How to Properly Clean an Old Gun

   02.07.19

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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