Caring for a Parkerized finish


Well-Known Member
Oct 1, 2009
North Chuck, SC
I am posting this because I was asked an obvious question today.
It was one of those that make you think, ?You mean everyone doesn?t know this??
A younger guy where I worked was complaining to anyone who would listen that his Parkerized pistol had rusted.
He was saying the finish was crap and he would never own another Parkerized firearm.
Not only did it rust, there?s a problem with dark spots on the finish when wiping it off.
When he said that I knew what the problem was.

I told him Parkerizing has been around longer than even me, works really well and that his problem was operator error.
He never seasoned the Parkerizing and was not caring for it properly.
He thought Parkerizing was supposed to be a dry finish because that is how it came out of the box.
Consequently he was giving it a quick wipe like you would a blued finish.
This is not enough oil for a Parkerized finish.
Parkerizing provides some inherent protection but what really makes it work is its porosity.
It holds oil really well and that is what really keeps the metal from rusting.
If you do not have the pores filled with oil they can and will fill with sweat and skin acids.

A new gun or a newly done Parkerizing job should be seasoned by saturating it with your favorite gun oil.
I mean really put the oil to it, there should be liquid oil sitting on the surface.
Let this sit for a half an hour or so, if there is still oil on the surface lightly wipe it off.
If it has all been absorbed apply more.
You will need to field strip most firearms so as to get at all the surfaces.

This will work best when the gun and oil are warm.
You don?t need to put it in the oven but don?t do it in an unheated shop during the winter.
The oil will be thinner and the pores will be more open so you will get better absorption.
After seasoning you should re-oil the finish after each cleaning.
The solvents you use to clean the bore will remove the oil.
Use an oily rag or some oil on your paw and apply enough oil to see.
Let it sit a bit then wipe it dry and you are good to go.

The reason Parkerizing works so well for the military is new Parkerized weapons are packed in Cosmoline which is basically a brown waxy grease.
The Cosmoline finds it?s way into the pores of the Parkerizing seasoning it and sometimes giving it a greenish patina.
If you use strong degreasers to remove Cosmoline from a surplus gun don?t forget to
season the finish.

Remember, Parkerizing is a thirsty finish, while you don?t want oil dripping off it without enough oil it will rust.

Red Hat

Well-Known Member
Mar 16, 2010
Gray Court, SC
+1 When I parkerize I warm up the parts with my heat gun and saturate it with 30w oil. Small parts I drop in a container of oil. Barrels and receivers I wrap in oil rags then let everything absorb oil overnight. Warming the parts with a heat gun also removes any moisture left in the finish. The next day I wipe everything down and assemble. I've used different viscosity oils and found 30w oil to work the best. If left on long enough it will completely saturate the finish. I've never had any problems seasoning this way.


Well-Known Member
Oct 4, 2009
Hanahan, SC
Great Post....I know a lot of people that had no idea about this....

I use Rem oil...Have for years...spray it on...let it set...wipe excess works.



Well-Known Member
Dec 23, 2009
M. C., S.C.
Thanks Frost. I didn't realize that the parkerizing was so porous. I've always kept mine oiled but never seasoned them in that manner. Explains why some finishes look so splotchy. Great post.

Midnight Raver

Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2009
Dodge City, Moscowchusetts
Just passed this on to someone I know who was about to buy a used Colt Combat Commander...

he isn't the brightest pertaining to care of some things and I figured to spare his soon to be new piece some agony. Great info Frost, everyone keep passing valuable tips like this along ok? ;)


Well-Known Member
Mar 5, 2011
Charleston SC
I did not know that and I have owned parkerized guns. Lucky for me I use lots of oil when I clean my guns. Learn something new every day. Thanks for the post.


Well-Known Member
Oct 15, 2009
Great Post!! Did not know this about Parkerized firearms.
Thanks for the post Frost.