How to Remove Rust From an Air Rifle Gun

Not all Air Rifle guns receive the care they should during their lifetimes, and sometimes someone who actually cares will get their hands on one.

If you’ve received a rusty gun and want to get it back into working order, you’ll need to get any rust taken care of before you can do anything with it. Lucky for you, we’re here to show you exactly how to do that.

Gregory, Author Paintimpact

How to Remove Rust From an Air Rifle

1.) Assess the Damage

The first thing you’ll need to do is assess how bad the rust is. You’ll also need to figure out what kind of finish the Air Rifle has, since the finish can be effected by different chemicals.

If you’re dealing with light surface rust, then you’re in luck. For the most part, it can be taken care of with a light oil and the finest steel wool you can find.

Deeper rust will require more specialized products. The recommended list is long, but a lot of people have had luck with Turtle wax. Give it a shot before you buy something more caustic. Corrosive chemicals have a chance to damage your firearm if improperly used, but will generally allow for the easiest removal of rust.

Pay special attention to the barrel when you’re inspecting the firearm. Once you’re absolutely sure it’s unloaded take a look and see if the rust has spread down the barrel. If it has, you’re going to need some nylon brushes in various sizes up to the actual bore of the gun.

If you want to be absolutely certain that you’ve got everything taken care of, however, you may want to purchase a specialized air rifle cleaning product. Blue Wonder Gun Cleaner is highly recommended by many gunsmiths and should be safe for most finishes.

2.) Dealing With Surface Rust

Light surface rust is definitely the easiest to deal with, and many gun owners don’t even bother with specialized products unless the gun has a particular finish they’re worried about.

Keep in mind that if you damage the finish you can replace it in most cases. If you’re not willing to do it yourself, keep the number of a gunsmith on hand and they’ll be able to take care of the process for you.

There are two big mistakes that can be made here:

  • Too abrasive of a cleaning material can damage the finish.
  • Too little lubrication can also allow the cleaning material to damage the finish.

You’ll want to find the finest steel wool you can. If you don’t want to have to wait, try autoshops which stock items designed for painting cars. The process is pretty similar, after all, both work with steel and don’t want any damage occurring. Brass brushes can also be used, find the softest one you can.

What you use as a lubricant is up to you. While many will use specialized products, even standard 3-in-1 will work in many cases, so long as you’re careful.

Liberally apply the oil you’ll be using to the surface and lightly scrape the rust away with your steel wool or brass brush.

If you have an air rifle with a special finish, use Blue Wonder Gun Cleaner or another specialized product in order to make sure that you get the best results possible without any damage.

Take your time and be careful and you should end up with a rust free surface. Deeper rust will require slightly more drastic methods.

3.) Remove Deeper Surface Rust

Turtle wax is recommended by a lot of gun owners. The process is pretty much the same here once it’s been applied properly.

Take the firearm apart and smear all of the rust covered surfaces with the wax. Afterwards, you’ll want to place the parts in the sun to allow the wax to completely dry. This can take a while, but you’ll want to be sure it’s completely dry before you proceed.

After that, wipe it down thoroughly with a rag, in most cases this will take care of almost any surface rust that might have cropped up. If it doesn’t, finish the job and go over it again with steel wool and oil.

If you just have a couple of large, deeper rust spots you might not wish to break the whole gun down. In this case, use a high-quality oil and saturate the rusted area with it. Using a true copper penny, one made before 1981 will do, and carefully scrape at the rust after the saturation is complete.

Then you’ll apply more oil to the area and go over it with steel wool.

4.) Barrel Interior Rust

This is where things get tricky. While surface rust is largely a cosmetic issue, and internal pieces can cause seizing, too much rust in a barrel can render a firearm dangerous to operate. If you can see rust looking down the barrel with a light, then it needs to be taken care of before you use the gun.

Your choices here should be between bronze and nylon brushes. While stainless steel bore brushes exist, you’ll find that they can damage the rifling of the barrel since they’re harder than the metal, which can have devastating effects on a rifle or pistol’s accuracy.

Lubricate heavily, just like you would to remove rust anywhere else, and then apply the brushes in increasing sizes.

Bronze brushes will clean better due to their stiffness, but should be considered a single use item if the bore is heavily rusted and only used a couple of times for routine maintenance.

Nylon brushes will last longer, but have a harder time getting into tight corners due to the softness of the material.

Which one you go with will depend largely on your preference, but if you go with nylon get some stiff pipe cleaners as well to make sure you take care of the entire barrel properly.

Afterwards, lubricate the barrel again and you’ll be finished.


We hope that we’ve helped you figure out how to remove rust from an air rifle. Taking care of your firearms is the best method to not have to do this, but sometimes acquiring an old surplus gun or buying an ill-used firearm for a great price leaves us with some extra cleaning to do. It’s simple enough, just take your time and make sure that you don’t damage the finish and rifling and you’ll have things operable again in no time.