How to remove stains from a vintage pistol

Discussion in 'Cleaning and Maintenance' started by VolcanosGoBoom, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. VolcanosGoBoom

    VolcanosGoBoom Member

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    Chainfire, sorry for the late reply. I really appreciate the tip about acetone, I didn't even know you could use that stuff on guns. As much as I hate to admit it, you're probably right about the blood permanently etching the finish. It's a real shame considering the finish was much nicer and uniform before this whole tragedy happened.

    And hey, no worries about that personal question, I completely understand. It's sad to know that there are gun enthusiasts who've gone through the same thing I have, and while I know some go out of their way to reclaim their firearms and restore them, I know many out there either sell them or have them destroyed, and those are perfectly reasonable decisions. I honestly agree with you, in general even just the thought of keeping a firearm used in a suicide, especially if you knew the person or were close them, can be quite disturbing and even downright scary. When I learned I could get our 1911 back, I questioned myself for a bit, wondering if I was so desensitized by the violence in our society and my thoughts were so clouded with my love of guns that I'd overlook this terrible, traumatic incident with my father and what he did with it, just so I could keep this old collectible 1911. I've even thought about selling it since it's still worth quite a bit, even in the state it's in now, and put that money towards another collectible firearm that I could enjoy just as much if not more. But as weird as this sounds, this is one gun I never planned to let go, even after what my dad with it. I feel such a strong connection with it since it's got a lot of family history, and I feel that in spite of what it's been through, a part of my dad's soul will remain with me as long as I keep it. I know that sounds weird, but hopefully I worded it in a way that you understand.
     
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  2. VolcanosGoBoom

    VolcanosGoBoom Member

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    Again, completely understandable. As morbid as it may seem, there is a certain curiosity and interest for mil surp guns knowing that they were actually used in combat. But like you said, the main difference is that you don't know those people and could never imagine how the weapon had been used, but for something so personal like what my dad did, I completely understand where you're coming from.

    In regards to maintaining and cleaning this 1911, thank you so much for your support, Chainfire!
     
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  3. VolcanosGoBoom

    VolcanosGoBoom Member

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    C3, sorry for the late reply, but wow, thank you so much for your condolences and this wonderful advice! I've always been interested in the bluing process and how it works once I really got into guns, but wow these past several weeks I've learned so much about it what with doing lots of research to get a better idea of what happened to our poor 1911. Of course, your explanation pretty much sums up the articles I've read, and as much as I hate to admit, you're absolutely right about the finish being worn off. The closer you look near the cocking serrations, there's a pretty noticeable contrast with the bluing. I definitely don't want to have it refinished in the off chance I ever do choose to sell it or a future child of mine decided to sell it.

    I really appreciate your acknowledgement of my local gunsmith and priest! (Love the beer comment, haha!) They've definitely helped give me peace of mind over this whole ordeal, as you guys have too here on this forum.

    Sincerely, thank you so much for this heartfelt and inspiring comment, C3. You're absolutely right, as the weeks have gone by since I got our 1911 back, I've been getting used to the way it looks now. I even take it out occasionally to admire it still, in spite of the worn finish. At this point I'm just extremely grateful for having the opportunity to enjoy this firearm when my dad was still with me. When I was old enough, he'd let me take it out, take it apart, and even take it to the range a few times to put a few rounds through. Once I got out of college, I'd bring it with me to the range once in a while to share with my friends before my Peace Corps service started. Definitely precious memories I'll carry with me for the rest of my life. Even now I cherish this old warhorse for serving our country for so long, and most of all serving by the hands of loved ones in my family.

    "Let it be"- good mantra to live by.
     
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  4. VolcanosGoBoom

    VolcanosGoBoom Member

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    kfox, I'm sorry for the late reply, I guess I'm a month overdue, lol. But seriously, it's taken me so long to reply to your comment here because I was very touched by your words and the story you gave. I've found great comfort in all the support you and everyone here on the forum have given me, but even then I still find myself taking issue with what this family heirloom firearm has been through recently.

    Firstly, I think that's very cool that you got to experience frequent blessings for weapons and tools since you lived in a household with a Mormon elder. I was raised Catholic and still attend church on a weekly basis, so blessings like those weren't too uncommon in our household either. As I probably mentioned before, one of the two priests at our parish is an avid gun enthusiast and sports shooter, he's the one who we called the day we found my father in his apartment, and even though my father himself wasn't Catholic, this priest of ours was kind enough to read him his last rights. He also told me he'd bless my 1911 once it came back into my possession (followed by a much-needed trip to the shooting range with him). Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to have him bless it yet, let alone go shooting with him, but it's only a matter of time before I catch him on a day off and all that's said and done. Sounds like the last time you had a firearm blessed must've a been really important time in your life, and I'm sure that 686 served you quite your journey home.

    I know you must really understand what I'm feeling and what I've been going through since, as you mentioned, you have 3 instances in your case where something like this has happened. That's a really sad story about your friend's grandfather and what he did with his Colt 1917 (beautiful old revolvers by the way). I can't imagine the pain the poor man was in at the end of his life that must've driven him to do what he did. That must have been a terrible tragedy for his family and friends like you, my heart goes out to people like that who've had deal with such sorrow, especially more so now that my family and I have experienced it ourselves recently.

    In my dad's case, he was severely depressed, and it's something I didn't realize fully until this all happened. My dad was a twenty-year Air Force veteran, highly-educated, very talented, and had a contagious sense of humor. Going through our old family photo albums over the last few months since this happened, he had such a huge appetite for life; he was strong, athletic, loved woodworking, loved music (he'd spend hours making mix tapes for his friends and family), and in his younger days he loved anything that could shoot, from slingshots, to bottle rockets, to rifles and pistols. He was just such a loving family man who was so full of life. But I guess he never got what he wanted out of life; he was a heavy drinker, he never got joy out of the jobs he's had, and he just seemed so full of regrets. Finally a few months after I left for my Peace Corps service over two years ago, he snapped and did something none of us would've expected. He got in touch with an old girlfriend, cheated on my mother after being married over 30 years, destroyed our family, and was filing for a divorce. That was easily the hardest challenge I had to deal with when I was working overseas. I saw him twice since I got back from the Peace Corps at the end of last summer. I think back to this energetic, fun-loving father and husband, but after all he did, there was just a tired old man standing in front of me. Things were hard enough knowing what he did these past two years and knowing that he was gonna leave my mother.

    In the end his ex-girlfriend who he was having the affair with must've put all this pressure on him to finalize the divorce, she was ready to move out here and start a whole new life with him at my family's expense. While I was away in the Peace Corps, my dad moved out of our house to a nearby apartment complex, and he was so insistent on taking his 1911 with him. Out of all the guns we have, he just wanted the 1911. By this point he seemed so unstable that my mother didn't trust him with a gun, but he wouldn't back down, until mom finally caved and returned it to him. When that news got to me, I knew no good would come from that. Finally this past September, the week his old girlfriend was gonna move in with him (from another state for that matter), we got a call from him early one morning. It was as if he'd woken up from a terrible dream, and the father I once knew had come back. It's as if he was overwhelmed with guilt, and he summoned my mother to come to his apartment for one last meeting. Worried about his mental state, my mother and sister and I drove to his apartment, but as soon as we entered, we heard a gunshot come from his bedroom, and that's when we found him.

    To this day there are still many unresolved questions, and unfortunately my dad's old girlfriend, who was ultimately a huge catalyst in this whole ordeal, has shown no remorse and very uncooperative with any unanswered questions. We never even got an apology on her end. I think ultimately, I view this tarnish on my dad's 1911 as a tarnish on our family, it's definitely more symbolic and goes beyond an old firearm with a worn finish. At the end of the day, our guns are just stuff, and stuff can be repaired, restored, or even replaced. As you very well understand, the same thing can't be said for our loved ones.

    But that being said, you're absolutely right about how we as the ones who inherit these guns choose to view the memories they hold. Despite what my dad did with this 1911, it always holds a special place in my heart, because it was my great-grandfather's. He was the last true patriarch of our family; he started off as a simple farm boy in the early 1900s, joined the army in WWI, and went on to pursue a fulfilling career in city development, but most of all he loved his family. He even had a summer home built in Colorado for future generations of his family to enjoy and come together, which our family still enjoys today. There he'd have his grandkids, including my father, join him in summer activities doing hard labor around the property, learning new skills, and even teaching the boys to shoot. As a gun-loving kid, my dad was excited to try this 1911, and he said it was such a thrill the first time he fired it. My great-grandfather loved all his grandkids, but he felt a special connection with my father, since no one else in our family in my father's generation served in the military. When my dad made lieutenant in the Air Force, my great-grandfather was so proud of him and presented him this 1911, which my great-grandfather carried with pride in WWI, and then sent to his son in WWII, who used it in D-Day, and then it was passed down to my father.

    When I really got into guns as a young teenager, I'd always beg my dad to take me out to shoot it (unfortunately I live in the suburbs, so any local indoor ranges were out of the way). Finally in my first year of college, I convinced my dad to let me take it out, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I've had shooting a gun. There's just something so special about firing an old military pistol, especially one that's been in the family for so long. Once I finished up college and got more involved in shooting, dad would let me take the 1911 out once in a while; I would go to the range with my friends and share it with them too. These are the memories I choose to hold onto with this pistol, just like your Colt 1917 and those precious memories going on those pheasant hunts, deer hunts, or just plinking at your local gravel pit with your family and friends.

    I know I've dragged out this comment, but like I've said, I've just been looking for the right way to respond to this touching, heartfelt comment you gave me. Even though guns are inherently dangerous, you're absolutely right, my friend. It's never the object, it's always the person. As for the object, we have to choose how we view them, even after they were used in such a tragedy, and most of all remembering our loved ones and honoring their memories.

    I'm probably gonna finally take this old warhorse to the range this weekend to run a mag or two through it and see if she still runs as flawlessly as ever. I'll definitely give you all an update and my impressions of the gun at some point shortly after. :) Thank you for your sincere words, support, and encouragement, my friend.
     
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  5. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Did you clean it up?