Does your air rifle have rust? The good news is that you can remove the rust (unless it’s deeper rust) without harming your air rifle’s bluing. If you don’t know what bluing is, it’s black iron oxide that acts as a protective shell to protect the rifle’s metal from rusting.
Bluing can wear away over time, and you can have the bluing restored (more on that soon).
But let’s first talk about removing rust (slight rusting) using methods that will not harm the bluing so that you don’t have to reblue the gun.
Is The Rust Deeper Than the Bluing?
Examine your rifle and try to determine if the rust is deeper than the bluing. If the rust is deeper than the bluing, you’re out of luck. The only option in this case is to remove the rust and reblue the gun.
You also have the option of not rebluing the rifle, but there will be no protection against future rust.
In either case, you want to remove the rust to stop it from causing more damage to your rifle.
Removing Rust Without Harming the Bluing
You’ve determined that the rust isn’t too deep, and now you want to take the appropriate steps to remove the rust. There are numerous methods available, and we’ll start with the less risky option and proceed to the more delicate processes.
WD-40 and a Rag/Brush
WD-40 is something every garage, mechanic and homeowner should have on hand. There is a chance that the rust is light, and WD-40 will get rid of it. This is also true for rust “stains,” which is very minor rusting.
- Spray the rust area with WD-40.
- Let it sit for a minute.
- Gently rub the area with a microfiber cloth.
If you find that the rust isn’t coming off, a soft bristled toothbrush can be used, too.
Kroil and 0000 Steel Wool
Kroil is a lot like WD-40. Apply Kroil to the rust area and gently use the steel wool to get rid of the rust spots.
Note: You need to be very gentle when using the steel wool. The wool can remove the bluing if you’re applying too much pressure.
If you can’t find Kroil, you can use a very thin oil, such as CLP or REM oil. Both of these oils act as a cleaner and lubricant while also protecting your air rifle from contaminates and corrosion. You should be using these oils anyway to keep your air rifle clean, lubricated and protected.
Copper (Pre-63 Penny) and Oil
A neat trick to remove rust is to use copper. Many people will try and find a pre-1963 penny that is comprised of mostly copper, but newer pennies work, too. They just have less copper in their overall composition.
Dab some oil on the spot (like those mentioned above) and start working away the rust with the penny.
I know: this sounds crazy, but it works when done right.
Use the edge of the penny to gently scrape away the rust. Pure copper (or close to pure, like the copper found in old pennies) has a hardness level of 2.5 – 3, whereas steel (used on the rifle) has a hardness of 5 – 8.5, which means it won’t be damaged by the penny.
There are also chemical agents, such as Evapo Rust, which will dissolve the rust, and these chemicals state that they do not damage bluing.