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    How to Clean Cosmoline Off Your "New" Surplus Firearm

    How to Clean Cosmoline Off Your "New" Surplus Firearm

    So you just bought a shiny new (to you) milsurp firearm, but the problem is that it’s caked in cosmoline, that nasty, waxy, smelly (and supremely effective) rust preventative that just about every military on the planet uses for long-term gun storage. What do you do to get that old gun in tip top fighting shape? It’s really simple!

    I recently purchased a Finnish M39 Mosin rifle still packed in cosmoline and grease, which is a great excuse for me to document the process for the edification of my readers. To start with, you’ll need some things you probably already have unless this is your very first gun:
    • Whatever you need to disassemble the firearm, in this case a set of flat head non-tapered gunsmithing screwdrivers.
    • An oil with which to coat the metal parts; for me Rem-Oil is the height of cheap aerosol convenience, but almost any medium-weight oil will work.
    • A lubricant for the moving parts; I have a tube of TW25B that has lasted me several years so far and will last for many more.
    • Something to hold the gun parts. I will be using a 35″ plastic tub for the receiver components and a smaller plastic box for the smaller parts.
    • Mineral spirits or paint thinner (both are basically the same substance).
    • Plastic gloves, such as dishwashing gloves. I will be using disposable nitrile gloves.
    • A well-ventilated area.
    • A drying cloth.

    I’ve had this tube of TW25B for… A while.



    There wasn’t enough regular paint thinner available at the store, so I had to also buy “Safer Paint Thinner”, which was a milky color. I just mixed it with the regular kind, and it seemed to work fine.

    Now, the actual process is about as simple as can be:
    1. Completely disassemble the firearm down to its smallest components. Do not take apart assemblies that were not intended to be disassembled, e.g. riveted components.

    2. Set aside any wood components of the firearm. If it is a sunny day, you can set the wood furniture out in the sun to help leech out the cosmoline that may be soaked into them. Do not leave the wood components outside for a long period of time unattended.
    3. Place the metallic components of the firearm into the containers, and take them to your ventilated area.
    4. Put on your gloves.
    5. Pour the paint thinner into the containers over the metallic components.

    6. Wait for 15 minutes to an hour.
    7. Remove the gun parts from their containers. Make sure that any hollow components like oil bottles are thoroughly cleaned and drained.
    8. Wipe down all the components and apply oil to them; lubricate the moving parts as needed.

      After being wiped down and oiled.
    9. Drain the tubs into a container. Do NOT drain them into the sink or onto the ground! Paint thinner is a hazardous substance and must be disposed of properly.
    10. Reassemble the firearm.

    Beyond that, simply put everything away and dispose of the used paint thinner as needed. Removing the cosmoline on a milsurp firearm is a great way to improve its function and appearance, and to eliminate “sweating” of the stock. Get that nasty crap off there, and enjoy your milsurps, folks!

    My nice, cosmoline-free 1944 VKT M39!
    So you just bought a shiny new (to you) milsurp firearm, but the problem is that it’s caked in cosmoline, that nasty, waxy, smelly (and supremely effective) rust preventative that just about every military on the planet uses for long-term gun storage. What do you do to get that old gun in tip top fighting … Read More …
    Pat ------> NRA Endowment Member

    #2
    A few years ago I picked up a Yugo Mauser M48 from Classic Firearms. IT was caked with a really think coat of cosmoline. I decided I was going to refinish the stock becasue it was so sticky to the touch, even after what I thought was a through cleaning.

    I went to work on it with de-greaser, citrus solvent, and a heat gun, and it still bled cosmoline. I left it out in the sun on 90 degree days, on top of a black plastic bag. It still bled cosmo. I went back to the heat gun. Then I coated it with Brownells whiting mixed with citrus solvent and set it in the sun again. It feels bone dry to the touch, and looks like it is clean and dry, but if I leave it sitting in my basement for a few days, I will see that moist dark spots appear. It's more cosomoline oozing to the surface. My concern is that if I put a new finish on it, I'm planning on Tung oil, the cosmo will seep out and ruin the finish.

    Any suggestions? Should I keep trying to get every drop out or just accept it and refinish it now? Will the cosmo that's still in it ruin the tung oil finish if I put it on?
    "The devil doesn't come dressed in a red cape and pointy horns. He comes as everything you've ever wished for.”
    Tucker Max

    Infirmitate Invitat Violentiam
    Finicky Fat Guy

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      #3
      I bought a Yugo Mauser some years back from Burn's. Took it apart and put it in boiling water for about 10 minutes, dried it with compressed air, then using a brush and an old rag, worked Hopped gun oil on, in and through it. The stock I used an old heat lamp and a box big enough to hang it up in it. The box was lined with tin foil to reflect the heat. The heat lamp trick worked ok.

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        #4
        I’ve used goo gone with some success
        782 Custom Gunworks LTD
        1545A2 Ocean Ave
        Bohemia, NY 11716
        486-8116

        www.782guns.com
        Instagram @782customgunworks
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        Open 10AM-7PM Tuesday-Saturday! Closed Sunday and Monday.

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          #5
          i had a garand that was covered in the stuff , cleaned the metal with brake parts cleaner , multiple times . left wood in my metal shed hanging from coat hangers over a metal can with a doubled plastic bag under it for a week and when i went back in the shed smelled bad and the wood seemed clean enough to refinish , it was during the summer and it was hot

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            #6
            Somehow I have a feeling that none of you guys actually shot those rifles, real man don’t bitch about slight imperfections. Degrease it and take it to the range for christ’s sake!

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