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Thread: I got dunked in the river...how to treat pistol?

  1. #1
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    Question I got dunked in the river...how to treat pistol?

    Hunting this season, on an un-named river, scooting a canoe over a logjam, wearing slippery soles, I took a dunking...well, actually 2 dunkings...(I don't learn real fast). If I'd been wearing hip boots, I could have faced the necessity of abandoning the hippers to survive, resurface and climb out....but I was wearing "water shoes" over neoprene socks, my new favorite hunting boots...light, comfortable, like mocasins.

    Once I climbed out the second time, I checked all my gear, including my pistol...a S&W M396...and then continued up river.

    By the time I got home nine days later, my little Smith was almost bound up. I cleaned it, and then took off the side plate, and hosed the interior out with "Breakfree." I used Q-tips, etc, to clean up the interior and left the pistol open for 24 hours. Upon replacing the side plate and the grips, everything works A-ok. I had never taken the side plate off of one of my Smiths before...have always been reluctant to do so.

    Out in the woods, right after the dunking, how should I have cared for the pistol properly, and should I carry a screwdriver small enough to remove the side plate? And what lube? I'm very concerned about dropping a screw if I take it apart out there.

    BrownBear, Murphy and all....what would you do?

  2. #2
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    If it were me and I dunked it I would do one of two things. Either put it a small container and dunk it in gasoline (or diesel which is probably better anyhow) or spray it down with WD 40.
    After dunking just shake off as much as you can and once a day wipe down the fluid that works its way out of the action.
    Tennessee

  3. #3

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    Water is the reason I carry WD-40 (WD stands for water displacement).
    I let the water drain out as soon as posibable, not wait for hours later. Then really spr5ay it good. Take the grips off first. Spray into the gun from every angle, like spray into the opening at the trigger, fireing pin, hammer and with the grips of the spring area. Spray the silinder, the crain, the frame and barrel. Then let it drip dry. When dry wipe it down and swab out the bbl. with a dry rag, put the grips back on and you should be good to go.
    Dan

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    Question dunked pistol....

    I've used WD40 on 2 rifles during the same season and it had very bad results....A Ruger M77, reliable and safe for 25 years, suddenly fired upon the closing of the bolt. A second cautious round was fed with the same result. Although that rifle was completely taken apart by a gunsmith, cleaned and pronounced sound and safe, I still am too gunshy to take that rife hunting. My smith told me that when WD40 evaporates, it leaves a gummy redsidue that can cause malfunctions, and warned me not to use it...said it had been implicated in some law suits against Remington involving fatal shootings from malfunctioning triggers/safeties. On a WinM70, the safety became almost impossible to move.

    I think Breakfree is a better choice, than WD40...but my question is more about taking the pistol apart in the woods. Is that what should be done? Is simply hosing the pistol w/o taking off the side plate effective? Or should I remove the side plate and thoroughly cleam the works?

  5. #5

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    Totally dunked, you should probably take it apart and make sure there is not wet inside the action. Lube it with graphite or other synthetic.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  6. #6

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    Go to Polar wire and get some Corrosion-X use it as cleaner and lube before you go to the field. The stuff is amazing have a Jennings 22 that jams when it fire 3-4 times cleaned it took it to the smithy still the same, was going to get rid of it so cleaned it and did not have the gun oil on the table used the Corrosion-X worked the action junk was falling out used more more junk now it will fire 200 times and not jam.

  7. #7
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    I'm for getting in the tent, or putting it into a bag (so lost screws are confined) and taking it apart. Good dousing with gun scrubber or whatever you've got, even oil from your truck if nothing else. I like the diesel idea too, or cooking oil. Get the moisture and air off the metal or you will get oxidation.
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

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    I have dunked a blued S&W , more than once. Remove the grips and turn it upsdide down and point the muzzle up. Water will drain out the opening in the frame at the back where the main spring is. From a fresh water dunking there should not be any serious problems left after the gun dries. I big problem that comes from water inside the frame is because there is an accumulation of oil in there before the dunking.

    Oil and water mixed together makes gunk. That is the technical term for it. This gunk is thick and frothy and it causes things inside to not move so well. I haven not seen rust inside from such a dunking. Moving parts inside a S&W are; 1. The trigger which will move rearward ok, though sluggish. 2. The rebound slide (the little block behind the trigger) moves rearward with the trigger but forward under spring pressure, it proabably will fail to return and push the trigger forward after a gunk attack. 3. The hammer which will move rearward by trigger force or with thumb manipulation and it will probably fall with little resistance. 4. The hammer block just sort of floats and rides on a pin on the side of the rebound slide. It probably won't work so well but if the trigger is forced forward, it usually will take the hammer block with it and push the hammer off the primer (or pin in the newer guns) and back into normal battery. 5. The cylinder latch will probably bind first but can be forced forward with extra thumb pressure and pulled rearward to latch it closed. 6. The cylinder stop bolt (that little rectangular pin that sticks through the opening in the bottom of the frame to stop the cylinder in the right position to fire each shot) may fail to pop back up to lock the cylinder. It has only a small spring to force it up but is pulled down by a tang on the front edge of the trigger as the trigger is cycled. It is pulled down then slips off the tang and pops up through the hole in the bottom of the frame at correct timing to stop the cylinder in the correct timing position. That is it except for the swing out cylinder and ejector. The ejector slides in a close tolerances tube and when filled with water, mud, blood or beer, may not respond as desired. None of these things will disable a gun completely but over time, if rust starts, will likely cause problems that turn a good revolver into a poor boat anchor.

    I don't see any serious problem from a dunking in fresh water if the insides of an S&W are not overly oiled up before the swim.

    Now back to the field. It takes very few tools to disassemble an S&W. The one little S&W screw driver is all that is needed. I always carry more tools in my field kit but have taken every part out of the frame with only the small S&W screw driver. I have disassembled hundreds of S&W revolvers, at home, with few exceptions, and am familiar with the parts. I can sketch all of them from memory. If you've never taken a side plate off before, I would not suggest doing it in the field. Grip removal only and maybe the one side plate screw that holds the cylinder assembly in should be all that is needed for field repair. Usually the S&W revolver owner never even takes out the cylinder assembly even when cleaning. We could certainly take the side plate off in the field to dry things without taking out any parts and this would mimize the chance of disabling the gun in the field.

    I don't know about WD-40. I quit using it some years back but can't tell you why, maybe it doesn't do what I want. I use kroil for penetrating oil and just dry up water with blue paper shop towels. I don't know that there was ever any problem from using WD-40 but it would not surprise me to know that it was named a party in a law suit because someone didn't practice safe gun handling. I hardly think the product would be culpable even if it did turn oil into gunk.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Rick:
    I think you done good, but I don't really know that much, so don't let it go to yer haid.

    If that happened to me, ideally, I would spray oil into every nook and cranny, then solvent, then oil again, blowing each one out with an air compressor.

    In the field, I would use whatever I had available to try and accomplish the same thing.

    I donít like WD 40 for much of anything, anymore. It pretty much locked up my wifeís Ruger Bearcat one time. I sprayed it in and on the gun, and blew it out and let it drain, wiped it down, etc. etc., and figgered it would be fine. Quite a while, later, every time I cocked the hammer it felt like the action was full of gravel.

    Having been alerted to the downsides of WD-40, I gave it the treatment again, but without that steenking WD-40. Suffice to say, that solved the problem.

    Smitty of the North
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  10. #10
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    Default Wet pistol in the field - use starting fluid / ether

    If I'm in a motor vehicle I always carry a can or two of starting fluid or ether. In addition to starting or trouble shooting stubborn engines you can use it to dy out a gun pretty effectively. Ether - like alcohol - has the property of combining with water and then evaporating taking the water with it into the air. The cans of starting fluid have a pretty good high pressure stream so you can spray it into the action and flush the water and any crud out. With the plastic wand on the nozzle you can stick it up inside the action and reach about everything.

    Ether is an excellent solvent but starting fluid generally has some oil mixed with it so you don't wash the oil off the cylinder walls of an engine and score the cylinder. You can check oil content by spraying some on a brown paper bag and see if it leaves an oil spot when it evaporates.

    I guess Everclear or vodka would also work but not as well - and what a waste.

    It goes without saying: DO NOT use around an open flame or inside a tent or confined area.

    Related question: has anyone sprayed WD-40 on a horizonal pane of glass and let it evaporate to see what kind of film it leaves? If necessary several coats could be used. I'll try it myself if I can find a pane of glass. Perhaps the wife will let me use the top of the glass coffee table?

  11. #11

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    I've dunked revolvers a couple of times, one each in salt (blued gun) and fresh (stainless). More often though, I've thoroughly saturated them in belt holsters in the rain.

    In the saltwater dunking (Smith) I found the nearest creek, removed the grips and dunked it again, but good. Then I drained it and dunked it again. I didn't want to lose the side plate screws in the grass, so I waited till I got back to the boat for a complete disassemply, clean, dry and lube. No worse for wear.

    The stainless gun dunked in freshwater was a Redhawk. I removed the grips, drained it good and went on about my business. Disassembled cleaned and dried it later that night back at the boat.

    I'm not likely to fully disassemble in the field, but I'm sure prepared to do so back at camp/boat/home the same day or night of the dunking. In heavy rainy with a belt holster and blued guns, I disassemble them every night.

    Once you have been through it a time or two, full disassembly is not that big a deal. It's a little easier with the Rugers, but that doesn't mean it's hard with Smiths. I do my own action jobs on them anyway, so it's never seemed like that big of a deal. I'd recommend learning to remove grips and pull off a Smith side plate without damage would be a minimum for all owners to learn.

    I've got a couple of cleaning kits that travel with me. One is small and is in my field pack. It's one of those cute little ones in a round case and a flexible cleaning rod. Dandy for poking snow or mud out of barrels for everything from pistols to rifles to shotguns. The other is bigger and stays in camp or boat. It fits in an old tent pole bag for a long dead backpacking tent. It houses a 3-piece rod and an aerosol can of brake pad cleaner along with the usual collection of solvents, oils and tools.

    I have a full set of cleaning accessories in my muzzleloader possibles bag, but it's pretty small since they all fit on the ramrod of the gun.

    That can of brake pad cleaner is the best oil/water solvent I've ever seen and it's really cheap.

    My pick for oils is Remington's Eezox. Goes on wet, but dries to leave a dry film. Dandy inside revolvers as well as an outer protective coating on all guns.

    I've got a whole stack of those little Smith screwdrivers, so there's no shortage. I have a couple that I used a Dremel to cut a rounded notch in the end of the blade. I carry one in each of my kits, along with the standard Smith drivers. The notch makes them really handy for compressing the slide spring on Smiths during disassembly and reassembly. You don't need anything like that for Rugers, but it just makes the Smith disassembly a non-issue.

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