Gun Hobby

Do You Love the Smell of Gun Oil? If You Do...

If you like the smell of gun oil, then this hobby may just be for you. If you don't like the smell of gun oil, well, you might get used to it. It sure will stay with you after cleaning the guns. I suppose the next question, if you are married, is does your wife like the smell of gun oil? If her answer is yes, life will be good!

Winchester Gun Stand
Check Out the New Addition (click the image above)

Years ago, I knew a guy that owned a doughnut shop. He would go into work very early in the morning to begin making doughnuts and he smelled like fresh doughnuts the rest of the day. He got so accustomed to the scent that he didn't pay any attention after awhile, but everyone he came in contact with sure did.

Scott, my FFL Guy holding the Winchester 94
Scott, my FFL Guy, opens up the Winchester 94

Collecting, shooting, researching and blogging about old guns are all fun parts of this hobby.

Cleaning and caring for the guns is also fun, at least for me. Don't laugh, but I just stood up and walked across the room to take a whiff of that gun I was cleaning last evening just to see if it still had that strong aroma, like fresh brewing coffee in the morning.

During the months of October, November and December, a nearby Masonic Lodge holds a Turkey Shoot every Saturday. When I return home from shooting at the paper targets, I always take a few minutes to clean my gun before it goes back in the rack.

The least fun part of this hobby, at times, is trying to get the value of a gun right. Prices are all over the place. Now, I know some of you are going to say a gun is worth whatever you are willing to pay for it and who cares about resale value. That's true, to an extent. At my age, I don't wait on those really good deals to come along on a gun I'm looking for.

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.”

My Shotgun
Browning Citori Gran Lightning

Fall is the time we break out the shotguns and use them more than any other time of year. Proper care and maintenance are important aspects of having them in good working order and keeping these old guns around for future generations to enjoy.

  Cleaning Kit


Examples From Every Decade

20th Century Guns

The Library

Gun History

The Browning A5 has the destinction of being the first mass produced semiautomatic shotgun. John Browning himself called it his greatest achievement at the time, of course that was before the 1911 .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun.

book and gun
Browning Auto 5 Shotguns Hardcover Book

"If you are a Browning Auto-5 Shotgun fan, get this book!"

  Browning Auto 5 Shotguns

Winchester Model 42 Hardcover Book
Winchester Model 42 Hardcover Book

This book ranks near the top as one of the all-time favorite collector firearms. Author Ned Schwing gives you the most accurate and complete book on the Model 42 ever written.

"Although this book has been out of print since 1990, you can find used editions in excellent condition."

  The Winchester Model 42

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Caring for Old Guns

Two Rules to Follow in Caring for your Old Gun: Use the Right Products and Use the Right Cleaning Methods

The nickel finish on a 61 year-old gun can be delicate. The very last thing you ever want to do is use any form or method of cleaning that will be abrasive. My Rule #1 is, use the right products, and Rule #2 is, employ the right methods in cleaning an old gun. I have lots of cleaning and polishing experience with my old Harley Davidson motorcycle.

"While cleaning this gun, I used more than a dozen Q-Tips, quickly disposing of them as soon as the cotton heads absorbed any color."

Example: This 61 year-old gun I recently purchased at auction. The seller surely could have realized $100 to $300 more for this gun, had he taken the time to carefully clean the gun prior to taking the photos for the auction listing. That third photo is the one that would have scared off many potential buyers.

auction photo showing rust stain
Auction Photo Showing Rust Stain
auction photo showing rust stain
Auction Photo Showing Rust Stain
auction photo showing rust stain
Auction Photo Showing Rust Stain
Removing rust stains from yoke and frame of Model 10
Process of Removing Rust Stains

When I undertake a project like this, I don't get in a hurry. I'm very patient and take my time. After about an hour of cleaning, I wiped the gun down with a silicone cloth and put it back in the gun cabinet. I noticed the humidity level in my cabinet rose by one percentage point, so I removed it and placed it on top of the ammo cabinet.

The Concern - Where did the stains originate?

The most common culprit is moisture, whether it was from rain, sweat or humidity in the storage environment. Secondly, it could have developed from old ammunition (remember, this gun is 61 years old), whose primers contained potassium chlorate or sodium perchlorate which will leave the gun coated in salts after firing. Failure to properly clean the firearm after firing such ammo is a very bad thing, especially if moisture then gets to the gun before it is properly cleaned.

Lastly, these stains could have been inflicted by a well-intentioned previous owner. There are many ways this could happen and I won't go into them other than to say, see my Rules #1 and #2.

What has changed more than guns in the last 61 years? Products that are used to clean and care for guns have changed more.

Coincidentally, it was 1961, the same year this gun was made, that a new consumer product was launched. This 1961 product acts as a lubricant, rust preventative, penetrant and moisture displacer. Odds are very good that you have an aerosol can of this stuff in your household. I'm not going to start a war of words on my Facebook page by going into it, other than to say, it is not what I use to clean and lubricate my guns.

The nickel finish on my 1970s lightweight Colt Cobras are very delicate. I've seen many examples of these type guns over the years that have thousands of tiny scratch marks from being wiped with the wrong kind of cloth, or a dirty cloth. The Flitz MC200 Thick 'n Thirsty 16" x 16" Silver Microfiber Polishing Cloth that I always use on all of my guns religously, is washable up to 500 times.

Barricade rust protection for firearms
Barricade rust protection for firearms

Barricade® rust protection rapidly drives out moisture from metal pores and deposits a transparent protective coating which seals the surface. It’s the best way to protect your firearms from rust. Withstands 500 hours in astm humidity test and 96 hours in astm salt spray test. Barricade® rust protection is also an excellent penetrant for loosening rusty or frozen parts, as well as a good lubricant and an effective bore cleaner.

  Protect Your Guns

After removing rust stains from yoke and frame of Model 10
After Removing Rust Stains

After letting the gun sit on top of my ammo cabinet for 48 hours, allowing it to completely dry, I revisited my job. Upon inspection, I could see faint evidence of the stain reappearing in three places. This time I did not remove the grips. I simply used Q-Tips to apply more of the Flitz wax to the affected areas. After gently massaging the wax for 5 to 10 minutes, I allowed it to dry.

After removing rust stains from yoke and frame of Model 10
After Removing Rust Stains

After wiping the dried wax off, I took these photos. Anything in the photos that appears dirty is only shadows. The gun looks great and I'm really pleased with my purchase.

It is important to note that had the rust penetrated the finish, there would have been a different outcome to this story.

No elbow grease was used in cleaning this gun. In fact, I was extremely gentle, using only Q-Tips and two varieties of cleaning cloths (no brushes). I sprayed it with Barricade, wiped it with Flitz cloth, applied Flitz polish with Q-Tip, wiped again with Flitz cloth, applied Flitz wax with Q-Tip, wiped with Flitz cloth, and gave it a final wipe down with silicone cloth.

All of the products used in my project were less than $50 combined, and will last for many other guns. I have to thank Benny, my FFL guy for his guidance on just the right stuff to use. Don't be tempted to grab the nearest rag and cleaner you have that are intended for home, shop or automotive use.

Final Word

Always read the fine print on any gun cleaning product. Many of the metal cleaning products will claim that they will not harm the wood. I never take their word and go ahead and just remove the wood if I'm going to be working anywhere near it. See more photos and read about my 1961 Smith & Wesson Model 10. Update: My S&W Letter arrived, and it says my gun shipped to Tampa, Florida on January 13, 1960.

Gun Collectors Club

Featured Guns

December 2022

One of the best articles I've ever read in the American Rifleman starts on page 50 of the Dec. 2022 magazine...

As a Life Member of NRA, I don't recall being this captivated by an article in a very long time!

Author, Anthony Vanderlinden shares his vast knowledge of The FN Browning Model 1922 Centennial in the magazine this month. Although I don't have a Model 1922 in my collection...

Vanderlinden's article made me want to add a Model 1922 to my collection.

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The FN Browning Pistols
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