"If you are like me, your appreciation of vintage firearms goes beyond simply shooting. Maintaining their condition and natural beauty are important as well so that they may be appreciated by future generations. But, we will have our fun during our time here on this earth, so many of these firearms are actively used and as a result, spend time exposed to the elements.
Several years ago at the Matthew Quigley Match in Forsyth, MT, we were subjected to rather typical Montana weather ranging from dusty, windy conditions to torrential downpours within a short amount of time. Even the displayed firearms in vendors' tents were not spared the wind-blown effects and additional attention was required to clean and protect equipment. On our trip back, our stop at the C. Sharps facility in Big Timber gave us some insight to their cleanup techniques. In particular, we noted the excellent appearance of their richly figured wood on rifles that, a few days earlier, had been subjected to dust and water and were now restored to their original showroom condition. Aside from the elbow grease, one tool in particular stood out in its effectiveness, a product called Old West Snake Oil.
Old West Snake Oil is an Antique Firearm Finish Protector and Preservative. A proprietary blend of highly refined mineral oil and pure carnauba wax, it is distributed by Ironhorse Industries of Englewood, CO. It is safe for all finishes, including engravings and inlays and can even be used on leather. It is non-hardening and does not soften wood over time as some oil products can. While it has become a staple in my own shop with daily use, it has a remarkably long shelf life which can be measured in decades. In fact, the Executive Director of Ironhorse Industries, David Weddle, claims that some has lasted in excess of 29 years.
This superb oil is an odorless lightweight liquid, thick enough to prevent running yet thin enough to apply easily. It contains no lemon oil, shellac, acrylics, water, detergent, silicon, or other damaging chemicals and is available in two formulations: No. 1 for general use, and No. 2 formulated for pre-64 Winchester firearms and containing a Winchester-red coloring agent. A simple application process using a cloth or paper towel across wood and metal surfaces immediately enhances the firearms. Its effect on wood surfaces is particularly noteworthy, enhancing color and figure while adding depth to the wood. Application to vegetable-tanned leather resulted in a slightly darkened tone. This effect will be a welcome change from Neatsfoot oil on y knife sheaths, which causes verdigris to form on brass components.
Old West Snake Oil is available from the C. Sharps showroom firstname.lastname@example.org or through Ironhorse Industries, PO Box 251 Fort Collins CO 80522, tel. 303-475-8044, e-mail email@example.com. Prices for No. 1 in an 8oz bottle are $20, and for the No. 2 in a 4oz bottle $16. Prices do not include shipping."
- Allen Cunniff, C. Sharps
"I have been collecting firearms for over 40 years and the required periodic maintenance can be very time consuming. Since I have discovered "Old West Snake Oil" I have drastically simplified the process. "Old West Snake Oil" allows me to perform the preservative and protective process in one step for all the outside surfaces, both wood and metal.
"Old West Snake Oil" eliminates the need to oil the metal parts and then use a wood preservative on all the wood surfaces. In addition I have found that the application of "Old West Snake Oil" on furniture, especially antique furniture, provides an extremely carefree method of preservation and protection."
- Robert H., Golden, CO
"I have been in the Antique business since 1969. I collect antique furniture, tools and firearms. Since I have started using "Old West Snake Oil" several years ago, I have cut the time it takes to condition and preserve my collection in half. Not only does it save a lot of time, but it saved my tool collection from water damage.
I went on a buying trip and came home to find that a leak had developed in my roof and water was everywhere. The wall where I kept a large collection of tools had gotten soaked. Everything that had been treated with "Old West Snake Oil" was OK! This stuff is great!"
- Margarette L., Denver, CO
"I have been collecting antique firearms and accouterments since 1960. I have had some very rare pieces in my collection over the last 40 years and everything I have gets a regular treatment of "Old West Snake Oil". This stuff is the best thing for firearms since Smokeless Powder. I use it on the wood and metal of all my firearms as well as on powder flasks, cartridges, bayonets and even holsters.
I have found that "Old West Snake Oil" actually helps to restore and preserve aged wood and leather. I feel the value of my antiques has gone up by using "Old West Snake Oil" because it restores, preserves and protects. Plus using the gloves that I purchased with the "Old West Snake Oil" makes the job of protecting and preserving my collection a breeze! This stuff is great! I would not use anything else!"
- John M., Englewood, CO
I have been an active Antique Dealer for 22 years. I have found that by using Old West Snake Oil on old cast iron and wrought iron, the items sells faster and for more!
I have also found it great for antique tin and cast iron toys. When I use it on lithographed tin toys the colors just jump out. I even use Old West Snake Oil on the vinyl upholstery in my truck! I love this stuff!
- Lou V. Lakewood, CO