Each gun or firearm is precious to its owner. It is a weapon, a tool, and often a valuable token. Whether it is a modern automatic pistol or an old carbine rifle, you must keep your gun in pristine shape if you wish for it to work flawlessly. You can’t leave your gun without care and expect it to serve you well.
Guns are generally built to last and be durable. However, they do require cleaning and care. Rust is almost an Achilles heel for firearms. As these devices are constructed almost entirely from metals, they are susceptible to rusting.
Rust can cause your gun to get clogged up, cause drag and severely hinder its performance.
Ideally, you should try to keep your gun free from rusting and its ill effects. However, if your weapon already has rust, fear not. This article will explore how to remove heavy rust from a gun.
What is Rust? How To Know If Your Gun Has It?
Before you deal with a rust situation, you must know what it is. Correctly identifying it is a core necessity.
Rust is a reddish-brown coating that is often seen on metallic surfaces. Rust is basically iron oxide. It forms when the metal (iron) reacts with moisture or water in the environment. The oxidation reaction causes this reddish coating on iron.
Rust can be found on nearly any metallic surface, but especially metallic door locks, window panes, tools, and even, yes, you guessed it right. Guns are often plagued with rust. Guns often move around with us and get exposed to varying moisture levels, which causes rust formation.
Now that you know what rusting looks like, take a good look at your gun. Has the regular metal coating been replaced with some sort of harsh red-brown material? The coating will feel rough and ragged and will lack the usual sheen.
These are a few of the signs that show that your gun has rust. Even if they do appear in your weapon, you should not be too concerned. While rusting is bad for your firearm, getting rid of it is a lot easier than you might think.
What Problems Does Rust Cause in a Gun?
You may be skeptical about rusting and its ill effects. After all, the rifle or the pistol still looks OK overall which may lead you to assume that it works well. You could be willing to subscribe to the quote, “if it ain’t broke, don’t change it.”
However, that is often not the case. The effects of rusting in guns can vary from minor to fatal. Here are a few major problems that rusting causes in weapons:
- The gun loses a lot of its visual appeal; it starts looking worn out and old in a bad way.
- A roughed-up surface inside/outside the barrel can add a lot of drag, which causes friction and resistance. This will drastically reduce the velocity of the cartridges and have an overall negative impact on performance.
- If there is rust within the magazine, it could hamper loading cartridges by itself. There could be significant resistance or, in more severe cases, a complete inability to reload.
- In severe cases, the rust inside the barrel could cause fired cartridges to explode within the barrel. This could be a severe hazard and may pose injuries to anyone operating the gun or within a distance.
What Do You Need to Remove Rust from a Gun?
To appropriately remove rust from a gun, you will need some supplies. Most of these supplies are very easy to find, available at any hardware store and many online vendors. Here is a rough list of things you will need for a gun maintenance kit needed for rust removal:
- Cleaning Solvent: To clean the surface thoroughly before and afterward
- Gun Oil/Lubricant: To loosen and lubricate the rust pre-removal
- Microfiber cloth and Cotton Swab: To clean the Gun and remove rust particles
- Bore Brush: Helps with rust removal
- Patches with Holder: Holds a piece of cloth
- Cleaning Brush: Used for removing rust
These don’t have to be from a dedicated gun maintenance kit; you can buy these separately and assemble them on your own.
How To Remove Rust From A Gun Without Damaging Bluing?
By now, you must be aware that rust, while seemingly harmless, is bad for your gun. It is best if you take good care of your weapon and avoid rusting altogether. However, assuming you have one or multiple firearms with rust issues, fret not.
Removing rust from a gun is a simple but thorough process. Set aside enough time before you begin, and make sure you have collected everything you need; that will undoubtedly save you a lot of time.
The following are a set of comprehensive steps on how to remove heavy rust from a gun:
1. Taking Your Gun Apart
The first step you must take is taking your gun apart. Place the weapon on a table, and make sure you have all the necessary tools and enough light.
Depending on the type of gun you have, taking it apart could be a different process. Consult a manual if needed. You will need to disassemble everything removable, including the barrel, magazine, etc. Lay everything down carefully on the work desk. Make sure not to lose any of the pieces.
Before taking the gun apart, make sure that there is no bullet inside it.
2. Oiling the Gun
In the next step, you need to oil the gun. Take the gun oil or lubricant that you have. Use the hard nylon brush to take an appropriate amount of oil.
Lightly smear the oil across the surface of the gun. If needed, use thin cotton swabs to make your way through to tricky regions. Make sure there is a thin layer or coating of oil on every surface, every nook, and cranny of the gun.
Use a cotton swab or cotton bud to put the gun oil inside the barrel. Carefully work your way inside the barrel, as there can be heavy rust inside there as well.
3. Scrubbing the Gun
In this step, you need to delve and dive deeper into cleaning your gun. Heavy rust is not easy to come off from metal, so we advise you to set aside time and exercise patience.
Take a stiff-bristled nylon brush or a bore brush to work on the gun. A bore brush would be ideal for this stage. Just make sure that the material you’re using isn’t too abrasive, or it might scraper away and leave permanent marks on the gun.
Use the brush to scrub the surface of the gun thoroughly. Do not apply too much force and remain gentle. Scrub away the rust in a semi-circular motion.
At this point, you should notice the reddish residue coming off the surfaces where you have scrubbed. That is the rust, being removed after being softened and scrapped. However, if you do not see that happening, it might be time to repeat step 2.
If the gun is not lubricated enough, the rust will remain stuck and will not come off after scraping and scrubbing. Apply another layer of gun oil or lubricant densely and wait a while before repeating the scrubbing.
4. Cleaning the Gun
After you have completed scrubbing, there should not be any more rust on the surface. At this point, you will need to clean the gun and get rid of any residuals and dirt that might remain on the surface.
For cleaning, take a large enough microfibre cloth. These are available at any hardware store and are designed not to scratch the surface. If, however, you don’t have a microfibre cloth, just use an old but clean t-shirt.
Gently use the cleaning cloth to rub all surfaces around the gun and clean off the rust. Rust is a corroded substance, so dispose of the waste correctly. Use the manual of your specific gun for more details on how to clean the gun properly.
After completing all the steps successfully, you should be left with a gun with no perceivable rust. This will breathe new life into your firearm and take care of any functional issues it may have had.
How to Avoid Rusting in the Long Run
The procedure that we discussed, barring some exceptions, will most definitely help you deal with rusting of your firearm. However, the process is time-consuming, tedious, and requires a good amount of patience. Therefore, we feel obliged to tell you that “prevention is better than cure.”
By following some simple steps, you can avoid rusting problems in your gun in the future. They are:
Store it Well
Where and how you store your weapons will play a significant role in determining whether they will rust easily or not. The oxidation of metal and air essentially causes rust in the presence of moisture.
Therefore, the very first thing you must ensure is avoiding moisture and humidity as much as possible. At home, keep your gun in a dry area. You can use a dedicated case for your weapon, either custom or one that comes with it. Make sure that the cabinet is not damp in any way.
The temperature should ideally be between 70 to 85 degrees, but humidity is the more important determinant.
Whenever you are outside, carry your gun in a holster. This will prevent unnecessary exposure to moisture.
Oil the Gun Regularly
Oiling a gun is a prerequisite to keep it running smoothly and, even more importantly, to avoid rust. Oiling ensures that the surface of the gun is smooth and rust-free.
Regularly lubricating your gun, especially after you use it, ensures that moisture cannot settle on the surface. The layer of oil prevents the oxidation of metal, reducing the chances of rusting drastically.
Every once in a while, rinse the gun thoroughly. The ammo you use can often be abrasive, and thorough cleaning with warm water will wash away a lot of the debris.
But after you rinse the gun, make sure to dry it thoroughly. Otherwise, it may have the opposite of the intended effect.
Few Disclaimers About How to Remove Heavy Rust From a Gun
The steps and procedures we mentioned regarding rust removal from guns and maintenance are simple to follow if you exercise a little patience and spend some time. However, there are a few additional things you should keep in consideration.
The rust removal techniques that we discussed will not damage your gun in any way. Use the right tools and materials that we prescribed, and your firearm will be fine. Even heavy rust should come off easily.
In some cases, however, rust can settle deep over time. The techniques discussed may not get off the rust fully. We highly recommend you send your gun to a professional or a gun store in those cases. Heavy-duty equipment and precision might be the only way.
We also want to stress the importance of exercising caution. While working on your gun, choose a well-ventilated area. Gun oil and rust are all materials that can create a suffocating environment. Having good ventilation will solve that issue.
Lastly, wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning your gun, as the materials left behind can be pretty abrasive.
A machine, be it a car, a plow, or a gun, is only good as long as you maintain it. The better you take care of it, the better it will perform. Guns especially fall into this bracket, as they are delicate and sophisticated machines.
Seeing your precious firearm covered in heavy rust can be extremely disheartening and saddening, but it should not worry you. Following the easy steps we illustrated, you can easily remove heavy rust from your gun and go back to the range locked and loaded. Get, set, shoot!