How to Clean a Rusty Gun: 8 Easy Ways To Make Your Weapon New

Do you want to know how to clean a rusty gun? Don’t fret, as we’ve got you covered. We will walk you through eight straightforward and effective ways to revive your firearm.

From tried-and-true techniques like using gun oil and brass wire brushes to innovative approaches involving rust removers.Equipping you with the knowledge and tools needed to transform your rusty gun into a like-new weapon once again.

Let’s dive in and bring back its shine and reliability!

Causes of Rust in Your Firearm and Ways How to Remove It

Rust is formed when the surface of metals starts to get moisture on them. These are the three basic elements that combine together:

  • Oxygen
  • Moisture
  • Iron.
How to Clean a Rusty Gun. Causes of Rust in Your Firearm and Ways How to Remove It

Guns are typically made from iron alloys and even though they have a protective coating like Bluing or Parkerizing there is a chance of getting rust. If your gun has a light surface rust on it, you can remove it by using items like:

  • Oily rag
  • A brush
  • Oily steel wool (only in some cases).

Surface Rust

Surface rust formate of a thin layer of iron oxide on the surface of metal objects. It happens when iron or steel is exposed to oxygen and moisture. You can identify surface rust easily as it is “Flaky & friable”.

The Necessary Items

In order to make the gun rust-free, you need the following items at your disposal:

  • A bunch of cotton rags or bore-cleaning patches.
  • High-quality gun oil. (We recommend Hoppes 9 by Holifesy)
  • No. 4 steel wool by RogueRiver Tools (use the smallest diameter one)
  • An old toothbrush or all-purpose brush (if available)
Surface Rust

4 Important Steps For Gun Cleaning

Let’s go through the necessary steps to effectively clean your firearm:

1. Removing Oxidation

For cleaning your gun, you basically need to get rid of the oxidation. But make sure that you don’t spoil the finish of the weapon. All of the things that you need for cleaning are readily available in the market like brass or copper brushes, cleaning solvents, and steel wool.

2. Get the Right Abrasive Material

For rust removal, choosing the right abrasive material is crucial. Using the wrong one can permanently damage the surface of the weapon. You should try to avoid materials like:

  • Sandpaper
  • Wire brush

In our opinion, steel wool is the best way to go as it is soft and easy to use. It efficiently gets rid of all the rust spots.

Get the Right Abrasive Material

3. Lubrication is Important

For rust removal, you need to lubricate your gun. You can use any oil for this purpose but we recommend that you use the ones that are designed to use with firearms. You will also need things like tissue paper, towels, newspapers, etc.

Lubrication is Important

4. Starting the Procedure

Once you have everything that you need, you can start the procedure. Let’s go through the steps:

  1. The first thing is to unload it and the gun is pointed towards the other side.
  2. Place it in a place where it doesn’t move around. Also, make sure to choose a quiet area so can focus on the work at hand.
  3. Keep the newspapers or towels in close proximity for cleaning all of the residues.
  4. Apply oil to the gun. Make sure to avoid putting in large amounts of oil as you only need a few drops of it.
  5. Use the steel wool to rub the surface of the gun without applying too much pressure.
  6. Keep applying a bit of oil while rubbing. You can also put the oil directly on the steel wool and then clean it.
  7. After a few minutes, clean off the gun with a towel or tissue paper and check for any signs of rust.
  8. If there are rust spots present, repeat steps 4 to 7.

When you have made the gun rust-free, give it a last lubrication with the oil and clean it with a towel.

This video demonstrates how to remove surface rust from your weapon and restore its beauty.

Chemical De-Rusting

Chemical de-rusting is a very effective solution that involves different acids for removing rust from a gun:

  • Muriatic acid is a really good choice for this process.
  • You can also use vinegar as well.
Important! The difficult part with cleaning is that gun owners tend to leave a lot of scratches on the metal parts, especially the gun barrel. This is mainly due to the use of tools like a blade or a screwdriver. You should never use such items to remove rust spots.

Essential Items

If you want to remove rust from a gun using chemicals, then you’ll need the following items along with the acid discussed above:

  • Paper towel
  • Four steel wool
  • Gun oil
  • Nylon or a brush
  • Soft cotton rag
  • Vinegar
Essential Items

7 Different Methods For Removing Rust:

Here are some of the best and most easy ways to clean rust off of your gun:

1. Gun oil

You can literally use any type of gun oil.

  • Many gun owners tend to prefer a brand like Hoppe or Sage and Braker Mercantile while others do not so much. So, it is basically up to you.
  • You need to put the oil on the heavy rust areas. It is also a good idea to leave the substance on the heavy rust for a while as it will soften it up.
  • Use a cloth for scrubbing and clean the surface to track your progress.

2. A Brass Wire Brush

A brass wire brush works really well to clear out the rust formation. Here’s what you need to know:

  • It is viable both on the surface and inside of the gun barrel as well.
  • After the gun oil has settled in, it is time to start scrubbing to clean the rust.
  • It is pretty useful to also add oil to the brush to make it more effective.
  • Using a wire brush isn’t going to harm the finish, so you can scrub really hard.
  • After you start to see the rust formation cleaning out, it is time to move on to the next step.
A Brass Wire Brush

3. Steel Wool

When a wire brush doesn’t clean the area where rust occurs, it is time to use steel wool.

  • It is a great tool for rust removal but can also damage the finish if used harshly.
  • You should use softer steel wool and rub it in using a circular motion on the rusted area.
  • The rubbing should continue till the rust is completely removed from the gun.

4. Battery Charger

Follow these guidelines for effective results:

  • Arrange these four items: A plastic container, steel rod, baking soda, and a battery charger.
  • Make a blend using 1 tablespoon of soda and water inside the plastic container.
  • It will create electrolytes needed to remove the rust.
  • Place the metal rod inside the container and it will act as the positive terminal. The solution that we mixed earlier is the negative terminal.
  • Then place the gun in the container and use a battery to connect the positive side to the rod and the negative side to the gun.
  • The solution will start bubbling and you need to at least give it about 3-5 hours for the rust to completely remove.
  • Turn off the charger when it is time and take the gun from the container. Wipe it off and you’re good to go.

You should check out this video for further detail.

5. Using WD-40 for Removing Rust

It is one of the simplest ways to remove rust from a gun. Here’s what you need to know:

  • WD-40 has various rust-prevention properties and is effective at displacing moisture.
  • You need to spray it on the rust remains and leave it for 24 hours.
  • After a day, proceed to spray it again and gently rub it off with a clean cloth.
  • The gun should be free of any rust and should look brand new.

6. Copper Penny and Oil

Follow these instructions for the best results:

  • You need to apply some oil to the rusted parts of the gun.
  • Allow the oil to sit for about half an hour.
  • Use a copper penny to clean the rust off the weapon.
  • After you are satisfied and the rust is gone, clean the gun with a cloth.
  • You can further use weapons-grade gun grease to make sure that it doesn’t get rusted again.
Copper Penny and Oil

7. Lead Pencil and Oil

This method is used only for the small rusted spots on a gun. Here’s what you need to know:

  • It is very similar to the above method and only the tool has changed in this case.
  • After the oil has settled in for about 30 mins, you need to use a lead pencil to scrape the rust.
  • Make sure not to apply too much pressure so that you don’t damage the finish.

Preventive Measures Against Gun Rusting

There are a couple of things that you can do for rust prevention.

  • The first thing is storage. Always store your gun in a cool and dry place.
  • According to the National Firearms Museum, your firearm collection should be stored at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and at a humidity level of 50-55%.
  • You should make a habit of oiling your gun to prevent the moisture from building up. It depends upon the type of gun too.
  • If you are using a concealed carry, then you should regularly oil it. Keep in mind that the drier your gun, the less chance of rust forming.
Preventive Measures Against Gun Rusting

Common Problems Due to Improper Care

If you are not taking care of your gun properly, then here are some of the common problems that you might face:

  • Residential fouling buildup
  • Rust
  • Firing Failure
  • Feed Failure
  • Ejection Failure


How do you clean a rusty gun?

To clean a rusty gun, start by using a brass wire brush and super fine steel wool. Then, apply gun oil and use an old rag or cloth to wipe down the surfaces. For stubborn rust, you can use a WD-40.

How do you remove visible rust?

To remove visible rust, use a combination of a brass wire brush to gently scrub the rusted areas. Then apply a rust converter or rust remover to prevent further corrosion.

How to remove rust from barrels?

You can use a bore brush and gun cleaning solvent to scrub the inside of the barrel. This will allow you to remove contamination efficiently.

Can you use metal reserve rust remover on a gun?

Yes, Metal Rescue Rust Remover can be used on guns. It is safe to use on various metal surfaces, including gun parts. Simply submerge the rusted parts in Metal Rescue for a specific duration. Rinse and dry thoroughly to remove rust and protect the metal.


You can remove the rust from your gun easily if you spot it in the earlier stages by using gun oil or steel wool. If it has settled in, you need to use chemical de-rusting which involves the use of muriatic acid along with other necessary equipment mentioned above.

Be careful and avoid the usage of tools that can damage the body of your weapon. It is really important that you follow the preventive measures mentioned above and take care of your gun.

Which method did you find most easy and has worked for you? Share your feedback in the comments!

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Tyler Purol is a professional Bowhunter. He has professional training in hunting. For many years he hunts regularly.