By: Tom Claycomb
I recently received a box of items from Birchwood Casey to test out that I would classify as gun touch up/restoration items. I think it was ingenious for them to come out with this list of products. My guns are used. In a week of elk hunting I will fall between six and eight times, and one or two of those times will knock the wind out of me. If I’m not falling, then I’m not in good elk country.
Another good example of a bad example was when Ron Spomer and I went to Alaska on a 17-day brown bear hunt, moose hunts, duck hunt, and fishing trip. We had a few nice sunny days, but some days we got pounded. I remember one night we had 80-90 mph winds. One morning while duck hunting, I stepped into a drop off, and my Mossberg 930 Pro Series Waterfowler and I did a face plant. I finally got upright, poured water out of the barrel, and kept right on duck hunting.
Then brown bear hunting was worse. We’d go up an endless maze of streams in a flat bottom boat with water sloshing around in the bottom with our Mossberg rifles leaned against the seat getting rained on, water sloshed on, and bumped around.
So I hunt hard and so do my guns. I don’t abuse them, but they live a rough life. And yet we know that if we properly clean our guns and care for them, they can be passed down for generations. But we can’t afford to take them to the gunsmith to be re-blued every time they get a little scratch on the barrel or the stock gets scratched while scrambling through the brush. So what can we do in these types of scenarios?
Look no further: Birchwood Casey came out with some simple touch-up items. Let’s go over the four items I tested out.
ALUMINUM BLACK METAL FINISH (Comes in a Bottle or a Marking Pen)
This one comes in two options: a). 3 fl. oz. blue bottle. b). A marking pen, much like a Sharpie.
These two items are what sold me on the Birchwood Casey touch-up items. While black bear hunting in Idaho with my Henry 45-70 lever action, I put a few scratches on my rifle. My Henry is so pretty and classic that I almost hesitate to take it hunting. It is a beautiful rifle and deserves to be mounted in a glass display case.
So what could I do? Pay a gunsmith to re-blue it for a few minor and yet very visible scratches? About that time I received the items from BC and thought, “Perfect timing! I’ll test them out.”
These items are simple to use. Before applying, you must pre-clean the scratched area by using a soft rag dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove any grease or dirt. Let it dry and then apply the Aluminum Black compound. Let that dry, and voila! you’re back in the saddle!
GUN STOCK WAX
This one comes in a 3 fl. oz. bottle as well. As you can imagine, it is a thick waxy substance made up of beeswax and silicone. Use a soft rag to wipe it on your gunstock. It has protective and beautifying qualities. It produces a lustrous water repellent film that will not rub off like oils do.
It offers maximum protection against finish cracking from weather and handling, and it protects the beauty of firearm wood. When hunting in extreme climates like the brutal Alaska coastal regions, I’ve even had buddies coat their rifles with wax to prevent them from rusting.
I just applied some to the stock of my Mossberg Patriot Revere 30-06, and it made my already beautiful wood stock shine even more.
WALNUT STAIN PEN
This one is a super easy product to use. Mark any spot that is scratched into the wood. The fluid is super runny, so I rub it into the scratch with my finger. It’s that simple.
One note: On some of my gun stocks, it didn’t work, but on a majority of them it did. The little bit of testing I did, it seems to work best the more the scratch is down into the wood.
With the aforementioned items, you’ll be able to take care of minor blemishes on your guns. You may not be a full-fledged gunsmith, but you might just be able to save yourself a few trips to your local gunsmith for minor blemish problems.
Tom Claycomb III is a product tester for outdoor manufacturers, hunter, and outdoor writer, writing from Idaho.