Cleaning old guns

Discussion in 'Curio & Relic Discussion' started by Kimber Custom, Jul 24, 2018.

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  1. Kimber Custom

    Kimber Custom
    Vancouver, WA
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    A friend has asked me to help her sell her father's guns. A 1929 Colt Woodsman and a 1953 Winchester 61. Both appear to have some value in the $500 range to a collector; however, both have some minor surface rust.

    The 61 is in worse condition but the Woodsman bluing is really thin.

    I'd like to clean them up to get top dollar but I'm afraid of hurting the finish/value. Any tips?

    Thanks

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  2. Unka-Boo

    Unka-Boo
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    Oil and cloth to start....

    CLP works well, you can use 0000 steel wool with it, but go lightly. I would just hit the active rust with it. Remember that bluing is controlled rusting, so anything that will remove rust with take the blue right with it.
     
  3. AndyinEverson

    AndyinEverson
    Everson, Wa.
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    CLP and bronze wool works wonders as well.
    If you have a "Oops moment"... a touch of cold blue ...let it set up and then followed with a wipe down of CLP can at times , blend in real well with existing patina....I have done this to "blend in" repair work on old guns.
    That said ...any use of cold blue will affect collector value...
    Andy
     
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  4. jbett98

    jbett98
    NW Oregon
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    Some good gun oil and your fingers. Gently wipe the oil all over the metal, let sit for awhile and then just rub the oil around with your fingers. Gently wipe off the excess oil and then see what it looks like.
     
  5. 66PonyCar

    66PonyCar
    Tigard, OR
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    First time around oil and a rag. Then nylon brush and more oil. If the two previous don't get the job done then steel wool. Both are collectible so you don't want to be too aggressive with the steel wool. But if you do then stick with 0000 as suggested above.
     
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  6. Natty Bumpo

    Natty Bumpo
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    I would never use steel wool on bluing. It's just too harsh. As a buyer, I will accept a little rust any day rather than a steel wooled finish. Bronze wool is much gentler and might be appropriate when used judiciously and with lots of oil.

    If you were to re-blue the entire gun, then steel wool is ok. I think most guys with an interest in these classic guns as shooters would likely prefer the honest wear over a re-blue.

    The Woodsman looks pretty good wear wise, as is. The wear is all in the right places. The box is a big plus and the two toned magazine is probably worth a hundred by itself.

    The 61 has a Weaver G4 with an N5 mount. Drilling the receiver to attach these mounts was common practice prior to the advent of grooved receivers in the middle 50's. Those drill holes detract somewhat from value.

    If it were me, and I wanted "top dollar", I would consider showing the rifle without the scope and mount attached. Each is of marginal value and I think would visually detract too much from the piece. You can fill the holes in the receiver with screws available from Brownell's.

    The scope and mount could be left alone, cleaned up, steel wooled, or re-blued as you may wish and then thrown in as extras on the side. A replacement N5 mount in good shape is available on ebay for around $20. A G4 scope reasonable shape would sell from scarcely more. These were fairly low end in the Weaver 3/4" rimfire line of that period (early 50's) and are very common.
     
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  7. orygun

    orygun
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    I say oil and a light touch, but nothing else. Rust is better than f-ed up bluing.
     
  8. F2CMaDMaXX

    F2CMaDMaXX
    West of Portland from England
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    It's the fine line between the bluing that's left, and the rust. If there is rust, there is no bluing left underneath, just what's around it (though visually it can look like more rust than there is)

    Oil normally covers up the appearance of light rust, especially if it has thoroughly soaked intro the pores, if you clean out the oil with a thorough degreaser, you can uncover what looks like a lot more rust.
     
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  9. jbett98

    jbett98
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    But it's original rust. Collectors pay more for that.
     
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  10. KKG

    KKG
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    The System I use is Corrosion-X and Stainless Steel Steelwool or Bronze Wool. AND a Very light pressure. My personal feeling is to let the new owner apply the cold blue/finish after they purchase the gun.
     
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  11. Kimber Custom

    Kimber Custom
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    Thanks for all the input. I'll start with the oil and rag route and let you know how it goes
     
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  12. jbett98

    jbett98
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    Kroil will also work.
     
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  13. KKG

    KKG
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    If you choose Kroil, then you need to remember that it is designed to loosen screws and such. So use it sparingly.
     
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  14. tac

    tac
    UK, Oregon and Ontario.
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    ^
    This.

    Did I ever mention that VERY careful use of a Birchwood-Casey lead-removing cloth - the strange-smelling yellow stuff - will remove the very thin layer of rust that settles over a long period of time in a less-than-dry atmosphere? We call it cocoa-powder rust, 'cos that's what it looks like. I went over the entire exposed surfaces of a 1963 Anschutz target rifle that had been left untouched in a gun-safe since at least 1983.

    This is the result -

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    Mind you, it took three of them and took me almost two weeks of evenings.......

    tac
     
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  15. Legs

    Legs
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    I would just give them a good, wet rub down with Hopes #9 and let the purchaser deal with any restoration and repairs. Top dollar is already unreachable due to previous poor storage practice.
     
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  16. Mikej

    Mikej
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    I see those old Woodsman's commanding some pretty hefty prices. Don't know if they sell for that much though. That one doesn't look too bad at all. I have a Match Target with a heavy barrel and the target grips. 2nd model I think. That one you have might be a first model? What ever you do, don't take it apart unless you know what your doing. It's not like other pistols inside. If that recoil spring gets away from you........

    The Colt Woodsman: A most pined after plinking pistol (VIDEO)
     
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  17. Kimber Custom

    Kimber Custom
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    Yes, it's a first model, pre-WWII target made for standard velocity ammo. The box includes the factory cleaning rod and test target. It sold quickly without much effort.

    The 61 cleaned up reasonably with the methods suggested and is currently in the rifle classifieds.

    There's a Diana model 26 air rifle as well. I'm not as confident with my pricing on those two but someone will get some cool stuff.
     
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  18. AndyinEverson

    AndyinEverson
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    I think the Winchester "cleaned up" nicely....now if I only had the cash...we'd be talking 'bout my new to me Winchester model 61....:D
    Andy
     
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