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A Colt's worst nightmare: Rust!

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by armed85, Aug 21, 2007.

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  1. armed85

    armed85 Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    This past Sunday I showed one of my Colt 1911s to a few friends at a cook out. After each held it, I wiped the gun down and stored it in the box that came with the gun. A few hours ago, which was two days after the cook out, I took the gun out and to my dismay I discovered it was covered in surface rust.

    This Colt is a stainless steel NRM Series 80 government model. All of the rust was on the bead blasted areas of the gun and some rust was on the slide serrations.

    I was able to remove all of the rust with RemOil, shotgun patches, and a bronze brush. I used the patches to remove half of the rust and the bronze bush with a little bit of elbow grease to remove the remainder of the rust.

    This is the first time I've seen one of my stainless steel guns rust. I have 4 stainless steel guns and they're all stored in the same location.

    Should I be concerned with the quality of the stainless steel used or is it more likely that one of my friends has super acidic sea water sweat?

    P.S. That $0.50 bronze brush saved my $700 gun. It was just abrasive enough to remove the rust, but not abrasive enough to alter the bead blasted finish.
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    It is possible one of your friends does have acidic sweat, but in that case I'd expect the rust to be mostly on the frontstrap, mainspring housing and grip safety - places you didn't mention. Incidentally, be sure to check the magazine(s).

    This may work as a wake-up call for those that have stainless steel guns and think they can't possibly rust. It's Summer time and in many places the heat and humidity is high, and this might be a factor, depending on where you live. A wipe-down with a lightly oiled rag is always a good idea after any gun has been handled.
  3. CWL

    CWL Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Ah, you have just discovered why it is called "stain-less", not "stain-never".

    Resistance to corrosion varies depending on the kind of stainless.

    Was the rust uniform? Did it look like a dusting? In your case, the surface rust may be nothing more than metallic shavings/particles left from when the slide was machined with high carbon steel tools.
  4. armed85

    armed85 Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    It was like little brown/red specks of dust. The front strap, below the trigger guard, the top of the slide, and the slide serrations had rust. The mainspring housing is made of nylon (aka plastic).

    I removed the grip panels and there was no rust under the grip panels. There was no rust on the barrel nor on the frame rails, chamber, magazine, magazine well, or anywhere on the inside of the gun. All rust was on the outside.

    I could be mistaken, but I think the grip safety, thumb safety, and hammer are not stainless steel. Rather, they're nickel plated.

    The gun had no imperfections when I first handled it. After taking it from the box, I field stripped it, cleaned it, and coated everything in RemOil. In fact, the gun was wet with oil when my friends handled it.

    The shotgun patches were brown/red from removing the rust. The powder from the ammo I use is consistently grey/black.

    It's very disconcerting. I have seen plenty of guns, including stainless steel, rust. But when it happens to one of my own that I take really good care of, I'm left with the question of "why?"

    Maybe RemOil isn't that great at preventing rust.
  5. FieroCDSP

    FieroCDSP Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Wooster, Ohio
    Sounds like the rusting occured on handled areas, giving credence to the acidic sweat idea. I have a pack of 0000 steel wool and several bottles of Hoppes oil, just for that. Wipe with CLP for medium duration storage or hoppes oil for shorter duration (i.e. you shoot every week)

    With Rem-oil, I found it better to clean the gun, do a thorough wipe-down with a goodly amount of hoppes oil, wait a little while, wipe off. Subsequent cleanings can use rem-oil to keep protected, but every third or fourth cleaning, use the Hoppes oil again. Or just use a CLP.
  6. JohnMcD348

    JohnMcD348 Member

    Oct 15, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    Simply put, what happened to your pistol is that one of the people who held your firearm had sweaty palms and a higher acidity than what is usual. I'm one of those types and that's part of the reason I always buy SS firearms whenever possible. It was good that you found it early and hadn't left the pistol in the box for months afterwards. After each use, or handling, a good(not necessarily thorough) cleaning is needed and a good wipe down with an oil rag helps to prevent this from happening.

    After a day of shooting(or anytime I handle) a firearm for me, I give them a good cleaning job and then wipe them down with an oil rag and I usually don't have a problem. My uncle stated once that my hands sweat so much you could just about Hear the pistol rust in my hand. It's a condition called Palmer HyperHydrosis(sweaty palms).
    Alot of the time, when I am just handling my firearms, I do it wearing a pair of rubber exam gloves. They're also good for keeping the hands clean while cleaning the firearm.

  7. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Old Fuff posted my thoughts.

    My preference has always been blued guns, for the same reason Old Fuff shared, and has recently in other threads.

    My take is, from experiences around finishing out metal, polishing metal, and plating salts...
    ...which the key to the old deep bluing were the craftsmans that knew how to polish..
    ...and bluing is "controlled rust" if you will...

    Add, the metallurgy of blue being what it is for various properties that Stainless does not have...

    I prefer blued.

    I have carried Stainless, and these were what one would call BBQ Guns Or Divorce Guns, Wedding Guns, Got a new Bird Dawg Gun...

    Stainless is less expensive to finish out. When doing some service or repair work, easier to mask and sandblast with Black Beauty or whatever media.

    Some folks have acidic sweat, still too many folks have used blued handguns ,shotgun, and rifles in all sort of weather for decades and no problems.

    Inspect and maintain.

    Still go compare a Older Colt in blue, and note how it has held up and slick it is.

    My old Colt Steel Combat Commander , run right out the box, with Colt 7 rd mags with dimple follower and this included JHPs called "Flying Ashtrays".

    It got the same Inspect and Maintain as Blued Guns.

    It sported Ivory Stocks for Momentous Occasions as mentioned above and others like the "birth of a baby".
    No not them kind of births...getting that Small Block Chevy engine in a Vette fired up the first time...
    With open headers...*evil*
  8. 8200rpm

    8200rpm Member

    Jul 5, 2005
    Did the rust look like this?


    This is what resulted after 1 week storage in a carry case without a cleaning after 6 dusty stages of USPSA (200 rounds) in 105 degree heat.

    It all came off with elbow grease and CLP. I found similar rust on a couple rifles that were cleaned less than 2 weeks ago. Most of the rust was around the trigger guard near the wrist of the stock where I grab the rifle. I live less than one mile from the ocean and it's been humid and hot lately.

    Gun cases and safes hold in moisture. You can manage moisture inside a safe with dessicants. You have less choices with tight gun cases.
  9. thebaldguy

    thebaldguy Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Minnesota 10,000 lakes and even more taxes
    Try wiping your firearms after handling with a silicone cloth; maybe put a little extra spritz of silicone spray on the cloth.
  10. DBR

    DBR Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Try Eezox - do a search, I am tired of posting the link. It works.

    Do not use steel wool on a stainless gun. The residue it leaves behind will rust. Use bronze wool. It can be bought at marine supply stores. I have also found it at Home Depot.
  11. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    I keep my guns wrapped in a silicone cloth, in a rug, and stored in a safe. Never any rust in a seasonally humid climate. For blued guns, I like to use Rig which is oil protection in a petroleum jelly-like composition. It won't run off like lubricating oil and lasts a long time. For nickel and stainless guns, I like to use Flitz, which not only polishes the finish or metal, but also leaves a protective coating on the surface.
  12. Troutman

    Troutman member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Gods' Country, Texas
    <<This is the first time I've seen one of my stainless steel guns rust.>>


    <<Should I be concerned with the quality of the stainless steel used or is it more likely that one of my friends has super acidic sea water sweat?>>

    What’s good about stainless is its low maintenance. Even when rust devolves on it. Even scratches can be buffed (by hand) out. Without effecting its appearance. You can even use a “Lead-away” cloth to remove rust on S.S. Even if the surface is rough.
    Some use “Mothers’” Mag polish (for high polish look). 3M pads, ect, ect.To maintain the finish on S.S.
    Me…I just use the “lead-away” cloth. I don’t get too deep into the cosmetic look.
    Even if rust was to start developing, I don’t freak out about it, see above.

    <<P.S. That $0.50 bronze brush saved my $700 gun.>>

    Lets not go over-board now. Because….

    <<took the gun out and to my dismay I discovered it was covered in surface rust.>>

    See above.

    With all the gun products out their. There are at least a handful of them to prevent rust, as well as remove it.
    Wipe it down after their handled. With ……see others posts.

    Also, if one is concerned about it. Anyone going to handle them, have them wash their hands with soap and water, and then have them put on surgical gloves. Still wipe them down after handling.
    Knew a guy that always did that with anyone going to handle any of his guns. He reminded me of that guy on “Monk”. Nothing wrong with that.
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