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· Gold Bullet member
1,563 Posts
Yes, gasoline does work well. The problem is that it tends to explode if you aren't careful. I use it sometimes, but it' not my first choice. Brake cleaner from Autozone costs about $2.50, and it does an excellent job. Boiling water works better, but ouch! It hurts! I usually get a box of Wypall rags from autozone (or use the pile 'o old clothes and towels I have in my shop), then take the gun apart ENTIRELY, and clean each part by hand with a rag, then again with brake cleaner and a rag. This process for a given rifle takes about three hours. After that I oil up the gun, and I'm off to the range where cosmoline sweats out of the stock for the next 2,000 rounds or so.

You may not have the facilities for doing this, but if you can get a $45 bluing tank from Brownells, you can immerse the whole stock in lacquer thinner for about two weeks, then remove it, wipe it down, and let it dry for another week. This is important, because the swollen wood will shrink back to its original size when dry. After this process you won't get any more cosmoline sweating out of the stock. Your stock also will have zero finish left, as the lacquer thinner will remove the original finish along with the cosmo.

If you care about the original finish (as I do) you shouldn't use the lacquer thinner, but instead wipe the stock down with warm soapy water, then use boiled linseed oil (BLO) lightly to re-hydrate (for lack of a better word) the stock.
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