How to Clean Rust off Gun Metal and Prevent in the Future?

How can you clean rust off gun metal? There are a variety of methods. The right approach will depend on the amount of rust and the type of gun metal you’re dealing with. We’ll cover several different methods for removing rust from gun metal. We’ll also share advice on how to prevent the gun from rusting in the future.

How To Remove a Rust Spot?

Use steel wood to remove as much rust as possible. You can’t remove all of the rust this way, but the goal is to remove the rust until you’re down to shiny steel. The amount of rubbing required is proportional to the amount of rust there is on the gun.

It's Time to Protect Layers

The next step is to add a new protective layer. However, you’ll need to prep the metal first. You can use metal restore or another metal prep solution. Spray it on the metal. Let it sit for several minutes, then wipe it away. This will remove most of the remaining rust.

How to Protect the Steel?

If the rust was only in a given spot, then you can cold blue the area to protect the steel. If the rust covered a third or more of the gun, strip off all of the “blue” on the gun. Then do a hot blue treatment.

How to Remove Extensive, Mild Rust?

Take the gun apart. You need to do this so you can clean it and then do a full inspection. You don’t want to start filing away rust when the issue is really metal shavings stuck inside the gun barrel. This is why you’ll want to clean the gun and then deal with the rust problem.

In fact, applying light oil during a standard cleaning will begin working on the rust problem.

What is the Next Step?

The next step would be to use a solvent that comes with any standard cleaning it. That will remove rust on the surface of the gun. Don’t use anything abrasive unless you want to take the blue off, though that may be necessary if the rust is extensive. If you want something as gentle as possible, try a cloth diaper instead of an old rag.

Use A Rust Remover?

The next step is using rust remover like Liquid Wrench and gun cleaning pads that are stronger than cotton squares but not as hard as steel. But we recommend starting with non-abrasive chemicals and cleaning pads to minimize the work you have to do to restore the gun’s finish. 

You could even try using a copper chore pad picked up at the grocery store.

If There is Still Rust, 

you can use steel wool to remove the rust, though this will take any bluing in the area off. That will have to be restored by a spot treatment or bluing the entire gun. If you want to avoid this, then you could use a true copper penny (made before 1982) and a lot of oil.

You’re going to be scrubbing to remove the rust, but you’re less likely to damage the finish.

What to Do for A Coppery Color?

After you’ve been rubbing away the rust, the gun may develop a coppery color due to all the red rust particles. This isn’t a problem as long as you’re still scrubbing the rust away. When you’re done, clean the gun with a clean cotton cloth and gun oil.

Try to remove all traces of rust particles from the gun.

How Do You Remove Heavy Rust?

If the gun is heavily rusted, the number of options for removing it are dramatically reduced. Furthermore, the odds that you’ll remove all of it while maintaining a clean, straight bore are significantly reduced. And you want to remove the rust before it gets bad enough to inhibit moving parts.

Let’s supposed you do want to try to remove heavy rust from a very expensive or vintage gun. You may need to use an electronic rust removal device. These devices use a low voltage power supply and an electrolyte solution containing washing soda to try to remove rust.

This approach won’t require a heavy wire brush or acid bath. It is quiet, too. But how do you do it?

When You Put Rusted Item in The Solution?

You set up a conductive solution and add some sacrificial anodes. The rusted gun or any other heavily rusted item is put in the solution. It is then attached to the negative end of the power supply. The positive end is connected to the anode. Then you turn on the power.

The electric current flows through the solution. In the process, it will flake off the rust. This is because the electrical flow flakes off the less conductive rust.

When Does Rust Make a Gun Unusable?

If the rust prevents the moving parts from moving properly, you can try to remove it. If you’ve removed so much metal in the scouring process that it doesn’t work properly, you need to replace the rusted parts. If you’re not sure how to do this or not certain as to the degree of the problem, consult with a gunsmith.

And you may want to replace the gun, since rust that bad rarely affects a single part. If the gun is so rusted that it will no longer survive the pressure of the gun power explosion, it should be discarded. 

In fact, in this case, 

it is too dangerous to safely use. This is another situation where you should consult with a gun smith rather than put your safety at risk. However, it is the rusty barrel that can cause such an explosion, whereas a rusty magazine will just be hard to load.

And the magazine is certainly easier to replace.

How Can I Prevent the Gun from Getting Rusty Again?

Keep the gun and its components dry, if you are in the field. Store them in a protective case, so that they don’t get wet if dropped in the field or slowly rust on exposure to the ambient air.

Clean the gun after every shooting session, and oil it periodically.


A do-it-yourselfer can remove a single spot or moderate amounts of rust themselves, though it will take significant time and effort.

In more severe cases, you need to determine what the best course of action would be.

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