How to Properly Clean an Old Gun


How to Properly Clean an Old Gun

In this video, Larry Potterfield discusses what some folks call “patina,” namely the coating of old gunk that accumulates on very old guns. Sometimes, cleaning up an old gun is the wrong thing to do, in terms of collector value — and sometimes, it’s a great idea. To that end, he shows his preferred method of how to properly clean an old gun.

Larry, who has been called “the Bob Ross of guns” because he’s “so soothing to watch,” opens the video like so:

Sometimes, it’s appropriate to remove a hundred years’ of dirt & grime from the surface of an old gun. Let me show ya how to do that.

The gun he’s using to demonstrate is an 1870s New York State model Remington Rolling Block rifle, chambered for 50-70 Gov’t. It has a unique action that’s unlike other rolling blocks I’ve used; closing the breech block automatically decocks the hammer to its safety notch. On other rolling block guns, closing the breech block leaves the hammer fully cocked and ready to fire. But back to the grime!

He uses lacquer thinner to wipe down the wood stock — you can only get away with this on an oil-finish stock — and afterward he refinishes with boiled linseed oil.

For the metal, he employs Hoppe’s No. 9 gun cleaning solvent and 0000 steel wool to get rid of the crud without damaging the metal surface.

The results are impressive, and show just how much crud had built up on this old shootin’ iron over the years, Enjoy.

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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