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Found an Antique Gun? Here’s How to Clean it Properly

When you receive a weapon from an elderly friend of loved one, it could be in pristine condition — or not. Whether you’ve been cleaning out a grandfather’s attic or workshop or simply found a wonderful old weapon in a local estate sale, here are some tips that will help you scrape off years of misuse and bring the gun back to usable condition in no time.

Here’s a hint: it’s probably not going to be a quick or easy fix, but it can provide you with hours of enjoyment as you refinish and update your “new” weapon.

Replacing Missing Parts

You can often find replacement parts for weapons that are only a few decades old. However, what do you do when the gun you’re attempting to restore is over 100 years old?

Start by looking for any type of image of a truly old weapon online. If you can find a picture, either craft the rotted wood piece yourself if you have the skills or work with a local craftsman to create something new. Ordering larger blanks and cutting them down to size is always an option, too. If you’re fortunate, you’ll be able to find the majority of the parts — or something similar that can be made to work — with an online search.

Updating the Bluing

A gun that’s been neglected may need a fair bit of scrubbing in order to remove all the damage from the metal over the years. Removing the rust and bluing from the metal is a big step, and requires some steel wool, latex or rubber gloves, gun coils, a bottle of cold blue and some fingernail polish. Sounds like quite a party, huh?

You’ll want to start by removing as much rust as possible, and then start stripping off the old bluing. Be sure you don’t touch the gun without gloves on, or you can affect how well the process works. Add on the new bluing and then work again with steel wool to work out any spots from the finish.

A Squeaky Clean Finish

You can start with a traditional cleaning kit that includes firearm maintenance solutions that are used for one of three primary directives: cleaning, lubricating or protecting your weapon. While you technically can use a wider range of solvents and lubricants for firearms, some of these can have unexpected results. This is especially true if you’re not completely sure of the origin of the weapon and how it was manufactured.

Cleaning solutions are generally solvents and help to break down some of the gunk that can accumulate within your weapon such as copper, lead fouling and carbon. If you are looking for lubrication, these fluids help parts to move against each other without causing damage. Corrosion is arrested by mixtures that protect your weapon.

Bringing an older weapon back to life can be time-consuming, but it is also a relaxing way to reconnect with your heritage and see how weapons were made in past generations. Plus, you’ll have a showpiece and a great story to tell to the next generations to come!

~ Firearm Daily


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