How to clean filthy, slightly rusty old bolt?


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SKILCZ
June 1, 2013, 10:12 AM
Trying to clean the bolt of a gun that when in new condition looks like traditional, shiny, silver-colored stainless steel. Right now it is caked on black on nearly every side with a possible area of surface rust or pitting on one side.

Thus far, I have tried Hoppe's, copper brush, 0000 steel wool, Break Free CLP, and another copper removing bore cleaner. I also soaked the bolt in Hoppe's overnight. There is visible black fouling at the bottom of the Hoppe's now. The sides are less gunked up than originially, but it still is black. For the surface rust (not even sure if it's rust, but I suspect so) I tried a little oil and 0000 steel wool, but I don't think it worked.

This is a decades old gun. I don't know if/when it was ever disassembled and cleaned, so the dirt/fouling could be really old. The bore is fine.

1. How can/should I clean the bolt?

2. How can/should I remove the surface rust? It's stainless, so I'm not so worried about the finish.

Thank you in advance! I maintain my guns in pristine order. This is not mine, and I never would have let this get anywhere near this gunked up.

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BBBBill
June 1, 2013, 11:13 AM
Are you absolutely certain that it is stainless? Many carbon steel bolts are left "in the white" with the expectation that they will be cleaned and properly oiled. Rimfire or centerfire? Use caution around the locking lugs. Get too froggy there and you can ruin the headspace. I've seen it done more than once.

Ken70
June 1, 2013, 11:34 AM
Oven cleaner; try a small spot first, somewhere it's not obviously visible or functionally important. Q-tip to apply. You'll find out in 30 minutes.

SKILCZ
June 1, 2013, 02:40 PM
It's a .22 LR bolt. I thought about just getting off what I could get off by the methods thus far, lubing it, and putting it back together, but ideally I'd like to clean it up a bit more.

Is there any harm in soaking it in Hoppe's overnight? I've read other posts on here of people who have done that.

rcmodel
June 1, 2013, 02:45 PM
No.

Hoppe's will not harm metal.

However, if it is out of a .22, it is very unlikely it is stainless steel.

It's either polished carbon steel, or it is plated carbon steel.

If it is polished carbon steel, the dark stain my not come off without using some Flitz or Semichrome metal polish on it.

rc

Catpop
June 2, 2013, 07:08 AM
I ran across an article to remove rust by electrolysis (or reverse electoplating) in a magazine many years ago. I have not been able to find it since. It stated it removes only the rust and no metal. I wish I could find it as it would be great to remove rust from my diving tools as well as some old military arms i have stumbled onto thru the yeaqrs. it used a solution (?) and a battery charger I think
Does anyone have any info on this procedure and material to accomplish this task. any help would be most appeciated.:)

243winxb
June 2, 2013, 07:52 AM
Soak longer, more like 2 weeks minimum, using kerosene or Hoppes # 9

45_auto
June 2, 2013, 08:01 AM
I ran across an article to remove rust by electrolysis (or reverse electoplating) in a magazine many years ago. I have not been able to find it since. It stated it removes only the rust and no metal. I wish I could find it as it would be great to remove rust from my diving tools as well as some old military arms i have stumbled onto thru the yeaqrs. it used a solution (?) and a battery charger I think
Does anyone have any info on this procedure and material to accomplish this task. any help would be most appeciated.

Have you tried the internet?

This site seems to have a LOT of info on it:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=electrolysis+rust+removal

Lucifer_Sam
June 2, 2013, 11:43 AM
If you have an ultrasonic cleaner, and the bolt will fit I'd try that. If not you might try boiling it. Just be certain to put some crumpled foil or something else on the bottom so the bolt doesn't rest directly on the bottom of the pot.

OilyPablo
June 2, 2013, 11:51 AM
I have found a 50/50 mix of Kroil/Hoppe's #9 to be a great cleaner.

I would first soak it in straight acetone to get most of the organic stuff loosened up. Then I would soak it in Kroil for couple days. Then I would soak it in Simple Green followed by boiling it in water and then another Kroil soak.

Do these things and report back. Please post photos.

Clark
June 3, 2013, 11:23 AM
This is a fun experiment:
Put a very rusty wood screw in a plastic pan filled with vinegar and salt.
Put it in the microwave has heat it until it boils.
Do this when the wife is gone, because it makes that house smell like vinegar.

All the rust will fall off, and the screw threads will be sharp.

SKILCZ
June 3, 2013, 07:45 PM
Would you try that on a bolt (the microwave, salt, & vinegar trick)?

rcmodel
June 3, 2013, 07:49 PM
NO!!!

It's a polished steel bolt fer crizesake!

Polish the tarnish off with Flitz or mag wheel polish or something like I said 6 posts ago!!

rc

SKILCZ
June 8, 2013, 02:58 PM
Got some Flitz and started polishing. I think there's a lot of gunk on there. Any suggestions for how to use Flitz most effectively other than just putting a little on and rubbing it with a rag?

rcmodel
June 8, 2013, 03:02 PM
Nope.
That's the way you do it.

rc

OilyPablo
June 8, 2013, 03:23 PM
I think there's a lot of gunk on there.

Not at all sure why you didn't try to clean it first. See my post above. Nothing I suggest will harm the steel. Then when clean, you can polish it and lube.

SKILCZ
June 9, 2013, 10:05 AM
Not at all sure why you didn't try to clean it first. See my post above. Nothing I suggest will harm the steel. Then when clean, you can polish it and lube.
Will perhaps try that, as well. I would have thought dropping it in water and boiling would be bad for steel.

I did a Hoppe's soak for 2 days, but will try it for longer. Tried all the cleaning methods I listed in the original post.

The Flitz was mainly for a spot that may be very faint surface rust, although I will polish the whole thing.

OilyPablo
June 9, 2013, 10:24 AM
You can skip the boil if you rinse the Simple Green off very well with hot water. And immediate dry and lubricate (rinse with copious oil to get the water gone).

Boiling water will not harm steel at all. And when you remove from the water with tongs the surfaces will dry quickly at 210F and then into oil while still hot.

Rule3
June 9, 2013, 11:17 AM
This is a fun experiment:
Put a very rusty wood screw in a plastic pan filled with vinegar and salt.
Put it in the microwave has heat it until it boils.
Do this when the wife is gone, because it makes that house smell like vinegar.

All the rust will fall off, and the screw threads will be sharp.
The solution you described is excellent for cleaning brass. It is a mild acid (the vinegar) I use 2 cups of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of salt to a gal or so of water to clean range brass. Let soak 20 minutes and rinse really well.

Would not stick a bolt in it. It will not do anything that has not already been done.

For the OP you soaked enough chemicals, a "soft" wire wheel will clean it as much as it's going to clean.

Got a picture of it???

Maj Dad
June 9, 2013, 04:01 PM
For a fascinating and thorough discussion of electrolysis and its uses, read this thread. I read it straight through it was so interesting and just downright cool...:cool:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=669817&highlight=dug+relic

ridgerunner1965
June 12, 2013, 08:54 PM
soaking in pure iodine will remove all rust and leave a nice shiny part. i just did it with sum bearings i was wanting to use in a pulley for the skinning shed.they went in caked with rust and came out silver shiny and smooth rolling.i was impressed.this is the thick iodine used in the poultry houses as a disenfectent.it doesnt attack the steel only the rust. i washed them in hot soapy water and oiled well afterwards.

Chris-bob
June 13, 2013, 12:10 PM
Triodine-7 is what we use for our animals YK. I might have to try it for rust removal. Not sure if the general public can get 'pure' iodine...

ridgerunner1965
June 13, 2013, 09:55 PM
the iodine i used was called biosentry iodine disenfectant.it is used in the poultry industry for foot baths and as a disenfectant when washing the plastic waterers used in turkey houses. im not sure if its purchase is regulated. a freind going out of the poultry business gave me a gallon. i was simply amazed at its rust removeing properties.its very concentrated and about the consistency of maple syrup. i doesnt seem to attack the metal just the rust.but i would imagine it would removeing blueing or other finishes as well so beware.

4v50 Gary
June 15, 2013, 08:59 PM
Parts washer is my first choice.

rcmodel
June 15, 2013, 09:39 PM
This has been ongoing for over two weeks.

It's hard for me to imagine what the OP's bolt must look like if he hasn't got it cleaned up with Hoppe's #9 and Flitz polish by now!!

Post a picture of it!!!
So all of us can get a clue what insurmountable problem on a .22 rifle bolt you are dealing with!!

rc

twofifty
June 15, 2013, 10:18 PM
Who knows - maybe it's been dremelled to death. ;)

HEAVY METAL 1
June 16, 2013, 12:04 AM
perhaps tossing it in a reloader's tumbler w/ walnut media. I did that to a couple of dies I picked up at a gunshow and it spiffed them up quite nicely; not brand spanking new looking, but vastly improved.

Rule3
June 19, 2013, 05:46 PM
This has been ongoing for over two weeks.

It's hard for me to imagine what the OP's bolt must look like if he hasn't got it cleaned up with Hoppe's #9 and Flitz polish by now!!

Post a picture of it!!!
So all of us can get a clue what insurmountable problem on a .22 rifle bolt you are dealing with!!

rc
You got that right:eek:

I have never seen so many bizarre suggestions to clean rust off a bolt. Did anyone mention the soak it in Coca Cola like in the old days to remove rusted lug nuts??:rolleyes:

Dave Bulla
June 20, 2013, 09:21 PM
Lots of options already and it's likely I'm posting too late to do you any good but here goes my 2 cents.

For any gunk, I'd be using various solvents or detergents like already mentioned. i.e. Hoppes, Kroil, Simple Green etc. along with a scotch brite pad or some 0000 steel wool. Water won't hurt the metal if you use something to either dry it or displace the water after you are done.

For the rust, I've been using some really cool stuff for a while now that will remove all rust with zero effort, just a little time to soak. It's called "Evapo-Rust" and is pretty much totally harmless to get on you, you don't need gloves or a mask either. Just soak the parts until the rust is gone and then rinse with water. I've been using the heck out of it on used reloading dies I buy for cheap because they have light surface rust and they come out like new.

If you are interested, I did a "product review" on another forum. I don't have anything to do with the product but the forum was new at the time and they were asking members to review items they used related to shooting so I did the Evapo-Rust review. Anyway, here's a link.

http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/hunting-gear-shooting-gear-accessories/74858-evapo-rust-review-dave-bulla.html

Oh, one thing I need to mention though. Since doing the review I've experimented a little bit more to determine if this stuff will remove blueing on gun parts or make parts change color. I've done quite a few of the old Lee Loader kits which have some parts blued and some not. I've decided that it WILL take off the blue (at least on the Lee parts, never tried it on an actual gun part) but I've also found that it will blacken some parts. Namely anything that is "hardened" steel.

An example would be the bits that go in a ratcheting screwdriver. I had a bunch of them that got all rusted in a toolbox and when I soaked them in Evapo-Rust, they came out perfectly rust free and jet black. I also did some snap ring pliers of the non interchangeable tip type. All of the black (I assume the industrial black finish on these tools is just a form of blueing) on the pliers came off but the actual tips that are hardened turned black.

Anyway, most auto part stores have it (for sure O'Reilly's) and it runs about $18 for a gallon but also comes in quart size for around $7 or $8. I run mine through a paper towel or coffee filter and put it back in the jug. I've used it maybe ten or fifteen times and it has darkened some and has an odor but it still works.

rodregier
June 30, 2013, 07:09 PM
Naval Jelly.

http://www.loctiteproducts.com/p/s_trmt_naval/overview/Loctite-Naval-Jelly-Rust-Dissolver.htm

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