Like a doctor, your first responsibility when cleaning up an old gun-especially an heirloom or collectible-is to do no harm. So, when it comes to rubbing down a gun for the purpose of cleaning its metal surfaces, I wouldn't consider using anything as harsh as steel wool. A much better choice is bronze wool. Bronze does not rust and will not damage delicate blueing. It come in pads just like steel wool and in grades of strand fineness such as #00, #1 and #3. Almost any kind of lubricant or cleaner that is safe for the gun's finish can be sprayed or rubbed on first and even left to work for a few minutes. Then simply rub and rust spot or otherwise damaged areas with the bronze wool. Now use a clean rag or paper towel to mop up the residue. You'll likely notice that the rag or towel has a rust-colored stain on it. That's the rust that was on your gun's finish. The great thing about bronze wool is that a little goes a long way. A small amount the size of a cotton ball can be used over and over. It doesn't shard and break off (or get trapped and attract more rust) like steel wool can. It seems to have just enough "abrasive" qualities to make it effective at removing rust and other residues, but I have never seen it leave a permanent scratch in an surface finish. Bronze wool is one of the best kept secrets in gun care. Maybe now it won't be. Brownells stocks bronze wool and it is economical-especially when compared to having to have a gun refinished by a professional! Have you tried bronze wool. Do you have any similar tips related to cleaning delicate gun finishes?
First, Do No Harm-Use Bronze Wool
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