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TO CLEAN INSIDE OF RIFLE—Can you tell me how to clean the inside of a rusted rifle barrel?

It is too bad that you allowed your rifle barrel to become rusty. Rust is simply decayed metal caused by dampness, and the metal that is decayed (rusted) can never be replaced. The only remedy is to remove the rust, which will leave rough spots where it ate the surface off the bore. Rough spots in a barrel are always a source of trouble. They can be removed only by cutting away with emery dust or some such substitute, and this enlarges the bore and destroys the rifling, so the better plan is to remove the rust and let the rough spots remain. If you have been trying to clean it you have probably removed the rust and it is only the effect of the rust (the rough spots) that you see now. To remove rust take a brass wire brush and scour the barrel out dry, then clean with tight-fitting white cotton cloths and some cleaning oil, like Three-To-One, or one of the various nitro-solvents. This will take out all of the loose rust and you should not do any more than that. If you have no wire cloth you can wind tow or soft cord on the end of your rod, but not to the size of the bore; moisten it with oil and dip in emery dust, then carefully cut out the rust spots. But be very careful in using any cutting substances as a little too much is far worse than the rust. Don’t try to make the spots smooth and bright. If the barrel is only lightly rusted as will sometimes happen if the gun is stood away a few days after cleaning without oiling, or sometimes after using the wrong kind of oil in cleaning, then by moistening the cleaning rag with oil and dipping in powdered pumice stone, or Old Dutch Cleanser. a few swipes through the barrel, allowing the rag to follow the grooves, will remove all traces of rust, and no harm to the barrel. After the gun is thoroughly cleaned, never set it away without greasing the bore well with some heavy gun grease.

Harding, A.R.. 3001 Questions and Answers. Columbus, Oh: A.R. Harding, 1913.

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