Very neat project! Cannot wait to follow this.
"Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose."
DeaconKC at surplusrifleforum.com
It probably got stepped on after the grips rotted away. it probably wasnt buried very deep.
"Go ahead, skin it! Skin that smokewagon and see what happens".
NRA Life Member
I'd leave it just like it is and put it back in a shadow box with some old Morgan silver dollars etc. it would be a great looking conversation piece just the way it is.
You can always take a chance later at screwing it up, just enjoy it for now. put it back in a nice looking shadow box and post some pic's.
I saw two Remington Model 1858 revolvers that were recovered in a nearby town that was briefly occupied by Union forces during the Civil War. A foundation for a new house was being dug when the revolvers were found. The first time I saw them they had been wire brushed with a soft wire wheel. This removed the red rust, but left them just as they were found. I saw them a few years later after they had changed hands and they had been draw filed, fitted with ill fitting grips, and parts that were too rusty to restore. It just took the character of the old revolvers away.
Colt or Mexican copy?
Great project. While I posted about electrolysis the other day, saying never do it to a gun except a relic, this is a good example of one to try.
The comment about "be careful if you leave it too long there will be nothing left" is false. Electrolysis if set up right can actually reverse some of the oxidized steel, and can "put it back" if you will. It won't build metal over pits or anything, but some red rust will get stabilized nicely. If the entire item is heavy rust, holding together just slivers of solid metal, you can be left with just the sliver. It looks like you set it up right, sacrifical anode (+) on the scrap plate. If it's fizzing, it's working. I'd do a couple hours and check it.
It is done in archaeology. https://historicjamestowne.org/march-2015/
Don't try to use wire brushes or metal scrapers, or the "file down and use acid" destructive technique. Just see if you can turn the red rust gray/white, and get to some smooth metal if you're lucky. This guy did a gun (I wouldn't have done that one, it's condition was too good already, but yours is not):
Nouvelle page 0
Last edited by azshot; 07-14-2019 at 05:20 AM.
Alright, 24hrs of straight electrolysis complete. For the first 12hrs of the process i had my battery charger set to 6v...I bumped it to 12v for the past 12hrs. I noticed a little more fizzing activity when i did this, but not much. So, i'll keep it on that setting from now on. Slow and steady wins the race. I pulled it out, rinsed it off, brushed it a bit with a toothbrush getting a lot of black gunk off it. The process is definitely working. The electrode i have in there has a bunch of rust on one side. I flipped it around and put it back in. Good to go again. And I'm proud to report nothing is clogged in the barrel the colt. Ran water down it and it gushed out from the firing pin / loading gate area w/out obstruction. Pretty cool! .....Alas, the serial # hasn't gotten any more clear. I'll include an updated pic of that area after the next round. The patent dates look a little more clear and I do see the appearance of a "5" on the bottom of the backstrap. Third position on the top line. Very neat!
So now its back in the soup. I added another hunk of steel making the electrode larger. The Colt is about 4-5" at most away from the electrode. I will flip the Colt around every few hours or so as to let a fresh side face the electrode. This should make for a more even rust removal all around the gun. After brushing a lot of that black much off from the first round, i think this next round will go even better. More layers of rust exposed will get eaten away.
Last edited by CHIZ; 07-10-2019 at 12:30 PM.
You got it, it should be a lot better when done. Maybe you can shoot it! Not....
One more tip: make sure your connections are good on the gun. It has to make electrical contact, and sometimes the crud blocks that. Crud is dielectric, we all know! But I think I see bubbles fizzing on your last pic - that means it's working.
Last edited by azshot; 07-10-2019 at 12:52 PM.