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Posted: 3/15/2006 5:34:54 PM EDT
I just found this. I can not take credit for any of this and I have not tried any of these methods either. If you click the links they will take you to the page with photos. Hope it helps. If the mods approve, this thread might be a good one to tack because of the many threads about cosmoline removal.

Part 1 Link with pics

The most important task relative to Cosmoline cleaning is to memorize and then continue to repeat to yourself, "Cosmoline is my friend, Cosmoline is my friend", remembering that this substance is why your "new" rifle is not a pile of rust and rotted wood.

Then, equally important, is to adopt the concept of "reversing the cosmoline application process." If you have any desire to put the military surplus rifle back into the exact condition it was in before being dipped in hot cosmoline you will avoid harsh chemicals and water. NEITHER OF THESE THINGS ARE APPROPRIATE. What is appropriate is the slow and consistent application of the same level of heat that was used to melt the cosmoline into the wood in the first place. Cosmoline can be dipped or brushed onto the firearm at temperatures between 140 and 160 degrees F. While it can be dipped into hotter melts it's not necessary and is done, generally, to allow more firearms to be dipped without cooling the liquid. So, keep in mind that cosmoline melts at about 130 degrees F and the temperature that's the best, the most gentle, and the least invasive to remove it is about 150 degrees F. Resist the urge to use higher temperatures as you want to melt the stuff not cook it. If you heat it for too long or at too high a temperature you run the risk of solidifying it, leaving a crusty residue.

Cosmoline is very much like Vaseline, both are petroleum-based products, and both are non-toxic (unless consumed). There are many, many simple solvents that will help you in your efforts but I believe that the two friendliest are mineral spirits (paint thinner) and aerosol brake cleaner. Brake cleaner is generally less expensive than carburetor cleaner because it doesn't have the chemicals in it designed to remove the shellac deposits from a carburetor, which also, according to many people, can damage not only the stock finish but also the bluing. And it's getting a bit rarer as well because automotive fuel injection has reduced the amount of airborne fuel that used to be deposited on metal carburetor surfaces. I've also heard that some of these cleaners can remove the white paint on sights but I've not had that happen with the ultra-cheap stuff.

So, before I got too involved I'd head over to the nearby Pep Boys and pick up a case of brake cleaner at about $1.00 a can. This will be enough to handle this first mil-surp and the next few that you will find tend to migrate towards the ones that have already been cleaned. Then head over to the local paint store for a half gallon of Mineral Spirits, another couple of dollars. And if you don't have a bunch of rags you might pick up a few at Pep Boys when you are there. You can wash them but if you use the mineral spirits never put them in a dryer as the fumes can be extremely flammable. Just let them air dry.

Ok, your indispensable site for disassembly and reassembly is www.surplusrifle.com. Jamie over there is my single favorite source for good, solid information about all my mil-surp rifles. The specific URL you need is: http://www.surplusrifle.com/sks/index.asp Figure that the first time you disassemble your mil-surp you're going to have cosmoline all over your hands and anything in the general vicinity. Lots of rags are essential.

As you take things apart, put them in a bucket or paint roller tray with a couple of inches of mineral spirits in the bottom. A toothbrush is essential to your success as well, and cotton swabs come in extremely handy for lots of hard to reach areas. I also have a 1" paint brush with natural bristles that can get into some pretty tiny areas. If domestic tranquility is not an issue, an alternative to this method is to cook up a batch of soapy water, even to boiling, and use that to "wash" the cosmoline off the small parts. It works equally well as the mineral spirits, is "free", and only imparts a gentle aroma of cosmoline to the home.

Once it's in its "field strip" condition you're half way done. I believe that it's absolutely essential that on most rifles that the bolt be disassembled. I believe that because I've had a couple of them that were "evidently" clean inside but when disassembled there were significant amounts of rust and cosmoline. My guess is that moisture can get trapped in there and the cosmoline keeps it from escaping.

The metal parts are simply a matter of brushing, spraying, brushing, spraying, and then doing it again. There is nothing wrong with tossing them in the oven with the stock (see below) propping the trigger guard on edge so material will flow out and otherwise putting parts and pieces on rags so the cosmoline will run into the rags. Brake cleaner down the bore will get out a goodly amount of Cosmoline and a standard cleaning with normal gun cleaner stuff (Hoppes, etc.) will take care of the rest. Lots of brake cleaner sprayed into the trigger group will generally do a good job of flushing it out. Same thing with all the other bits and pieces.

The stock is a different matter. Water and harsh chemicals are simply poor choices for cleaning wood. Chemical companies have been working for many years to develop cleaners for wood, only a few of which are water based. Murphy's Oil Soap is one such product that can be used in reasonable quantities on wood. The heavy duty "green" and "orange" cleaners are simply not appropriate for cleaning wood stocks. They contain harsh chemicals that are absolutely not necessary for cleaning cosmoline. So if your objective is to do nothing damaging to the wood while simultaneously removing the cosmoline, do NOT use any water based cleaners and avoid "grease cutters" like oven cleaners. They are extremely harsh chemicals (like, why else are you supposed to wear gloves if they aren't harsh?) and are NOT GOOD FOR WOOD.

So, let's explore the correct way to remove cosmoline. As mentioned above, gentle heat is by far the best way to liquefy and remove cosmoline. If your oven is big enough you can put it in there at "warm" (lowest possible oven setting) and it will bleed the cosmoline out from the pores of the wood. Wipe it down every 15 minutes with old toweling until the weeping has stopped. If that won't work due to size or domestic issues you can put it outside in a plastic bag, some people like black because it absorbs the heat of the sun better and some prefer clear because they opine that the direct sunshine generates more heat. This will take a little longer but it's important that whenever it starts to cool down that the stock be removed and wiped dry. I kind of like the creativity of the "dashboard" process which is a sheet of tinfoil bent up to hold liquefied Cosmoline and set on the dashboard of your vehicle. I haven't done it but it sounds like a great plan to me if you have a place where you can do it without tempting someone to "borrow" your stock. The latest method is a wrap in rags, VERY tightly sealed in a plastic bag, and a bath in the hottest water you can get. Haven't tried that one but it sounds pretty reasonable to me. Word has it that you can add boiling water from your stove to the hot water from your heater and get pretty satisfactory results.

I am going to build a "cosmo coffin" that uses light bulbs for heat but haven't done it yet. It's one of those projects that I'll get to when I get a round to it.

Word of warning - When baking your stock make absolutely sure that it's positioned in a way that will keep it from close proximity to the coil. I understand that modern gas ranges have plates above the burner so they should be fine as well. Also, if you are using a rag to remove the stock and/or hand guard from the oven, and the element is in the heating mode, if the rag touches the element it WILL begin to smolder, virtually immediately. (Please don't ask how I know.)

The point is, GENTLE heat will melt cosmoline away from both wood and metal with NO ADVERSE AFFECTS on either the wood or the blued or bright metal. After a couple of hours of 15 minute heating cycles, wiping between cycles, just let it cool and wipe off any remaining surface cosmoline with mineral spirits.

It's also a good idea to keep ANY solvents or cosmoline out of your drains. They are petroleum based and float on water. This means that they are not going to flow easily through the traps and are likely to gum up and/or clog drains. Everybody has to figure out the best disposal method in their particular circumstances.

So, that's about it. If you want to put your mil-surp rifle back into the condition it was in prior to going into storage, be patient, be gentle, and be thorough. You will ultimately be very, very glad you took the time to do it right, the first time. And if you are going to refinish you will not be disappointed by having the cosmoline seep up into and/or through your finish of choice. When you do it right you will find that the stock will take just about any finish that you like.

Article by Tom Boucher

Link Posted: 3/15/2006 5:35:58 PM EDT
Part 2 with pics

Over the years when asked what I think the best method for seeping cosmoline out of a wooden rifle stock I always say to leave it in the sun. In the warmer months I will put a stock out in the back yard, directly in the sun and then periodically wipe off the seeping cosmoline. This takes several sessions and removes enough to make me happy. If you live in a place where you have warm summer day like weather year round then stop reading now because you are set for life. All right, for the rest of us during the non-summer type months we try all different kinds of substitute methods with varying success. I was recently reading Low and Constant Heat: Cosmoline Removal by Tom Boucher and he speaks about a "cosmo coffin" with light bulbs that melts cosmoline off of a stock.  I have seen several homemade models of this coffin on the internet. Each looks to be a pretty custom job requiring some woodworking skills. I am not a carpenter. I emailed Ted Jeo and Mark Trope and we threw around ideas for how we could build our own cosmoline ovens. I decided to follow the premise that all of the materials had to be ready made and easily assembled and all of the parts had to cost less than $50 (the mil-surp collector's credo). I had two designs in mind. The first is based upon a $17, 30 gallon galvanized steel garbage can. You can set it on its side in a stand and mount the lights inside. Close it up and you are good to go. No fear of it catching on fire. The other idea is based upon how the sun works. If the heat is high enough and constant it does not need to be an enclosed unit. You could make a frame out of PVC pipe and connectors. Then put tinfoil drip pans below to catch the cosmoline. I opted to go with the garbage can approach.

Like an idiot on the day after Christmas I thought - Hey! I have some time on my hands. I should go to Home Depot and pick up all of my parts. I could not even get into the parking lot! So, I went home and planned out my shopping list a little and decided to return the next day when most people had returned to work. When you can park in a space that is only three spaces away from the store you have picked a good day and time to go to Home Depot.  I walked around the store almost two hours picking out my parts.

QTY Item Description Price Extended Price
1 30 Gallon Galvanized Steel Garbage Can $17.95 $17.95
2 #10-31x1 1/2 Slotted Head Screws and Bolts (5 each in bag) $.98 $1.96
3 Porcelain Lamp Holder - Keyless $1.37 $4.11
1 25' Extension Cord $8.97 $8.97
1 Bag of Washers $.98 $.98
3 I/O Plastic Box $1.09 $3.27
1 Pkg Terminal Connectors $.99 $.99
1 Pkg Wire Connectors $.99 $.99
1 4 Pack 100 watt Bulbs $1.44 $1.44





Figure 1 shows all of the parts ready to be assembled.
I came up with a very simple improvised stand that has an additional benefit. Basically I took a three foot section of 1" x 2" and drilled two holes through the can and the wood. I then bolted it together. At first I was also going to put a similar stand/leg at the rear of the can but found the can to be stable with one leg and since it was elevated at the front the cosmoline would flow to the bottom of the can.
Figure 3 shows one of the three I/O boxes. I chose plastic I/O boxes because they would work as an insulator between the wiring on the back of the ceramic light fixture and the metal of the can. I would have to check once I started testing to make certain they would hold up under sustained heat.  I punched out one of the tabs so I could slide the wiring harness through. I also drilled two 10-32 holes in both the can and the box. In the boxes I purchased there are guides for the nuts to rest in This is where I drilled.
Please note a major screw up. I used the bottom of the box as a drilling guide for also the wiring harness hole. I drilled it on the wrong side. I later drilled similar holes about two inches to the left (in the picture) of the holes I drilled by mistake.

Simple wiring diagram for Easy Bake Garbage Can
I cut off the female receptacle on the extension cord leaving the male plug attached. I then cut off three lengths. The first was about one and a half feet in length. The next was about two and a half feet in length and the third was about three feet in length. This left a power cord with a very long length of about eighteen feet. That is good if you are using this out doors or in the garage. You have your own built in extension cord.
Next I stripped back around three inches of insulation on both ends of the three lengths of extension cord and the one bare end of the power cord. I then stripped back the three wires on each and exposed a little over a quarter inch and then twisted the bare wire ends.
Per the drawing above (figure 4) I twisted one end of each of the lengths of cord and the exposed end of the power cord. I twisted the wires of like color insulation and then capped them off with a wire connector. This means I took four green wires and twisted them together followed by four black wires twisted together and then four white wires twisted together (as shown in figure 7).
I placed a very stout tie strap as shown in figure 8 to prevent the wires from being accidentally pulled a part.
On each of the remaining exposed ends of the three lengths of cord I installed crimp on terminal connectors. This will make a clean installation on the back of the ceramic light fixtures.
It is easier to screw in the retaining screws outside of the can. Install them and then install the ceramic lamp fixture. Tighten the screws just short of holding the fixture in place and then remove the fixture. Repeat this for all three I/O boxes and fixtures.
Screw in the six 10-32 screws into the can.
Set the I/O boxes over the screws. Place the nuts onto the screws and tighten all six down securing the I/O boxes inside the can.
Next pull the cord through the hole in the can and I/O box. I did not install a grommet in each hole. I filed down any sharp edges of the holes and am counting on the thick insulation of the extension cord to function as a grommet protecting the insulated wires inside. Like I did you can install tie straps on the cord on inside of the hole and the outside of the hole this will hold the cord in place securely and not allow it to move back and forth against the sharp edges drilled in the side of the can. Both tie straps should be flush against the sides of the can.  
Per the drawing above (figure 4) I attached the green wire to the green screw in the I/O box. Next I attached the black wire to the brass screw on the back of the lamp fixture followed by attaching the white wire to the silver screw. The lamp fixture comes with wiring instructions and if you use a color coded extension cord like I did everything should work out. Since you are working with electricity please take great care and note if you do build a Easy Bake Garbage Can you do so at your own risk.
I then installed the ceramic fixture on the I/O box and tightened down the screws. Note that you should not tighten down the screws too tightly as it will crack or break the ceramic easily.
Figure 16 shows the three fixtures installed.
Figure 17 shows my first run through light up test as being successful.

This next step really ticked off my wife when she found out what I had done. In my excitement as to the successful creation and testing of my device I emailed pictures to my wife. When she saw the rack I promptly received a phone call.  You see I did not want to go back to Home Depot and found the pictured rack in our garage and not knowing what it was used for proceeded to use it. I found out from my wife at rather high volumes that is was actually a component of the clothes dryer that facilitated drying tennis shoes.
She was none too happy at the prospect of having tennis shoes smell like cosmoline. It is really too bad because it worked perfect for my purpose. I now have to find a replacement as I was told never to use it again after I completely cleaned it and returned it to where I found it. Since I do not want to endure such high volume discussions again I will try to find something else that does not already have a primary use in some other appliance in the house. I was told to not even think about looking in the oven.
I found a cosmoline/oil soaked Yugo m48 Mauser hand guard sitting in my garage on a shelf. I placed it in the contraption and went to work on something on the computer for about 15 minutes. Wow! It really worked! Just look at the puddle of cosmoline sitting in the bottom of the can. Prior to going into the oven the hand guard did not have caked on cosmoline but was tacky to the touch. I am sure you know what I mean if you have purchased a cosmoline laden Yugoslavian SKS or Mauser of late. Even after you clean it off, when you go shooting or are in the sun for any length of time the stock starts seeping oil. I never realized how much cosmoline there really was still trapped in the wood.

I periodically tested how the plastic I/O as well as the insulation on the cord inside the can were holding up in the heat and could not find any problems.

Now the only negative thing I can say about this setup is that it has the capacity to hold a stock length of only 25 inches. To put that in perspective a typical 98 style Mauser stock is around 34 inches in length. What this means is you will have to have some stock hanging out and then have to rotate inserted sides.

Here are some of the positives aspects of the contraption:

   * Your wife does not kill you because you have used the oven in the kitchen. A minor ancillary side effect is that your food does not have a strange taste similar to melting cosmoline.
   * You can seep cosmoline out of stocks on rainy or snowy days without any sun light.
   * If you don't buy anymore rifles and no longer have a need you can always clean it up and either give it to a young daughter or granddaughter and tell her she will have an Easy Bake Oven that surpasses any that her friends may own.
   * You could use the garbage can oven to cure finishes at lower heats.

Now for some more serious stuff, here are some safety tips for using your own Easy Bake Garbage Can:

   * Use it in a well ventilated area.
   * Closely monitor the unit at all times.
   * Periodically stop and clean the melted cosmoline in the bottom of the can. Cosmoline is flammable.
   * Keep a fire extinguisher handy - just in case.
   * Periodically check the temperature and make certain it is not too hot. You really should not go above 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Article by Jamie Mangrum
Link Posted: 3/15/2006 5:37:44 PM EDT
Part 2 Addendum Link with pics

Jamie recently put together an article on a home made super   Easy Bake Garbage Can that will do the job of cosmoline and grease removal without making a mess out of your oven or dishwasher.  There are some people that absolutely swear off any sort of water on wood or metal for cleaning.  There are some people that absolutely swear that water on wood and metal works the best.  I’ve used both the oven cleaner method and the Draino methods to great success, but both leave the stock totally bleached and wet, needing to dry.  The wood on the stocks that I used those methods on was messed up enough that I basically did not lose anything by refinishing them.  But in both cases, I was using some pretty nasty chemicals, plus, I lost time in the days it took to dry the stock.  I am also not one to mix anything gun or mil surp related with anywhere I cook or eat food.

So when Jamie put out a call to Mark and I for ideas on a “cosmo coffin” I was game.  As Jamie points out in his original article, it had to be easy and cheap.  And his Garbage Can Easy Bake Oven idea seemed to fit the bill.  Except for one thing (in my mind), the 30 gallon can was not large enough for one complete stock or barrel (or for that matter a COMPLETE rifle).  In speaking with Jamie about this problem, he said that he would put in ½ of the stock at a time, and rotated it occasionally to heat all parts of the wood.  I tried that, and it worked to some extent, except there were parts of the stock that just did not get the full heat treatment.  Back to the drawing board for me.

What I needed was a longer set up.  I built one of the Easy Bakes to the same specs as Jamie’s.  The only difference was that I put my three lamp holders on a metal bar first and then mount the bar into the can.  I only had to drill one hole for the power in line and then two holes to mount the bar into the can.  I also wired my three lamps in series.  I tried the oven out with great success when I baked out the grease from several messy bayonets and scabbards that I had laying around and was wonder how on earth I was going to clean the grease out of the INSIDE of the scabbard for the longest time.  Passed with flying colors.

The entire contraption.  The 20 gallon is supported by the particle board cut to a smaller diameter.

Next, I had to address the size issue.  I looked around the garage and noticed that I had a 20 gallon metal can (the little brother to the 30 gallon can) that I was using for bird food storage.  Hmmmm…bird food came out.  The diameter of the 20 gallon can is about 3 inches or so smaller, so I could not just do a “monkey barrel” design.  I really didn’t want to buy another 30 gallon can.  It would be heavy to move around and would be hard to keep centered.  What I did was take some leftover particle board and traced the diameter of the mouth of the 20 gallon can.  Then I flipped the can over and used the base of the can (it’s tapered) to draw a smaller circle inside the larger one, which is about 1 ½” smaller in diameter.  Using a scroll saw, I cut the smaller circle out.

The pipe foam around the edge of the can helps seal the heat in.

This “template” I placed on top of the larger can.  The template allowed me to place the smaller can on top, effectively sealing it like a giant barrel of monkeys.  To help seal it, I cut some pipe foam and put it on the edges of the smaller can.

To test out the new and improved oven, I placed an old VZ24 stock upright into the can and turned on the three 100w lights.  Without the 20 gallon can on top, the system could get to about 150F or so.  With the smaller can on top, the temp was just around 100F.  I used an old oven thermometer to check temps.  The stock was heated the entire length and the grease and oil on the stock came off quite nicely, albeit slowly.  I wiped it down several times over about an hour and ½ and came away with it nicely stripped of grease and oil.  Very promising results.

The VZ24 stock test.  Note the small puddle of grease on the bottom and how shiny the stock is from the grease coming out of it.  The one thing I recommend is a VERY dark pair of sunglasses when looking into the can.  Even a welder’s shield if you have one.


I had ordered a Turk M38 after Christmas.  All I can say is that it was the most greasy messy mil surp that I had ever laid eyes on.  There was so much grease that the paper that they wrapped it in stuck and dissolved to the wood stock.  I couldn’t touch any part of the rifle without gloves.  It was going to be a nightmare stripping it down to parts and cleaning it.  So it became the next guinea pig.
UGH!  A mil surp lovers nightmare/dream, a greasy M38 Turk!  The paper was dissolving right into the stock.  This thing STUNK and stuck to EVERYTHING.

Close up of the receiver.  Note the grease everywhere.  Hard to tell, but I think the date is 1939?

I figured that I would take the rifle apart into receiver/barrel and then wood stock (the two largest pieces).  The bolt and sling swivels could easily be stripped and cleaned with either mineral spirits or brake cleaner.  The two items (stock and barrel) were placed into the expanded Easy Bake.  To help speed things along and heat the upper can more, I exchanged the three 100w bulbs with three 200w bulbs.

Close up of the action.  There was so much grease the bolt STUCK and the barrel and receiver made a sucking sound when it came out of the stock.

Within 10 minutes, the temp was at 175F and holding.  The grease was coming off the stock and barrel in a flowing river and the bottom of the can was a mess.  I wiped the stock and barrel down several times with paper towels to remove excess grease.  I did this several times over about an hour and a half and then I quit.  I was thoroughly surprised and delighted with the results.  I managed to strip all the grease off the stock and the barrel inside of 90 minutes…PLUS, I was able to take down the Christmas ornaments and trees at the same time, being that I did not have to stand there the whole time.  I would check it every 10 minutes to make sure everything was okay.
After running in the Easy Oven, damn near squeaky clean.  The red is not rust.  It is the reflection of the red eye flash on the camera.

Close up of the action.  Grease is all gone, but I will still need to take apart the bolt release.  At least now I can see what I am doing.

Close up of the wood around the trigger.  Note how nice and dry it looks.

Close up of barrel channel and recoil lug area.  Again, it’s nice and clean, these are some of the hardest areas to degrease on a rifle.

Close up of the trigger area.  Again, I will still need to take this completely apart, but the oven has completed the majority of the work.

So, now I have a way to clean/degrease rifles that keeps the boss of the house happy with no smells (I run it in the garage), it works in the dead of winter, it does not damage the wood or the metal, it can remove all the grease at one time even most of the stuff packed into the tight spots.  I will still need to go through the nooks and crannies with a brush, but at least I can handle the rifle without covering myself in grease.  When I want to do smaller parts, I just use the bottom can (with the lights) and the lid to make a smaller chamber.

This is the way to go folks.  Easy, fast, and cheap.  Meets the criteria of a true mil surp cheapskate.

Article Written by: R. Ted Jeo
Link Posted: 10/6/2006 6:10:23 AM EDT
Long plastic wall paper tubs from your local mega-home improvement store work great for soaking barrels/actions.  I used kerosene successfully to remove cosmoline.
Link Posted: 10/7/2006 8:28:43 AM EDT
I just use a black trash bag and the sun. Only problem is when the winter comes along. Still, the day does not even have to be that hot, just a strong sun.
Link Posted: 10/31/2006 7:02:46 PM EDT
Rem-582 of the WA Hometown forum built an ezbake, he used two trashcans to enclose his.
Link Posted: 5/14/2007 4:34:51 AM EDT
tagorama ('my tags' doesn't work so ...)
Link Posted: 6/21/2007 12:03:24 PM EDT
I took a slighty varied approach on removing the cosmoline from my SKS.

All metal parts were removed and placed in mineral spirits to break down the cosmo.  Once they were mostly clean, I took an vinyl bristled brush to them to get the rest out.  Brake cleaner got rid of any residues.  Once dry, I gave the required parts a regular gun cleaning using Hoppes #9 as if I had just fired the rifle.

As for the stock, I did NOT want to use any harsh chemicals on the stock as the wood looked to be in decent shape and I liked what was likely possible with it.

So, my process was a bit of a mix of various things.  I didn't want to use the brake cleaner or mineral spirits on the stock as I REALLY like the looks of it (why I picked it over other V and Z series numbered stocks in similar quality).  The dishwasher idea seems bad to me as that cosmo runs off into your pipes and my wife would KILL me if I used our new Wolf oven to cook the stock and get cosmo off.  I wanted something as non-threatening to the wood as possible and I think I found it - at least it worked for me! :D

Day 1
1.  I removed all the excess that I could with paper towels.  This got rid of a good percentage of the worst of it.
2.  I used Simple Green, a heavy concentration of it, then sprayed the entire stock (and gas tube cover) thoroughly.  I let it soak for about 5 minutes, then wiped down.  I have the super concentrated stuff from Home Depot and did a 50/50 mix of it with warm water.
3.  I continued to clean the metal components using mineral spirits and brake cleaner then went back to the stock for a second spraying.
4.  I then wrapped the stock in paper towels (I used Bounty if that matters to you!) then wrapped all that in newspaper, Sunday's finest!  

Day 2
1.  The Bounty/newspaper-wrapped stock (and gas tube) went into the black trashbag and it cooked in our 95 degree backyard in direct sun ALL day.  You can cook it longer, but I didn't think mine needed it.  YMMV.
2.  I wanted to check it out that evening, so I opened it up and saw it looked pretty good.  I then took it to the garage and gave it a light heat gun treatment to get some of the thicker deposits remaining, and to speed this process up :).  This heating gun process took about 30 minutes and I made sure to keep the heat gun moving so I didn't darken any wood or have any patchy burn marks.  I'd wipe off bubbled up cosmoline with paper towels as I went.  
3.  Once I was satisfied with that, I let the stock cool down a bit.  30 minutes later I shot it with MORE simple green.  Okay, a LOT.  

Let it sit overnight.  

Day 3
1.  Checked it out, wood was pretty dry.  Got a very light stain from my wife's furniture maintenance kit (walnut stain I believe, but she did it and knows I like the dark stains with graining highlight) and she stained it.  Wiped off excess then applied first layer of oil to the stock.  Let sit 30 minutes, wiped off excess so I could handle it, inspect, etc.  If you want a darker stock, you CAN stain it with a darker stain, but the stuff she used is meant more of a grain enhancer and not so much a complete stain.  

The grain enhancer was:

Howard's Restor a Finish.  We used Golden Oak, but you see what kind of results I got.  It is the lightest we had, though they do have darker colors if you want a darker stain.  Regardless of 'stain' or restorer you use, the grain really came to life in a way I honestly didn't expect.  I didn't even see this much graining when I picked it up and had it in cosmoline.

For the oil, it was Feed N Wax which contains Orange Oil and beeswax.

2.  Apply additional coats of oil as desired or needed until wood is condition you want.  I have about 3-4 more coats to do before I feel 100% about the stock.

3.  Reassemble gun.  

You will have some residue on the stock for a bit, especially if the oil has the stock moisturized well.  Just wipe it down a few times, just as you would your home furniture if you were dusting/cleaning/oiling it.

Here was my SKS after the first cleaning and oiling of the stock.

Here it is after a second application of just the Feed n Wax (with the orange oil)...

Like I said, no real harsh chemicals were used on the stock.  Just Simple Green and heat.  The spirits and brake cleaner were used on the rest of the metals.

I've been VERY happy with the results and a couple of other folks have used this process and it worked quite well for them.  If you need a heat gun, you could TRY a hair dryer, but you can get heat guns from Harbor Freight for about $5.00 or so, so it is worth it to pick one up for this and misc electrical/heat shrink projects.
Link Posted: 6/21/2007 1:13:47 PM EDT
Man I just want to pay someone to clean the cosmo off my ishapore already.

I have no time to do this!
Link Posted: 6/17/2008 10:49:29 AM EDT
car wash works good to
Link Posted: 7/3/2008 5:56:04 AM EDT
Simple Green will do the trick much cheaper; found @ auto supply stores
Link Posted: 12/2/2008 12:19:33 AM EDT

I could just put one half of the stock in the oven, with the door open, and just keep switching sides every 10-15 mins. I think then I won't haev to make a trash can cosmo melter
Link Posted: 1/29/2009 7:32:39 PM EDT
GOOD...I needed this thread!
Link Posted: 1/31/2009 8:17:31 AM EDT
I shoot it til it's too hot to touch, then let it sit out in the sun for a few hours... the cosmoline "bleeds" right out of it.

Link Posted: 2/9/2009 10:27:20 AM EDT
The method my local dealer (who had done hundreds of mosin restorations already) said his preferred method was to use Minwax Antique Furniture Refinisher and #0000 steel wool to gently brush off the cosmo and shellac finish in a circular motion. Then once it's all nice and clean, dry it for a couple days. Then just do the boiled linseed oil application about 4-5 times with a cotton cloth to rub it all in and wiping it dry before letting it dry in the sun. But if you want to remove dents, use an iron and a damp cloth before you do the BLO treatment.
Link Posted: 4/30/2009 5:12:47 PM EDT
I just finished building my "easy bake gun oven". This is my first time trying to get cosmoline out of a gun and I wanted a method that was cheap and easy. It works well but it's a good thing I started on an old Mosin 91/30 that I wasn't too worried about because I left part of the stock in too long and now the cosmoline has charred onto the wood.

I'll post some pictures of the oven when I get a chance.

ETA for pics: I'll try and get some better ones tomorrow when the sun is out.

Link Posted: 5/2/2009 9:46:49 PM EDT
I still like the handheld steamers.  I have a Stiucii steamer I bought for the wife years ago.  Never really used it much until I got into C&R's.  Cleans the cosmoline off amazingly well.
Link Posted: 6/20/2009 5:49:04 AM EDT
Why not use some prebent duct work? it is like 5 ft long and rectangular shaped and esy to cap off the ends. And would take up way less space than the garbage can does. And flat on the bottom to boot, won't roll around.
Link Posted: 6/20/2009 12:09:02 PM EDT
I really can't believe someone would go through all that when you can just drop it into a flower box length "tub" and a gallon of mineral spirits.  Clean all the parts in it and the stock as well - then finish the stock with oil or whatever you want.  I know a lot of guys use brake cleaner, hair dryers, steam.  Such effort for what is a $20 job.
Link Posted: 6/20/2009 12:10:14 PM EDT
Man I just want to pay someone to clean the cosmo off my ishapore already.

I have no time to do this!

Send it to me - I have a C&R.
Link Posted: 9/30/2009 3:24:32 PM EDT
This is just my opinion so take it for what it's worth...

After cleaning and restoring dozens of Mil Surp rifles I have found the best method hands down is to use a heat gun and hold it about 3" from your stock while consistantly moving it around and doing small areas at a time. When the cosmo rises to the surface just wipe it with a paper towel. You will know when you have taken enough out because it won't be bubbling to the surface. It really does not take that long and all the other methods listed are going to leave cosmo in the wood that will have a vast effect on how your stock turns out.

If you don't pull all the cosmo out you are going to have a stock once sealed with BLO, Tung Oil, Tru Oil, Poly coat etc. that is going to have a waxy feel to the touch. Spend the right amount of time getting the cosmo out the first time or truly you have wasted your time from the start.

The solvents also listed will only pull the surface cosmo out, they will not cut through and eliminate what is under the surface and that is what you are fighting against in the end anyhow.
Link Posted: 10/18/2009 6:40:22 PM EDT
ID venture to guess brake clean should be edited to say NON CHLORINATED brake clean .... some brands have chlorine
Link Posted: 3/14/2010 10:33:15 PM EDT
Briliant ideas here, exactly what I was looking for, Thanks
Link Posted: 10/13/2010 11:25:09 PM EDT
Just the thread I needed too.  I checked the SKS and the Refinishing forums before checking here.  I just bought what appears to be an unfired Yugoslavian M59/66 and she's a regular Cosmoline Queen.

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Link Posted: 11/12/2011 8:15:50 AM EDT
Here is how I remove Cosmoline from my Mosin Nagants!

Hot boiling water on all the metal parts in the kitchen sink...I use one of my wifes pots with a little dawn in it cook on high heat until boiling. I pour it down the barrel and in every nook and craney! Water drys quick then I wipe it dry and apply some CLP to all parts!

I usually boil the bolt and magazine in a separate pot

I wipe off all the Cosmoline on the wooden parts with a rag!

Use a pot holder or a rag to move the parts so as to not burn your hands!

Mission accomplished!
Link Posted: 5/21/2012 9:34:36 AM EDT
My plan is to get as much cosmo off the Ishy I'm getting this coming weekend using the above methods for the metal parts and doing a 'best as possible' job on the wood until around July.  Then I plan on hanging the wood parts in my backyard with a pot under them and let the Missouri sun do the ahrd work on the wood.  Within a day or two most of the cosmo should have leeched out of the wood.
Link Posted: 6/16/2012 7:28:33 PM EDT
I just picked up a Moisan Nagant M91/30 and the Russians have left me a parting gift I have tried numerous things to clean the bore but I still have residue,what else could i try to ensure it's fully clean?
Link Posted: 6/20/2012 7:43:30 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/29/2012 3:16:00 AM EDT
Just got done cleaning up a mosin nagant.

Only took an hour and half  or so.

Completely take everything apart,  wipe it off.
Spray with wd-40 and it takes cosmoline right off,  then held parts under tap and sprayed with wd-40 again and rinsed and wiped.  My apartments hot water is super hot so that help.  But WD-40 works wonders.

For barrel I did same, wiped off excess sprayed with wd-40 rinsed, sprayed, wiped etc..  then ran patches and brush down barrel

Took stock and wiped down,   took hairdryer and heated and wiped it.

Put it all back together, lubed it and good to go
Link Posted: 9/24/2012 5:53:43 PM EDT
Thanks for the writeup OP. Just what I needed.
Link Posted: 10/13/2012 7:59:53 PM EDT
So could a person use a hair dryer. In place of a heat gun to get the cosmoline off the stock? The first time around it was mid summer. And the trash bag on the dashboard worked great but with a high of 50 it wont work this time
Link Posted: 2/13/2013 9:24:22 AM EDT
Did all the metal off my Yugo 59/66 last weekend. I used Mean Green or whatever it is,. That worked well. I plan on sweating the wood this weekend.
Link Posted: 2/22/2013 8:07:36 PM EDT
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