Saturday, May 7, 2016

Hey Fat Man! What about cleaning?

Okay.... those might not be the exact words, but I did get an E-mail asking my thoughts on cleaning products for our firearms.  I thought I'd jot a few notes here amongst us friends, and let everyone poke and prod with their own advice.  (I'll link where I can).

I break my cleaning and lubricating down into a few basic areas.
  • General cleaning
  • Removing copper from a bore
  • Cleaning up after corrosive ammo
  • Lubricating
For general cleaning, I break out one of two products.  Breakfree CLP, or Ballistol. They are different products, but serve many of the same purposes.  Intended to be 'all in one' gun cleaning and lubricating agents, they do a decent job most of the time for most gun maintenance jobs.  Ballistol is the better bore fouling remover in my humble opinion.  CLP is what I sent to my friends in the sand, and they seemed happy with it.

CLP, we are all most aware of already.  I prefer to use it in the needle applicator, although I do have spray cans for some jobs.  The needle applicator lets me put a drop into a trigger mechanism, or on a Q-tip or patch without making a mess.  I also use it in my air tools at work, and the same spray can has lasted me two years so far in that role.

Ballistol.... that's an old beastie indeed.  Ginned up by wily Germans about a hundred years ago, it has really stood the test of time.  I use it as a general cleaner, but it's my all-time favorite go to
on my old Mil-Surp rifles.  It's designed to work on corrosive ammo residue, and it does a bloody good job. It can also be mixed with water to do bore flushing, and makes quick work of black powder fouling (if you are into the dark arts). 

Wipe down cloths.... I use Sentry Solutions Tuf-Cloth.  Yeah, kinda gimicky, but they work well for me and don't leave an oily residue that holds dirt and dust.  I keep mine in the original bags they come in, or in a zip lock.  Don't leave them
out, it cuts their life span by a bunch.  Kept bagged, I use about one a year... yes, they will do that.

Lubrication?   Well..... the CLP needle dropper for some things, but honestly... plain old Mobile-One 5w30 motor oil.  Why pay a fortune for some whiz-bang trumped up incarnation of Canola oil when a quart of Mobile One will last a lifetime and perform with perfect satisfaction?   Needle applicators can be had on Amazon, if you are allergic to shopping (People... ugh) like I am.

Copper removal from a bore.... a touchy subject.  There are a LOT of different approaches to this, but I always come back to relying on basic chemistry.  Yes, a boatload of arm tiring scrubbing can wear away copper bore fouling, but why do that?  Chemistry is our friend, and a simple, but careful, application of ammonia will turn copper fouling into a nasty blue goo that pushes right out of the bore.  

On copper fouling, I use the ancient Sweet's 7.62 formula, or on a nastily fouled Mil-Surp with corrosive ammo, straight up Parson's Ammonia found in the grocery store at $2.49 a quart.  In both cases, I treat copper removal as an intermediate step in bore cleaning.  Some scrubbing with regular bore cleaner to remove propellant fouling, and then a soak with Sweet's.  Follow with another bore cleaning to remove the blue goo, and protect with my choice of lubricant for that rifle.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE about using ammonia based copper removal products, including Sweet's 7.62.  'Soak' means a couple minutes.... not hours.  The chemical will attack the metal, given time.  That's bad news for a good rifle bore.  I limit copper removal to my high velocity rifles, and some rougher bore Mil-Surps that live in the castle armory.  Even then, only about once every few hundred rounds or so.

That's about it. A handful of products and a few simple procedures, and no great stress over it.  My shootin Arns are in good shape and work every time.

Disclosure:  Yes, I am an Amazon affiliate.  If someone buys something through a link I post, I get a tiny percentage of the purchase in the form of Amazon credit.  With this, I usually purchase shooty stuff and review it here.  Think of it as a way to support the blog.... and my thanks to you for it!
(A quick check shows me it's up to $2.08 for the month.  Huzaaa!)

(Edit editorial:  Another read found a handful of ridiculous spelling and syntax errors.  I thought we were friends here!  Why doesn't anyone tell me about these things?)


Anonymous said...

I also use Sweet's. Great stuff..just stay upwind when you use it! Like the idea of using the motor oil. Is that what you use on your AR'S too?

Long Island Mike said...

I like that you covered the basics in a post. Not everyone are grey beards and they can benefit from the knowledge.

My own gun pharmacy is composed of Hoppe's #9 (which was also designed for corrosive ammo), and Rem Action spray. The latter will remove everything on metal. When grease is required I reach for the Tetra brand.

I recently had need for and highly recommend Flitz paste for removal of light surface rust. Like magic the rust comes off without scratching.

Carteach said...

Funny you ask. For some reason, I have just used the CLP on the AR rifles. The motor oil is generally used on the other rifles that don't get shot as often. Can't say why, and now that I think about it I'm almost certain the AR triggers would benefit from a drop of the synthetic oil.

Jerry The Geek said...

I've been using motor oil on my IPSC competition pistols for 30 years, and it works at least as well as that high-priced stuff the professional shooters endorse.

Some people don't think you should 'oil' your guns. The guy who owned STI once told me "oil is good; more oil is better". Who you gonna believe, if you can't trust the man who made them ... and used them in competition.

Anonymous said...

Carteach, on a side note. How is the test going with the PSA upper? I am building am rifle and was thinking about using a PSA upper.

Lock and Load

Carteach said...

Anon, so far I am 250 rounds into the 500 round test. Started dry, and no cleaning or lube yet.

It's a Ptac slick side upper sold by PSA. At this point, not a single failure to work perfectly since the first round. Nothing to report but smooth sailing so far.

Anonymous said...

Not a fan of all in one cleaner/lube products.
For routine cleaning I use what my Old Man used before me: Hoppe's #9, and 3-in-One oil, after dragging a bore snake thru a couple of times.
Bolts and slides can go in a pan of Stoddard solvent or kerosene while you address the barrel; an ultrasonic cleaner maybe even better.
WD 40 for cleaning only, never for protection or storage.
On occasion I have tried an experimental custom blend of CLP/3-in One/Marvel Mystery Oil for protection and lube after cleaning.(Seems to work fine.)
Once, I used Neosporin ointment when there was nothing similar available.
Synthetic auto wax (not polish) makes a decent protectant.