Ever spent a full Saturday in your garage trying to scrub the last remnants of brown gooey cosmoline off of your military surplus rifle? There’s an easier way, my friend. Lots of easier ways, actually. I describe some of the most common methods in this video.

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  • Wayne Greene

    i like to take the time and really clean the metal with hoppes 9. this also lets you inspect ALL the parts, as far as the wood goes. if its too bad i will let the stock sit tween my dash and seat in the ole pickum up truck in the summer a couple of days and weep it out. then clean it with non acetone fingernail polish remover. it doesn’t strip the wood and leaves that nice patina an ole rifle gets.

  • Steve Swope

    This probably sounds goofy but I use diaper wipes to clean the majority of the the cosmoline.. Diaper wipes can clean anything.

    • Lucky Gunner Ammo

      That’s an awesome idea Steve, I’ll have to try that.

  • Ray Wasinger III

    tis the season … gift wrap storage containers would have the long skinny format needed … but check chemical compatibility before using it.

  • Jon Register

    I like to use hot water and simple green for all of the metal. For the wood I put it in the sun and wipe it off continually. This works pretty well for me.

  • Douglas E. Thede

    I use plane old stoddard solvent I get from service station suppliers.the nice thing is its not flamable and you can clean the stock off with it

  • Jay Cormier

    Gasoline……worked the best for me. IF…….I was told correctly many, many years ago…..Cosmo was designed to be cleaned with Gas. However….gas isn’t as cheap as it was 8 to 11 years ago when I did most of my cosmo-cleaning. However……..I’d still use it today. Of course….when/if you use gasoline…..wear your rubber gloves/protective apron/ operate in a well-ventilated area…..etc. I cleaned all my metal/wood/etc. ‘outside’ in the warmer-weather months. I then sprayed/soaked/wiped down all the metal parts w/some sort(s) of oil(s). The ‘wood’ was thoroughly died by the Sun and Mother Natures wind…..then given a few coats of BLO. To each their own….what you want to use……

  • Ralph McLean

    A couple of suggestions for heat sources: A hair dryer working in 6-8 inch segments, and/or a heat lamp done pretty much the same way. As for another idea for a trough when you need one: try a plastic window box-type planter, and plug the drain holes if it has them. You can also use a heavy-duty flower delivery box, just line it with heavy plastic, and seal it with duct tape. Both are cheap, and disposable, assuming that you can find them…

    • LG Chris

      I tried a hair dryer on the stock once, but it was taking forever so I gave up and left outside in the sun… maybe the one we have isn’t hot enough. I also thought of the window planter idea while I was at the hardware store, but when I got home it was about 2 inches too short for my receiver!

      • KevB

        Dunno…our sun seems pretty hot. Not sure I’d be worth it to try another one.

    • David Smith

      Your PVC tube is about the cheapest yet secure method available for soaking. Gutters and trays allow for more evaporation, thereby creating the need to replenish your solvent of choice…and increases the amount of fumes from the entire exercise. My four trials (2 SKSs, 1 Moisin Nagant, 1 Czech Mauser) were a mixture of heat and kerosene (but NOT at the same time, LOL!) and varied from 1 1/2 to 3 days (mostly due to work at my day job).

  • Brent Walter

    I have cleaned up quite a few nasty milsurp stocks (Type 53s especially). The stock I bake in the oven at about 175 degrees and periodically wiping down to remove the “sweat”. Put tinfoil down on the rack to keep the cosmoline from dripping down.

    • Carol Walter

      Makes all of the baked goods smell so good, too. lol

    • LG Chris

      Yeah, I was gonna say… sounds great but how long before your kitchen smells normal again?

    • Carol Walter

      LG Chris Truthfully doesn’t smell for very long. Of course, the stock doesn’t stay in the oven for long periods of time.

  • Joe Ondish

    Gas is definitely the way to go in cleaning, but with the cost, it doesn’t make much sense now. The cheaper, effective alternative is mineral spirits/paint thinner. It cuts through the cosmoline and essentially melts it off. Makes cleaning as easy as possible…all things considering!

    • Marshal Truckie

      As a professional I would belay the use of large amounts of gasoline in a shop to clean guns…….Smoke um if you got um!

    • LG Chris

      Safety first, kids!

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  • Bill Durham

    On SKS, Don’t forget the gas piston.i did. nothing like hot Cosmo flying everywhere.

  • David Smith

    EngineBrite and Gunk both knock cosmoline off most surfaces, but (a) make sure you are outside, the fumes are nasty, and (b) since both are aerosols, surround your cleaning area with sheet plastic or garbage bags…

    • Lucky Gunner Ammo

      Thanks David – both good tips!

  • Kevin Thompson

    I used Simple Green on the SKS I bought and believe that it did a great job, especially on the stock.

  • Boston George

    clean all the metal in mineral spirits buy new monte carlo stock 69.00 keep wood for what ever have like new rifle old wood stock dont matter to me just want a great shooting rifle

  • Confused

    I prefer gasoline and a large paintbrush, followed with a toothbrush, followed by a paper towel. Don’t need to soak pieces for hours, just dip, big brush everything and soak while you’re brushing, then toothbrush everything while soaking, wipe dry and done. Finish a Mosin in less than an hour. Do it outside so you don’t inhale the gas fumes, and no open flames, of course.

  • Cal

    One way I know of for the stock. Take said stock and place in a black trash bag. Place trash bag on a bench and get a lamp or two. Air in the bag hearts up, cosmoline heats up, comes out and wipe away. Takes a little while but works super well. Good way to prep stock for refinishing.

  • al

    The old Bulgy kit I got had cosmo on it like it had been there since the Stone Age. Gasoline didn’t do and nothing else would either…from boiling water to paint thinner. I mixed up a pint of gasoline and a gallon of old motor oil and let it soak for a couple of days. Drained it and put in some boiling water for about fifteen minutes and blew it off with brake cleaner. Squeaky clean.

  • Ro Gal

    I used a wallpaper tub. Just the right length and depth for most barrels and it was around $7 at Lowes!…and gasoline? Really? A little elbow grease, stiff brush, and odorless mineral spirits does the trick fine and safely!

  • Johnny S Davis Jr.

    Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber works the best. Melts it right off.

  • camdogify

    First thing I do is completely wrap the firearm in paper towels then place this into a black trash bag. Then I’ll place it in the hot sun for a couple of days. The roof of my shop works for me. The majority of cosmoline will wick into the paper towels.

    After dis-assembly, I scrub the parts with a water based cleaner. Dawn detergent in hot water works.
    I used to use ‘diethylene glycol monobutyl ether’ based cleaners (Purple Power, Butchers, Simple Green etc.) at work, to clean water-cooled mig weld gun parts and various air tools, when I made repairs and rebuilds. This stuff really cuts through grease (I think it was originally designed for the food industry to cut animal fat) and dirt much better than the other solvents I have had at hand. The stuff is not perfect, but compared to the hazards and price of petro-solvents, it works for me. This stuff can be easily diluted with water to cut down on the waste and it is easily rinsed away with water.

    On the down side, it un-diluted form, I’ve seen it remove paint, it can also discolor aluminium after several minutes of soaking, brass and copper can turn colors also. As always, read all cautionary notices on the container. Wear gloves and eye protection. Auto Zone sold me a 5 gal. bucket of their purple stuff for $25

  • Mohammad Fuxpigs

    I use gas and it works every time. Most effective gas is Zyklon-B!

  • damorris

    I’ve been told that varsol or tool and parts cleaners will also work.

  • Johny Vev

    +1000 to Gas, it’s thee best, simplest and less time consuming method. It is also is far less messy. Simply strip down gun, cover with Gas, give a fast bush (old toothbrush), than put aside for a few hours (best if you can leave soaking over-night, as it will do almost all the hard work for you).

    #2) Very warm/hot mineral oil works just as good. Use old rice cooker to heat MO and it will instantly melt away all old cosmo, very little brushing needed if oil is hot enough. Leaves a nice shine behind after you wipe clean too.

    Boiling water works but can leave once hell of a mess to clean up after… steam blasting works to a degree but not very practical for large areas or more than a mag and can be very messy as the old semi-melted cosmoline flakes-off/splatters at times due to the steam pressure.

    Hope this helps.