My SG HRA Garand from CMP came in last week but with work and business travel I just got around to tearing it apart today to start removing the cosmoline.
The stock itself looks in pretty good shape with the 1/2" kickin' chicken nicely defined, matches the build period for the receiver so its plausible that it's original era at least. However the upper handguards have some pretty severe perpendicular scratches across the grain on both sides of the forwardmost wood (like it was constantly rubbing against something metallic).
My first question is: is it possible to remove the handguards without completely disassembling the barrel/gastube? If so, how?
Second question: I've read some of the websites (surplusrifle.com, etc) on the easiest way to remove cosmoline. It looks like steam does a good job and some people put theirs in the dishwasher, etc. Going with that line of thinking....I have access to a steam autoclave that I can run on a lower temp cycle. This sounds like a 'quik n' ez' method of removing cosmoline and I can't think of any reason this would hurt the rifle..... but since I've never done this before I'm looking for your guys opinion.
Third question: the palm area of the handguard is a little wider than my SA Garand and I don't like the way this one feels. I don't want to just start going nuts with the belt sander but how can I best shape it to fit my hand?
Thanks for any assistance you can provide.
Upper handguard? No.
A great way to get the cosmoline out of the stock and avoid refinishing it is to warp the stock in newspaper, then plastc and leave it inside a car on the dashboard for a few hours on a hot day. Wipe and repeat until it's all gone. For this method, it's fortuneate that you live in Fla..
Also, post war stocks had a slightly different contour than WWII era stocks. My advice is to leave it original.
The front and guards come of by removing the gas cylinder lock nut (Use a gas lock wrench), next spin the lock counter clock wise, last is the gas cylinder that pulls straight out. By the way, pulling the gas cyclinder is a service item, so don't think as it as a smith only job.
As for the rear hand guard, get a guard tool or your going to do some damage getting the lock ring off the gaurd. As for the front guard, you just pick a side to spread the center piece ends straight to pull the metal from the guard.
Now on the dish washer method, Do not use heat drying cycle or you will crack the stock.
The dishwasher works great to pull most of the grease, strip the finish off the stock, and raise all by the most severe dents. If you have area's that are really grimed up (read ground in black) you will need to use mineral spirts to leach the last of it out. Don't try to use the dishwasher method more than once or you chance splitting the grain of the wood.
Once you do have the stock clean, let it dry out for at least a week before you start to final sand and refinish the stock.