Cosmoline removal

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Hoyte, Nov 16, 2020.

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  1. Hoyte

    Hoyte Member

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    What’s the best way to get cosmoline off a gun? I have a handgun that’s soaked in it throughout.
     
  2. whughett

    whughett Member

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    I’d think mineral spirits or perhaps kerosene. Remove the wood.
     
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  3. DocRock

    DocRock member

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    White Kerosene is best. Diesel and gasoline both work. Get the Cosmoline off, then clean with your choice of gun cleaner. For wooden furniture, wipe all you can off, heat with hair drier or put out in hot sun and keep wiping. Time consuming, but limits damage to wood. Eventually, a good degreaser, I like Zep, applied between heating until its stops weeping Cosmoline. Good luck.
     
  4. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I used paint thinner on the metal and wood parts at first then switched to the heat method on the wood afterwards. I swear it seemed to take forever to get the seeping to stop.

    This was on Chinese and Russian SKS’s. Since this is in “Handguns” I am guessing this is for handguns and the wood shouldn’t be as big of a deal.
     
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  5. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    If the coating is really thick/heavy, I would start-out by melting-off as much as could with heat and finishing the job with a mineral spirits bath.

    If the coating is not heavy, just the latter should suffice. :)
     
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  6. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    Any or all of the above finished off with a good wash using hot water* and Simple Green*, followed by WD-40 to disperse the water.

    (*not on wood)
     
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  7. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Back when greasy milsurps were a dime a dozen, I recall it took me about 1 can of brake parts cleaner to de-gunk 1 SKS.
     
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  8. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    All good advice so far.

    I like to scrape or melt off any excess first then let the metal parts soak in kerosene or mineral spirits. Then a good scrub with a brass brush or stiff toothbrush. and a final clean with something like Simple Green works wonders. Just make sure to dry and oil everything up afterwards. Trying to remove cosmoline from wood is never easy or quick.

    I had to clean off my fair share of cosmoline while I was in the service. I was ornery and returned the favor when I left Germany. My unit didn't know how long it would be for my replacement machinist would arrive so they told me to coat the lathe and milling machine with cosmoline. Man did I ever put a good solid coat on them.
     
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  9. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    I bought one 98 Mauser from Aim Surplus many years ago and after trying the gentle methods I just put on some rubber gloves and got a pan of gasoline and an old paint brush and had it clean in an hour or less. I have been flamed before for saying I used gas but it works very well. Just have plenty of ventilation.

    I have heard about putting the stock in a black plastic garbage sack and laying it on the roof in the bright sunshine and letting the heat soak the cosmo out but I didn't have to do that.
     
  10. Hoyte

    Hoyte Member

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    Will the kerosene,gasoline,or mineral spirits affect the finish of the gun? It’s blued.
     
  11. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Member

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    Heat will soften the cosmoline. Leaving it out on a sunny hot day wrapped in paper towels in a black trash bag like ThomasT stated. Or using a hair dryer.
    Just DO NOT get in a hurry or heat things up hotter than you can handle comfortably
     
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  12. Englishmn
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    Englishmn Member

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    Petroleum products won't affect metal finish, just make sure to oil when done cleaning.
    If it happens to be a painted gun the paint will come off just finish cleaning and repaint it.
     
  13. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    I think the best way to remove cosmoline is with heat.

    My dad was a supply Sargent for a tanker battalion after WWII. When I complained about removing cosmoline from an SKS I'd bought using Brake Cleaner he told me how they did it in the army.

    They would take a 50 gallon drum, cut the top off, fill it with water and build a fire underneath it. Bring the water to a boil and then hook the metal parts with a wire and drop them into the boiling water for 10 minutes of so. They would then pull them out of the water which would flash dry off the hot metal and wipe off any cosmoline that may remain with a rag. Then they'd apply oil for rust prevention as appropriate after the metal cooled. Used a version of this method on my next surplus gun but poured boiling water from a tea kettle over the parts (outdoors of course) as a big drum or tank of boiling water is a bit of overkill.

    I learned another method from a fellow shooter which works great if you live in a hot climate and it happens to be summer. My current state of residence, Arizona fills the requirement. What he does is to set the cosmolined rifle out side on the porch in the sun at100+ degree summer day. The cosmoline would melt off and he would clean anything left with a rag. Don"t forget to put out paper or a container to catch melted cosmoline otherwise its a problem to get rid of the stains.
     
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  14. loadedround

    loadedround Member

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    If you have just one firearm to clean, I found that common lighter fluid does a great job, but you'll probably need several containers of it for a really gunked up rifle. Plus lots of rags!
     
  15. STI

    STI Member

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    Car wash on bad ones
     
  16. Hoyte

    Hoyte Member

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    C04402E8-B59F-42C7-8ACD-F208A4EEC5D7.jpeg Thanks everyone for the advice. Wasn’t too keen on the gas smell so I went with the boiling water trick(I also had an old stock pot to use). Took it all right off.
     
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  17. beeenbag

    beeenbag Member

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    very nice! I tend to use boiling water myself. I’ve tried a few other methods mentioned here but heat definitely makes it more manageable. Beautiful firearm!
     
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  18. Hoyte

    Hoyte Member

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    Thanks, it’s all cleaned and oiled now. Just researching who owned it secondly, my guess is the father of a former police chief of Holyoke ma. Only issue with it is that it’s missing the cocking indicator. If anyone knows where to get one let me know, already posted in the parts buy/sell section.
     
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