Rust, like death and taxes, happens. Guns, being metal objects, always run the risks of catching rust. The best finish can scratch and fade over time, and rust can occur almost inexplicably. Carry guns are especially vulnerable to rust due to their proximity to the human body, which, due to sweat, tends to be a rust-making machine. And if you live, as I do, in areas close to the sea, which get those nice and high 70 percent humidity levels, you have an extra source of rust to deal with.

But, thankfully, removing rust from a gun is a simple procedure as I detail below.

Removing Rust from a Model 10

First, let’s take a look at a friend of mine’s Smith and Wesson Model 10 snub nose revolver. This is her “boat” gun and has been heavily exposed to saltwater. As you can see this Model 10 is in poor shape.

The rust is deep, and cannot simply be wiped away with some Rem Oil.

This beautiful revolver has become an ugly duckling. However, it can be saved.

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When you remove rust you have to be very careful to preserve your firearm’s finish. All the tools I have are dedicated to preserving the finish while getting rid of the rust.

Removing rust requires the following:

1 — A 3 in 1 oil — I like Hoppes because of its nice smell.

2 — A solid AP brush — not a toothbrush.

3 — Tons of Napkins, or one good rag.

4 — Steel Wool.

5 — A cleaning surface.

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Cleaning Items Needed.

Getting to Work

The first step is to apply liberal amounts of gun oil to the gun, focusing on where the rust is most present. You can let it sit for a while to loosen the rust. Then begin scrubbing with the AP brush. Go in there hard and deep, applying oil to the brush every so often.

Wipe the gun at will for better clarity.

You can tell that rust is being removed because it mixes with the oil and leaves behind a rust-colored liquid. Clean this mess up as you go. Once you stop seeing this rusty liquid you know you’ve gone as deep as the AP brush can get you.

Apply more cleaning oil and grab yourself a glass of tea. Let the oil sit and soak in a bit. Now you are going after that deep and heavy rust. Before you start run your fingers over the rusty areas. Do you feel how the texture is different? How it is raised from the rest of the finish? Note this, it will become more important later.

Just No!

Just Say NO!

Do not use a steel brush! It’s tempting, I know because these steel brushes can really rip rust off a gun — unfortunately, though, they will likely remove the finish along with it. Avoid them and use steel wool instead.

Steel Wool to the rescue

Using your index finger to steer the steel wool over the rust spots manipulate your finger around in a small circle. Your goal here is to level that rust area down and make it uniform with the rest of the finish. Continue to wipe off the rust as you go along.

Inspect the gun under a nice bright light to ensure that the rust is gone. If not continue with this step.


Much Better.

I repeated this process when removing rust from the Model 10. In total, it took me about five hours to finish this project. Once I was finished I wiped the gun down extensively. You have to make sure you remove the small hairs that steel wools can leave behind. Then, just apply more oil and you are done.