The Care and
Cleaning of Collectible Colts
by Al De John, Superintendent,
Custom Gun Shop,
Colt Firearms Hartford, CT.
The care and cleaning of collectible firearms differs
slightly from shooting models because of the special
characteristics of the precious metal finish normally applied to
a collectible model. "Tender Loving care" is required to
maintain the original beauty and luster of the finish and, also,
preserve the firearm to a 'like new" condition indefinitely.
Moisture and fingerprints are the enemy we must guard against.
The frequency of cleaning will depend on your climate and
storage conditions. We recommend at least two cleanings per year
(i.e., every six months) or after each handling of the firearm
prior to storage. Marring and scratching the finish adversely
effects its value and, thus, we recommend the following on the
maintenance of collectible firearms:
DO remove fingerprints and protect the finish with a
light coat of preservative oil on blued firearms using one
of several reputable aerosol sprays now being marketed. Be
sure to read and follow all manufacturers directions and
warnings before using any aerosol product.
DO use a non-abrasive silver or gold polish to remove
fingerprints, smudges, and tarnish from all plated surfaces.
We use "Flitz" metal polish, marketed by Flitz International
Ltd., 821 Mohr Avenue, Waterford, WI. 53185. The polish
should be used with a very soft flannel cloth or jewelers
cloth made especially for this purpose. Be sure to read and
follow all manufacturers directions and warnings before
using any polishing product.
DO apply a very light coat of preservative oil in the
barrel bore using an aluminum or brass cleaning rod with
DO display the firearm in its display case for short
periods of time, such as gun shows, etc., after wiping off
any oil or substance which may stain the case lining.
DO store the firearm in a plastic bag for long term
storage. The firearm can then be stored in a container which
includes a moisture absorbing packet of silica gel or other
type of moisture absorbing material, as added insurance. The
packet should not be enclosed in the plastic bag, as it may
stain wood and metal surfaces. This moisture absorbing
material Is available at most hardware and sporting good
stores. Keep in mind that the life of moisture absorbing
material is limited and should be replaced periodically.
(According to another Colt collector, you can revive these
packets by putting them in your oven on extremely low
temperature to dry them out to reuse. Keep an eye on them!)
DO remove any heavy oil residue accumulated from long
periods of storage from the firearm with lacquer thinner and
a soft flannel cloth or a soft artist's brush. This solvent
will not damage precious metal surfaces, but the stocks
should be removed, as it may damage the stock finish. After
cleaning with this solvent, a very light coat of
preservative should be applied. Care should be taken not to
let the lacquer thinner come in contact with the internal
mechanism, as it will dissolve any lubrication. CAUTION:
Lacquer thinner is an extremely flammable solvent and the
manufacturers directions should be carefully followed.
DON'T cock Single Action or Double Action revolver
hammers or function automatic slides, as they may cause
friction marks and scratches, unless cleaning is necessary.
A visual check between the cylinder and frame will determine
if a Double Action or Single Action model is loaded. With
automatic models, remove the magazine, and carefully retract
the slide just enough to insure an empty chamber.
DON'T store firearms in holsters, presentation cases,
soft gun cases, socks, or any material which may absorb
DON'T use the presentation case as a shipping container
when transporting or shipping your firearm.
DON'T use abrasive polishes, cloths, or steel wool to
restore the luster of precious metal plating.
DON'T disassemble the firearm for routine cleaning.
DONíT use excessive oil, which will accumulate dust,
etc., or allow oil to contact wood stocks.
DON'T use a steel brush or rod to clean barrel bore or
cylinder chambers. In stubborn cases, a brass brush can be
used, but a bristle brush is preferred. Do Not reverse brush
direction, if avoidable.
DON'T assume a new-in-box (NIB) gun will stay that way
without periodic cleaning and lubrication.
DON'T use nitro bore cleaning solvents on plated
surfaces, as damage will result, especially to soft precious
DONíT handle the firearm, especially the metal surfaces,
with your hands anymore than absolutely necessary, as
fingerprints and smudges will eventually become corrosive.
In summation, collectible firearms will retain their original
finish, if properly maintained at regular intervals. The
frequency of maintenance care will vary depending on individual
storage conditions, but good common sense will always prevail.
Don't allow stains, fingerprints, and tarnish to become
corrosive. Should your gun develop finish deterioration, don't
become overzealous in attacking the trouble spots, but contact
the manufacturer for recommendations.
A. De John
Custom Gun Shop
Colt Firearms Hartford, CT.