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Rifle stock cleanup
March 21, 2019
2:18 pm
Steve Kelley

Good morning!

First visit to the forum by a newbie!  I have a few old Winchesters, lever actions, pump .22's, and some Model 70"s.  My question concerns a Mod 70 .300 H&H Magnum which dates to 1952.  It's in generally good shape and if all works out,  I will be taking it on a Maine moose hunt.  But the wood is really dirty after almost 70 years.  I definitely do not want to refinish it or do anything to compromise its "antiqueness" but is there anything I can do to get the dirt safely off of it?  Soap and water?  Any commercial wood cleaner?  And then when it is cleaner and dry, would it be OK to rub a light coat of Tru Oil into the wood?


Thank you so much!



March 21, 2019
3:56 pm
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Forum Posts: 1362
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Don't even THINK about using Tru-Oil, unless you wish to be cursed by whomever owns the gun after you!  But CAREFUL cleaning does no harm, with, for ex., a mixture of equal parts vinegar, turpentine, & boiled linseed oil--a recipe I found in a wood finishing book.

March 21, 2019
6:06 pm
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March 31, 2009
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Mild soap and water with a white cloth will work.  Just don't use anymore water than necessary.  After cleaning blow and wipe off any remaining water.  If the original finish is oil, apply most any oil and let it soak for a few minutes then wipe it off.  If dry spots appear apply and wipe until the wood has absorbed what it needs.  Always wipe off the excess. Be careful with cleaners.  Some will take off the finish.  I generally use CLP and a lot of rubbing with an old diaper.  Boiled linseed oil was the original oil that was used.

Remember, in the early days there wasn't all of the marketing of products that there is today.  Keep it simple.  Don't get caught up in the hipe.

If your original finish is a varnish and it is still intact you can use a wax like Renaissance Wax.  This is used by museums so it is safe for almost any surface and when it drys it does not leave a white film in the cracks. 

March 21, 2019
7:27 pm
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Steve, I hunt with a original 1953 300 H&H. All I use is a piece of sheep skin sprayed lightly with Scott's Liquid Gold Almond Scent. You can use it on the wood or metal, it's a petroleum base, will not hurt the finish, hides scratches in the wood, prevents rust on the metal, and will not hurt blue or case colors. Do not soak or over apply to wood or it will darken wood. I've been using it on my 70 for 20 years with no change to the finish. I keep a sheep skin lightly applied with Liquid Gold in a plastic bag in the gun case when on a hunting trip. Do not use the lemon scent, it might have a negative effect on case colors. I use it on all my old Winchesters, it cleans wood and metal alike. T/R

March 21, 2019
7:34 pm
Steve Kelley

Thank you Clarence!

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