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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Augusta, Georgia

    Re: Problem With Guns Rusting

    To piggyback on Curt's post;
    Newbie questions are exactly what the "Camp of Instruction" folder is for. We used to called it "The Awkward Squad"!


    Administrator (We got rules here! Be Nice - Sign Your Name - No Farbisms)

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2014

    Re: Problem With Guns Rusting

    Rust is necessary to be period correct.
    Joey Hernandez Co. I 8th Texas Cavalry

    38 Confederate Ancestors and Counting!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Lawton, OK

    Re: Problem With Guns Rusting

    Lots of great answers, some soldiers carried what were known as "burnishing bars", ash and brick dust worked too. As Silas recommended, I carry a small vial of olive oil, and a little piece of steel wool in my cartridge box pouch with my worm and wrench.
    Frank Siltman
    24th Mo Vol Inf
    Cannoneer, US Army FA Museum Gun Crew
    Member, Oklahoma Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission
    Company of Military Historians
    Lawton/Fort Sill, OK

    Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay -- and claims a halo for his dishonesty. Robert A. Heinlein

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Arlington, VA

    Re: Problem With Guns Rusting

    Rust is not necessarily "period correct." Apart from campaigns like Sherman's through the Carolinas, I've seen a lot more references to filthy soldiers than to rusty guns -- "a ragged soldier and a bright musket" was an ideal dating back to the 17th century.

    As far as a weekend reenactment, I think one ought to be able to get by with oil, as Silas said, and a wool cloth. Domet flannel is even better, and I certainly prefer using it this way than to wearing it. This method has generally worked for me, including on a long ago six day walk in the woods with friends. Only on the last day, firing in the rain, did my poor Springfield finally develop impetigo...

    Curt may have something to add to this, but I remember reading here some time ago that the steel of repro muskets is a bit more conducive to rust than the originals. Still, a little attention can go a long way toward controlling this.

    At any rate, I think we would probably do well to leave the modern abrasives till we get home. If nothing else, it's an incentive to explore more period solutions, in keeping with the spirit of a site called "The Authentic Campaigner"...
    Michael A. Schaffner

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Re: Problem With Guns Rusting

    On the matter of "rust":

    In the 1862 edition of his textbook on ordnance and gunnery for U.S. Military Academy cadets, Captain James G. Benton wrote that French Army testing had indicated that small arms barrels could withstand 25,000 discharges without becoming unserviceable. And, that with “good care” the life expectancy for a military firearm should be approximately 50 years. The crucial issue was proper care by the soldier, which, of course, required effective training and supervision by his non-commissioned officers and officers. Benton wrote that “The practice of supporting the barrel at each end, and rubbing it with a strap, buffstick, ramrod, or any other instrument, to burnish it, is pernicious, and should be strictly forbidden.” But, that is exactly what many Civil War NCOs and officers required their troops to do. [emphasis in original] (Benton (Ordnance and Gunnery), p. 334 and 339)

    So, if a Civil War soldier was following ordnance standards, his arm should have acquired a somewhat mottled appearance as he used an oily/greased rug to kill active rust, but not a polished appearance. Hell, they weren't even "polished" when they came from the armory.

    Don Dixon

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Re: Problem With Guns Rusting

    The "The Ordnance Manual for the Use of the Officers of the Confederate States Army" states "In the inspection of arms, officers should attend to the qualities essential to service, rather than a bright polish on the exterior of the arms." p. 188. I keep emory cloth away from my muskets. Instead I use 0000 steel wool and oil at home. That knocks off rust but does not damage the metal. The whole point is to get a patina on the barrel and bands. In the field olive oil and a wool rag.

    Dan Stewart

  7. #17
    Join Date
    May 2008
    San Francisco, CA

    Re: Problem With Guns Rusting

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmayo View Post
    Written by a soldier in the 9th Va. Inf on pickett duty in Suffolk, Va.

    "My musket, my only friend, I have to keep dry consequently that gets the largest share of my blanket. "

    Are you keeping your musket out of the weather at night?
    Echoing the excellent advice of Mr. Mayo and the solider of the 9th VA inf., bedding down with your piece at night goes a long way. I find this keeps my musket dry and free of surface rust in all but the worst weather.
    Dave Schwartz,
    Company B, 79th NY Vols.
    (New York Highland Guard)

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2016

    Re: Problem With Guns Rusting

    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Schmidt View Post

    "Am I the only one wondering is some of the questions posted on here are serious? '


    However, "we" will err on the side of "No question is stupid." blended with helping Newcomers and Beginners on the road to "Authentic Campaigning" even when they make be Troll Posts posted for effect or really Newbie type questions.
    Unlike the Dark Ages of Times Past when previous incarnations of the AC "were not designed with the Beginner in mind" and some of the AC membership and Mod Staff were well known for keeping things on the "Hardcore/Authentic" end of the continuum to the point of heavy-handedness and ruthlessness.

    In the era of the "Kindler, Gentler AC' and the following "Under New Management" postings are now encouraged and supported where previously they would have been hounded or publically and privately ridiculed to other Boards.

    I actually appreciate the advice (as a newbie). I may not have asked the question, but certainly had thought about it. I do have people in my unit to ask such questions of as well and have, but sometimes prefer this medium to get a broader spectrum of answers! Thanks for the advice!
    Michael Cairns

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Medina State of Northern Ohio

    Re: Problem With Guns Rusting


    Brings back the Time when I was newer and had just done an event of two days in the rain with my new custom-built M1855 Type II Springfield RM.

    I wiped it down and wiped it dry, then heavily sprayed it well with WD40... and put it in its fancy padded zipper case.

    Two days I went to check on it, and pulled an oily peach fuzz textured, orange gun out of the case. Many hours of work to return it to armory bright/field maintained appearance!

    (WD40 floats on water.)

    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    -Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
    -Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
    -Pointless Folksy Wisdom Mess, Oblio Lodge #1
    -Vastly Ignorant
    -Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2015

    Re: Problem With Guns Rusting

    I have used in the field, both a slightly damp rag with wood ash or a charred piece of wood to remove the morning rust.
    Bruce Black

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