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 simply occurs almost inexplicably. Carry guns are especially vulnerable to rust due to the proximity they have with the human body. The human body tends to be a rust making machine due to sweat. Sweat really likes to destroy guns. If you live in areas close to the ocean that gets those nice and high 70% humidity levels like I do you know guns can rust quite fast. Removing rust from a gun is a simple procedure and I plan to detail it 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 the saltwater. As you can see this poor Model 10 is in poor shape.

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

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

Removing rust is simple, but you have to be very careful when it comes to preserving your firearms finish. All the tools I have are dedicated to preserving the finish, while getting rid of the rust. Removing rust requires the following tools.

Supplies Needed

1- A 3 in 1 oil – I like Hoppes (It’s the smell)

2 – A solid AP brush (Not a toothbrush)

3 – Tons of Napkins, or one good rag

4 – Steel Wool

5 – A cleaning surface you don’t mind being messy.

Cleaning Goods Needed

Getting to Work

The first step is to apply liberal amounts of gun oil to the gun, focusing on where the rust is mostly 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 at will to remove the rust mixed with the cleaning oil for better clarity. This gun is a special case because of how deep the rust is. Removing rust can be as simple as a little oil, a little time with an AP brush and then wipe it off. With this Model 10 we have to go deep due to how severe the rust is.


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 get 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 area. 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. It is extremely tempting because these steel brushes can really rip rust off a gun. Unfortunately it will likely take your finish with it. Avoid it, and instead use the softer steel wool.

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 out with the rest of the finish. Continue to wipe off the rust you drag to the forefront. Once the rust is smoothed over and flush with the finish you are removed the majority of the rust. Inspect under a nice bright light to ensure it is gone. If not continue to make your small circle until the rust is gone.


Much Better – It still has pitting to it

I repeated this process when removing rust from the Model 10, and it took me about 5 hours total 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. Once that is finished, apply more oil and you are done.

I added one last step of telling my friend that the boat gun needs to remain oiled at all times.


This article is courtesy of Travis Pike from The Arms Guide.