I have also never ordered from a surplus vendor, so finding a good one would be excellent.
Regarding my rifle itself, I thought I would write a bit about it. I picked it up from a local Gander Mountain because I had a few gift cards to use, and they would match Gander's online price in the store. All numbers on the rifle match as well. This is my first milsurp. I went to Gander thinking about picking up a Mosin, but I have to say the 24/47 ran so much smoother. I suppose I have been spoiled by my other bolt rifle, a Tikka T3, which has a very smooth action.
So it sat for many months before I was able to clean the cosmoline out. Well, I turned this rifle into an A for a course for my industrial technology degree. I have found that the professors in the technology department are pretty firearm friendly, especially the one I had for this class. I wanted to come up with a solution to cleaning the cosmoline off without using mineral spirits, or other potentially harsh chemicals as suggested online. So, I bought a cheap parts washer from Harbor Freight with a coupon of course and a used electric griddle from a local Salvation Army/Goodwill store for 4 bucks that even had a digital readout. I removed a bunch of paint from the bottom of the parts washer, purchased an 1/8" thick piece of aluminium plate to aid in heat transfer and to prevent the heating coils from touching the bottom of the parts washer itself, and used JB Weld to affix the griddle to the bottom (the actual cooking surface just lifted off for cleaning, so it was perfect!). After testing, I found that the JB Weld started to crack and separate from the parts washer, so to prevent the griddle from falling off, I welded up some legs that would support the griddle from the bottom, that rode on the shelf that came with the parts washer and hooked into where the handles for the griddle used to be. For solvent, I ended up picking Oil Eater from Tractor Supply for $12/gallon. It is non-toxic, non-corrosive, and biodegradable. I added about 9 gallons of water to it, and had great success.
So this contraption now lives in a buddy's garage, and within about half an hour gets the solvent solution up to about 115 degrees. It allowed the cosmoline to come right off all of the parts, as I had completety disassembled the rifle for cleaning. Becuase heat was going to be the key to cleaning in this scenario, I didn't want something that would be flammable, since I have cranked the temperature control on the griddle up to over 400 degrees, and I could potentially get something flammable up to near its flash point. So, hot Oil Eater works perfectly on cosmoline, and it works just as well on car parts too.