A Good Home-Style Gun Cleaning, S&W 10

This is a discussion on A Good Home-Style Gun Cleaning, S&W 10 within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; A Good Home-Style Gun Cleaning, S&W 10 I was recently cleaning this for a family member (9/01/2012) and decided to take pictures and write about ...

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Thread: A Good Home-Style Gun Cleaning, S&W 10

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    Distinguished Member Array Brady's Avatar
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    A Good Home-Style Gun Cleaning, S&W 10

    A Good Home-Style Gun Cleaning, S&W 10
    I was recently cleaning this for a family member (9/01/2012) and decided to take pictures and write about it.

    At my suggestion my sister picked up a S&W model 10 recently and it fell upon me to check it out and clean it. Iíve been hiding it in my safe for a while and finally got around to taking it on an outing. Itís a nickel plated, square butt, pinned heavy barrel snubby (dash-5) from about 1976-77 vintage that doesnít seem to have been shot a lot but had been tossed around a little and stored with little protection but was surprisingly in pretty good shape. It still looks nice and shoots very well and accurate as I expected. I secretly really like this gun (well, it's no secret) and enjoyed shooting it and even the cleaning. I had previously done a general cleaning and wipe down and put it away. The action was smooth and easy enough, not stiff per say but there seemed to be just a little more resistance than I expected. I decided to have a look inside.

    When I removed the grips I could see that someone else had been inside it or at least had made an attempt. All the side plate screws looked to have removed before but the flat head screw under the grips in particular had been buggered just a bit. Wondering what I might find when I got into it, I got the screws out and then tapped the side of the grip frame with the nylon side of a double head nylon/rubber hammer that I had found on sale at the ĎTractor Supplyí store a couple months ago for just such a purpose. I love it when a plan comes together! I donít know if the one head is really nylon, it is amber color but I donít believe itís resin, itís harder than the rubber side and it served the purpose. I found a very small mark where a screwdriver jockey had tried prying the side plate off, thankfully it did not chip the nickel plating.

    Anyway, when I got the plate off it was pretty dirty and the oil or grease had turned pasty. I figured thatís where the resistance was coming from. The Gun Digest Revolvers disassembly book thatís been sitting on my shelf for months provided some insight (no pun intended) for this little project. However I decided not to remove the internals but just swab it out instead. This had worked out well for one of my Dan Wessons in the past. It was real dirty and had more resistance that this S&W and when I got done it was smooth and easy like my first Dan.

    Being careful not to Ďspringí any parts out of place, I sprayed the works real good with some rem-oil and began swabbing it out with q-tips. After doing that twice and getting most of it out I dipped some q-tips in Hoppes and swabbed the smaller and darker spots real good. She came clean as a whistle. I put some drops of Mobile-1 motor oil in strategic spots and pivots and replaced the side plate.

    When you remove the front side plate screw the cylinder and crane will slide right out the front of the frame. Before putting the cylinder back I separated it from the crane but was unable to get the extractor rod to turn lose. Trying and failing with a pair of pliers with padding, and without a vise to get a positive grip on it, I just sprayed it out good with brake cleaner.
    Edit: when spraying gun parts with brake cleaner; be sure to use only non-chlorinated brake cleaner. Chlorine will attack aluminum and many alloys and even stainless steel. I don't know what effect it would have on nickel.
    The first couple times it ran black as I flipped it over and back and sprayed in each end. After I quit getting any Ďcolorí out of it I wiped it down, shook it to get most of the cleaner out and then I blew it with a hair blow-dryer on hot until I was sure it had to be dry inside. That rascal got hot! Then I let it set until it cooled and put a little Mobile-1 motor oil down each end of the extractor rod pieces.

    When I got it all back together, WOW! What a difference. Everything operates much freer and seemingly smoother. It looked pretty decent when we got it but a once over with Mothers Mag Polish did wonders for it. I wonder if I could trade her out of it?

    Now, does anyone know what to do about the rust specks on the color case hardened hammer spur and trigger?

    The following pics show what I found and the results after cleaning.



    .....pic using flash

    .....pic using flash


    Last edited by Brady; September 16th, 2012 at 10:09 PM. Reason: note about chlorinated brake cleaner
    ...he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. Luke 22:36
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    VIP Member Array SmokinFool's Avatar
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    Wow, it really cleaned up nice! I have always found that surface rust comes right off with some solvent and some "easy" abrasive, and then treated with a touch of oil. I would have thought that this would have worked even with color case hardened parts. Apparently I was wrong. A quick consultation with the Great Google came up with this thread from another gun forum:

    Rust on case hardened frame? - THR

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    Nice work!

    For the rust-speckled trigger and hammer, I'd suggest removing them from the frame to work on them, so you won't risk any damage to that nice nickel plating. There's plenty of guidance on line as to further disassembly.

    Once you have the parts out, there are a few different ways to go, all involving mild abrasives. If you have a Dremel (the tool which, in the hands of amateur gunsmiths, produces a steady income stream for professional 'smiths), you can use the felt wheel with polishing rouge to attack the pitted areas. Another approach with a Dremel is to use the fine Cratex polishing tips (find them at Wholesale Tool Co, wttool.com) and just go slowly over the affected pitted area.

    Minus the Dremel, you have other good options. Fine (600, 800 or higher) grit silicone carbide paper lubricated with kerosene or light oil (e.g., 3-in-1) or even water will work, and it'll go slowly enough to avoid the "oops" factor. But use the paper on a flat surface, or wrap the paper around a flat stick (paint stirrer, popsicle stick, etc) to keep the abrasive surface flat relative to the part you're working on. Slower still, you can use valve grinding compound on a cloth and attack those freckled areas by hand. This will probably be laborious, but it's also your best option if you need to leave the parts installed in the gun. Finish up with some Mothers Metal Polish if the surfaces look too dull afterward.

    Note that there's a difference between the "cosmetic" color case-hardening as applied to some modern guns and the case-hardening used for wear resistance. Some of the color case-hardened finishes are just a few thousandths of an inch deep, and I wouldn't go anywhere near those with abrasives unless a full refinish was the intent. But 'regular', utilitarian case-hardening typically affects the metal from 15-20 thousandths deep, and it would take you a year of polishing to go that deep.

    Good luck!
    Smitty
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    Q-Tips and pipe cleaners are a cleanig kit's best friends. That was some nasty looking grease in there.

    Try a damp soft cloth and mild abrasive such as toothpaste (not gel) on the hammer and see if that will remove the specks.
    Retired USAF E-8. Avatar is OldVet from days long gone. Oh, to be young again.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Sounds like the cleaning regimen made a huge improvement. It's good to see what can be done with a couple tools, the right chemicals and some "elbow grease."
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    Very nice, she came pretty clean! Some times its all in the little details.
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    Distinguished Member Array Brady's Avatar
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    Thanks All for the compliments and pointers. So far I've just been rubbing the hammer and trigger with a piece of blue jean material and some oil and it's slowing looking better. Thankfully you can just barely feel a pit indention on a few of the spots, so it's not too bad. I was just concerned about how delicate the case hardening finish might be. Turns out the colors may fade but the hardness will still be there (on the real McCoy).

    I forgot to state in my write-up and wanted to be sure to add, that when spraying gun parts with brake cleaner; be sure to use only non-chlorinated brake cleaner. Chlorine will attack aluminum and many alloys and even stainless steel. I don't know what effect it would have on nickel. I would hate to hear of any maintenance disaster because of my omission. In fact I'm going to edit my original post about that.
    ...he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. Luke 22:36
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    Nice! Looked really good, great write-up!
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    Very nice, I can say I'm not confident enough to take apart my whole Model 10!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brady View Post
    I forgot to state in my write-up and wanted to be sure to add, that when spraying gun parts with brake cleaner; be sure to use only non-chlorinated brake cleaner. Chlorine will attack aluminum and many alloys and even stainless steel. I don't know what effect it would have on nickel. I would hate to hear of any maintenance disaster because of my omission. In fact I'm going to edit my original post about that.
    Chlorine attacks nickel, more so in the presence of elevated temperatures... we learned that in the early days of jet engines on carrier-based aircraft. Nickel plating (obviously!) and corrosion-resistant ("stainless") steels also have a high nickel content, so your advice is spot on.
    Smitty
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    Love those Model 10/15s. Some good suggestions on cleaning and I offer two more, when using brake cleaner to clean a gun be sure to immediately to re-oil or grease the parts since it will completely remove any oil/grease and lead to corrosion. Also instead of regular Q-Tips I use the wood handled types from a pharmacy I think I paid about $3.00 for a pack of 100, they stand up better and being 6 inches long they will reach to any tight spot.
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    Love seeing the nickel Model 10 snub. Looks sharp!

    Don't know a really good way to restore the hammer and trigger through cleaning. Keeping them coated with RIG for a few years might diminish the spotting but it's difficult to remove for it's actually tiny pitting.
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