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How to Remove Pitting from a Gun: Tips and Tricks

How to Remove Pitting from a Gun

Suppose you have firearms that haven’t received proper maintenance for a long time. In that case, they often experience corrosion, and pitting is considered to be among the most extreme consequences.

If you fail to perform timely repairs, pitting would slowly weaken the weapon’s structural integrity, and stress corrosion cracking is inevitable. That is why if you detect pitting on one of your older guns, it’s essential to take care of it as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, removing pitting on firearms is a task that requires a fair bit of preparation and skill. One mistake is enough to cause irreversible damages. 

In this article, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about pitting and how to remove pitting from a gun. 

What You Need to Know About Pitting and Corrosion

Causes of Pitting and Corrosion

Many things could initiate pitting on guns: surface scratches, finish defects, damages on the protective coating, and shooting corrosive ammunition.

Metal oxidation and lack of maintenance nonetheless play primary roles in the pitting mechanism. After it forms, pitting would steadily penetrate the gunmetal mass and damage the structure.

In most cases, the loss of metal could be seen through the appearance of holes on the surface.

Once the dissolution of metal caused by pitting reaches a certain level, the firearm would crack or outright break apart.  

How to Eliminate Pitting

Because guns are repeatedly subjected to recoil, you have to be careful and precise while removing pitting. The last thing you ever want to do is to deform your weapon’s critical components or cause further damage to the already weakened structure.

Overall, you have to get rid of all the rust, patch the holes, sand the patch smooth and apply finishes. If everything goes smoothly, your pitting-covered firearm will look just like new again at the end of the day 

How to Avoid Pitting

It’s not too complicated to keep pitting and corrosion away from your firearms. All you have to do is perform regular inspections and maintenance.

After each shooting session, clean every gun you use thoroughly, no matter what type of ammunition you shot with. Please pay attention to your gun cage and ensure that its contents are not exposed to harmful elements.

That is usually more than enough to prevent pitting from forming on your precious weapon for most of the time.

Even if pitting does appear, you should be able to spot and take care of it in the early stage, which minimizes the damage extent.  

Removing Pitting from a Gun

(Quick Reminder: Don’t have a lot of confidence in your skills and abilities? Then it’s probably best that you send your gun to a workshop and let the professionals take over the pitting removal. There is no need to attempt to remove the pitting on your own, knowing that the final result will not end up to be according to your exact liking.)

Gather the Necessary Materials

To effectively eliminate pitting, you need something that allows you to remove the metal surface rust. For such a job, a standard bead blaster or a fine 0000 steel wool should suffice.

If you run into incredibly stubborn rust build-up, consider using solutions like EXO Rust or Naval Jelly.

As you have to work around chemicals and flying particles, put on protective gear for the project’s duration. At the very least, you have to wear a pair of goggles, gloves, and facemask.

Work in a brightly lit, well-ventilated space so you could observe the progress and let the chemical fume escape. 

Removing Pitting and Corrosion

Step 1: Remove All The Rust

Proceed to get rid of every scrap of rust you could see on the surface of the pit using the bead blaster or similar tools. It’s of utmost importance that there is no leftover rust around if you want to refinish it later.

If the pitting is relatively shallow, you could sand away the holes here and then parkerize it. That should provide your gun with a nice appearance.

If the pitting holes are deep, move to step 2 after you are done removing the rust. 

Step 2: Patch The Pitting Holes

If the pitting already causes fairly deep holes, you need to patch them by wielding before applying refinishes is possible. This is the point where you have to stay concentrated.

If you let the temperature pass beyond a sustainable level, some essential components might deform. Therefore, wrap a towel around the holes and use assistant drip water if needed to regulate the temperature.

Instead of patching the pitting holes in quick succession, take some time off to let everything cool down between welds. 

Step 3: Sand and Apply Refinish

You have to sand and polish the wielding area in the final step until it seems smooth enough for refinish. Don’t get too aggressive here, or you will end up with a lumpy finish layer.

If you want to outfit your gun with some rust protection, bluing is a great idea. Other protective coatings are also available on the market, so choose one that suits your needs and requirements the most.

After the refinishing process is complete, leave the gun alone for a couple of hours, and that should be it.

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About the author

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade is a true outdoorsman. After spending most of his career as a firearms expert and instructor in Nebraska, he retreated to the great outdoors to enjoy retirement.

Christopher’s expertise in handling firearms and hunting gear are what propelled him to create the Shooting Mystery blog. He hopes for all readers to gain useful and practical knowledge for enjoying their time outdoors.