View Full Version : How do I clean cosmoline off a new rifle?

02-27-2007, 5:42 PM
I just bought an Enfield mk4 and it needs a good cleaning. I've heard that taking it apart and soaking the metal parts in lighter fluid is a good solution. Does any one have any suggestions?

02-27-2007, 5:43 PM
I just bought an Enfield mk4 and it needs a good cleaning. I've heard that taking it apart and soaking the metal parts in lighter fluid is a good solution. Does any one have any suggestions?

hot water and a rag is what I've always used.

02-27-2007, 6:00 PM

02-27-2007, 6:01 PM
I just bought an Enfield mk4 and it needs a good cleaning. I've heard that taking it apart and soaking the metal parts in lighter fluid is a good solution. Does any one have any suggestions?

Just what Snuff said. Hit the showers (minus the stock of course). Just don't let the DI catch ya.
Semper Fi

02-27-2007, 6:02 PM
i have used brakeleen on my rifles, for the metal parts, for the stock i usually put it in the oven on real low heat (dont catch that baby on fire) this will make ur oven smell like a factory in russia though, or u can just hold it over the stove burner and whipe it with a rag, theres lots of different methods, try searching

02-27-2007, 6:09 PM
I used halogen shop lights instead of putting it in the oven. I actually like to cook and I didnt want that crap in the kitchen :)
all you need is some heat source that wont burn the parts. I took a big metal pan and put the stock and parts in it and set up a few halogen lights and just kept checking it throughout the day.

02-27-2007, 6:11 PM
Brake Cleaner and WD40 and more rags than you think. I also soak the metal parts in mineral spirits.

02-27-2007, 6:11 PM
I have a Yugo Mauser I bought about 6 years ago, it still sweats cosmoline whenever I take it out and shoot more than a few rounds.


02-27-2007, 6:13 PM
Mineral spirits will do a fine job of dissolving cosmo, although if you want to get every bit of it out of the small nooks and crannies you're going to want to heat it somehow. But of course you could just go out and shoot it, that always provides enough heat to make the gun sweat. :)

02-27-2007, 6:15 PM
I have used brake kleen with excellent results. Gasoline works pretty good too. Use both in well ventilated areas, and wear rubber gloves.

02-27-2007, 6:16 PM
For metal parts, I start by laying them out on newspaper and turn a heatlamp on them. You don't want to get it too close, as metal can heat up a lot from that. After a while, the bulk of the cosmo is out onto the newspaper.

Next, I take a big plastic tub, a plastic scrub brush, and some mineral spirits, soak the parts for a while, then scrub them some. That gets of pretty much all the rest, with a film of oily stuff sometimes left behind.

Finally, I hose the whole thing down with brake cleaner, which gets it all squeaky clean. Complex parts go back under the heatlamp for a few minutes to get all the brake cleaner out.

Follow up immediately with CLP or light oil to prevent rust, and it's ready to reassemble.

02-27-2007, 7:43 PM
I remember when I was pretty young, my dad got a Springfield 03A3 from the CMP, althought I think they (CMP) had a different name back then. That thing came in a block of cosmoline. I'm not sure of all the details, but I remember his cleaning process went something like this.
After scraping off as much as he could,he took the stock off and put both pieces in one of those long narrow metal laundry tubs, he put some wood blocks under each end to hold it up high enough to fit a Coleman stove under it, filled it with water and lit the stove. (now a turkey fryer buner would probably work good.) I don't remember if he actually boiled it, but he got it really hot and the cosmoline just melted and floated to the surface after a while. When he was satisfied that it was all out of the rifle, he turned off the stove and let the whole works cool. The cosmoline got firm again when cold, and could be easily skimmed off the top. He gave everything a soapy water wash and rinse, then dried it in the oven at a low heat to get all the moisture out. All the metal parts got oiled, and the stock was rubbed down with some wood finish, if I know my old man, it was linseed oil - he loved to put that stuff on wood and rub it in for days.
I know he did that for several friends that had also gotten surplus rifles. We bought one from someone that had been hand cleaned, and that thing would ooz slime everytime it was in the sun until he did his voodoo magic on it.

02-27-2007, 10:04 PM
THANK YOU to all who responded to my cosmoline problem. I'll try the hot water method first and go from there!

02-27-2007, 10:40 PM
I have a mauser I haven't gotten the cosmo out of yet, I'm thinking about using my heat gun on the metal parts in one of those cheap sheet pans.

02-27-2007, 11:45 PM
I would not recommend using water unless the gun is absolutely stripped down to parts. Any space you can not get to will probably rust up. That is what the cosmoline is there to prevent.

Break cleaner is prety noxious stuff. I would recommend kerosene. That is what I use on imported machine tools and it really cuts the thick grease.

02-28-2007, 12:19 AM
Kerosene or Gasoline works great.

If you're going to user break cleaner, use it OUTDOORS and wear gloves. The stuff will kill you.

02-28-2007, 7:42 AM
Lacquer thinner, it's about 5 buck for a gallon at ACE and cleans great. I clean the parts in a big alum. turkey pan with acid brushes. When done I just pour it back in the can to reuse.

02-28-2007, 9:02 AM
I used Mineral Spirits from Home Depot :)

02-28-2007, 9:28 AM
I bought a cheap steamer from Wallyworld, best tool for cosmo removal I have found. Plus, I like to save the cosmo for later possible use. I use chemicals for the finishing touches once the bulk of the cosmo is gone.

02-28-2007, 10:03 AM







02-28-2007, 7:09 PM
Bill and I had great results using denatured alcohol on our SKSs. Outside, of course. And with lots of rags.

-- Parag

02-28-2007, 7:29 PM
I know a lot of you are not going to like this method, but it worked GREAT for me.

I put the stock in the dish washer!! :eek: and set it on the aggressive heat booster pots and pans cycle. It stripped ALL of the cosmo on it. It was quick, easy, and effective. I also air dried it instead of using the washers dry cycle to ensure it will not warp.

For the metal, I used Gun Scrubber until I ran out. It seemed to cut the cosmo really easily, without actually scrubbing, and left the metal dry. I used Gumout carb cleaner and Brake Kleen after the Gun Scrubber ran out. It seems the carb cleaner worked better for me then the Brake Kleen. After it was all said and done, it looks like a new rifle. :)

02-28-2007, 8:26 PM
Soaking in Simple Green works great.

03-02-2007, 8:09 PM
I use simplegreen on my m1 garands i got from the cmp

03-02-2007, 8:50 PM
ha, the shower. i remember taking long showers with my saw or 60. how about using sand to clean the piston. i hope i am not threadjacking. that just brought back some memories.

gun scrubber worked the best for me on the action and other parts. hoppes #9 for the bore / chamber. then a bore snake.

03-02-2007, 9:03 PM
With the last wood stocked rifle that I needed to clean I used a High Pressure steam cleaner that I had access to at the shop I took work to.

and then the steel as well and after the cosmoline was all gone I wiped the stock with neatsfoot oil and soaked the action in oil after I blew it out with High pressure dry air.

and then lubed the action with gun oil.

03-02-2007, 9:12 PM
I strip it down completely, put all the parts in a oil pan and soak in paint thinner, paint thinner and a rag to get the cosmo off the stock then soapy water and heat gun and a rag +soapy water and heat gun and a rag +soapy water and heat gun and a rag +soapy water and heat gun and a rag +soapy water and heat gun and a rag +soapy water and heat gun and a rag to get the oil out of the wood for sanding and re-oiling

then the metal parts get blasted with compressed air to get all the bits of cosmo off. green scotch bright pad to get any minor rust off (if needed). then soak in oil of your choice, (I use breakfree) while this is all going on i use a foamy bore cleaner and brush and whatever it takes to get the bore to look good.

put it all together again and shoot it :) :) :)