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Mineral spirits and cosmoline

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by JamisJockey, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. JamisJockey

    JamisJockey member

    Here's the story:
    I've got a new (to me) pretty good condition SKS with a fair ammount of cosmoline in the action. I've been told by several sources to use acetone, so I got started. Don't have alot of time, so some of the parts are soaking outside. I headed in to clean up and used some mineral spirits on my hands, it ate the cosmoline right off!
    Can I use mineral spirits to clean the cosmoline without damaging the gun?
  2. Chipperman

    Chipperman Well-Known Member

    Yes. A lot of people use Mineral Spirits.
  3. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Well-Known Member

    I used mineral spirits on my Yugo and it didn't hurt anything, BUT, I wasn't real impressed with its ability to remove the cosmo, either. It took a LOT of scrubbing. Be sure to get ALL the comso out of the bolt, too. The firing pin should 'rattle' when you shake the bolt. Failure to do so could cause slamfires! :what:
  4. George S.

    George S. Well-Known Member

    Detail strip and let the parts soak in mineral spirits overnight. Use something like an old toothbrush to clean any cosmo residue from the parts.

    You can also use mineral spirits to clean any cosmoline, grease or dirt from the stock. Denatured alcohol also works on the stock if you intend to refinish it.

    HSMITH Well-Known Member

    WD-40 works well on cosmoline too, about as well as anything else that won't eat finishes anyway.
  6. spin180

    spin180 Well-Known Member

    Lemon oil works fairly well too... and it smells good.

  7. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Well-Known Member

    I also keep hearing about how soaking in Simple Green works ... haven't tried it but it would be the least toxic method if it works.
  8. JamisJockey

    JamisJockey member

    I might have to take a whack at the simple green on the stock. I use simple green to clean my bicycles, and it works pretty good on the drivetrain grease.
  9. 7.62FullMetalJacket

    7.62FullMetalJacket Well-Known Member

    Mineral spirits is a much better choice than acetone. Simple Green is water based. So long as you oil her up afterwards.
  10. yesterdaysyouth

    yesterdaysyouth Well-Known Member

    i use soap based stuff to clean up all my milsurps... wood and steel both, just spray on and wipe off... or you can just let it run off if you're busy... i use an iron and wet rag to get out the deep soaked in stuff...
  11. USP45usp

    USP45usp member

    I use purple stuff (purple power?). It takes the cosmo and makes it history quickly.

    One word of warning DO NOT GET THIS ON YOUR WOOD (FURNITURE) BECAUSE IT WILL DRY IT OUT BADLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    I've been using mineral spirits on firearms for decades without harm—but only after removing all wood, plastic, and rubber components, of course.
  13. LynnMassGuy

    LynnMassGuy Well-Known Member

    Mineral spirits, a brush, a rag, and a bucket. That's all I ever use for cosmo.
  14. dleong

    dleong Well-Known Member

    Brake cleaner does a wonderful job of removing cosmoline. Just be sure to lubricate everything after you're done, as the brake cleaner will leave all the parts bone dry.

  15. JamisJockey

    JamisJockey member

    The mineral spirits are doing a bang up job on the sks. I am almost finished, and its cleaning up nicely.
  16. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    Mineral spirits works just fine.
    I've also used denatured ethanol.
    Boiling water works great also.

    This can be a good thing -such as when the wood is soaked with cosmoline or oil.
  17. oweno

    oweno Well-Known Member

    A while back on The Firing Line, I asked the same question about a new Bulgarian Makarov I'd just picked up. The answers I got included: Put it in a toaster oven; Run it through the dishwasher, boil it in water with some Mr. Clean added, etc. What I finally did was:

    Field strip, remove grips.
    Put all the parts in a black paint roller tray, put tray in the hot August sun for 3 or 4 hours (not much help in December I'll grant you).
    Remove parts, shake dry. Blast with CRC Brakcleen. Work the nooks and crannies with toothbrush & toothpicks.
    Give the entire piece a quick shot of Remington spray gun oil...wipe off excess.
    Lubricate with your favorite grease and oil, reasseble, and you're good to go.

    btw, the cosmolene on that Mak was as hard as a rock and found its way into places that I didn't know were possible - for example, the firing pin channel - I'm really glad I took the firing pin out and cleaned both it and the channel well. Slamfires are a Bad Thing (tm),
  18. ChairborneRanger

    ChairborneRanger Well-Known Member

    If you REALLY want to clean it, use lacquor thinner---that will clean ANYTHING! IMHO, mineral spirits are for "girlymen"......just kidding!!
  19. ToxicSports

    ToxicSports Member

    Hey all,

    Those are some good suggestions and I have used many of them in the past.

    However, I found a site that gives an interesting alternative to the chemicals suggested and review on how to clean that good ol' cosmoline from your rifle.

    Check this out:


    I don't have any first hand knowledge but this guy has never let me down when it comes to cleaning my other toys.


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