Rust cleaning and refurbishment

I had some time tonight and thought… Yep… It’s time to clean up the Savage properly. I remember there was some talk of ultrasonic cleaners and what not, for rust removal and cleaning… @Nomis, I think it may have been you asking? Anyway, I finally got around to clean-up work, so I took some photos as I went. What’s really involved.

Take the gun apart, really, apart. If there is rust under sights for example, it will keep going, unless you take care of it. If you are not comfortable doing it, remember, no force. And reassembly is just disassembly in reverse. Some trigger groups can be taken apart, but usually not required.

This is a takedown, so I was pretty happy to find the guts of it in pristine condition.

Something I noticed about old rifle… Like few pointed out - crafted, not made. for example, all dovetail fittings are secured by screws, rather than friction.

No hammers, no punches, just amazing. On that note, when you do take something apart, make sure you have the right tools and correct sized screwdrivers. If you don’t, consider getting a good set, specifically for firearms. If you don’t I’d avoid doing it. One slip and that’s it, this parts are not easy to find, in this case, probably impossible now.

First, the bore… Clean, scrub and patch it out. Keep going until you are happy with it. Patches will never come out clean on an old bore, patches will always come out a little dirty, but you will go from black, to brown, to more black, to more brown, just keep pilling the layers off until they come out almost white. You will know when to stop. Ultrasonic cleaner will not help you. Maybe with some top layer dirt, but not rust and harder to clean off shit, that you will need to pick (scratch off) apart.

When it’s clean enough, a lot of the loosened junk will get blown out when you start shooting it.

This helps catch all the shit. As you scrub, you will be washing the bore out as you go, I spray carby cleaner in early stages. Scrub, spary until it pours out clean, scrub again, repeat… Then Inox later, when I get aggressive (more on that later).

As a side note, vise and DIY jaws really help here. You will need to clamp all sorts of parts and you definitely don’t want to mark them. Plywood jaws are awesome.

Continuing… Make sure to have a few brushes, you will mess a few up. I use a product called Big 45 Frontier Bore Cleaner ( A little bit of it gets cut off and wrapped around the brush, this is where I go aggressive and spray bore and brush with Inox before hand. This pack is about 3 years old. Little goes a long way.I also keep those brushes for future projects, because removing it from the brush is pretty hard.

When doing that, make sure to have a container with metho or turps, where you can rinse the brush once in a while. Then Inox, then continue, until thinner (turps, metho, etc.) stops turning brown. Actually whenever you clean, it helps to rinse the brush once in a while, to avoid depositing stuff you took out back into the bore.

After I’m happy where I am, I patch everything out with patches soaked in solvent, until they come out clean, then dry patches. After that, soak the bore in Inox and patch that out with 3 or 4 dry patches.

That’s about it for the easy part :wink:

Now we get external parts and small little suckers done. this is the hard part. This is where vise really helps, because you will need to three hands at times.

Steel wool and oil. For this, you will use few drops of oil on metal part (but you will keep reapplying), so cheap stuff will do, 3-in-1 is not really suited for firearms, I don’t think, doesn’t have the right viscosity, but for everything else, at $3 you can’t go wrong.

Begin! Oil, rub, wipe, inspect, repeat.



You will see 2 small holes in the cardboard (by the way, have some paper on the bench, this shit is really messy), that’s where that rust was.

Start with steel wool, slowly and gently rub the rust until it’s gone.


After I am done with steel wool and the top easy to remove layer, the Big45 scrubber comes out, same deal, oil, gentle, etc. Maybe light some candles to set the mood, you know… This scrubber is a lot more aggressive and does in a minute what steel wool would take half an hour, but will not damage the metal. Helps to run your finger over it, to make sure it’s smooth. Also helps to have a torch for closer inspection.

I have a roll of toilet paper and a roll of Chux on the bench, use it… Wipe, check, keep going. Need to stop when rust comes off, but before you start taking bluing (‘patina’ in my case) off.

This bit is 100% manual and no tool will help you, if you want to do it right. Well, I lie, a carding wheel will help you (but you can’t have it oiled, so actually it won’t help you, because everything is covered in oil, I digress).

Some useful tips. When I am done and 100% happy with the part, it needs to be oiled and reassembled. I use old brushes to oil things. Helps to get into all spots you would otherwise miss (I keep old kids’ toothbrushes). Shaving brush, that’s anther $3 AliExpress special. This is where you definitely want to use gun oil, because it has the right properties to stay where it needs to stay, rather than drip out of every orifice. Only use a small amount to create a thin film of oil. You are oiling it, not taking a bath in it.

Other tips… I keep pre-soaked patches. This way you actually don’t waste solvent and they are always on hand (container: kids’ bath bombs lol).

Plastic picks… Again, AliExpress, surprisingly durable and helps you get places. Also, cotton buds, not in photo, but definitely useful. By now, you will have 20 shades of shit on your hands, so whatever you touch will get messed up. Make sure whatever you need is already on the bench, to avoid contaminating everything else.

Gloves - nothing is really toxic here, just don’t drink it. Carby cleaner however… I really dislike that smell, so I use gloves for that. After that, I don’t. Just don’t drink it.

Ramekin has metho to rinse brushes and scrubber (had turps, but I swapped when it was too dirty and topped it up with metho because I am lazy and it was right there).
Yellow rag - after I am done cleaning, oiling and reassembling everything, I wipe everything with paper towel, then oiled rag. In this case, I also applied wax to furniture.

Total time, probably 4 - 5 hours.

N.B. Ultrasonic cleaner would probably save you 10 minutes removing some dirt, but waste 30 minutes while you wait, most of this stuff is a tedious manual task


This post is my jam! Good stuff @juststarting!

Next year when we’ve moved into our house and I have a shed set up, this is what I want to be doing. Well, that and shooting.

Thanks for posting JS
Did you buy the Big 45 Frontier Bore Cleaner locally, or from the US via their web site? US postal rate seem to be exorbitant these days. Bulk purchase?

The Anvil series on C & R Arsenal that Bentaz pointed out is just amazingly informative. Definitatley a You Tube to watch before you jump in.

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I’ve pointed @bentaz to the video. It made a full circle, lol, @sungazer

@oldAG, I emailed the guy. The shipping was USD$15 and I got 2, one for a person in the office, so it made sense to ship. Think it was like $40ish all up.

As a side note, @sungazer, I do want to boil it and I do as a matter of fact own a carding wheel :slight_smile: I just need to find something big enough to drop the barrel and the receiver into it. Probably make a troth out of guttering or buy poultry feeding thing. Not sure yet. I have a gun donated to science by his excellency, brother @bentaz. And I have almost everything I need. I just need to find a box to hang it in. Yes, a box. Will do a full restoration on that one.

I have some old kegs that I use as boilers. They are a bit unsteady on the burner ring but will boil nearly 50L of whatever.

Love it…

If you wanna be dumb, you gotta be tough!