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Model 1873 corrosion/rust on receiver
January 22, 2020
1:58 am
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California
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New member, first time poster with questions about my newly purchased 1873 with corrosion/rust on the receiver. Is it possible to clean this up or "remove" this rust/corrosion? Should I attempt if possible? Hopefully, you can see what I'm referring to in the photos. Any advice would be appreciated.

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January 22, 2020
2:11 am
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Wisconsin
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0000 steel wool and oil is want I have used in the past.

Bob

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January 22, 2020
2:40 am
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I've used the edge of a copper penny and oil to scrape rust off with some success.  Just be sure to use a pre-1982 penny.  1982 and later are not solid copper.

January 22, 2020
2:58 am
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I use Kroil and copper wool (real copper wool, not copper coated brillo or other coppered steel). 

steve

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January 22, 2020
3:25 am
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 I think it would be wise to try the steel wool and oil on a cheaper gun than the one in the picture or perhaps in a less obvious spot than the side of the receiver. If the corrosion pitted the metal you can't get to the bottom, you can only smooth the top. You can scour with steel wool, brass wool, spray it with a penetrant but you will still have a visible spot on a nice receiver. Cold blue shows up with bright light, any metal removal on a flat surface makes a dimple and is easy to see on a shiny flat surface like the side of your receiver. T/R

January 22, 2020
3:29 am
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supergimp said
I use Kroil and copper wool (real copper wool, not copper coated brillo or other coppered steel). 

steve  

Agreed. I’d remove the wood to check for more rust and let the Kroil soak in for at least a few hours, maybe overnight. Looks like some light pitting, not much to do there other than keep it oiled or otherwise protected after removing the rust. Another approach is to stop the progression of the rust with CLP or a similar product and remove the loose rust with a nylon toothbrush. I’m not a fan of the latter but in some cases it may be appropriate.

 

Mike

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January 22, 2020
4:36 am
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TR said
If the corrosion pitted the metal you can't get to the bottom, you can only smooth the top. You can scour with steel wool, brass wool, spray it with a penetrant but you will still have a visible spot on a nice receiver.

That's the sad truth--pitting can't be "rubbed away."  The only "good" thing about it, if that's the worst damage, is that a sideplate can be easily refinished, compared to the much greater work required on a whole receiver.  If someone like Doug Turnbull did the work, no one but you & him would ever know.

January 22, 2020
4:48 am
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I would disagree with that. It would stand out quite noticeably. The receiver finished has deteriorated too along with the sideplates and when you refinish the plate you will see the color difference as well as the new blue will have no age to it.

Bob

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January 22, 2020
5:08 am
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I would find a replacement sideplate with worn finish and age. Put the conserved original,bagged and tagged in the safe.

Vince
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January 22, 2020
5:10 am
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1873man said
I would disagree with that. It would stand out quite noticeably. The receiver finished has deteriorated too along with the sideplates and when you refinish the plate you will see the color difference as well as the new blue will have no age to it.

Bob  

You're right--new bluing would have to be "aged," but I think Turnbull has experience in doing that too.  But working with a removable sideplate would make the job easier.

January 22, 2020
5:32 am
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No matter how good a guy you get you can't make new blue match old blue with real age. You would have to refinish the whole gun to make it match which would kill the guns value and add to its cost. Finding a matching side plate would be a 5 to 10 year job since you don't find sideplates with that amount of blue on them.  They don't part out 80% guns to often.

Bob

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January 22, 2020
5:57 am
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Thank you all, I do appreciate all the comments.

January 22, 2020
2:38 pm
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  If it was my gun I would wipe it with a protective petrochemical  and leave it. Anything you do will still be visible and not reversible. Modern guns have modern blue that is easier to match than the original finish on an old antique 73. I'm pretty sure anything you do to that side plate I'd be able to see and so would you. T/R

January 22, 2020
4:34 pm
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Would agree that for the type of corrosion on that sideplate/receiver, would only use 0000 Steel wool (or copper wool if you have it) with ample oil to take off any surface rust. Just hit it a couple times to mitigate any active rust and then oil and put away.  However, the more you clean, the more obvious it will become.  Based on the condition of the receiver and sideplate blue, I would be hesitant to do any more than that.  And as TR suggested, might be best to just oil and put away.  For that old gun with that kind of condition that little bit of rust doesnt detract, but a bad cleaning certainly will.      

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January 22, 2020
5:04 pm
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I agree with stopping any further degradation, removing removable rust without removing metal or finish, preserving, and calling it good.

January 22, 2020
6:29 pm
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Huck Riley said
I agree with stopping any further degradation, removing removable rust without removing metal or finish, preserving, and calling it good.  

I agree with Huck.  If you use oil and an abrasive like aluminum wool or copper wool you can get rid of the volcanoes.  The finish underneath will still be marred for life.  It may look better and you can stop the rusting process.  I have used oil and a piece of sharpened wood to work the rough spots off.  Be patient.  Do not reblue the side plates.  The gun is what it is. 

January 22, 2020
7:41 pm
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The closest you will be able to come if you choose to do so:

Find another side plate, finish it to the appropriate grit that matches the original finish the best. Rust blue the replacement plate. Each application of rust blueing makes the finish a bit darker. It usually takes about 10 applications for a deep lustrous finish. You may start seeing what you are looking for between 6-8 applications.

As was mentioned earlier, neutralize the active rust no matter which way you decide to go. Keep the original plate.

Best of luck with your project!

 

Erin

January 22, 2020
8:36 pm
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 Erin, The lines you see in the metal follow the forging lines in the receiver and side plates. The rust is in the folds encountered when manufacturing, this did occur on many guns of that era and makes the gun show it's age. Any refinishing will contrast with the rest of the gun. It is a nice old gun the way it is, any attempt to refinish would down grade it. T/R

January 22, 2020
9:21 pm
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TR said
 Erin, The lines you see in the metal follow the forging lines in the receiver and side plates. The rust is in the folds encountered when manufacturing, this did occur on many guns of that era and makes the gun show it's age. Any refinishing will contrast with the rest of the gun. It is a nice old gun the way it is, any attempt to refinish would down grade it. T/R  

I totally agree, Just sharing the method that will get him as close as possible. That's why I recommended a replacement plate and keep the original as is. A few turns on the screws and you are back to original.  Age can't be duplicated.....

Best,

Erin

March 30, 2020
4:27 am
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You do know that you can convert the iron oxide back to blue by boiling degreased part in distilled water.

Vince
Southern Oregon
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 “There is but one answer to be made to the dynamite bomb and that can best be made by the Winchester rifle.”

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