Polishing Armory Bright A Rusty Musket

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kfranklin

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I recently acquired two muskets in the post-gettysburg get out of the hobby rush. Unfortunately they are quite rusty! I want to polish both to armory bright (remove ALL rust). I polished the lock innards with a buffing wheel and black/grey compound.

How should I polish the outside of the barrel? Wet/dry sandpaper? Bronze wheel? I am going from a fairly rough condition (It's clear the former owner of one had never removed the barrel from stock....)
 

johan_steele

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Green scotch bright brilla pad or for severe areas an SOS pad. And some elbow grease.

Just pray the git didn't use spray silicone on it in a vain effort to keep the rust away... that is a nightmare and a half to clean up after.
 

kfranklin

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Green scotch bright brilla pad or for severe areas an SOS pad. And some elbow grease.

Just pray the git didn't use spray silicone on it in a vain effort to keep the rust away... that is a nightmare and a half to clean up after.
Thank you. I tried the green scotch brite pad and go nowhere. I will give an SOS pad a try. I am trying to restore these to brand new from the factory.
 
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jpro

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I soak all my iron gun parts I dig in apple cider vinegar. It removes all rust. I use a drimmel wheel to get at any pitted areas..this process works for me and gets my relics down to original.
 

redbob

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I soak all my iron gun parts I dig in apple cider vinegar. It removes all rust. I use a drimmel wheel to get at any pitted areas..this process works for me and gets my relics down to original.
Apple cider vinegar? Thanks for the tip, I'll have to try it.
 

kfranklin

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I soak all my iron gun parts I dig in apple cider vinegar. It removes all rust. I use a drimmel wheel to get at any pitted areas..this process works for me and gets my relics down to original.
Does it remove the patina? I am specifically trying to remove that (I know sin!!!!) I just want these to look fresh from factory, and they are two common Armisports.
 
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jpro

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Does it remove the patina? I am specifically trying to remove that (I know sin!!!!) I just want these to look fresh from factory, and they are two common Armisports.
Yes..it'll remove the patina, however I add that back to mine. I just dug a musket buttplate for a model1816/1842 here are the photos before during and after the process that I use.
 

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kfranklin

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Yes..it'll remove the patina, however I add that back to mine. I just dug a musket buttplate for a model1816/1842 here are the photos before during and after the process that I use.
Thanks, I think I will have to give it a try if the SOS pad doesn't work out.
 

cyberfish2

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I haven't seen it for years, but there used to be a product called Naval Jelly that would disolve rust down to the bare steel.
You had to wash it off throughly after.
 
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redbob

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I recently acquired two muskets in the post-gettysburg get out of the hobby rush. Unfortunately they are quite rusty! I want to polish both to armory bright (remove ALL rust). I polished the lock innards with a buffing wheel and black/grey compound.

How should I polish the outside of the barrel? Wet/dry sandpaper? Bronze wheel? I am going from a fairly rough condition (It's clear the former owner of one had never removed the barrel from stock....)
I see that you are a part of the "Buffsticks", now I know why you want to polish your barrels bright since the "Regulars" were about the only unit that kept their weapons polished.
 

johan_steele

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I see that you are a part of the "Buffsticks", now I know why you want to polish your barrels bright since the "Regulars" were about the only unit that kept their weapons polished.
That is a serious farbtastic re-enactorism. The majority of arms carried by soldiers of the ACW were "struck bright" and kept that way. This was true on both sides of the aisle. A bright weapon was considered a clean weapon. God help the private that let his weapon rust... that's what the 1st Sgt... and 2nd, 3rd & 4th Sgt were for, to keep the soldiers being soldiers instead of children w/ guns. Show me a unit w/ dirty weapons... and I'll show you a unit that never knew combat or campaign not to mention poor NCO's & officers..
 
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redbob

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That is a serious farbtastic re-enactorism. The majority of arms carried by soldiers of the ACW were "struck bright" and kept that way. This was true on both sides of the aisle. A bright weapon was considered a clean weapon. God help the private that let his weapon rust... that's what the 1st Sgt... and 2nd, 3rd & 4th Sgt were for, to keep the soldiers being soldiers instead of children w/ guns. Show me a unit w/ dirty weapons... and I'll show you a unit that never knew combat or campaign not to mention poor NCO's & officers..
In Reese's Sikes' Regular Infantry Division, 1861-1864, among the differences that the Regulars noted between themselves and the Volunteer regiments was the indifference with which the volunteers maintained their equipment and weapons.
 

johan_steele

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In Reese's Sikes' Regular Infantry Division, 1861-1864, among the differences that the Regulars noted between themselves and the Volunteer regiments was the indifference with which the volunteers maintained their equipment and weapons.
I stand by my statement. "...the "Regulars" were about the only unit that kept their weapons polished." Is a pure farbtastic re-enatorism. Weapons were kept clean and functional which at the time also meant bright. This included CS troops Sam Watkins mentions keeping his own weapon bright and speaks of others in the 1st TN doing so as well. Warren at Gettysburg mentioned seeing CS muskets gleaming in the sunlight... The 2nd MN VI proudly kept their P53's bright and clean until they were exchanged for Springfields, 3rd IA VI left Iowa w/ M1842's which they kept clean and bright until they exchanged them for P53's and later M1861's... I could go on but I won't. A unit of soldiers who had any pride in themselves or their unit kept themselves reasonably clean and well mended as weather & campaign allowed but their weapons were another matter.

A rusty weapon is the sign of a soldier that doesn't care about his weapon... good NCO's have a tendency to deal with that kind of stupidity then and now. This was as true for the CS as the US.

The Regulars were held to a higher standard than the state troops, but they were also expected to wear neck stocks and shoulder scales to look as good as possible... The majority of state troops looked at the Regulars as an example. The CS Army was based upon the practices of the US Army, a majority of CS officers had served in the US Army and held the same standards. They didn't want to be second to the US Army in anything and rarely were.
 
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kfranklin

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Well regardless of regulars or not, I like to keep all of my firearms spotless as I can. I am a subscriber to the mantra that a clean weapon is a safe weapon.

BTW, Mr. Barry, I love your book and since using it I no longer have misfires with my '61 so long I keep it clean, pop-off a cap or two before a round and give a light tap between the lock plate screws.
 

Craig L Barry

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I have never experienced mis-fires with any of the US Model 1855s or 1861s that I have owned/used. But I stand accused of keeping a fastiduously clean weapon...especially the flash channel of those models. The average (re)enactor treats his musket like a snow shovel after the driveway is finished, right into the corner of the garage until the next event.

I do hate to see a rusty musket, especially in line next to me. Period accounts overflow with details of the drudgery of cleaning a musket so it was fit to pass inspection, often with nothing but rags, sticks and brick dust.
 
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kfranklin

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I have never experienced mis-fires with any of the US Model 1855s or 1861s that I have owned/used. But I stand accused of keeping a fastiduously clean weapon...especially the flash channel of those models. The average (re)enactor treats his musket like a snow shovel after the driveway is finished, right into the corner of the garage until the next event.

I do hate to see a rusty musket, especially in line next to me.
I am with you there. Between yourself and Mr. Steele this forum as two wonderful sources of information.

BTW. do you know of anybody that makes reproduction mainspring vices?
 

johan_steele

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BTW. do you know of anybody that makes reproduction mainspring vices?
Track of the Wolf has them for $20 or so, I've seen originals for less than $50... I'm still cussing myself for not picking up the last one I saw at a gun show. I hesitated and someone else snatched it up. I had thought $75 was a bit steep.

FWIW an original M1855/61/63 musket tool can be used as a mainspring vice by using the nipple wrench. That's how I do it most of the time.

http://www.trackofthewolf.com/Search.aspx?search=mainspring vice
 
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