How to clean rust off gun

How to Clean Rust Off a Gun

Today I want to talk about a topic that is not very sexy, but the knowledge is completely necessary.

Last year I had my last duck hunt of the season. Now Florida is a very hot, humid place with a lot of salt in the air. I hate to admit it but I neglected deep cleaning my gun for too long after the hunt, leading to rust on the barrel.

This motivated me to find the best methods to remove rust and that is exactly what I am going to share with you.

Now hunting aside, rusty guns are fairly common especially in places that are humid. This happens most often when the guns are not stored properly.  Happens to the best of us, nothing to be ashamed of! Lets knock the rust off!

What Causes Rust on Guns?

Rust occurs when steel corrodes after its particles have been exposed to oxygen and water. This result is called oxidation. Because of the opposite charges found in iron and oxygen, this results in the flaky rust coating.

Always remember to dry and lube your guns after using and store everything inside, in order to prevent rust from occurring. 

How to clean rust off gun

what Types of Rust Forms on Guns?

Depending on the severity, the rust is either pitted, or It is surface rust.

Pitted – is when the corrosion has actually removed material from the metal. This is basically impossible to fix at home.

Surface rust – normal rust on the surface of the gun that can be cleaned with the methods listed below.

How Do We Clean The Rust?

As the firearm rusts, pits form which are the actual metal turning into rust Iron Oxide. As far as the rust pits goes, some of these will not be able to be easily fixed. However, we will be able to clean and remove the fresher surface rust.

You may have seen a recommendation to use steel wool on the gun. While that will remove the rust, we do not recommend doing so. That is because many times the steel wool will not only remove the rust but it will also remove the gun finishing, which we want to avoid.

We need to use a product that is hard enough to remove the rust, but not so hard as it ruins the gun. The best material for the job is brass. A brass brush is an affordable solution which will remove the rust on the firearm without scratching it. Another great option is Bronze, and below we have two methods for you to try.

Keep in mind, this article refers to exterior surface rust. If you have interior rust I would recommend having it worked on professionally as the gun might be compromised.


Bronze Wool Method

Products Needed:
  • CLP Cleaner or lubricant like G96
  • Fine Bronze Wool
  • Dry Patches or Rags
clean rust off gun
  1. While not necessary, it helps to field strip your firearm which will make it easier to reach all the rust, the barrel being a common location.
  2. Take some rags or patches and moisten them with some CLP. Then rub the entire gun down with the CLP to give it a coating.
  3.  Let the coating sit for a few minutes to longer depending on how bad the rust it.
  4. Grab the bronze wool and brush back and forth over the problem areas until the rust begins to flake away.  
  5. Take your patches and wipe back and forth over the gun to remove all the residue and rust leftovers.

Brass Brush Method

Products Needed:
  • Brass Brush – Make sure it is brass and not brass coated steel. 
  • Dry Patches or Rags
  • CLP or lubricant like G96
  • Take some rags or patches and moisten them with CLP. Then rub the entire gun down with the CLP to give it a good coating.
  • Let the coating sit for a few minutes to longer depending on how bad the rust is.
  • Grab your brass brush, and using a back and forth motion, continue to brush over the affected areas until the rust begins to improve. 
  • Next, take a fresh cloth with some CLP and wipe down the gun. The cloth will turn a dirty color which is a good sign. 
  • Grab a dry patch and keep wiping down the gun with patches or rags until clean.

Proper gun care, storage, and maintenance will prevent rust. But if you find yourself with a rusty gun, these steps outlined will have it good as new!

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