16 July 2011

Recent Arrivals - A Week Onwards

Now last we left the intrepid cosmoline cleaner he had finished with the hardware of the Mosin-Nagant 91/30 and was working on clearing the stuff from the stock.  Ahhh... such heady times! 

Now after repeated applications of antique restorer with a process of wipe-on, wait 5 minutes, wipe-off, go and do something else for a day so that you wipe down the next day before re-application... and this stuff will continue to leech out cosmoline for a month afterwards... it is now time for the final wipe down and re-assembly.

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A beauty to behold!

The benefit of doing this slow route is that if you have an area dedicated towards gun cleaning you can go through this slow process and continue on with other projects.  Makes me wish I had an area dedicated to gun cleaning...

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The wood actually is pretty dark, but I should probably do a color balance there to get something a bit closer to what it actually looks like.  Since I don't have P-shop on the machine I use for the majority of my posts, this will have to do.

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That is much closer to what things are coming out like!

Sorry for the low-light effects for the pictures, but I also don't have a dedicated platform for taking pictures.  The wood I'm using for contrast is whatever the anonymous 1x4x8' stuff is at the local Home Despot.  They don't say and I would only guess oak, given the grain spacing and knots that show up, but that is probably wrong.

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The finish is not grainy, as indicated by my poor picture taking, but smooth.  And not 'cosmoline on finish' smooth, but clean smooth like shellac on wood.  That is the finish on Mosin-Nagants, btw, garnet shellac (or a relative) at a pretty hefty cut.  I use some 1 lb. cut that I mix up in small batches for touch-up work and it re-melts the old stuff and allows for a somewhat cleaner appearance where the finish has chipped or worn off.

Basically this rifle is finished and just needs a final check-out before firing.  The chamber looks great, the rifling is sharp and the bore shines.  There are times when I begin to suspect these rifles were never fired, but that isn't indicated by the carbon deposits on the stock.  Still this one is in better overall finish shape than my prior ones, although the stock appears a bit more dented in the buttstock area from original use: minor dent irregularities were smoothed out, sanded and finished over from the arsenal.  Either that or it was just poorly cut in the first place and they decided to smooth over the imperfections...

Now for box 2!

Yes, that other box behind the first one on day one.

This is not another M-N (although I do like the batch this one came from) but something different.  Spooky, huh?

Time to pull up some pictures I took on the first day.

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In comparison the M-N was just coated with cosmoline.  This baby is packed with it.

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Yup a Yugoslav SKS 59/66 with grenade launcher/compensator and bayonet!  Unlike the USSR which must have been scrimping and saving on cosmoline, the Yugoslavs decided that for every SKS they must make sure a quart of cosmoline goes into it.

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All that glistens is not gold... most of it is probably cosmoline.  There is no real concept of 'bare metal' the way this thing was refurbed at the arsenal.

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If you are unwise enough to touch that with your bare hand, you will be putting that hand into a degreasing solution.  This is no thin coating of cosmoline, like with the M-N, but congealed masses of the stuff in every crevice of the rifle.

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All I can say is every place you see a dull gleam... you wouldn't want to touch it with your bare hand.  Plus some smart fellow along the way may have wrapped this rifle in paper for a few microseconds as there are flakes of paper embedded in the cosmoline on the surface.  They are just so infused with the stuff you can't really see them.


I wore gloves getting this baby out for display.

It got put back in the box while I got a nice book on the SKS rifle that would go through its lineage and have a detailed strip described in it because this rifle will have to go down to component parts.

Now a week later, with those materials in hand, I started out with the idea that I really do need to touch this thing with something other than gloved hands so started work on a few of the top parts to get things ready for stripping down.

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Sorry for the brightness of the paper towel there.

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This is a treated/untreated photo of the handguard over forearm, where the handguard has been treated with antique restorer and the handguard has not.  While there are some tonal differences in the wood, the top now allows for the flash to shine off of the finish (done with BLO from what I understand) while the cosmoline is just... everywhere on the bottom.

Words do not describe it, really.

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The effect is less pronounced on metal, but the very top of the grenade launcher and gas tube have been given a quick once-over and the bottom barrel and bayonet have not.  Still it is possible to recognize that there is, finally, clean metal showing up top!
I dare you to do that with any other solvent that smells like a forest has invaded your sinuses!  Just not going to happen.

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Here the rear portion of the buttstock has been cleaned with a once-over and the part in front past the grip area has not.

Yesterday was the day to really begin work and the very first thing that is in the procedure is to get the cleaning kit from the buttstock...


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Yesterday, after re-assembling the M-N, I had my first job on the SKS.

Clean the cleaning kit.

And I thought the butt plate on the M-N was bad!

Little did I know.

I put all the small parts into my handy-dandy ultrasonic cleaner with weapon cleaning solution, and gave them a 3 minute cycle.  A couple of the smaller parts, like screws, could be taken out at that point. The rest got a repeat of that and, yes, the milky substance I found from the M-N is, indeed, cosmoline that has been cavitated with bubbles as that happened to the globules of the stuff on the parts here.

While that went on I began to apply antique blemish remover to the rest of the stock hoping that it will fight its way through the cosmoline.  The wipe-on was... well... sticky and awful.  The after 5 minute wipe-off wasn't much better.  Today the overnight wait is done and I will be getting on with actually starting the thorough take-down and strip of everything from everything else.  I couldn't see through the bore... well, I could see the lovely soft glow of light attempting to get through cosmoline...

Buy your milsurp Yugoslav SKS and get a FREE quart of cosmoline!



Bloviating Zeppelin said...

When I was Rangemaster a few years ago, I received a shipment of M-16s from the military. I thought the amount of cosmo THEY applied was horrendous; clearly, they had nothing on your weapons. I have to say, however, the work you did on the wood looks quite nice!


A Jacksonian said...

Thank you, Mr. Z!

I've read the horror stories of those getting a surplus Garand that was put into cosmoline by our soldiers in the Pacific after the war when they had little else to do. I think that Yugoslav SKS is close to that level of impregnation.

If the weather holds I will drag out the cosmo-cooker trashcan and let a heat lamp get the stuff flowing for a couple of hours.

When I haven't been busy with rifles, I've been busy getting my shop put together... slowly... health doesn't allow much else. Something is telling me I am now in the 'learn it now and do it or else' stage of things. My energy to blog or even read much is out the window, so these few posts will have to do.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

And my sympathy rests with you because that crap is SO tough to clean off!


A Jacksonian said...

Remember if you want to get a Yugoslav SKS then get one from someone who has already cleaned it!

A couple of hours under the heat lamp in the trashcan will do for the worst of it... why I might even get to see if there is actually a shootable bore in the thing...

Oh, the next thing is that the Yugoslav arsenal didn't bother to actually sand the stock. It feels like 40 grit sandpaper. Would make a dandy backscratcher if it weren't for the cosmoline.