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1909 , 1873 Unfired musket with bayonet
August 4, 2020
10:09 pm
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New to the forum…

Was lucky enough to find an unfired, 1873 Musket with bayonet and cleaning rod in the butt stock.  No signs at all that it had seen use.  Bluing was beautiful and color case hardening was plain and bright on the hammer and lever.  Bore was immaculate.

Anyway, I love to find an article on these rifles. I understand that some have indicated only about %5 of the original number manufactured are still in existence.?.?

August 5, 2020
12:59 am
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I assume your gun is close to the 570,000 serial range. There was a large shipment of muskets that went to a central American country and sat in a warehouse then were returned in the 50’s in new condition aside from storage rust and some rough handling. I bought one back in the early 90’s for around $2000 to $2500 I think. Now a mint one without any rust spots goes for $7500 to $8000.

Bob

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August 5, 2020
8:59 pm
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Yes.  571142B.  Very probably the very same batch.  There was a great deal of heavy rust between the barrel and forearm wood.  That was removed very carefully. The top of the bbl. has some “flacked” spots.  Other than that, it’s good.  This one was $3500.  I’m happy considering it could have been worse.  Thanks for the small history on this one.  I was wonder where it had spent its better years.  This one will be a shooter.  NRA Lever Action Silhouette.  Working up a load for it at present.  

Maybe you can tell me what %’s of these muskets might still remain.  Would love to find some comprehensive history on the “muskets”.

August 5, 2020
9:58 pm
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Can you provide your method of rust removal, for future reference??

August 5, 2020
11:04 pm
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The back story…

I’ve been doing gunsmithing for about 42 years now and as such am occasionally blessed with new products that come my way.  Some time back I was sent sample packages of a product (I have no affiliation with them) called Frontier Metal Cleaner / Rust & Dirt Remover.  Basically, it’s a course stainless metal pad similar to a steel wool pad.  This pad is made of stainless steel shavings not fine strands.  (I can hear the screaming already.)  I was skeptical, needless to say.  Did some testing with the pad on old rusted, blued, (worthless) parts.  

Bottom line….it did remove the rust (moderate) without any noticeable affect on the bluing.  I scrubbed lightly but constantly.  It works as advertised.

There are assorted caveats, of course, but used carefully it works quite well.

As mentioned, the underside of this 73 had heavy, scaly rust from just sitting.  The pad worked great.  The aftermath produced relatively de-rusted surface but the pits remained.  The underside of the barrel was given a good coating of Brownells, Baracade oil.

 

Of course, some of the rust had transferred to the inletted wood forend which was carefully removed with 220 sand paper and the wood reoiled reoiled with a light coat of thinned linseed oil.

August 6, 2020
3:31 am
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Not to rain on your parade Tyke, as I have not tried this.

But, from what I have read, you do not want to use any type of steel wool on blue – it will scratch it. Brass wool is recommended on this forum on many occasions. Steel wool should not be used on Winchesters with blue. I would certainly not use it on mine.

Again, I have not and will not test it to see. Just going off the experience of some of the advanced collectors here.

Cheers

A man can never have too many WINCHESTERS...

August 6, 2020
3:48 am
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Aussie Chris said
Not to rain on your parade Tyke, as I have not tried this.

But, from what I have read, you do not want to use any type of steel wool on blue – it will scratch it. Brass wool is recommended on this forum on many occasions. Steel wool should not be used on Winchesters with blue. I would certainly not use it on mine.

Again, I have not and will not test it to see. Just going off the experience of some of the advanced collectors here.

Cheers  

Chris,

To quote Tyke:

“Bottom line….it did remove the rust (moderate) without any noticeable affect on the bluing.  I scrubbed lightly but constantly.  It works as advertised.

There are assorted caveats, of course, but used carefully it works quite well.”

I worked part time for a local gunsmith and had the opportunity to use it to clean up neglected more modern, non collectible click bang firearms.

It works surprisingly well when used carefully with some good gun oil on blued rusted barrels and such.  Just take your time and don’t get too aggresive.

And wrap some around a bristle brush to remove plastic wadding and lead from slugs in shotgun barrels.  Quick and easy.

Give it a try and I suspect you will be pleasantly surprised.

Jolly

August 6, 2020
3:53 am
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I’ve used 0000 steel wool and oil on guns before with no adverse affect to the blue.

Bob

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August 6, 2020
5:20 am
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Interesting. So what is the general consensus to remove rust? You have a rusty reciever and barrel.

Would you use steel wool, brass wool, bronze wool or copper wool? 

A man can never have too many WINCHESTERS...

August 6, 2020
1:49 pm
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My choice has always been fine mesh copper wool with liberal amounts of Kroil. It will remove the rust & crud without damaging any of the surviving blue.

Bert

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August 6, 2020
3:48 pm
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Ive always used OOOO steel wool and and an oil (havent looked hard enough to find brass or copper wool to try).  There have been times when I used a penetrating catalyst and other tools to break up rust.  It depends on the type of rust (surface or pitted), rust coverage (how big an area), and so forth.   Whatever the abrasive material, moderation and patience will help identify when your on the cusp of doing something that could be detrimental.  The main thing is to mitigate the rust and keeping it from getting worse — for some guns that may mean just a light brush with OOOO wool or brass, copper as mentioned by others, and stopping the active rust, treating with oil, and calling it a day. 

Here is a clunker that was practically given to me years ago.  You can see the receiver has both heavily pitted rust areas and some areas with only surface rust.  It was pretty far gone.  Cant say its the best cleaning job in the world but you get an idea of what comes off and how it can look.   OOOO steel wool and oil were also used to lightly clean the wood. 

 

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August 6, 2020
4:12 pm
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I’ve used brass wool before and found it frequently transfers the brass to the rough steel giving it a yellowish tinge.  This “stainless steel” stuff works very well with NO signs of scratches…unlike steel wool..,.?

I’ve used the stainless pad many times and been very happy with the results.  No offense, but the rust on my musket barrel mentioned was far worse than that on the 94 pictured above.  And, I have to say…my results appear better using the stainless pad.  No offense.  Anyway, to each his own.

As to the removal of “rust”, we all know that leaving rust untouched will only make things worse in the long run.  Understand, I am a true believer that the “olde” guns should be left untouched…if possible…  Sometimes it’s not possible.

August 6, 2020
4:33 pm
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Copper wool – linkCode=df0&hvadid=&hvpos=&hvnetw=o&hvrand=&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4583520382413120&psc=1

This would likely be a lifetime supply, but it is easy to cut into usable sized pads.

Bert

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August 6, 2020
5:27 pm
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I was always reluctant to use any wool on my guns but a local shop gave me a piece of aluminum wool.  They use it with Marvels Mystery Oil.  I tried it out with Breakfree.  Worked fine on a blued receiver to take off some surface rust and didn’t leave any scratches that I could see.

One thing I was told was not to reuse the same piece of wool unless you clean it first.  You don’t want the old particles still stuck in the wool.  This stuff came in a roll like Bert showed.

I have a wood shop and have found that not all steel wool is of the same quality.  When polishing lacquer some will leave scratches.

August 7, 2020
8:13 pm
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Tyke said

I’ve used the stainless pad many times and been very happy with the results.  No offense, but the rust on my musket barrel mentioned was far worse than that on the 94 pictured above.  And, I have to say…my results appear better using the stainless pad.  No offense.  Anyway, to each his own.
 

No worries or offense taken, everyone is entitled (hopefully still in this day and age) to provide an opinion.  This 1886 went through the ringer and was wasting away in a barn for months after being submerged in water then set in the corner and left (its a long story).  The expectation of removing that amount of rust and having an unblemished blue finish underneath is all that was intended to illustrate.  A better photo wouldnt have made much difference as to the eye and in hand, your cant discern any scratches in the finish – maybe if you got out a magnifying glass it could be a different storyWink And I agree that everyone has their preference of tools.  With this particular gun, I dont think it would matter what you tried to clean it with the results would have been the same.  The rust had already penetrated through the blue and into the metal. You cant reverse that and keep it original. Although there are some out there that are tricky in that wayLaugh  

Bert, Thanks for the info on the copper wool.  Will look into it.

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August 8, 2020
8:57 pm
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Chris I think what you did made a great big difference for the better.

What is a penetrating catalyst?

August 9, 2020
4:46 am
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Chuck,

I use a product called PB Blaster penetrating catalyst, you can pick it up at any auto parts store, walmart, home depot, etc.  Comes in a spray can.  Doesnt smell that great though.  Havent noticed any adverse effects on metal or blued finishes in the years Ive been using it.  Have not tried on wood finishes to see if its safe or on CCH.  Ive used it to break up heavy rust between magazine tubes, barrels, and retaining bands if your trying to remove a froze magazine tube.  Mostly I use  it to break away rust around frozen screws or pins.  Just takes a few minutes to work in most cases.  

A friend of mine ended up with an 1892 carbine that was found in an old house after the owner passed away.  The guy that lived there had moved out of the house 10-15 years prior when the trash heap inside forced him to sleep on the trunk of an old car by the house.  After he passed, my friend helped his relatives go through the house and locate any family photos and such when he found this carbine in the corner of one of the rooms, likely been there for 50 years.  My buddy asked me if I could do anything with it.  It looked like one of these guns that gets dug up somewhere.  After removing the dirt dauber nest from the end of the muzzle you could see that the bore was pristine, so it looked to be something worth trying to salvage to use.  You couldnt distinguish the magazine tube, barrel or forearm wood due to the solid tube of rust that formed on the surfaces.  You couldnt see that it had a front sight till some of the caked on debris/rust was chipped off.  The receiver was frozen as were all the screws, pins, etc.  Once I worked my way down to metal I thought it would be impossible to get all the screws, magazine tube, and receiver unfroze.  I used the PB Blaster to break away the remaining rust and was able to totally disassemble the carbine and clean.  Got it in working order and my buddy still uses it to this day.  If there was ever a before photo I wish I had taken, this would have been the one. 

Chris

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August 9, 2020
4:57 pm
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Thanks Chris.  I have some PB Blaster.  Never heard the term penetrating catalyst before.  I’ll have to go read the label.

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