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  #1  
Old 08-11-2011, 03:25 PM
kxk kxk is offline
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Cleaning and storage of collectable pistols

I recently got a question about cleaning and storage of collectable pistols and thought that since everyone seems to have an opinion about how to clean and store collectable pistols, The discussion should make an interesting start to a thread about cleaning and storage. Below is our conversation. I am interested in what storage methods others use and the basis for the methods:
Karl, I was hoping to ask a quick question for you regarding about a proper way to store pistols for medium to long term storage. Iíve heard a few different trains of thought about it. Some wanting to leave them out in the open. Some, putting them in a ziplock bag, others keeping them very wet, and others keeping them dry. I was hoping to get some insight as to the proper way to go about this.
Nick
Where you live and how you intend to display has a lot to do with how you store your guns. If you live in the desert where it is dry the year around, just about any storage method will keep your guns from rusting. However if you live on the East Coast where it is humid most of the year, you will need a strategy that will keep the rust from forming. If the surface of the pistol is completely free of soluble salts such as sodium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Mercuric chloride, etc., the rust will have a hard time starting, even in a high humidity area. However, few pistols are really salt free, because simply holding or touching a pistol will contaminate it with sodium Chloride, and removing all the salts is a difficult job. Most collectors do not try and remove all the salts, but treat the pistol with so called cleaning agents such as Breakfree CLP (Cleaner Lube and Preservative.) This product does very well at lube and Preserving, but it does not remove all the salts. It does contain volatile chemicals that retard the forming of rust. These volatile chemicals that retard the forming of rust will evaporate if the pistol is not enclosed in a plastic bag while soaked in the CLP. The pistols are covered in oil using this method and it is a bit messy.
Another method is to use a gun safe with a heater inside. This will reduce the humidity inside the safe,and many store the guns openly in the heated safe. This is a very convenient method as the guns are dry and accessible. However if the salts stay on the guns, the guns will probably eventually rust. I prefer the wet bag method. Remember that soluble salts go into solution in the presence of water and it only takes a temperature change to produce condensation.
Karl, Thank you for the information here, itís greatly appreciated. We have pretty low humidity here in Utah year round. The temperature is somewhat extreme 105+ summer days and usually below zero in the winter. Lately I have been trying to get in the habit of putting on Nitrile gloves before I touch any of them. With the gloves on it doesnít matter if they are wet or dry from a handling perspective. I have been using CLP for the past few years so Iím glad that Iím on a good path with it.
In regards to stocks, I would assume wouldnít harm the plastic stocks over long time. What about the wood stockís? Does the CLP seem to have a positive / negative effect on them?
In regards to the finish, the high polish and brushed finishes would seem to take to the wet method. On the Dulite and Parkerized finishes that are a bit more of a matt, do you see the CLP having a negative effect on them? These finishes appear to have such an even dry look over time I wonder if keeping them wet would change the finish of them.
Nick, I mentioned CLP, but I really meant Breakfree CLP. I believe that there are several products called CLP. Also, I believe that there is a product made by the same company that makes Breakfree CLP, called Collector breakfree CLP. Brownells has it. It is specially formulated for long term storage of collector guns. I have found that aerosol cans of any lubricant tend to lose their propellant long before the can is empty, as well as spraying the lube where you don't want it as well as where you want it. I have found the 4 oz. squeeze bottle to be the best dispensing method. These chemicals all need to be shaken before and during use to keep the components in suspension, so the small 4 oz squeeze bottle makes that easy. Otherwise by the time you get to the bottom of the container you wind up with mostly heavier components.
There is still nothing like hot (Not boiling, just hot) soapy water (followed by rinse in clear water, blow dry, and immediately oil,) to remove soluble salts. Completely Disassemble any guns that you clean with the hot soapy water method and dry and lube each piece before re-assembly.

These preservatives are like most things in life a two edged sword. If they protect well, they are probably hard to get off. Parked guns have a sandblasted finish and the lube tends to stay in the small dents caused by the sandblasting. If you want to show off the pistols without the lube, you can either store them dry or plan on removing the lube before displaying them. About the only way to remove the lube is with a solvent. The most gentle useful solvent is 90% isopropanol, but it does not work nearly as well as some of the other more aggressive solvents such as lacquer thinner. All of the solvents tend to scavenge water from the work, so they tend to dry out any stock whether it is wood or plastic. Some will dissolve plastic. I have long ago decided that I would keep my pistols wet and I would display them wet (Wipe off excess lube only.) Be careful with aggressive solvents lest you damage something. I don't think that the lube will do the parked finishes any harm because the military used oil on the guns. However if you wish to bring the pistol back to the dry powder type of finish, you may have difficulty removing the lube sufficiently., and if you want to display a dry parked pistol regularly, you might consider storing it dry in a plastic bag with several bags of silica gel. The silica gel must be stored in a sealed container to avoid contaminating it with moisture. Best Karl
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:42 PM
win40-82 win40-82 is offline
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How would a good soft cotton cloth soaked in CLP, placed around the pistol then placed inside of a plastic bag work? Would Hoppes gun oil or silicon be used in the same manner be acceptable??
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:05 PM
kxk kxk is offline
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Soft Cotton Cloth...

I am not sure what the purpose of the soft cotton cloth is. I can see it being a place for salts to hide and then the salts go in the bag too. I know of several people who soak their pistols in Breakfree and then wrap them with small pieces of saran wrap (presumably to keep out any air.) The cloth retains whatever is on it in close proximity to the metal. Hoppies Gun Oil is a pure mineral oil and it has little surface adhesion. There is absolute Right way to store guns just as there is a myriad of products that claim to prevent rust. My personal preference is Breakfree Collector. Best Karl
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  #4  
Old 08-11-2011, 07:11 PM
vette vette is offline
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First clean the firearm thoroughly. Use any proven safe method but I remove grips, especially if wood. Hot water with dish washing detergent is good for cleaning IMO, and important if any corrosive ammo has been fired in it. Lots of hot water rinse. Get it good and dry and as fast as possible. Hair dryer is a good idea. Use WD-40 to displace any moisture if any doubt exists then wipe off the majority of the WD-40 with a lint free cloth. This is probably a good idea even if no moisture exists as it will get lube everywhere. Then apply RIG/Rust Inhibiting Grease to all metal surfaces. Store in a humidity and moisture controlled environment. You should be good for a long time, probably years. Do not: store in holsters, laying on any absorbant material, in gun cases, etc. This is how I do it but other methods are likely fine as well. Eezox has excellent rust inhibiting properties, but follow the instructions and avoid contacting the listed surfaces if you use it vs RIG. Other preservatives may work fine but few will come close to the duration of RIG or Eezox.
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:09 PM
1saxman 1saxman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by win40-82 View Post
How would a good soft cotton cloth soaked in CLP, placed around the pistol then placed inside of a plastic bag work? Would Hoppes gun oil or silicon be used in the same manner be acceptable??
It has been known for centuries that you do not store guns wrapped in any kind of cloth*. Sealing a gun in a plastic bag could backfire too because there is always moisture present**. You clean and oil it and put it on a rack in your arms room. What, don't have an arms room? Okay, your safe or cabinet.
Personally, I no longer use soap and water for anything on a gun. I will use water when cleaning up after corrosive ammo, but only in an emulsion with Ballistol. As far as a gentle dry-cleaning solvent, it's hard to beat Naptha. Don't have any? It's also known as 'lighter fluid', 'Coleman Fuel' and 'charcoal lighter fluid'. Use it outdoors and don't set yourself on fire. It's hard to beat 'Ballistol' for old guns and wood. For any gun in storage, it should be checked and oiled every six months.
*What about the 'white bag' carbines? Yes, they were in a cloth bag but were specially prepared and stored.
**You could grease a gun up, put it in a heavy plastic bag, vacuum all the air out and heat seal it. Something like this you could bury in the ground.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:24 PM
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When I had to store my handguns for a couple of years I coated them inside and out with Break-Free CLP, then put them inside Ziploc bags and squeezed all the air out. I then put them inside gun rugs and stuffed them in the safe. I also oiled up all of my spare magazines and put them in small sandwich bags, and tuffed them all inside a box. In this fashion everything remained well-oiled and in perfectly preserved condition. The only issue with my method is the fact that in the event of a house fire the Ziploc bags would likely melt all over the weapons and leave a huge mess. Therefore I would only recommend this to somebody who isn't otherwise concerned about fire.

Currently I just keep my guns well-oiled and in rugs, and I check on them frequently. It's not humid enough where I live to worry about moisture in the safe. If I lived in the Gulf coast it'd be a whole different story. In that case I'd use a heavy preservative oil and keep them inside storage boxes.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:48 PM
Johnny Peppers Johnny Peppers is offline
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As mentioned by Dana, I use the cardboard storage boxes with a sheet of Brownells VPI paper. I also use a light rust preventive gun oil, giving the pistol a light coat, and have never had a trouble with rust. I live where the temperature and the humidity can be 99. Even though I use a gunsafe with a high fire rating, I feel the cardboard boxes offers a measure of extra fire protection.
The gun oil I am using now is M-Pro 7. It is suppose to be the latest thing out in gun protection and lubrication, but the thing that sold me most was the lack of odor.

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Old 08-11-2011, 11:47 PM
1saxman 1saxman is offline
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That's a great method. Look at that Colt! Anybody use G-96?
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2011, 08:54 AM
english english is offline
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I mostly collect WWI and II German marked pistols and and a variety of other military pistols too. (125 altogether)I do exactly what Karl mentioned about Break Free and the plastic wrap (tightly wrapped). I had a 1908 Belgium Bayard(very dull looking)that I wrapped and put back in the holster and two years later it looked like new. It does something to the finish that takes off years of handling. This is just my opinion and my experience with that method of storing.
Joe
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:40 PM
JES517 JES517 is offline
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I am currently using Breakfree CLP with ziploc freezer bags. The bags come with a vacuum pump, but I am not sure this is the best method because some of the bags leak air.
Karl made a very important remark about the CLP oil. You must shake it up everytime you use it. It contains Cleaning, Lubricating, & Protection substances and if you don't shake it up, you are not getting a good mix of the 3.
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:16 PM
Texagun Texagun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Peppers View Post
....I use the cardboard storage boxes with a sheet of Brownells VPI paper. I also use a light rust preventive gun oil, giving the pistol a light coat....
I've used the same method for years. Then they are stored in a gun safe containing a Golden Rod and several boxes of dessicant.
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Old 12-16-2011, 03:31 AM
ClydeBarrow ClydeBarrow is offline
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I've had good luck with using Bore-Stores. They are fabric gun cases that use a breathable material treated with silicone plus a rust inhibitor. Inexpensive product that works great.

Be warned, the company website is kinda goofy. I bought two Bore-Stores and never received an email confirming my order. I emailed them and got a reply from "Big Spring Enterprises" telling me the order was received and they'd already shipped via USPS--no tracking number was provided. It all turned out to be legit in the end, just a tad unprofessional (small family-run business, I think).

You can buy them from Midway USA but be sure to not get the el cheapo Midway knock-offs. They have way more sizes/offerings (including custom-size options) on the Bore-Store website, btw.

Last edited by ClydeBarrow; 12-16-2011 at 03:36 AM.
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:16 AM
gc45 gc45 is offline
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East of where I live, there is an antique firearm museum that the owner of 30 yrs told me he uses nothing but Balistol and or G-96 on all metals both ferrous and non-ferrous, woods as well...Mostly he uses G-96 saying, it lasts longer on serfaces exposed to air like museums often are. For my guns, I have used Balistol on everything for about 15 years now without any issues. My pistols are in rugs but not zipped up so they get air plus I wipe them down once a month using Balistol. Nothing is stored in cloth! Rifles stand vertical and open in the safe with same treatment; no goldenrod either but my safe is in heated space and often gets opened with lots of veltilation so this seems to work for me..

GC45
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:42 AM
TexasGunner TexasGunner is offline
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Any anyone use Gunzilla? Its suppose to be safe, non toxic and is made from a plant base.
http://www.gunzilla.us/
I like CLP but it tends to dry up fast. I was also thinking about using ballistol if I can find it locally.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:53 PM
MACE_Hardware MACE_Hardware is offline
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Any thoughts on using ultrasonic cleaners?
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:37 PM
cololab cololab is offline
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Years ago (longer than I now care to remember) I acquired a can of RIG/Rust Inhibiting Grease that has served me very well for long term storage preservation.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:27 PM
Cal1911a1 Cal1911a1 is offline
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How about for parkerized finish? Is it the same as blued? The 1945 Ithaca I recently obtaind was so dry the thumb safety would not move up and down as well as the bbl. bushing. I applied a little CLP and waited, applied more and all was well. My point in question is it seemed like no oil on this gem for many years until I recieved, and no sign of rust anywhere on this piece. Will parkerrized guns rust ? The only rust was on the original blued magazine. Thanks.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:34 AM
frankmmiii frankmmiii is offline
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If you want to showcase a gun in a shadow-box frame or a custom built case that hangs on a wall, what is the best way to do this? What type of material should be used to hold the gun in place? i.e. Can I use a wooden dowel under the frame and one through the trigger guard? Any thoughts on this will be greatly appreciated.
Thank You.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:46 AM
jsottile001 jsottile001 is offline
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Anyone every use these no rust bags?

http://norustbags.net/
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:11 PM
Huck BB62 Huck BB62 is offline
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One more thing...

If you keep your gun safe warmer, even slightly, you'll keep the moisture out of your safe so, I've wondered if you built a display case and had a few bulbs in it under glass, or heck, even a small safe heater that kept the pistol warmer than ambient, it'd be safe from corrosion.
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:25 PM
chambersaviator chambersaviator is offline
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So... I'm trying to figure out what to use as a lubricant and preservative for several finishes--blued and parked. I hear a lot of good things about Break Free. Brownells carries several kinds. The BREAK-FREE GUN COLLECTOR'S PRESERVATION KIT looks like it would be great but is kinda expensive. But it seems designed just for collectors. I do want something that is good for storing guns but is still displayable. Then there is Break Free CLP in bottle. I have heard good things about it. So you folks that like break free, which type do you think is best? What types have worked good on different finishes? The guns that need preservatives and lubrication are a 43' Rand and a 1918 black Colt.
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:38 PM
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I use both. I normally use regular Break-Free CLP on all of my weapons, both shooters and safe queens. But on weapons that will be stored or left untouched for any length of time I use the Break-Free for Collectors as it's a heavier viscosity and won't run off or evaporate nearly as fast as the regular stuff. For a weapon that's going to be fired often however it's a bit too thick.

There are lots of great products on the market, and some may say theirs is better than Break-Free CLP. But I've been using it ever since Day One on my firearms and never had any problems, so I'm reluctant to change.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:21 PM
7th Fleet 7th Fleet is offline
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I store my weapons in a cool dry room with a dehumidifier and I have never had an issue with rust or corrosion on any of my guns. I also wipe them down with a CLP impregnated rag after they are handled by anyone.

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Old 08-12-2012, 10:46 PM
rmlachance rmlachance is offline
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Ultra Sonic Cleaners

I just purchased a Hornady Magnum 3L Sonic Cleaner to clean brass and see that they have a One Shot Gun Parts formula.

Does anyone have thoughts on whether to use one on your collectable 1911's?

It does a great job cleaning brass but I'd hate to find out the hard way that it does "too good" of a job removing dirt and some finish!

Experience with these?

Thanks.

Ray
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Last edited by rmlachance; 08-13-2012 at 05:10 PM. Reason: grammer
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:31 PM
mustang652 mustang652 is offline
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I live in Vegas, so with minimal effort, rust is not a real problem and makes cleaning simple. After firing, initial cleaning with "Ed's Red", rinse with non-chlorinated brake cleaner, application of Finish Line lubricant on all parts and exterior, and final wipe down with silicon cloth. On the safe queens, occasional take downs and monthly wipe down with a little Finish Line.
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