Best Cleaning Technique
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    Best Cleaning Technique

    All,

    I've got a '51 Colt Navy that needs a good cleaning. What would you suggest for cleaning years of crud from around the nipples? Get a wrench and remove them? What sort of cleaner?

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    SBH
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    Hot water & Ballistol. Coat liberally with Ballistol...let set overnight....put cylinder in boiling water and watch the crud melt off. fwiw
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    What ^^ he said
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    Ditto...what they ^^^ said.
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    DJC
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    As described, penetrating oil and boiling water but you need not go the big bucks rout on Balistol. ATF or ATF mixed 50-50 with paint thinner will work as well or better than Balistol. Once boiled, cleaned and dried, ATF makes a very good wipe down oil.
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    Yeah ATF/Acetone is one heck of a cleaner. Doesn't harm the patina when its genuine.

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    Wow! Great tips. Thanks to all.

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    Starting fluid

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    There were a half a dozen spots of rust on the cylinder. I used penetration oil and a rag. This did not work. So I used coconut oil and a steel pad very carefully. This also do did not work. I then soaked it in a penetrating oil for six hours. It faded the cilinder, but a good amount of the grey patina is still there. This worked, except for a couple spots that I will not try to remove. Next, I am going to wax it properly.

    The reason I was a little aggressive with the cleaning is that there were too many rust spots on the cylinder. I could not sell it that way and expect to still get anywhere near it's full value. It was a balancing act. So I at least was able to remove most of the rust.
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    I'd suggest first putting generous drops of Kroil on the nipples from the outside and the inside and give it at least 24 hours to soak and penetrate into the nipple threads.

    Then, use a better quality modern nipple wrench to remove the nipples.
    With those out, you can use any number of methods to clean the cylinder and nipples.
    A good method would be an ultrasonic cleaner with a water based cleaning solution.
    Ordinary kitchen cleaner mixed with hot water works well.

    If this is a modern gun, I'd probably replace the nipples with new ones, and put a dab of a good anti-seize on the threads.


 
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