Rust on case hardened frame?


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Big_E
July 1, 2010, 02:55 PM
I went to inspect my firearms today and noticed very slight rust "streaks" on the case hardened steel of my Ruger Vaquero.

1. What is the best method of removing ths rust?

2. I need a safe but will silicone socks work in the meantime?

None of my other guns have rusted and its not too humid here (except for 2 rainshowers). I'm just surprised that only the case hardening rusted and none of the blueing on any other guns.

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CoRoMo
July 1, 2010, 03:01 PM
Was it lying on the side that rusted?

1. I think a very fine steel-wool will be advised, but I have not been in a situation to use it. I'm not sure why I never see anyone recommending something like CLR (dissolves calcium/lime/rust) with a nylon brush; maybe it is too damaging on bluing, I don't know.

2. Silicone socks work well. You are not in a humid climate, so a bit of rust inhibiting oil and the socks should be all you need.

Big_E
July 1, 2010, 03:11 PM
Ok thank you. The fine steel wool won't harm my finish will it?

It was not laying on the side that rusted, since it rusted on random spots all over the frame.

Jim Watson
July 1, 2010, 03:31 PM
I don't know.
Problem is, the mottled color on a Ruger is neither hard nor protective, it is a cosmetic coloring, not true color case hardening. It might rub right off. I'd dry oil and a coarse cloth before attacking it with steel wool.

CoRoMo, CLR is acidic and will probably remove any blue or fake case colors along with the rust.

lions
July 1, 2010, 03:34 PM
The fine steel wool won't harm my finish will it?

0000 Steel wool with a gentle touch and you are good to go. As the rust particles come up they will act as an abrasive so you want to frequently dust off the area and shake out your steel wool. Some people say use oil on the steel wool to float away the particles but unless you use a pretty large amount of oil, I find that the oil just traps the rust particles in the steel wool.

EDIT: Sorry, my mind jumped to blued surfaces, never tried it on case hardening.

CoRoMo
July 1, 2010, 03:35 PM
Thanks Jim; thought that might be the case.

SlamFire1
July 1, 2010, 03:47 PM
Case hardening is extremely delicate. I did a web search and found these topics on case hardening.

http://www.homemodelenginemachinist.com/index.php?topic=5169.0

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_color_case_hardening_on_firearms


Color case hardening comes from the era when all you had were plain carbon steels. Modern firearms are made of alloy steels many of which have very hard surfaces after heat treatment. Adding carbon to the surface added wear resistance and with the old time processes that were used, you could get beautiful colors. However, creating case with leather or bone is a slow obsolete process. That process was superseded by gas nitriding and salt balts.

Case hardening has to be protected from rust as it is not a rust barrier. You need to keep the surface clean and oiled. I believe the surface on my M1885 is covered over with a clear polymer to protect the case. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Rifles%20various/DSCN0808leftsideaction.jpg

I would be very cautious about using steel wool on a case color surface. The case colors are just surface oxidation and will rub off. I would rub an oily patch over the rust and hope to knock off as much as possible with the patch.

I am certain finishes which look like color case hardening have been developed.

rmfnla
July 1, 2010, 05:26 PM
0000 Steel wool with a gentle touch and you are good to go. As the rust particles come up they will act as an abrasive so you want to frequently dust off the area and shake out your steel wool. Some people say use oil on the steel wool to float away the particles but unless you use a pretty large amount of oil, I find that the oil just traps the rust particles in the steel wool.

EDIT: Sorry, my mind jumped to blued surfaces, never tried it on case hardening.
The oil isn't to float away the particles, it's to allow the steel wool to glide over the unrusted portion of the surface without scratching it.

I would never use steel wool without oil!

Old Fuff
July 1, 2010, 05:42 PM
Be aware that there is true color-casehardning, which was commonly done during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and case color finishes as are currently used by Ruger as well as others.

Unfortunately the finish used by Ruger on 1st generation Vacquero revolvers has a reputation of rusting for no reason at all. Some Vacquero owners even went so far as having the finish removed and the frame blued. Sometimes Ruger has been known to refinish rusted or degraded guns that were returned under warrantee. Be very careful how you go about trying to remove any rust, because it is almost impossible to remove the rust without the finish going too.

Big_E
July 1, 2010, 06:28 PM
Thanks again for the info. I just got home and gotta take care of some things before I can take of the rust.

I like the idea of bluing the frame since the barrel has some bluing wearing away near the muzzle.

lions
July 1, 2010, 07:03 PM
The oil isn't to float away the particles, it's to allow the steel wool to glide over the unrusted portion of the surface without scratching it.

The problem is that if the oil doesn't float away the particles, it is retaining the particles which act as an abrasive. After all, rouge is iron oxide (rust) which can polish steel or polish away blueing. If you want the steel wool to glide over the finish, just don't use as much pressure, the embedded rust particles are far more likely to damage a finish than the steel wool itself.

If you do use oil, be sure to wipe off the rusty oil frequently and rotate the steel wool as well. It can work both ways, it just seems easier without oil, IMO.

inSight-NEO
July 1, 2010, 07:12 PM
1. What is the best method of removing ths rust?

Several decent answers have been given already, so I wont bother reiterating on this one.

2. I need a safe but will silicone socks work in the meantime?

I am not a huge fan of this method.

Personally, I prefer using ZCorr "vapor" bags. Until you manage to get a humidity controlled safe, such an item may prove quite useful.

The weapons I store in these bags have gone over 15 months now, give or take, without a spot of rust. To go one better, neither of these weapons have oil on them. Just a thought.

http://www.zcorrproducts.com/

Big_E
July 1, 2010, 08:59 PM
Well I let the revolver soak in CLP for a little then was able to wipe it away with a cloth. I know CLP isn't the best penetrating or protecting oil but it seemed to work OK. I reapplied a nice thin coat to all metal parts and tossed it into a silicone sock for the meantime, I'll check on it later to see if any more rust shows up.

sonier
July 2, 2010, 12:37 AM
Midway has some excellent rust preventive sprays for long term use, i had serious rusting issues and had to by a canister, its the midway brand.

CraigC
July 2, 2010, 01:19 AM
Problem is, the mottled color on a Ruger is neither hard nor protective, it is a cosmetic coloring, not true color case hardening.
Exactly! And it's notorious for rusting. Which is exactly why Ruger has recently discontinued use of this finish in favor of full-blue on its New Vaqueros.

True color case hardening is not as fragile as some claim, especially if it is clear coated. Most, including Doug Turnbull, use a clear lacquer as a protectant. Even uncoated case hardening is only slightly less corrosion resistant than bluing and much better than unfinished steel.

rmfnla
July 2, 2010, 05:41 PM
The problem is that if the oil doesn't float away the particles, it is retaining the particles which act as an abrasive. After all, rouge is iron oxide (rust) which can polish steel or polish away blueing. If you want the steel wool to glide over the finish, just don't use as much pressure, the embedded rust particles are far more likely to damage a finish than the steel wool itself.


Nothing is floating away while you are rubbing steel wool against a surface. The "particles" get trapped by the steel wool regardless of if you use oil or not.

The oil lubricates the passage of the steel wool (and your particles) so that the blue (or case colors, or whatever) finish does not get scratched. You can feel it happening; the SW will glide over the good finish and hang up a bit as it encounters the rust. As the SW cleans the rust the SW will move more easily and when the rust is gone the SW will glide over that area, too.

The limitation is how far the rust has gone. SW will clean off surface rust but will not do anything for pitting; that will require polishing to remove.

lions
July 2, 2010, 05:50 PM
Nothing is floating away while you are rubbing steel wool over any surface.

Which is exactly why I don't use oil. :neener:

To each his own.

rmfnla
July 2, 2010, 05:56 PM
The good news is after 30 years of gunsmithing I don't need to rely on you to clean or restore my guns! :p

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