December 4, 2012

These are pictures from some guns that were flooded with salt water from Hurricane Sandy. I have been cleaning these guns for a couple weeks on and off. Takes me about an hour to clean each one completely. Some are so bad that I have been sanding the parts to try to take the pitting out from the rust. On this first Mossberg I actually sanded and sand blasted the bolt. Never thought I’d ever have to do that to a gun.

Lever action rusted all the way to the firing pin: Salt dried from the sea water on the butt plate of a lever action. ¬†Salty 10/22 trigger pack: ¬† An older semi auto .22 Savage: Dried salt on the magazine: Rusty bolt of a Savage: Rustiest Taurus ever (most annoying revolver ever to work on too): I cleaned every piece of the revolver and here’s how it turned out: This FEG PPK clone was so rusty that I couldn’t move the slide or remove the magazine. Ended up just soaking it in Brownell’s solvent (which works absolutely great by the way):

This Mac 11 was completely rusted shut so I resorted to dunking it in solvent:


I may post another chunk of photos but I’m almost done with these guns.

Lesson learned? NEVER let salt water get to your firearms. And if salt water does end up in your firearms, get it out immediately. Kind of obvious so I’ll shut my mouth.

And if you aren’t into rusty guns, check out this gorgeous cabin

24 thoughts on “December 4, 2012

  1. Pingback: Here I Am Rusting After A Hurricane

  2. Pingback: The Guns of Hurricane Sandy | Gunmart Blog

    • Honestly I don’t remember how that particular rifle turned out but most of the Mausers came out well. After I took every piece apart of the rifle and buffed the rust off. The guns are turning out great overall. I did have a 1911 rusted so bad that I had to soak it in naval jelly and tomorrow I’m going to blue it.

  3. Pingback: SayUncle » Salt Water And Guns

    • Ya I think electrolytic rust removal is too aggressive. I tried out a parts cleaner that would take the finish off aluminum, switched to Brownells solvent. Like 000 steel wool combined with some WD40 seems to work great to get most rust off these guns. I still have about 20 to go. Thanks for reading.

      • Yeah, just remember bluing is just a stable form of rust.
        Now if you are planning on re- finishing anyway this would be great!

  4. It seems that people who have used the electrolytic rust removal process have found that it leaves the bluing intact. For example: Roy Seifert and c141b.

    Adding “firearm” to the search noted above gets links with greater relevancy.

    This article is specifically about *removing* the bluing. The author used vinegar to remove the bluing. He *thinks* (but does not know) that the bluing, Fe3O4 (magnetite), is converted to Fe2O3 (red rust). Note that the vinegar is acidic and the soda wash solution used in electrolytic rust removal is basic. He also states that bluing is done in a solution of KNO3 + NaOH which would be basic.

    As part of this article on electrolytic rust removal, a description of the chemistry of is provided. The exact chemistry is evidently complex and not fully understood. However, it appears that the rust (Fe2O3) is converted to magnetite (Fe3O4) — bluing, as part of the process. This may partially explain why bluing is not damaged by the process.

  5. Don’t forget that salt water got into the wood parts (stocks, grips) of the guns too. The water evaporated, leaving behind salt in the wood.

    This is going to cause problems later on… trouble is, I don’t know a good way to get salt out of the wood.

    In years past (back in the 60’s) Browning tried to “hurry up” the dry-down of walnut stock wood by using salt to dry down the wood instead of kiln drying. Demand for Browning guns was quite brisk, and Browning came into a great deal on a whole lot of California walnut trees that had been cut down… but there’s a bottleneck at the drying kiln.

    So they piled up the stock blanks and mounded salt over the stacks of wood. The salt draws out the moisture in the wood. Trouble is, the wood on the bottom of the stack gets the moisture trickling down from the top of the stack, and the bottom pieces of wood are effectively doing what happened to your guns – pickling in brine.

    Well, owners of that era of Browning shotguns noticed in a couple years that they had serious rust under the wood line… thanks to the residual salt in the wood.

    Just a helpful tip to keep an eye out for future problems…

  6. While it’s after the fact…I have just started an experimental use of Eezox on my son’s Mosquito .22LR and my new S&W M&P .45. From the various blogs I have read it is one of the better rust prevantitives available. I’m going the full route though and trying it as recommended. Eezox and nothing else, no grease on the slides, no oil on the mechanisms. I have only cleaned the firearms twice with it so far and put about 50 rounds through each, but had no failure to feeds or issues of any kind with the M&P, and have had a few failure to feeds on the Mosquito, which I attribute to using the strong spring on weak rounds (and it isn’t broken in yet and known to be finicky with ammo). I can’t say for certain how the experiment will hold up once I have put 500 rounds or so through each, but I am impressed so far…hope it helps.

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  9. It is a bit late but for anyone facing this issue some advice from a Katrina veteran. When you find firearms soaked in salt water you should immediately put them in a buck of freshwater and rinse off as much salt as possible. Then go get a container large enough to hold then and put just some light weight motor oil or hydraulic oil and let them soak for at least 24 hours. You can leave them in the oil until you can clean them. The fresh water removes the salt and the oil removes exposure to oxygen which will retard the corrosion process.

  10. Pingback: Cleaning Guns After Hurricane Sandy Guns | Gunn's Guns

  11. Amazing work here – @blee – thank you for the tip – I’ve heard of using oil before – I suppose it works because the water and oil separate.

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