper then that.

February 27, 2010, 08:29 PM
The dishwasher idea sounds perfect. If you set it on the pots and pans mode and a heated dry finish, the metal would be nice and hot and the water would dry right away.

February 27, 2010, 09:13 PM
Surplus Rifle has a few articles on removing this gunk. I still can't see one of those portable steam cleaner commercials without thinking that if you stick a disassembled rifle in a plastic tub, and used that steam cleaner, it'd get ALL the cosmoline off! My personal fave was a trio of 100w light bulbs, two galvanized trash cans, and an ancient oven grate.


Here's a few ideas (R. Ted Jeo's method works!).

February 27, 2010, 10:46 PM
Cosmoline is wretched stuff, but it kept that rifle looking swell for all these years.
It's OK by me.
Work it out.
Get if off and shoot the thing.

February 27, 2010, 10:57 PM
WD-40 isn't a degreaser. Mineral spirits is and doesn't catch fire. Field strip, drop the whole thing into a vat of it and leave it there for 24 hours. Wipe off the gunk. Do not dump the resulting sludge down any drain. Cosmoline is petroleum jelly and it's toxic.
"...kitchen dishwasher can be..." Also raises any cartouches.

February 27, 2010, 11:34 PM
hey all , i just picked up a sks and cant figure out how to get the wood off. be well, h2o:banghead::banghead:

February 28, 2010, 12:45 AM
I have a Yugo sks. I used brake cleaner on the metal, and put the furniture in the oven, along with a lot of foil to help with clean up. Worked great

February 28, 2010, 02:31 AM
I won't take it personally ;-)

My advice is to take it simple and slow, and avoid too many chemical treatments esp. on the wood parts. Extremely hot soap and water will blast clean all steel parts. No need to resort to diesel solutions. Most USSR wood was treated with shellac before the cosmoline of doom was smeared on it. This means you should be able to clean off the cosmoline and have nice clean shellac under it. If you use chemicals you can end up destroying the shellac or smearing it all over. Just use rags followed by a fast shower of very hot water, then a quick drying.

With yugos and some of the late model finns the idiots at the arsenal put cosmoline on raw wood. It will then infiltrate the grain and turn the outer layers into a nasty mush. On some I've just had to sand down to good wood again, it's a real nightmare. You can also slowly leech it out with gentle heat. Be careful about using ovens--I set my first yugo's stock on fire that way! The cosmoline caught fire and spewed back smoke all over.

February 28, 2010, 02:34 AM

Go to you tube and type in SKS dissasembely. There are several good, informational videos that give step by step instruction.

February 28, 2010, 08:45 AM
5 minutes and completly clean. The metal gets hot so that when you pull it out of the water it evaporates immediatly

February 28, 2010, 11:06 AM
I know how you feel, that stuff stinks. I have a nice yugo SKS that's been in my safe for 2 years waiting to be cleaned, i know how to do it but hate the idea.Maybe the little elves will come to my house in the middle of the night and clean it for me :)

February 28, 2010, 11:16 AM
Maybe the little elves will come to my house in the middle of the night and clean it for me

I bet if you check the back of your safe you will find that the elves have been adding cosmoline.............generaly little elves like cosmoline. :D

February 28, 2010, 07:04 PM
Guys, I don't know about recommending heating/cleaning gunstocks in kitchen ranges or dishwashers. If I were to try that stunt, I would definitly be needing a self-defence weapon,,,,,,,to defend myself from my wife.
I mean,,,,It just ain't gonna happen at my house.
I repaired appliances for years, and had a lady offer me a glass of iced tea while I was working on her dishwasher. I said no, and was soon glad I hadn't taken it.
She commented, a short time later, that she used her dishwasher to sanitize her baby's diapers, because she saw a "sani-cycle" button on the dishwasher.
I'd feel the same way about using dishes out of a dishwaser used to remove cosmoline, and the smell from a baked fifty or more year old gunstock, has got to be about a force five on the fujita scale.
You guys got more pull 'round your house than I do.
Good luck!
Thanks for your time.

February 28, 2010, 07:48 PM
BUZZARD ole buddy,
for your, and everyone else's information, mineral spirits burns just as well as kerosene, fuel oil, coal oil, paint thinner, and WD-40, 'cause they are all very close to being THE SAME STUFF.
All will not only burn, but will explode, with the right fuel/air ratios, which aren't all that critical.
WD-40 is used, by some, to power their "TATER GUNS".
Putting a cosmoline, oil and/or solvent soaked stock inside an oven, where those materials will be vaporized with an ignition source in there with them, is asking for trouble.
I saw a guy wash out his greasy/oily shop rags in a bucket of suds in the back yard, rinse them off and leave them to dry on a clothesline, for a week. He then washed them in his washer, put them in the dryer, and, a few minutes later; the dryer exploded; opened up like a cherry bomb in a tin can; most of the windows blew out; one door, frame and all, was blown into the back yard, and the studs, on two sides of the house, were cracked and bowed outward like a cowboys bowlegs.
I'll take a pass on those methods, and a few of the others described above also.
First and foremost in any method should be safety, and frankly, I wouldn't recommend some of these ideas because they aren't safe.
Thanks for your time.

February 28, 2010, 08:16 PM
I hate the stuff. I've had people before ask me what cosmoline looks like. I tell them, "Consistency of vaseline, appearance of diarrhea." :barf:

March 1, 2010, 05:18 PM
Love the stuff.

Makes a good sandwich spread.

March 1, 2010, 08:35 PM
I believe they embalmed Lenin with it.

March 2, 2010, 10:02 AM
Well, it took me two hours, but I finally have a good bit of the cosmoline off. I gave up, because as soon as I had the rifle put back together, more seemed to seep out of places I just cleaned. Oh well, it is time to go run a few hundred rounds through it and forget about the cosmoline issue.

If all you spent was two hours then I hope you enjoy all the cosmo that comes out as your gun heats up from those few hundred rounds.

I have only done about 10 rifles but I will say that of all the ways I have tried to take it off, there was only one that didn't require a ton of swearing and a little bit of homicidal thoughts. The dishwasher!!! Just make sure you get as much as possible off before you put it in the dishwasher. Good Luck!!!

March 2, 2010, 10:45 AM
I coat my antique guns in enough of the stuff to shine and it just seems to disappear over time forcing me to add more. Where do you get this super resilient cosmoline?

March 2, 2010, 11:00 AM
I like the stuff, and I wish I had a 5 gallon bucket of it.

Haha +1

March 2, 2010, 11:11 AM
I actually have my M38 stock in an oven right now. My work has a huge, vented oven that was not being used today, so I hung my stock over an aluminum pan. Mind you, I have cleaned and removed the shellac from the stock. I looked in after 30 minutes, and already had a big puddle of crap.

March 2, 2010, 11:16 AM
I bring all the metal to a plating shop. They have big degreasing tanks for cleaning parts prior to plating. I clean off all the big stuff, maybe hose it down with brake cleaner. Then off to the shop. I pay them to run it through cleaning, but no plating. It's worth it to me to not have to deal with the stuff.

The stock is another story. I use mineral spirits to get the bulk off the wood, then heat the wood, wipe down, repeat... A lot. Eventually it all comes out. Then finish with Arrow wood finish.

March 2, 2010, 01:07 PM
The smell of cosmoline brings back some of my best memories from my childhood, cleaning off the latest C&R purchase that we had received that day from UPS. It was better than Christmas. Mosins, Enfields, Mausers... good times :D

March 2, 2010, 07:05 PM
I purchased a SKS one time and it was packed in cosmo. I fell in love with the smell. I even thought about getting some for my wife to put behind her ears LOL:p

March 2, 2010, 08:20 PM
blakeci, I can identify with and feel the same way..............KevinR, your kinda scarin me. :D

March 2, 2010, 09:57 PM
cleaning gunstocks in ovens and diswashers


Guys, I don't know about recommending heating/cleaning gunstocks in kitchen ranges or dishwashers.

do not put cosmo smeared stocks or other parts in your dishwasher to remove. The DW will remove the cosmo, no problem. The problem comes after enough rifles are done that way that you experience the joy of cooled cosmoline in your drains. :banghead: If you think the stuff is a pain to remove from an old milsurp, wait till you try to remove it from your pipes. :cuss: And if you're on a septic system :banghead: things can REALLY get pricey. Use mineral spirits to remove cosmo. I have used the DW to help restore wood stocks (cosmo already removed) of small dings and scratches. Some people do this, others cringe at the thought. It would never be a good idea for a stock of any real value, but for beater stocks to improve the looks, yes I have used that method with success.
But putting the stuff down the drains of your house can come at a high price later.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 2, 2010, 11:02 PM
I just love the smell of cosmoline in the morning. Smells like... Victory!

I guess that depends on whether he's had a shower.

Turkey fryer method - nice. There are as many cosmo removal methods as there are gun owners - they all work to varying degrees.

March 3, 2010, 12:07 AM
pressurized steam will get all the cosmoline out of the stock.

I agree completely, on cmp m1 carbine I used a "jiffy steamer" clothes steamer and alot of rags to remove the greasy oily cosmoline layer off of the wood stock and as a bonus the steam can raise small dings and dents out of the wood. she looks beautiful now. lots of rags though!

March 3, 2010, 02:21 AM
Be glad the cosmo is there, if not, you would have a rust bucket. :)

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