H&R 922 (1951 "L") - How best to remove rust and bring it back to life?

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by sailor49, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. sailor49

    sailor49 New Member

    Oct 7, 2009
    Need some help here.
    I have a H&R Model 922. The serial no starts with "L" and I believe it to be a H&R 922 first model, Seventh Variation, manufactured in +/- 1951, based on the information I have read on this forum and which so helpfully has been posted by Mr B. Goforth.
    The 922 has a single piece brown plastic grip.

    This H&R 922 has been sitting unused in a drawer in the humid tropics for over 30 years and shows some surface rust and some rust pitting in its barrel's exterior. All parts seem to be in working order (aside from the rust). And it looks to me as it wants to be saved and brought back.

    I would like to clean it up and get it into working shape. What would be the best way to remove the rust and bring it back to life? I do not see any blue left. Should I try one of the rust removing solvents (such as Birchwood rust remover - or any other rust remover or solvent in particular)? Or should I try to remove the rust basically with a #0 or lighter steel wool, alone or combined with some type of gun oil and plenty of rubbing? What should I do after removing the rust to keep it from returning - any surface treatment suggested, rust protection treatment, or even applying one of the liquid or paste type "cold" bluing?

    Concerning the grip - is there anything one can apply to the plastic grip to help protect it? It seems to have caught some sort of whitish smelly fungus, and it did not come off with soap and water.

    PS: I am looking for a H&R 922 manual and/or parts diagram. Any info as to were one can get a copy?
  2. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Imperial, MO
    motor oil and steel wool is the easiest. Just wipe down with a clean cloth afterwards and coat with barricade or something in the like.
    This way if there is any bluing left it won't be removed. Rust removing gel like naval jelly will strip a gun clean of all bluing and rust. At this point just see what you have left.

    Try cleaning the grip with simple green and warm water with a toothbrush.

  3. Old Gun Guy

    Old Gun Guy Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    N. Utah
    I have used #0000 steel wool and Break-Free CLP and alot of elbow grease. If you have very little bluing left, you could wipe it down with lacquer thinner to remove all grease, oil, and powdery rust, and let it dry in the hot sun. I then use BirchWood Casey Perma-blue and a large cotton ball and go over all the external metal surfaces completely. After about 10 minutes, completely rinse the metal with dish soap and water and allow to dry, preferrably in the hot sun. Then take clean #0000 steel wool and polish the surfaces lightly. This will help prevent rust from reappearing, and it improves the look of the old metal. You're not really rebluing it, but you're adding a rust preventative. These old H&R and IJ revolvers are not really worth a whole lot to a collector, so I have no qualms about treating mine this way.
    As for your grip, spray it with a fungicidal bathroom cleaner and let it set for awhile. If that doesn't work, try bleach in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn't discolor the material, and when you have the fungus stain removed you can polish the grip with paste wax.
    I hope this helps. I have done many, many revolvers this way and they all turned out better. You can get a 922 parts diagram from Numrich (www.e-gunparts.com)
    Old Gun Guy
  4. sailor49

    sailor49 New Member

    Oct 7, 2009
    Thanks to "Helix FR" and "Old Gun Guy" for your suggestions. Looking forward to this job and to study all the suggestions as to how best to go about it.
    As suggested. I contacted gunparts.com and have ordered their on-line PDF0131 Schematic with Parts List for the 922, which they say I should receive as an attachment to an e-mail by tomorrow.

    Sort of a "follow up question":
    How far apart should I take the disassembling of the H&R 922 in order to do this rust removal, cleaning and surface preparation job? Should I take apart "anything more" than the plastic grip, the pull pin cylinder release, and the cylinder and cartridge extractor?
    Should I leave the hammer and trigger assembly and the internal parts mounted "as is", or take those apart also.
    Or - should I basically clean those interior parts "assembled" using something like the Break-free CLP aerosol spray?
    I am sort of concerned about taking the 922 "completely apart" and then not being able to put it back together, specially if there is any adjusting steps that may be required to be done to assembly parts that have springs and tensioning screws, or that may require special gunsmithing tools to put back together.
    I am also not sure if I decide to go with the bluing and surface protection suggestion, can one do the cold bluing steps with all those parts assembled without affecting the various screws and other gun parts? Does one need to keep the cold bluing from the inside of the cylinder and the barrel?

    I appreciate your suggestions. Have not embarked on this sort of job before and want to do it right.

  5. Old Gun Guy

    Old Gun Guy Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    N. Utah
    If the revolver is functioning properly, you should never need to completely take it apart. Remove the pull pin, the cylinder, and the grips. You can spray any good gun cleaner into the inner workings of the gun, and when completely clean and dry, apply a light spray of gun oil into the inner workings and a drop or two on the mainspring and pivot areas. I use a lot of q-tips to clean what I can reach with them.
    If you decide to do the cursory bluing job I mentioned, remember you are just applying bluing compound to the external surfaces that are normally exposed. You can insert a paper plug in the barrel and in the cylinder chambers to preclude getting bluing in them. Don't let the bluing seep down into the cylinder stop mechanism, or the hammer and trigger assembly.
    As I stated before, these are the type of guns to practice on, as they are normally pretty beat up from use over the years, and you really can't mess them up anymore than they are already. I am currently working on 6 old H&R and IJ revolvers, and I love the process.
    Old Gun Guy
  6. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Imperial, MO
    I agree with OGG . Don't take it apart if you don't have too. Remove the easy stuff and the spray cleaners will do the rest. If you have rust in the internals then its a different story and it comes down to how comfortable you are with disassembling them. H&R's are difficult enough to take apart let alone put back together. Many small parts that can go flying. If your going to cold blue then just leave the parts apart as if it was a field strip. Get some latex gloves and give it a final spray down with break cleaner (do not get on plastic parts) to degrease. From then on do not touch the gun with your bare hands and make sure you put it down on a clean paper towel or cloth. Blue according to the instructions. As OGG said, don't let the bluing get down into the internals. Bluing is a oxidizer and if it sits on metal w/o a proper rinse it will make the part rust beyond the pretty blue finish. The water rinse stops the reaction of the bluing and the oil protects the finish.
    post some pictures, we all like to see what each other is up to.
    Oh and BTW, welcome to TFF. We like to see new members. Lots of help here if you need it. I don't think I have ever seen a technical question go unanswered. Mr B. Goforth is the ultimate authority on H&R. He's on a little hiatus right now but he will be back.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  7. DJnRF

    DJnRF Member

    Jul 25, 2007
    Central IL.
    A good rust dissolver is a chemical called Hydrofluoric Acid.
    Not Hydrochoroic! I have been using this rust dissolving
    chemical for many years. Unfortunately, when I was
    writing articles on firearms with Maj. George C. Nonte,
    I never considered that so many people just didn't know
    about this chemical. Around here, most I encountered
    did know about it.

    You can find it commonly in Kroger stores, Wal-Mart,
    and many places. It is usually in the section of laundry
    products. Most times you can find a small, brown plastic
    bottle of a product called Whink.

    When used for laundry it is commonly used to remove
    rust stains from clothing from such things as wet items
    that were put on wire hangers, etc. Just squirting it on
    the item causes the stain to disappear instantly. It
    doesn't harm the material in the least, but completely
    removes the rust.

    When using on metal such as tools, guns, fire extinguishers,
    etc. the only thing that is critical are two things.

    First, and foremost .....
    READ the Cautions on the bottle!
    Whereas this type of acid does not instantly burn your
    skin, it is actually much worse. This chemical is absorbed
    into the tissue, and if the concentration absorbed is
    enough will begin to dissolve the bones. It can cause
    death if enough concentration is absorbed. If handled
    without gloves to protect the skin from absorbing it the
    contact should be limited to no more than one or two
    minutes. However, then you should spend five to ten
    minutes of running water over the area of contact. Best
    to just wear some rubber gloves.

    Be sure to rinse the item well as soon as you can.
    If you soak metal in this it will turn dark, about
    like a gun black, but not evenly coated. I will usually
    rinse a firearm several times when I am working on
    a lot of surface rust. I even wash it down with the
    rinse with a good degreaser.

    This clear liquid is really the best rust dissolve method
    you can get. As a liquid it will dissolve the rust deep
    inside pits of rust that no surface cleaner, or even
    sanding can get. The use of a 00, or finer steel wool
    makes the job even faster than any other product.
    Just wiping it on with a rag can dissolve surface rust
    instantly. Longer working with it will dissolve the
    deeper penetration of the rust.

    Any rust, or bluing that remains on the item will make
    for an uneven coating when you do a re-bluing. It
    then just takes considerably longer to do a good job.
    Remember, bluing is nothing more than a 'controlled
    rust' type of treatment, and as we all have seen,
    rust isn't always an even coat.
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