Seasoning a Parkerized Finish?


April 18, 2011, 04:36 PM
I have been reading online about greasing a parkerized gun and then baking it for a few hours at 250-350 degrees F in order to season it, kind of like a cast iron skillet. Supposedly it protects against rust better.

Is there any danger of softening or annealing the metal by doing this? I don't know a lot about metallurgy but I have always been told not to heat metal that has been hardened or tempered for a certain application. For example I never sharpen a knife on a fast grinder or heat springs with a torch.

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Grim Peeper
April 18, 2011, 07:21 PM
I think comsoline is the only way to do that. Never tried it but would be interested to see some before after pics.

April 18, 2011, 07:47 PM
250 to 350 won't harm the actual metal, but better remove all springs.

If you try this, be very careful about watching the oven since they fluctuate and may have hot spots where the temp is higher.
Use a good oven thermometer.

The grease is Cosmoline, which is not like other greases in that it's not a lubricant.
Cosmoline is no longer made, as I recall something to do with EPA regulations, but you can still find cans of it at gun shows and at some surplus dealers.

Possibly just as good a treatment is to liberally apply a heavy coat of CLP Breakfree and let it soak for 20 minutes, wipe off and put in use.
After that, every time you handle it apply a little more. This builds up a protective layer of Teflon "in" the rough parkerized finish.

April 18, 2011, 07:51 PM
RIG gun grease would probably work well too.

April 18, 2011, 09:04 PM
I just use Break Free LP (not CLP) under a heat lamp every few days.........don't know when to stop, and don't care. I'll probably be doing this the same time next year - SA Range Officer.

April 18, 2011, 09:09 PM
The author of the article I read detail stripped the pistol and baked only the parked parts. He used Vaseline as the grease.

Here's the article

Jim Watson
April 18, 2011, 09:12 PM
Somebody else tried that and got a greasy mess.

I'd just keep it slathered with whatever lube you have on hand and let the coarse Parkerized surface hold it.

I wish I knew what Jeff Cooper meant by "oil buffing" a Parkerized rifle.

April 18, 2011, 09:42 PM
I had a parkerized Hi Power MK II and just oiled it with the Hoppes oil every few days for about a month. Then I started carrying it for the next year. Never did I see a sign of any rust.

This was after I had a Colt Officers Model that was also parked. I got rid of it because it kept rusting while in my IWB holster because of my sweat/oils. I got rid of it. THis is before I understood what parkerizing actually was and how it worked.

Jim Watson
April 18, 2011, 09:48 PM
I had a Colt Officers Model that was also parked. I got rid of it because it kept rusting

There are a lot of guns finished in cheap black oxide that looks like Parkerizing to the unpracticed eye and gets called that in advertising.

April 18, 2011, 09:59 PM
why? Cats Iron rusts too, all you need is some occasional CLP

April 18, 2011, 11:07 PM
I just get a oil dampened rag and wipe it down about once a week, then lightly wipe some off the grip with a dry rag. It works well for me and the park seems to soak it in. I've used everything from Hoppes to motor oil, and not a single problem.

I have heard of baking it, but never wanted to incur the wrath of my wife or my folks (before I was married).

April 18, 2011, 11:14 PM
I guess oiling it real good and shooting it until its hot would have roughly the same effect over time. Maybe that's why the the authors gun looked more like the antiques after baking?

4v50 Gary
April 19, 2011, 01:04 AM
At Lassen College, after we parkerized the gun, we rinsed and then immersed the gun into a cosmoline dip. The cosmoline dip imparted a green tinge to the gun.

April 19, 2011, 05:24 AM
The cosmoline dip imparted a green tinge to the gun.

As was noted earlier, Cosmoline is apparently not as available these days. However could this be why some of the Springfield GI models have a greenish parkerizing?

4v50 Gary
April 19, 2011, 11:23 AM
The cosmoline we used at Lassen came from a GI can o' grease. Hence the greenish tinge.

April 19, 2011, 07:09 PM
An alternative to a grease bake is something salt water duck hunters often do to their shotgun,
They apply a heavy coat of a wax like Johnson's Paste wax or the even harder Renaissance brand wax and warm the metal with a hair dryer.
The wax melts into the rough finish and waterproofs it.

The reason Cosmoline was supposedly used (NOT Vaseline) is because the Cosmoline would bake into a dry varnish-like coating and wouldn't rub off.
Vaseline and most lubricating greases won't.

April 19, 2011, 07:50 PM
If Gunny saw you putting your rifle in the oven, you'd be next, and the heat would be turned up a lot higher. :D

April 19, 2011, 08:31 PM
I always wipe my guns down with an oily rag after using but every once in a while I will give a parkerized gun an "oil saturation". After a complete cleaning I will very liberally(I mean dripping) spray down the gun with Rem oil and leave it overnight. The next day I will simply hose it down again with the oil. I may do this 2-4 times. This lets the parkerizing soak up every bit of oil that it is capable of and really allows the finish to do it's job as a rust preventer.

April 19, 2011, 10:05 PM
However could this be why some of the Springfield GI models have a greenish parkerizing? SA is trying to simulate the look of a GI gun that spent years (decades) in Cosmoline.

I haven't done the bake yet, I schmear on the grease and let the gun sit for a while whenever I detail strip it. When another .45acp brass unloader arrives I've been planning on trying the bake, Xavier (who posts here, but rarely lately) used vaseline because it wouldn't stain stuff if it bled back out, and I think he has the right idea, I'll likely use either that or another colorless grease (depends what I can find expired when it comes up) from an industrial source.

If you want a constant low baking temp, a toaster oven with a bunch of mass in it will maintain well, I'd wrap the greased gun parts in a tinfoil pouch, and stick it in the toaster oven with a bunch of old cast iron pans for thermal mass ... a few hours at ~225F or whatever low temp I can maintain should do it.

Jim Watson
April 20, 2011, 06:23 PM
The Parkerizing process calls for a chromate dip; that has a yellow-green color and might be the source of the tint instead of old Cosmic.

April 20, 2011, 11:03 PM
"...cosmoline dip imparted a green tinge..." Long term storage in cosmoline is what creates the green tinge. Not heat.
"...a GI can o' grease..." That won't either.
Repeated oiling of a parkerized finish is what gives it better rust protection properties.

April 22, 2011, 12:19 PM
Apart from turning cosmoline waxy, I suspect the only thing heat does is lower the viscosity of a chosen lubricant for better penetration and wet-out. Some lubricants penetrate and wet-out quite well without heating.

April 22, 2011, 01:16 PM
Order all you want.

May 8, 2011, 08:28 PM
A heavy coat of CLP - like, till it drips, then lay it out in full sunlight for a whole day.

Wipe it dry, a few days in a row, as the CLP will keep oozing out of the pores.

If I am not mistaken, this is what Col. Cooper meant by 'oil buffing'. It was also what we were told to do with our brandy new M16A2s when they were first issued to us.

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