I hate to say it but I let one of my handguns get a little too humid this summer and didn’t do the proper preventive maintenance on it. So, after spending the summer locked in its case I recoiled in disgust when I saw that it was covered in some parts by surface rust.
Not the kind of rust you can just wipe off mind you…the kind that sticks.
Oddly enough, as I have been restoring a motorcycle recently I had acquired some fantastic rust dissolver that was chewing up and spitting out rust like ole-timey tobacco.
Yet the problem with these rust dissolvers is that they are extremely potent. The kind you need to wear rubber gloves with and will eat paint right down to the metal. So they cannot be used on a place that you do not want to see the original metal.
So with dissolver i couldn’t use and my pistol all orangey like it had carotenosis I remembered an old wives tale about how aluminum foil will erase rust. Literally make it disappear as if by magic.
While I had my doubts (hence no before and after pictures), I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it.
A small piece of foil and a few back and forth’s over the infected areas and the rust was GONE.
No scratching, no abrasions, no damage.
The only thing that remained was a fine white film. I figure it was some pixie dust or other equally magical remnant. Instead of washing that off with water I broke out some Hoppe’s No. 9 and gave a light coat. Toweled that off then added a light coat of oil then wiped that off too.
Color me amazed.
It was like the pistol was fresh from the factory.
I can’t recommend the aluminum foil technique enough. It is completely amazing.
Surface rust is going to happen, moisture from hunting, from humidity, from our hands and bodies are going to get in there a time or two and if we put up our firearms for a while you may find yourself in a similar situation as me.
Before you shell out for some abrasive solvent or getting it parkerized again, go to your cupboard and pull out some aluminum foil, you may be pleasantly surprised.
And for those of you who do not wish to adhere to “magic” as the explanation for how aluminum foil erases rust I give you the science behind it.
Aluminum oxidizes faster than nearly any other metal, and that is how aluminum foil removes rust. Rubbing the foil on rust removes the coating of aluminum oxide that covers all metallic aluminum exposed to the air, and the exposed aluminum metal wants to be oxidized so badly that it will actually steal oxygen from iron oxide, aka rust, and reduce it back to iron metal.
It’s a balance of power thing…aluminum demands the oxygen and takes it from the iron.
In summation, to get rid of rust on your firearm: