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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A neighbor of my Dad's lost his house to a fire about a week ago. While, thankfully, no loss of life, the house was nothing but a pile of rubble when all the smoke had cleared.
A couple of his guns were total losses. But, a handfull are supposidily salvageable. I have not seen them, but have had them described to me over the phone. The lost rifles were Winchester Commeratives that were displayed on a wall. The guns that are hopefully salvageable were located in a closet on the coolest (?) side of the house.
Apparently the guns in question are covered with a black tar-like residue. The owner has been trying to remove this residue by soaking them in diesel fuel and gasoline to no avail. Being a fireman myself, I have a pretty good idea of what the guns are covers with.
Any ideas out there as to what kind of solvent could be used to remove the residue left by the fire, and save what is left of the firearms ?

WB
 

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As you know, the smoke from a fire is very acidic, and the residue on these guns will eventually cause rust. Unfortunately I have been through this with a friend, whose guns were smoke damaged, but not heated. We tried a number of different solvents, and when none worked, we put the guns aside, and tried to figure out another route. When we went back to them a couple weeks later, they were horribly rusted.
Best to get them to a gunsmith who does refinishing, and have him save what he can, before they rust.
 

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MM93, if they had to be set aside awhile would coating them with cosmoline to keep the air our give you more time? Or would the acid continue to damage the metal anyway? Just curious.
 

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I wish I could answer that question. Every time this situation comes up, the guns usually aren't addressed until the damage has already started. Not sure if sealing them in cosmoline would stop the acidic attack. My gut says no, as it isn't a reaction to air, but a chemical reaction. But then again it may slow the process?
A gunsmith friend of mine got 7-8 guns from a fire, and he immediately boiled them in his water tanks. This stopped the process cold, although in that case the guns were still unsalvageable, as they were annealed. I have two of them that he gave me, but I just hung them on the wall, as even the parts are worthless, they are so soft!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No, cosmoline will not stop the chemical reaction that has already started to take place. It will just cover it up.
WB
 

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Maybe some kind of light oil you could immerse them in and get enough of it to cover 'em until you could get around to them. Diesel Fuel? It's actually got some lubricant qualities to keep the injectors lubed and it'll penetrant quite well.

Just a thought from an ol' Marine Diesel Mechanic.....
 

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Smoke Residue Removal

Naptha in the form of parts cleaning solvent works fairly well on getting that sticky soot residue off of metal. ( we use this on kitchen exhaust parts that can be taken off the system and replaced afterwards at work... )The solvent naptha has detergent qualities that regular coleman fuel doesn't. If your in a real pinch, try a little wood alcohol-ie- gas line anti-freeze. A hot water rinse afterwards will take the whitening agent that the naptha solvent leaves on the steel.

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 
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