Flitz and steel wool on stainless guns?


January 23, 2012, 03:57 PM
Maybe you guys have done this before. I just put some flitz and 0000 steel wool to a stainless rifle and it looks great. I heard that if you use steel wool it will cause the rifle to rust. I was gonna clean it with gunscrubber and put some sheath on it when I'm done, but I just dont want to ruin it. I used flitz and the microabrasion cloth they sell first but it doesnt look near as good. The finish is very dull right now bc of years of neglect.

Any other suggestions or will this work? Thanks in advance.

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January 23, 2012, 04:00 PM
use a bronze kitchen sink scrubber or those plastic pads

January 23, 2012, 09:49 PM
No steel wool.
The tiny particles will embed into the stainless and rust.

To get a brighter polish go to a more aggressive polish like Mothers Mag or most any other metal polish as sold by most auto supply houses.
Use it with a rag.

Just don't get carried away or you'll bring the metal to too bright a shine.
Some people do this on purpose to give a bright polish look.
While it can't remove the small machine marks left on standard stainless to give a true factory bright polish, it can make the stainless very shiny.

January 24, 2012, 12:20 AM
so is steel wool good for anything firearm related?

I dont want too shiny of a finish, but the gun looks like its been sitting in the rain for a few weeks. I think I'll try the bronze brush and go from there.

January 24, 2012, 09:10 AM
A scotchbrite pad will put a low polish on, without scratching or breaking corners. Use some oil to carry away particles of crud.

January 24, 2012, 12:25 PM
so is steel wool good for anything firearm related? Yes!
0000 Super-Fine steel wool & oil is used extensively to remove rust from blued firearms.

As for stainless picking up carbon steel particules and rusting?

I have heard of it, but only when polishing / buffing stainless with a hi-speed buffing wheel & abrasive compound that had been contaminated polishing carbon steel first.

But it seems unlikely to me you can Rub Fast or Hard enough by hand to "embed" any steel wool fibers in stainless steel!

Unless you have super-powers and can rub at 3,200 RPM!


January 24, 2012, 12:45 PM
Stainless steel wool is available but I don't know if any of appropriate grade/alloy is. It might be worth looking into.

January 25, 2012, 12:00 PM
"As for stainless picking up carbon steel particules and rusting?"

Years ago a buddy welded up a 3-sink stainless setup for a restaurant and installed it. When he went to put the final touchup on it he found he'd left his stainless cup brush somewhere, so he used a regular old cup brush on his drill.

That sink is probably still oozing rust from every pore. He tried everything he could think of for two weeks to get it to stop.


January 25, 2012, 12:15 PM
I wouldn't use a non SS hand brush on any SS welding job. I can only speculate but I would not use anything but stainless on a SS gun either.

January 25, 2012, 12:50 PM
SS guns are quite a bit harder than SS sinks and countertops. I wouldn't worry about what you've done with the steel wool being a problem. I've used regular steel wool on stainless guns and never had a problem.

January 25, 2012, 03:45 PM
Quite a bit different alloy too.

The stainless used in firearms has enough carbon in it to be magnetic.

Sinks don't, and aren't.


January 25, 2012, 04:02 PM
Carbon is magnetic? Heh... looked it up and sure enough it can be. :) But does it really add magnetism in sufficient quantities to be noticible? I'm thinking it has more to do with the overall make-up of the alloy allowing the iron to align slightly. Even so, I'd stick with a SS wool.

January 25, 2012, 04:16 PM
All I know is, a pocket magnet will stick to every Stainless S&W I own.

But it won't stick to my kitchen sink, or most stainless kitchen knives.

The carbon is necessary for Martensitic stainless steels to be heat treated.


Mac's Precision
January 26, 2012, 03:34 PM
Quite correct martensitic is the addition of carbon

Austenitic is stainless that has a far lesser carbon content but a higher Chromium and Nickel content. Austenitic stainless such as 304 or 316 can work harden by machining. It is not hard all the way through but rather it has a lattice work on a molecular level on the outside where the work tools made contact. Work hardened stainless can be returned to a non hardened surface by shot peening that disturbs the surface hardened skin.

All gun stainless materials will be of a heat treatable grade and thus is magnetic. The fact that it is magnetic indicates that it is capable of rusting in the right environments. Once a stainless gun begins rusting it often occurs near sight blades on revolvers...in dove tails...or serrated or checkered locations. This is due to the surface roughness that exposes the base material to salty or other corrosive materials. To stop the rust one has to get all the red oxide off the surface via mechanical abrasion or chemicals and a distilled water flush. Once the rust is removed then it needs to be sealed with your favorite oil, grease or the like. The more closed the pores of the material are, the less likely it will rust. Bead blasted surfaces are most prone to bleeding red due to the millions of little scratches and craters where salts from your hands can accumulate. With time and humidity those salts are able to corrode the stainless and liberate the carbon to oxidize it...that is when the red appears.

When ferrous steels are used ON stainless steels it is possible in power driven situations with adequate down force to smear carbon steel into or ON the surface of a stainless gun. This kind of "seeds" the surface with rust prone materials that can encourage oxidation of the carbon IN the stainless. Using steel wool on stainless isn't the best idea...but without lots of hand pressure it likely won't embed. Personally I don't use materials that would encourage stainless to rust. Better to be safe than sorry. BUT if I had to use steel wool and it was my only option, I'd apply a liberal volume of oil use light pressure and wash it well afterward. Then apply Eezox, break free or Corrosion X.

Using Stainless steel on aluminum alloys is a bad idea. The wool will embed in the Aluminum. I've seen many a truck wheel with rust on them from this very thing.

January 26, 2012, 04:07 PM
It has nothing to do with relative hardness, and as a matter of fact if the steel wool is softer it will tend to smear and attach to any irregularities in the harder stainless, like all the tiny grooves that are a 'brushed' finish.

If the stainless is protected by oil you might never see the rust from using plain steel wool, just like a blued gun.

Magnetic properties of stainless steel have far more to do with its heat treatment (and subsequent working of the material) than anything else.

Using regular steel wool on stainless can produce surface rusting just as it does on aluminum.

And remember, it is stain-LESS, NOT stain-NONE.

Most gun stainless is still susceptible to corrosion by chloride, as in the sodium chloride in sweat from handling the gun.

Oil is still a good idea.

January 27, 2012, 12:31 AM
When you're finished polishing, apply some "Renaissance Wax", apply a very light coat on the piece, then buff it off, will hold rust at bay! Many firearm museums use this .

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