Remove Rust From A Gun
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How To Remove Rust From A Gun? – Different Methods Explained

It is natural for your gun to show some signs of wearing when it is used the way it should. That is nothing to worry about and could even improve the looks of the weapon.

But, rust, on the other hand, is not the type of wearing that you want on your gun. It can cause many different issues, including jammed trigger, to even misfiring of the weapon.

To avoid any serious accident, it is best to keep your gun free of rust at all times. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done. No matter how well you maintain your gun, sometimes rust just forms.

And you need to know how to deal with it. In this article, I will give you a complete guideline on how to remove rust from a gun so that you do not have to worry should you find your gun to be rusty.

What Is Rust?

Simply put, rust is a form of iron oxide that occurs through a reaction between iron and oxygen when it comes in contact with water. It can appear on any metal surfaces if kept long enough in a high humidity environment. The moisture in the air works as an accelerant for causing rust on any metal surface.

If you find reddish-brown patches on the surface of the gun, that means it got rusty. In early phases, you might notice just a few dusty particles of the color that can be brushed away. However, it does not take too long for it to harden and settle on the surface if left alone.

What Can Cause Rust on A Gun?

As you see, rust forms mostly from moisture. If you store your gun in a high humidity location, it is more likely to catch rust soon. Saltwater is also a strong motivator toward the formation of rust. People living near beaches need to take special caution when storing their weapons.

Apart from that, rainfall can also help in the formation of rust on a firearm. Furthermore, if you keep your gun in a very unhygienic condition, it could lead to rust formation.

Doing regular checkups on your weapon can help you prevent it from happening. And even if it happens then, you can detect it early when dealing with it is easier.

How to Remove Rust While Protecting the Finish?

Many of the gun lovers want to keep our guns looking best at all times. If the guns catch rust, they want to remove it in a way that the finish of the gun remains intact.

If you are one of those people, the following section is for you. However, for this step, you need to spend some money to gather all the necessary supplies. The things that you need to remove rust while protecting the finish of the guns are:

  • Bore Cleaner, or specialty gun-rust remover
  • Natural fiber cloth
  • Soft copper cleaning brush
  • Four ought steel wool (0000)
  • Triple ought steel wool (000)

The step-by-step guide to removing rust from a firearm is given below:

  • Take a rag and soak it with a small amount of bore cleaner. Run it over the rusty parts of the gun and leave it to soak for 5-10 minutes.
  • Start your rust removal process with the natural fiber cloth. Take the cloth and start wiping over the affected areas. If you see any red-brown spots on the cloth, that means it is working.
  • If it does not work, switch to a copper brush. Make sure you soak the gun in bore cleaner if it dries up. When using the brush, go with a smooth forward and backward motion.
  • If copper brush also fails, you need to go with steel wool. At first, start with 0000, and if that does not work, switch to 000. Be very careful with triple ought steel wool, as it can damage the finish if you rush it.
  • By now, you should be free of rust if you followed our steps correctly. Check all the nooks and crannies of the gun. If you find any, use the copper brush to get rid of it.
  • When you are done, wipe down the gun with a clean and oily rag to eliminate any cleaner residue. Furthermore, gun oil helps prevent corrosion in the future.

How to Remove Rust Without Protecting the Finish?

Thankfully, there are many ways to tackle rust issues in firearms. If you do not care about the finish and can handle the refinishing job yourself, then you have many options. I have listed three methods below that, although can remove the rust effectively, might not protect the integrity of the finish in the firearm.

1. The Oil/lubricant Method

The most go-to method of removing rust from a gun is by using oil or lubricants. Even if the gun is extremely rusty, you can remove it thoroughly using this method.

For the best result, make sure you have your gun cleaning brushes nearby. Here is a step-by-step rundown of how to use oil or lubricants to remove a result from your gun.

  • Start by coating the rusty parts of the gun with a decent amount of oil. When it is soaked, give the oil some time to settle and loosen the rust.
  • Grab the gun cleaning brush and remove the rust by scrubbing as much as you can. It is better to use brass brushes since they cause less damage to the finish. If you are stuck with steel brush only, then be very careful not to dig too deep.
  • You should already see most of the rust get out of the surface of the gun. For any remaining residue, you can use a wool pad to eliminate it.
  • If your ruin the finish of the gun in this process, it will not be too long until rust sets in again.  Our recommendation is to apply a small amount of cold blue in the spots where the finish came off to restore it.

2. The Acid Method

Acid is one of the most effective ways to remove rust from any surface. It can even restore gun hardware if you use it with caution. Since acids have an intrinsic de-oxidizing property, it can easily dissolve iron oxide from the surface. Iron oxide, if you remember, is essentially rust.

By acid, one could mean a lot of different chemicals. It might be best to go with a product specially designed for use with guns. However, if, for some reason, you cannot buy one, you could simply use vinegar as a substitute. In fact, vinegar is a much safer form of acid to use when removing rust from a gun.

The following steps should help you remove rust using vinegar or any other commercially available acid:

  • Spray or soak the rusted parts of the firearm with the acid. You could use a vinegar solution poured into an aerosol can too if you want.
  • If the extent of the problem is severe, the acid might take some time to work properly. It might be best to leave the gun overnight for the acid to take the full effect
  • After the vinegar has settled, you can wipe off the gooey rust from the surface. You might still find some rusty sections in the gun after wiping.
  • To remove the rest of the rust, you need to use some elbow grease. Grab your brass brush and get to scrubbing carefully to eliminate any residual rust
  • Keep in mind that acid will most likely ruin the finish of the weapon. So, make sure you spend some time refinishing the gun after using this method.

3. Using A Dremel Rotary Tool

If both the above method fails to clear the rust from your firearm, this might be your best shot. It will definitely ruin the entire finish of the gun, so you have some thinking to do.

Refinishing the entire gun might take some time, but in the end, you will be completely free from rust using this tool.

For this method, you need a set of small wire wheel for the rotary tool. If you are ready to proceed, let us jump into it:

  • Prep your rotary too for use by inserting the small wheels in the unit.
  • On the rusty parts of the gun, apply small drops of gun oil. It will help loosen some of the rust and make your work easier.
  • Then it is just a simple matter of taking the Dremel and using it on the rusty spots. As you keep working, keep a rag nearby to wipe off the loose rusts.
  • Keep working the rotary tool and wiping the surface regularly until all the rust comes off.

How to Prevent Your Guns from Rusting

Rust can be a real nuisance, and when it catches on your gun, you will have a hard time getting it off without messing up the finish.

However, you can some basic steps to make sure you delay the weapons from rusting as long as possible. The following few tips will help ensure your firearm stays running smoothly for a long time:

  • Wipe all the metal components of the gun with a rag soaked in gun oil periodically.
  • Store your guns in a place with low humidity. If you have a dehumidifier in the room, it will help you keep the room dry.
  • If you can, try to avoid using holsters or soft cases for the firearms. These are notorious for trapping the moisture when you store the gun that can severely accelerate rust formation. Additionally, they can mess with some specific finishes on the gun.
  • If your gun gets wed, you should dry it off as quickly and thoroughly as you can. The next step is to oil it so that moisture cannot accumulate on the body of the firearm.
  • Guns with hard-use finish are amazing at preventing rust. They can handle prolonged exposure moisture without having any lasting effects. If you can change the finish, it might be something worth looking into.
  • Wipe the metal components thoroughly and dry them when needed. Do not overlook all the nooks and crannies. That does not mean you need to waste time with the plastic parts. They do not catch rust.
  • No need to go wild with the oil. A few light passes every few days after use is good enough.
  • Regularly check your gun for any signs of rust, especially if you live or go near any place close to saltwater.
  • Many small parts of the gun, including sights, and controls are made of metal. But they never come with any finish that can tackle rust, and that makes them vulnerable. You also need to keep a close eye on these parts and oil frequently.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best gun finish to prevent rust?

Duracoat and Cerakote are two forms of painted-on finish found in modern guns. They are amazing at preventing rust since they are not metallic. However, if the finish come off and the metal parts of the gun comes out, that can catch rust.

2. Is it safe to shoot a rusty gun?

No, it is not. Severe cases of rust can damage parts of the gun and even eat through matter. The chances of misfiring are too high to risk shooting a rusty gun. If you find your gun showing signs of rust, you should tackle the issue first before using it.

3. How frequently should I clean my gun?

Ideally, you would want to clean your guns after every use. Not only rust but also different gunpowder residue may build up in the barrel over time if left unchecked. If you cannot clean it every time after use, at least consider cleaning it within 2-3 days of using it.

4. Should I oil inside the barrel of the gun?

Yes. The barrel of the gun is where the main action happens. And you need to make sure it is clean before you take the gun out. Generally, you should apply a small amount of oil in the barrel of the gun before storing it. Before using, do some dry shots to get rid of the oil before using actual bullets.

5. Will the guns rust if I keep them in a safe?

Unfortunately, guns can and will rust in safe. As a matter of fact, the guns kept in safe for a prolonged period have a higher chance of rusting. So even if you use a gun safe, it might be wise to check in on the gun and clean them from time to time.

Final Thoughts

Rust is one of the biggest enemies of any firearm. But with our help, you should be able to deal with it, should the problem arise. I hope you found this article on how to remove rust from a gun helpful in maintaining your weapon.

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