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Rust on Stainless Steel Gun?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by 03cobra456, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. 03cobra456

    03cobra456 Active Member

    ok here's the deal. i just aquired a new smith and wesson 5946. it has been in storage in a contaier right next to the ocean. ( literally )

    i noticed that there is a little rust starting to appear on the gun in various places. my question is, what can i use to take the rust off? i was going to use flitz, but i cannot have any kind of shine on the gun b/c it is used for law enforcement.

    basically my question is, what can i use to take rust off a gun and not leave a shine on the gun.

    thanks in advance
  2. HiTech78

    HiTech78 member

    Bit confused here....you have rust on stainless steel? Stainless steel does not rust.
  3. 51Cards

    51Cards Well-Known Member

    Oil and a wood stick. If it's brushed stainless, ScotchBrite (verrrrrry gently). If it's eadblast, no idea --- but you'll get plenty of good ideas here.
  4. 03cobra456

    03cobra456 Active Member

    the smith & wesson 5946 is made of stainless steel. and yes it had rust. not a lot, more like spot rusting
  5. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    Sometimes rust is contamination -particles of carbon steel -they rust and it can continue into the stainless steel !!
  6. rustymaggot

    rustymaggot Well-Known Member

    stainless steel can rust.

    easiest way to remove it without damaging the surface is extremely fine steel wool with soap in it. they sell pre soaped steel woll pads at supermarkets. make sure the steel woll is so fine that it looks like cotton. so fine you cant tell its steel. that shouldnt change the finish. its what us vintage motorcycle guys use to remove rust from chrome and aluminum engine cases.
  7. T J

    T J Well-Known Member

    I have a stainless steel pistol that developed rust on the bead blast finish on the top of the slide soon after I got it. It was thought that the bead blast media was contaminated with carbon steel from another gun(s) and this then was transfered to the stainless finish where it rusted. The pistol was new, and I gave it back to the factory to fix up. Not sure what they did to correct the situation, but it has been good ever since returned.
  8. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Well-Known Member

    I work for a major jet engine manufacturer and we use all kinds of exotic SS for our parts when exposed to the elements SS will rust but not pit. there is not always room in our parts area to store everything so some parts are left outside. after they are cleaned machined you'd never know they were rusty.
    Sheet metal parts scotch brite and a little elbow grease.
    BTW SS is rust resistant not rust proof a true SS would be to brittle for any type of use
  9. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    Never use steel wool on a stainless steel gun. Particles of the wool can get embedded into the finish, and they will rust, and quickly so! ScotchBrite pads are plastic, and therefore O.K.
  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    Try rubbing it off with a wood stick, a brass tool made from a cartridge case mouth squashed flat, or the edge of a real copper penny. You will then have to get off the brass tracks but it won't mar the steel... much. Scotchbrite is abrasive grit on a plastic web, it will definitely change the texture of the beaded surfaces.

    I bought a stainless SA that came in with orange flecks on the slide. They cleaned up pretty well, I did not want to send the gun back, it was the last of a discontinued model I wanted.

    The stainless alloys used in guns are chosen for reasonable rust resistance, reasonable strength for the loads, and as easy machining as possible for the job. They are not picked for the maximum corrosion resistance.
  11. jmorris

    jmorris Well-Known Member

    If the surface you want to clean up is bead blasted, blasting it again would be the easiest way to go. Tape/bag everything you don’t want hit, begin with the nozzle far away from the part and only move as close as necessary. BTW many SS alloys will rust. If SS will attract a magnet it will be more likely to corrode/rust. Most SS firearm parts and magazines fall into this category.
  12. DogBonz

    DogBonz Well-Known Member

    I beg to differ

    SS can, and does rust. In order for weapons grade SS to be strong enough to contain the violent forces in a gun, there must be a lot of carbon added to it. The more carbon in steel, the more easily it will rust. Think of it rust resistant, just like a bulletproof vest is bullet resistant.
  13. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Well-Known Member

    Another trick that works for small spots is one of those white, gritty type of erasers that some pencils have.
  14. Kruzr

    Kruzr Well-Known Member

    Carbon doesn't form iron oxide, IRON does. It's the iron in the 400 series stainless steels that rusts (and make it magnetic.)
  15. GreyMauser

    GreyMauser Well-Known Member

    Try the finest grade you can find of bronze wool, not steel wool. Usually available at ACE hardware. Some danger of polishing, but eliminates the carbon steel transfer problem.

    If you are near saltwater, you're probably close to a marine supply store, like West Marine. They carry a stainless steel cleaner paste madeby Wichardt. Works with minimal polishing effect.
  16. Clipper

    Clipper Well-Known Member

    You'd be surprised what you can accomplish with an old toothbrush (or a rag on easily accessed areas) and some tooth polish...
  17. Caimlas

    Caimlas Well-Known Member

    Yes, it does. if you've carried stainless steel guns on a hot day, or live near the ocean where there will be a lot of aerosolized salts in the air, you'll realize it does.

    It's not as prone to rust, but it does rust when moisture and salt interact.Even expensive stainless steel; there's still iron in it.

    Can't say I've got an answer for the original question, aside from using a fine brass brush or some steel wool over the whole gun - including the rusted parts, degreasing, and then spraying the whole thing with something like Allumihide or one of the other 'gun coat' spray paints out there. Something like dark grey, black, or OD maybe? Depends on how thoroughly it's rusted, IMO.
  18. Plink

    Plink Well-Known Member

    Stainless steel most definately can rust, especially the high carbon stainless used in guns and high quality knife blades. I've had all of them rust at one time or another. The best way to remove rust on stainless is the same way you'd remove it on blued steel. Extra fine steel wool (0000) and gun oil. Rub gently and the rust will dissolve without effecting the finish of the metal.
  19. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    "Extra fine steel wool (0000) and gun oil"

    NO.....NEVER use steel wool on a stainless or aluminum gun. Tiny particles of mild steel will embed into the metal and rust later, damaging the finish.

    For stainless the best option are Scotchbrite abrasive pads.
    These are not only used to remove light rust from stainless, they are also used to restore scratched or marred areas.
  20. thirty-thirty

    thirty-thirty Well-Known Member

    Many stainless guns have regular steel lockwork inside. The advantage of stainless is that they are much more forgiving to sweaty hands. You still have to take care of them.

    My old Redhawk is stainless yet deeply pitted in some areas, too deep to clean up. No problem though, it shoots great!
    I have many stainless handguns and rifles. I like the low maintenance. I don't like the bright shiny looks of them for pragmatic rather than cosmetic reasons and wish to put a flat black finsh on them all. I have heard of a company in Arizona that does an excellent job, but I'd rather not mail guns. Other than Dura-Coat, is there any kind of black or blued-like finish I can get done by a local gunsmith that will work on stainless?

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