View Full Version : Just some info on cosmoline removal

09-23-2006, 12:31 PM
I recently got a cheapy version of a Scuncy Steamer, wow, does it do the job on milsurps in cosmo. Simply strip the gun and go to town, the cosmo wipes right off everything and gets into those tiny cracks you can't see and melts it out. I've done 4 rifles now with this method and I can say I've saved tons of money on solvents, cleaners, etc.. Keep lots of rags around and use this method and you'll get 99% of the cosmo out of the gun pieces and stock. A little oil on it afterwards keeps things from rusting and while you have the guns apart it's easy to sand, clean, and oil your stock.

Have a great Kenpo day


09-23-2006, 12:48 PM
easy off oven cleaner works wonders too

09-23-2006, 1:14 PM
easy off oven cleaner works wonders too

I'll have to give that a try next go round from Big 5's sales LOL. Gotta love those things, pick the gun you want from 3-5 of them and get r dun.

Have a great Kenpo day


09-23-2006, 4:10 PM
A cheap heat gun - like the $10 item from Harbor Freight - works good too. In my experience, a heat gun helps pull put the cosmo from the wood and drain it from crevices pretty well...and it serves other purposes like seperating sticky barrels, facilitating drying times for certain finishes, etc.

These heat guns are pretty cheap and last about 25-30 hours of run time depending how you use them. IMO, that's way cheaper and much less messy than solvents. And they fire up instantly. And can fire other things up too - so keep that in mind if flammables are nearby!


M. Sage
09-23-2006, 4:19 PM
easy off oven cleaner works wonders too

I've heard it can stain the stock with green, though.

I've heard that packing the stock into a box with cheap-o kitty litter and letting it sit for a couple of weeks works, too. Me, I just wiped out what I could. Still getting cosmo out of the dumb thing, but it doesn't hurt anything.

Heat guns have TONS of uses. Sticker removal, paint removal, getting lock-tighted bolts or screws out without breaking your knuckles or stripping the heads, putting heat-shrink tubing on wires... Heat guns are one of those things that EVERY shop I've worked at has.

09-23-2006, 4:26 PM
warm water and soap then I use some simple green (twice) and I lube well. Always works for me.

09-23-2006, 4:28 PM
Gasoline + brake cleaner works great for me...


09-23-2006, 4:53 PM
Kenpo, where did you purchase the steamer? I've been curious about
this method & would like to try. I use the heat gun now & it does
work fantastic! Would like to compare both methods.

09-23-2006, 5:33 PM
I've heard it can stain the stock with green, though.

yup! I'm a 1st hand witness to that! doh!! ok... ok... it was me!
DON'T use oven cleaner!!

Mineral spirits works the best with out harm to the wood or metal parts. Plus you can find it for under $5 at any home depot.

09-23-2006, 6:34 PM
I have never stained a stock green with oven cleaner. Only leave it on for a few minutes, rinse off with water and let dry. Leaving it on too long might cause damage

09-23-2006, 7:23 PM
I wouldn't suggest brake cleaner either...it takes off more than just dirt and grease..:D Unless of course you are refinishing it...by all means go ahead.

09-23-2006, 7:53 PM
Kenpo, where did you purchase the steamer? I've been curious about
this method & would like to try. I use the heat gun now & it does
work fantastic! Would like to compare both methods.

They had a cheapy version called Steam Boss at Rite Aid, I found the sale online and the guy at the store didn't even know it was. Paid $16 bucks out the door with the same attachments as the Scuncy ($50 retail) so I figured if I only got a few uses out of it it would pay for itself. I've gotten so much more out of it with these guns now. I tried using a hair dryer and it just mucked things up. With this, you can get deep into the wood and it wipes right out making it ready for sanding and polishing. All the metal pieces heat up quick so make sure you're holding it with some rags LOL. Best part is you can spray it right into the bore where the stuff lingers and hardens when you fire the gun. This just pops it right out.

I'm sure a heat gun does as well but the liquid from the steam keeps the cosmo fluid longer to wipe it away, and the scrub brush on the end of the steamer tip digs right in. I love this thing, and if it breaks, I'll get another quick LOL.

Have a great Kenpo day


09-23-2006, 8:56 PM
Hot water works great, but will seriously F up a bathtub or sink.

Gasoline has always been my main anti-cosmoline agent...

09-24-2006, 2:21 AM
I tried the steam cleaner method when I got my CMP order. I got three rifles total: one that needed NOTHING done, another that had mild cosmo (like it had been taken out and refinished from cosmoline, but not fired), and a third that had been stored for a long time in heavy cosmo. The steam cleaner did a GREAT job on the surface cosmoline but did not bring out the deep cosmoline from the wood. When I finished with it I had taken out some of the smaller dings and had a nice feeling rifle, and my first trip out to the range it held up nicely, but on a recent trip in very hot weather both rifles bled like you wouldn't believe.

The steamcleaner is a GREAT method for cleaning the cosmolone, but it should not be the ONLY method you use. Mineral Spirits worked wonders on the metal, but I tried to keep from using chemicals on the wood itself (if it was a cheap milsurp I probably wouldn't bother too much). I've heard that the kitty litter/newspaper in a black trashbag on your lawn/in your trunk works wonders, but I don't own a car and wouldn't trust anything short of a $100 .22 on my lawn for more than a couple hours. I've seen several homemade ovens using lights as a heat source and I've been very interested in creating my own. One particular oven I saw a short while ago was made with aluminum airconditioning ducting, two shop lamps, and a chandeller dimmer as a thermostat. They claimedit worked wonders, and it should; crank the heat up to 120ish (just about the melting temperature of Cosmoline) and it should flow like liquid. Of course, if you had a thermostat, you could even make it bigger and badder and crank the heat up to cure firearm finishes like Moly Resin and Duracoat. You'd have a multipurpose all firearm needs tool in your garage. When I move to my new house I plan on setting up a firearm only area and a homemade oven is going to be one of my first projects.

M. Sage
09-24-2006, 9:59 AM
The cosmo doesn't actually hurt anything being in the stock, right? I just kind of figured it'd been in my stock longer than I'd been alive (probably longer than either of my parents have been alive...), so why bother trying to get it all out?

09-24-2006, 3:50 PM
No, it doesn't do damage but when you shoot, especially semi-autos, and the metal heats up, it can cause the cosmo to come out and make a huge mess. Trust me, NOTHING kills a shooting experience like having cosmo running down your hands, arms, on your shoulder (from shouldering the buttstock) and then having to drive home in it.

09-25-2006, 5:43 AM
I have never stained a stock green with oven cleaner. Only leave it on for a few minutes, rinse off with water and let dry. Leaving it on too long might cause damage

+1 on that one; I've used it on several occasions; that and Engine degreaser too (both the regular and the citrus) all without staining, but these stocks WERE all being prepped for at least a partial re-finish.

03-28-2008, 3:48 PM
I've used Easy Off "Fume Free" oven cleaner on three stocks now and it has worked the same every time. Pulls the cosmo off pretty easily and does not continue to eat away the wood. This has been the first step in my stock refinishing process prior to sanding. I let the stock dry at least 3 days after over cleaner and water rinse so it is dry enough to make sanding easier.

03-28-2008, 3:55 PM
I've had good luck with this: two trash cans stacked together, with the guns supported by bungee cords. Bonus: the fiancee got all excited because I replaced the lights in the bathroom. Then she realized I only did it because I wanted the old light bar for this project, and I lost a few of the cool points I had picked up:



03-28-2008, 4:08 PM
The garbage can/light bulb idea is excellent and really the only chemical/water free way to do it and probably the best. I used denatured alcohol and steel wool and it came right off of the stock. The stuff in the barrel was a little harder since I took it shooting, got it hot, then scrubbed the action and barrel area with a shotgun brush and squirted sweets in there..which did the job.

Kenpo, all you had to do was hang it up outside there in AZ for several hours and call it a day. lol

Nodda Duma
03-28-2008, 7:55 PM
Kenpo, all you had to do was hang it up outside there in AZ for several hours and call it a day. lol

Yeah that's actually what I do out here in the Mojave Desert. Wrap the stock in some paper towels, wrap that in a black garbage bag, then set it outside and go to work. When I come back in the evening, pretty much all of the cosmo has been drawn out of the stock by the heat. Works best in the summer when it hits 110-120F or so. In fact I have a couple of Mosins that I bought during Christmas sales which are waiting for summer to get here so their stocks can get the same treatment.


03-29-2008, 6:30 PM
The best way of removing that icky crap (cosmoline) that comes on the cool military rifles is using the Shark Ultra Steam Blaster. This uses a high pressure wand that blasts out and melts all the cosmoline on the rifle with ease. This has saved me time and eventually money after the initiation cost of $99.99 (bought mine at LOWES). The distilled water is found at the grocery store for $0.99 a gallon.

I learned this trick when I was stationed in Louisiana working with huey and cobra helicopters. We used to have to service the 20mm gatling gun on the cobra every couple of months or so (forgot how many hours it was). Anyhow, the grease we used to have to use for the gears on the turret and the gun itself had a consistency of peanut butter; you talk about hard to get off. We used a nice industrial steamer to blast/melt off this grease. This $99.99 steamer does almost as good a job as the one I had in Louisiana. Hope this helps.


P.S. always use de-ionized or distilled water in your steamer or the salts in the water will corrode it. The same thing goes with your iron, you know the one you probably never use.:43: