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Removing Cosmoline

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by duartfarquardt, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. duartfarquardt

    duartfarquardt Tigard, OR Active Member

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    I have a couple of rifles from CMP which have been coated with cosmoline. The stuff is hard to get off. Does anyone have any suggestions about removing cosmoline, particularly from the wood of a military rifle?
     
  2. Teufel_Hunden

    Teufel_Hunden Albany, Oregon Active Member

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    Back in the day (when I had my FFL) I helped many customers remove the cosmoline from SKS's. Plain painters thinner semed to work better than anything else (Mineral spirits). It never seemed to adversely effect the cheap wood stocks or handguards. I would be careful before I tried this on a weapon with poly stocks or handguards.

    Also remeber to oil well after cleaning.

    T_H
     
  3. BigNickShooting

    BigNickShooting Centralia, WA Active Member

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    I had an old Russian rifle that was full of cosmoline. An old gunsmith gave me a pointer: diesel fuel ... it works like a charm ...

    Nick
     
  4. dalep

    dalep Hillsboro New Member

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    Hot soapy water. Works everytime.
     
  5. duartfarquardt

    duartfarquardt Tigard, OR Active Member

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    Thanks for all the tips. I should be able to get them clean.
     
  6. PinkhamR

    PinkhamR Altus, Oklahoma MSgt, USAF (Retired)-FFL Lifetime Supporter

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    I use Naphtha ... just on the metal though.
     
  7. turq

    turq Molino,oregon Member

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    I use Formby's wood re-conditioner. It's very volatile so use ventilation and avoid flames. I would soak then dry off using the blue shop towels then 'sweat it' next to the wood stove.(remember no flames around the liquid!)
    Repeat about five times or so...
     
  8. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    Windex, gun scrubber (degreasser), or even carb and choke cleaner. Just make sure you oil the crap out of your guns when you are done...oh and I recommend using synthetic gloves and being in a well ventillated area.
     
  9. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    You need to read the 1942 novel "See Here Private Hargrove" for complete instructions. :thumbup:
     
  10. Gov't Mule

    Gov't Mule NW Member

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    Careful use of a heat gun over paper towels.

    Non-chlorinated brake cleaner also works.
     
  11. JAFO

    JAFO OR, USA Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    Slickest way I've seen was inside two galvanized steel garbage cans with a heat lamp inside. It is supposed to bake it right out from all the nooks & crannies you will not be able to reach.
     
  12. tionico

    tionico Thurston County Well-Known Member

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    Mineral spirits will cut the gunk, leave no residue, and not harm the wood or metal. Diesel and kerosene will melt the gunk, but not as well... and leave quite a stink behind. Mineral spirits are, in most brands, odourless.

    The brake cleaner will also work, leave no residue, it does stink but evaporates and goes away )mostly) pretty quickly. should not harm the wood.

    Mineral spirits will not touch the plastic stocks/grips, nor will diesel or kerosene. Brakleen might, depending on which plastic is used. I've had Brakleen damage some plastics before... so I am chary of using it unless I can test a patch.. but be careful, it can make some plastics brittle, yet not change its appearance.


    Naptha will do anything mineral spirits do, and more, and faster into the bargain. BUT-- it is highly flamable, even explosive (do NOT even think of using it in a typical modern garage with a gas-fired appliance (water heater, furnace, space heater) as cleaning the cosmolene might be somewhat delayed as you go about looking for the pieces after the explosion.
     
  13. GDog426

    GDog426 Winchester / Roseburg Member

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    WD-40 it is safe on almost anything and does a great job
     
  14. Doug63

    Doug63 The Peoples Republic of Portland New Member

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    I have a M1917 and it took me two month start to finish in remove the cosmoline, that involved striping the rifle completely minus removing barrel from receiver and cleaning everything by hand.

    All the striped metal components, bolt, trigger assembly, rear sight and all their associated hardware were cleaned with mineral spirits and tooth brush. Dried, inspect, oil and then reassembled.

    As for the wooden rifle stock and hand guard I used Purple Power as the primary cosmoline cutter and a tooth brush. I was going to refinish the wood any way so removing the cosmoline and the old finish/linseed oil was expectable.

    Below are articles I have read about removing cosmoline that I think you might want to look then over.

    http://www.surplusrifle.com/shooting/cosmoline/index.asp
    http://www.surplusrifle.com/shooting/purplepower/index.asp
    http://www.surplusrifle.com/shooting2006/lowheatmethod2/index.asp