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WTK: Best Way to Clean Surplus Guns

1346 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  loclas
As with most people here, I have and/or get a bunch of old surplus rifles and hand-guns. I have also seen the prices go up on these and they generate a strong collector intrest, probably because unlike Winchesters or Lugers, everyone can afford them.

In my searches for old Mausers and Enfields I have come across many that have been destroyed by the hobby customizer or the over-zealous cleaner.

Much like antique furniture, I am sure there is a correct way to clean and preserve these treasures.

I just don't know for sure what it is!

I generally do a good non-abrasive cleaning, I dont monkey with the wood much.

Is there an acceptable level of restoration that doesnt affect collector value, and what/where is that line?
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My feeling is that whatever comes off with soap and water (bath type soap and cool water) is ok for the wood and use of detergent and hot water is ok on metal. Do not remove browning of metal or polish the metal, just remove the surface dirt and rust. I use a good quality high linen paper wadded up and oiled to remove rust. Also 0000 steel wool used with oil and rubbed lightly to get at rust. When removing rust don't polish the metal. Just remove the standing rust and oil the surface.

Once and a while a stock is so oil soaked you must sweat out the excess. Best way I have seen is to simply wrap it in paper towels and then old newspaper and put in in the back window shelf of your car during a hot summer week. Will take several changes of paper towels. When the towels no longer show oil use the soap and water.

A home steam cleaner is really good for getting out the grease especially in those areas you cannot easily get to. They heat up the metal so that it dries quickly and will not cause rust when used properly.

I like the look of a gun that has acquired a coat of honest use in service and don't really want a brand new gun look. Other feel different.
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