How To Remove Rust From A Gun Without Damaging Bluing?

Rust is a problem that comes with owning guns. Guns are made of metal and will rust if not cared for properly.When rusting occurs, it is an essential part of a gun owner’s upkeep to clean it off the surface. 

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Rust prevents a smooth operation and reduces accuracy, and It’s hard to remove rust from your gun without damaging the bluing or other parts of the weapon that you do not want to be damaged.

how to remove rust from a gun without damaging bluing? Well, the process is required for all individuals who own guns. It is essential to use methods that will not distort the metal or leave any permanent marks.

Determine The Rusted Surface

Before cleaning the metal, it is essential to know what you are dealing with. Rust is not just a surface film that you can simply wipe off with a paper towel. 

Typically there will be a flaky surface that falls off as you try to wipe it down. This residue is the actual rust that has oxidized the steel. Under this layer, is corrosion which has penetrated the pores of the metal. The more layers have built up, the harder it will be to remove this corrosion.  

To determine how deep the rust has penetrated, rub a fine-grained emery cloth across a dark spot. The more rust that comes off on the emery cloth, or if nothing comes off at all, means that the oxidation has reached into the pores of the metal. Dealing with this type of surface requires soaking and other techniques.

how to remove rust from a gun without damaging bluing?

Methods To Remove Rust From A Gun Without Damaging Bluing

Three methods can safely remove rust from your gun without damaging the bluing: 

Removing Rust From Gun With Flitz Or Remoil

Here is one of the methods to remove rust without damaging bluing.  The tools you will need to clean the rust off a gun are; Flitz polish or another steel cleaner, WD40 or a similar lubricant, steel wool, rags for wiping and a sharpie for marking what needs to be removed.

To start, spray both sides of the metal with WD40. It will prevent any rust that has formed from being spread around. Place a rag underneath the gun to catch any of the WD40 or Flitz polish that might runoff. Then spray down both sides with Flitz or other cleaner and let it soak for about 5 minutes. 

Once the metal has soaked, wipe one side off thoroughly with a dry rag. Now start working the polish into the surface with steel wool. Use a circular motion around each patten and pull hard enough to remove any rust but not so hard that you remove the bluing in spots. To ensure the barrel is clean, wipe it out with a rag soaked in WD40, then use another dry rag to ensure no Flitz is left inside.

Using Flitz on a gun is a very effective way to remove rust. It also keeps the pores in the metal from becoming clogged so that corrosion cannot form later. If you need to clean your gun, coat it with Flitz before storing and it will keep it protected until next time. 

However, if you choose not to use Flitz or other solvents, make sure you wipe down your gun thoroughly after shooting so no moisture can seep into the metal and cause oxidation/rust to develop over time. Allowing even a little bit of water into a gun can be detrimental because each shot raises the temperature of the barrel by about 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius). It can be too much for unprotected steel to handle.

Removing Rust From Gun With Home Electrolysis 

The first step to removing rust from a gun without damaging the bluing is to clean it off as much as possible.

At this point, you will notice that there is still some rust on your gun. You should have a stainless steel container and an electric motor or drill for powering the process.

Fill the container halfway with water that has been distilled by running through a coffee filter (or another filtering system). Insert your part into the solution, connect your power source to the positive terminal of the said solution via copper wire, and use another piece of copper wire as a ground, connecting it to either side of your container.

how to remove rust from a gun without damaging bluing?

As stated before, connect one end of your power source via copper wire to any part of your gun that does not have bluing (for example, the handle or butt of your rifle).

After that, you should be complete with the wiring in your solution. After this step, stir the solution rhythmically to ensure a constant current is running through it. Do this for as long as needed, but approximately half an hour would suffice and yield great results. At this point, you will notice that all rusted areas have disappeared, and only pure steel remains on camera metal surfaces.

You can stop here if you wish, but there may still be some rust increases in your weapon. Therefore, submerge the whole thing again into another container with more water and alcohol; mix 1 part alcohol to 4 parts water into a holding tank such as a glass jar or plastic tub.

This solution is used to remove the rest of the rust, so just let it sit for a while longer. After this, you should notice that there is no visible rust on your weapon at all and only pure steel remains. You can dry it off with a rag or leave it as is if not using right away.

Then use white fine-grit sandpaper (220 grit sandpaper) to lightly buff down any scratches left behind by the wire brushing to make them less noticeable when looking down the barrel of your gun.

Removing Rust From Gun With Lemon Juice

If you want to remove rust from a gun without damaging the bluing, this is an easy step-by-step procedure for you. Lemon juice is often used to remove rust and other stains from many surfaces in our homes. Usually, you can apply those same lemon juice practices to removing the brownish colorations that form on metal due to oxidation or even rust.

To remove rust from a gun without damaging your bluing, you will need:

1) A lemon

2) Dish soap

3) Water

4) A toothbrush or similar small brush

Begin by putting some water into a container large enough for your metal item. If it is very rusty, then put as much water as needed to submerge the piece in question into the container. It is best if this is done outdoors.

Find a lemon and cut it open without removing all the peel. So, you are left with two halves of lemon skin that still have the seeds in each half. If you worry about getting juice on your hands or whatever else, wear gloves to do this while wearing an oven mitt on your hand holding the lemon to don’t get burned by touching any part of it after cutting it open.

Put enough water into a sink that will fit your metal item securely, and turn on some hot water from a faucet until there’s enough hot water to fill up most of the sink (i.e., nearly flush with the edge of the sink.)

Place your metal item into the hot water that’s in a sink, then squeeze most of the juice out of one-half of lemon until you get enough juice to saturate your gun. Be sure not to forget this part because it helps remove rust from metal better than just plain water alone due to the acidity of lemon when fresh or squeezed.

After inflicting your metal item with juices from freshly squeezed lemons, then leave it in there for approximately two minutes or so under warm running water. Then take it out and wipe down the surface area with something like a cloth (or paper towel) that’s wetted with dish soap water and plain old tap water. It removes leftover debris particles from the lemon juice and any remaining brownish rust from your metal item.

how to remove rust from a gun without damaging bluing?

After you get most of your gun clean, take a toothbrush and cover it in dish soap. The toothbrush will help remove any remaining debris particles on the surface area(s) of your metal item that were not removed by simply wiping it with plain water or even tap water alone. Be careful to get into all places where there is leftover debris to avoid scratching the metal.

It might be helpful to add some warm or hot water when doing this step since many people believe hot water helps remove better than cold, but try whatever works for you. Also, if using a toothbrush without covering it with dish soap first, then become aware that you might get some toothpaste residue on your metal item, which will be difficult to remove if it happens.

After wiping off what you can with plain water or tap water and a clean cloth, then use the toothbrush with dish soap or hot water to scrub down any remaining debris from your metal item. 

First, apply some more soap water on the brush, then scrub lightly all over (not just in spots) until most of the stuff is gone. After cleaning with that toothbrush, then rinse out the sink where your gun is with hot water, so there are no soap residues left behind on anything when done. 

Next, take another clean cloth or paper towel and dry off whatever’s wet, including drying off that used toothbrush. This method is the most effective method that I have found so far to remove rust from a gun without damaging bluing.


Rust is a natural part of the process and can be prevented with proper care. It’s not bad for your gun, but it will require more maintenance. The rust on your gun is most likely surface rust from exposure to moisture or humidity. If you don’t want this kind of rust, make sure you store your guns in an environment that doesn’t get wet or humid.

If your gun has just some minor surface corrosion, it will not work well to clean it up. You might need something stronger like Gun Scrubber or break out the steel wool for those tough stains. However, if your weapon has major rusting going on, then using WD-40 could be an effective way to eliminate that pesky rusty mess.

You can use vinegar or lemon juice to remove rust from small metal objects. The acid in vinegar and lemon juice reacts with the iron oxide, or rust, and converts it into a harmless substance. Vinegar also contains acetic acid, which is a great cleaning agent.


The best way to remove rust from a gun without damaging the bluing is with a cleaning solution and elbow grease. A few methods that work well are using water, lemon juice, or vinegar. If you want to use something more heavy-duty like WD-40, be sure not to get any on your firearm’s finish.

We hope this blog post has helped you understand how easy it can be for those who don’t know what they’re doing to damage their firearms by trying too hard. 

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at .

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