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Firearm reconditioning: How to remove rusty spots WITHOUT removing any of the blue?

 
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  #1  
Old 05-03-2012, 01:13 PM
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Location: Remington County, PA
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Firearm reconditioning: How to remove rusty spots WITHOUT removing any of the blue?

I hate to admit it, but I have a few rifles & pistols that haven't been adequately cared for, or "properly" stored. The issues are scratches & dings in the stock/forearm wood, and rusty spots/areas on the blued steel. I just ordered a de-humidifier (EV-500 model) for my safe (which is <8 cubic feet), so I should be good-to-go, after I tape/caulk all holes/seams, and install an adhesive foam door seal. So NOW is when I want to get everything that I keep in the safe into good cosmetic condition.

Reconditioning the wooden stuff should be pretty straight-forward, I think. I bought a package of 220/320/400 grit sandpaper and a can of mohogany 225 stain. Then I plan to finish up with a few coats of urethane. I have also ordered a couple of soft cases (I already have 2 hard cases - 1 rifle & 1 pistol) so no more nicks or scratches occur on any firearms that are being transported/used, or otherwise taken out of the safe.

The problem I am running into involves reconditioning of the blued barrels and other blued steel parts. Unfortunately, I have NO previous experience in this area. The products that I have purchased are "krudkutter" rust remover (it's water soluble), and "permablue" liquid gun blue (which I haven't tried yet, because I haven't gotten to that step yet). It is at the first step (de-rusting the steel), where I am faltering.

Since I am at the beginning of the "learning curve", I started out on a spare clip for my 9mm, which had a few areas of light rust on it, with 1 spot being somewhat rougher. First I tried scotchbrite on the more lightly rusted areas. But I noticed that it was too abrasive on the blueing that I DO NOT want removed, leaving scratches and lightened-up areas on it.

After reading the instructions on the rust remover bottle, I tried my hand at it, on the areas where rust was present, only to find that it instantly (and completely) removed all of the surrounding blueing, before even beginning to remove any rust. So I took another look at the bottle, now seeing the (very) fine print that states that if used on firearms, it WILL remove the blueing - Ooops!

I am now looking at a clip that I'm not seeing any actual rust on, but is now covered with un-blued areas around where the light rust spots were, and where the solution ran. But after letting it soak for like a half hour, like it suggested for areas where the rust is thicker, there is now a black, rough-looking "coating" over it, reminiscent of the permatex "rust avenger" (also water-based) stuff that I have used in the past (but never on firearms) to form a "primer" coat on rusted metal that paint can be applied onto.

What is the correct stuff to use to remove the rust WITHOUT removing any of the existing blueing? I am now at a standstill, waiting for some answers, before going on to the next step, of re-blueing only the spots where there was rust.

Or does it come down to simply taping off the areas that do not need any re-conditioning, which probably accounts for at least 80-85% of the blued steel?
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:34 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
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Re: Firearm reconditioning: How to remove rusty spots WITHOUT removing any of the bl

I'm not a gunsmith but maybe one will chime in, especially if you run the thread under gunsmithing, but here is my opinion. Once you have rust spots, you have already removed the bluing and have also left at least small pits! Short of stripping, finishing, and re bluing, anything else will be a bandaid and will never look right.
If you choose to try to just stop the rusting, you might try some old fashioned naval jelly and rub "LIGHTLY" with 0000 steel wool, clean with alcohol and then keep your barrel wiped down with a silicon rag or occasionally light gun oil to prevent further rusting. You could use permablue first if you wanted, but it will not totally blend in to the old finish and will look "blothchy".........Rich
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:25 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Central Florida
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Re: Firearm reconditioning: How to remove rusty spots WITHOUT removing any of the bl

I used a penny and 3 in 1 oil. the penny is softer than the steel, but harder that the rust. It didn't
permanently mark the b
lue either. The marks came off when I rubbed it with a terry towel to get
the oil off.
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2012, 05:27 PM
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Re: Firearm reconditioning: How to remove rusty spots WITHOUT removing any of the bl

0000 steel wool and WD-40...
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  #5  
Old 05-03-2012, 06:31 PM
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Re: Firearm reconditioning: How to remove rusty spots WITHOUT removing any of the bl

Firearms bluing (black oxide) is a "controlled rust process". Any chemical that will remove rust will remove the bluing, too. green 788 had the best suggesion,,,,, WD-40 and 0000 steel wool. I've never seen a "cold blue" that matched up with factory bluing.
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  #6  
Old 05-04-2012, 04:53 AM
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Re: Firearm reconditioning: How to remove rusty spots WITHOUT removing any of the bl

The blueing solution that I have is composed of selenium dioxide. Is that what the factory bluers run?

Is the 4-ot steel wool less abrasive than scotchbrite? What about krinkled up AL foil? I have used that successfully on automotive wheels.

But I guess none of that matters if I can't successfully blend the newly blued areas into the exiting blue. If I have to go with stripping and re-blueing the entire parts, will they look as good as the factory blueing did?
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Old 05-04-2012, 05:36 AM
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Re: Firearm reconditioning: How to remove rusty spots WITHOUT removing any of the bl

Go to the hardware store or home supply center and buy yourself some STAINLESS STEEL steel wool. It will look course compared to 0000 steel wool but pay that no attention. The SS steel wool witll remove the rust without removing the blueing. Use it dry then put oil on the area.

This is an old Gun Show hookers trick. Buy a gun with surface rust, clean it up with the SS steel wool and then take it inside the show and resell it. Instant profit.
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