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Cleaning up my springfield 1903

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by pdh, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. pdh

    pdh Well-Known Member

    Well,got my 1903 springfield from the CMP this evening.Boy it is a mess.It is packed with(sp)cosmoline.Would someone tell me how is the best way to clean it up?I believe I saw where wd-40 or mineral spirit is good to use on the metal but what about the wood?
    I thought about having it faced lift with new wood and parkerizing but having second thoughts.May leave the old girl the way it is but like to get her looking as good as I can.It was produced 12/42.
    Thanks for all the help
  2. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Well-Known Member

    Check out the archives at


    Denatured alcohol solvent is what I use on the metal. I have used boiling water and NO LYE oven cleaner with good results on the wood, but don't do this if the stock has visible cartouches you want to save.
  3. Blackcloud6

    Blackcloud6 Well-Known Member

    I got two of these. I disaaaembled them completely and put all the metal parts in boiling water and boiled off the cosmoline. This gets it out of the hard to get to places. I then cleaned the parts with Hoppes 9 (after they cooled). Do this outside as it smells. iused my Colman stove and a stainless steel trough my nieghbor had made just for this purpose.

    For the stock, I put it in my car in the hot sun for awhile the leach out the cosmoline. You have to do this a few times and wie it odff each time. Then I sprayed it with Easy Off Oven cleaner and let it sit for abput 1/2 hour, then with 0000 steeal wool rub off the cosmoline, oils stain etc that comes up. I did this twice to each stock. Then I took a and Iron and wet cloth and steamed up what dings I could.. Then lightly sanded the stock being careful not to sand where any marks (you can tape over these).

    Then I gave each stck a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil by just wiping it on with a clean rag, and I was done. Boiled linseed oil is what the military used on stocks until about '42-43 when they switched to Tung Oil.

    Make sure you dispose of BLO saturated rags properly by putting them in a can fill it with water and seal it. If you leave them in a pile, they will spontaneously combust and burn down your gun room, house, trailer etc....
  4. pdh

    pdh Well-Known Member

    Hey.thanks for the advice and help fellas. :)
  5. Sleeping Dog

    Sleeping Dog Well-Known Member

    I used mineral spirits on the stock. Gorilla Glue to fix a split upper handguard.

    The metal cleaned up with hot tap water and Simple Green. A few crannies got shot with a spray can of brake cleaner.

    A "before" picture

  6. pdh

    pdh Well-Known Member

    Good Land!!Way worse than mine.That's an 03a3 ????
    Going to get to work on mine Monday.Can't wait.
  7. 762x51

    762x51 Well-Known Member

    Blech....I HATE Cosmoline. That picture is going to give me nightmares. :eek:
  8. jacks308

    jacks308 Well-Known Member

    Citra-solve works really well too , if you want to keep the finish on the stock don't use it there 'cause it'll eat oil finishes too .
    Water based and easy on hands more expensive than simple green though .

  9. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Well-Known Member

    Waiting for the shoe to drop

    Sleeping Dog, no "after?"
  10. pdh

    pdh Well-Known Member


    A friend mentioned to me to use AERO KROIL producted by Kano.Man,worked great.Metal is all cleaned and done!
  11. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    Blackcloud6-- Iam interested in your comment about using tung oil. Somewhere I had read that Jap rifles used tung oil and when GIs handled captured weapons many got allergic reactions. Turns out that tung oil is highly allergenic. Do you have any info on this ?
  12. Blackcloud6

    Blackcloud6 Well-Known Member

    >>Somewhere I had read that Jap rifles used tung oil and when GIs handled captured weapons many got allergic reactions<<

    I've never heard of this happening, but I do know, from many sources, that the US Army switched from BLO to Tung Oil in WWII about 1952-43. I don't have any sources handy at the moment but when I find the source statement, I'll post it.
  13. Jack19

    Jack19 Well-Known Member

    Use mineral spirits on the metal and make it easy on yourself with a stock heater to get the cosmo out of the wood.

    Stock Heater

    Your cost will be around $30 (with the ceramic heater) and it works better than putting the stock in your car.....especially in the winter. :D
  14. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Well-Known Member

    It wasn't tung oil

    Pure tung oil can be applied with your bare fingers. ("Tung Oil Finish" is different.) It was either some weird Japanese wartime-economy varnish or the wood itself. Can't remember the toxin/allergin involved.

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