What are your favorite cleaning products and methods after a hard day at the range?
My son and I collect and shoot milsurps and milsurp ammo.
Aside from the obvious “first bath” and total disassembly to scrub out the cosmoline and crud on a newly acquired weapon with an unknown past, which necessitates the pre-requisite kerosene soak and hand brushing, we have been going through a host of products and methods to find the best after running a few hundred rounds through them on the range.
Facts of life …
All ammunition is dirty!
All ammunition is corrosive!
All ammunition leaves behind lead and copper!
All steel rusts no matter what the finish or coating!
It has taken us quite some time to conclude that most cleaning products suck and, despite best efforts and intentions, good and thorough cleaning has been something that has eluded us.
How do you tell what good cleaning is and when you actually have scrubbed out all the accumulated garp fouling your bore?
The answers seem to lie in trying new and different products, on the gun you scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed until the patches came out clean, only to find the first patch with a new product comes out as black as if you never ever cleaned the gun!
One particularly complicating factor is steel cased milsurp ammo from the late seventies on up that are coated with lacquer or polymer. How they ever managed to deal with this on the battlefield is beyond me as the stuff has all the properties of super glue and is damned near impossible to remove. Shoot any quantity of this stuff, until the chamber heats up, and it starts to melt and adhere to the chamber wall and neck area like hot glue. Empty cases will refuse to eject and firmly glue themselves in requiring a ramrod and a few heavy hits with a hammer to back them out. Broken extractors, ripped off case heads, and jammed up actions become a common annoyance every trip to the range. Even after what you thought was a thorough cleaning, if any of it remains in the chamber, the problem will repeat after only a few rounds on the next trip.
How do you successfully get it out so you can enjoy a trouble free afternoon of shooting and a hundred rounds or more without problems?
We had been fighting this most annoying problem for some time, as in every trip to the range, and already had to replace broken extractors on several rifles.
We had gone through gallons of the “common” name brand cleaning products usually found in the local stores. It seems they are the only ones you find on the shelves and every store has the same ones, all name brands you know.
Despite scrubbing and scrubbing, this was getting us nowhere fast. A little light reading on the web started to point to some lesser known products that I found people raving about. Of course, searching for them in the stores proved futile. Thanks to the wonders of online ordering, getting them online proved much easier than driving around looking for them.
SUCCESSFUL PRODUCTS TO DATE:
Advanced Auto Parts Carb + Choke Cleaner P/N A7000 16.25 oz. $1.98 @
This seems much more effective than Gun Scrubber spray. It does not evaporate as quickly giving you more time to work it, not to mention, a whole lot cheaper! It removes a considerable amount of copper residue, as evidenced by the light brown on the patches. It appears to effectively dissolve lacquer and polymer coating residue from the chamber.
Start with this, giving a liberal spray from the chamber end until it runs out the bore. A good spray will flush out considerable black residue. Spay until it runs out clear. Let it sit for a few minutes. Brush vigorously and repeat. Keep doing that until it comes out clear after brushing.
Find one brush that fits the larger case diameter of the chamber and one that fits the neck area.
One that fits the taper of the neck area, where the lacquer/polymer build up causes the sticking problems, will not fit into the rifling of the bore. Spray the chamber area and using a drill and a short rod, spin the larger brush and then the smaller one in the chamber for a few seconds each while working in and out. This will just about totally remove any lacquer/polymer in there allowing you to get off at least a couple hundred rounds before you get a sticking problem again.
The Carb cleaner will get out a good 80% of powder residue, lacquer/polymer, and a lot of copper in a matter of minutes.
The BEST total line of products we have found to date!
You will find several products here that you will want/need.
FREE shipping on orders over $30, so buy in bulk to get the free shipping (which often exceeds the price of the product on other web sites).
Fast shipping! My order arrived in two days!
Shooters Choice Firearms Bore Cleaner Item# MC716
Get the 16oz bottle as the little one does not go very far!
This is a great general purpose cleaner that removes copper, lead, carbon, and lacquer/polymer residue. Try it on any gun you thought was clean be amazed at what comes out on the first patch!
Swab with a very wet patch or mop and let sit a couple minutes, brush and then patch until patches come out clean.
Shooters Choice Extreme Clean 12oz spray can
This is POTENT stuff! Use outdoors, preferably with a stiff breeze at your back!
Removes copper, lead, and just about anything else but does not harm finish.
Once again, try some of this on a gun you thought was clean and watch what comes out!
Shooters Choice Copper Remover 8oz liquid
This is ammonia based for extreme copper accumulation that is not coming out with repeated use of the above. Don’t forget to neutralize and flush with hot soapy water if you use it.
Shooters Choice FP-10 Lubricant 4oz bottle
I like this oil! Seems to be good at rust prevention. We will see how it holds up for long term storage but, so far, it is outlasting many of the others we have used.
Buy in quantity and look for free shipping as the shipping costs are almost as much as the product on single cans!
Don’t let the small size of the can fool you!
It only takes a very brief squirt of this from each end of the barrel to fill it with foam.
Any more than a very short burst and you will have a continuous stream of foam growing out of the barrel and running all over!
Spray and park.
This is reactive over 24-48 hours and meant to leave sitting.
After letting it work for a day, patch out until dry and then flush with carb cleaner.
Pretty amazing stuff! Again, try it on a gun you think is clean and watch what comes out!
It really removes the copper and the first patches will be noticeably blue. (As well as what drips out the end from the foaming so watch where you park it and place something at either end to catch any excess)
As this stuff is a little pricy, we have reserved it for the relics we don’t shoot often and/or really heavy duty cleaning. Several repeat applications may be necessary as the junk just keeps coming out! It took numerous applications on an Enfield Jungle Carbine that obviously saw considerable use but the bore and rifling now looks brand new! There is a noticeable difference on guns that were previously very well cleaned! I would strongly recommend this to re-condition any used milsurp, after cosmoline removal, for the first major cleaning after using the Shooters Choice.
Does all this stuff work?
I do believe thorough cleaning with the above products has considerably improved accuracy and function in our milsurp collection and all the guns have benefited from it. We are now having very little problems with cases sticking and can get through a range session without problems.
We were spending a fortune on the other name brand products from the retail stores with poor results. These products appear to be both cost effective and labor effective in comparison.
The test is simple, try any of these in a gun you thought was really clean and see what comes out! Prepare to be shocked!
Last edited by USMCsean; 11-03-2007 at 10:41 AM.
Reason: title addition
I use WWII USGI bore cleaner while at the range, clean while the barrel is warm. When I get home, I use Outers foaming bore cleaner followed by a bronze brush. (Be sure to wash out the bronze brush when you are done)
At the range, I swab the bores out with Windex-soaked patches to get out the sooty, black residue from Turk ammo, or corrosive salts from any milsurp ammo.
At home I use either Hoppes or GI bore cleaner for routine cleaning. For new acquisitions, or after heavy use, I use the Outer's Foaming Bore cleaner, followed by either GI for rifles I'll frequently shoot, or with CLP if they go back into the gun vault.
I've accumulated samples of almost every major bore cleaner over the past 30+ years, and have concluded that the Bore Foam is the most effective and easiest to use. It will attack the copper in bronze brushes, so I make it a point to use nylon bristle brushes, if a brush is necessary.
As for the lacquer melting in a chamber, try this: gently warm up a lacquer-coated case to the point where it is supposed to gum, flow, or become sticky. You will find that it will burn and ash before it gums up. Lacquer isn't coating your chamber, residual varnished cosmoline is. It will be a very fine coat & not readily visible.
Lacquer is a slick surface that tends to bond to gummy surfaces, such as your varnished chamber. Be sure you have removed all varnished cosmoline from your bore and you will have no further problems with lacquered cases. A strip of green 3M sanding pad on a slotted section of cleaning rod, dipped in MEK or carb cleaner, and spun at low rpm will remove the fine layer of varnish that is still coating your chamber. Spraying carb cleaner or gunscrubber alone won't remove it.
Made an evaluation of Shooter's Choice Copper Remover today while cleaning the Hakim.
The "Bubba" sniper Hakim was scrubbed extremely clean prior to a workout this week on the range where it got about 100 rds of 1980's Romanian through it. It only received a cursory swab of carb cleaner after coming home.
Today, I got around to thorough cleaning.
Spray with carb cleaner, brush, patch, spray again and brush until carb cleaner ran out clean. Considerable carbon flushed out.
Followed with a spray of Shooter's Choice Extreme Clean foam.
Brushed and patched until patches were coming out clean.
Wet patch with carb cleaner came back clean.
As I had never used the Shooter's Choice Copper Cleaner, figured it was time to give it a try.
Soaked patch and swabbed out until bore was wet.
This has a strong ammonia content you can smell.
Worked the 8mm brush through about ten times and it was coming out covered in black!
Gave it a shot of carb cleaner which ran out black.
The next ten patches came out pure black!
Continued alternating patches soaked in Copper Cleaner and vigorous brushings until the patches cleaned up.
Followed with a flush with carb cleaner and then patching and brushing with Shooter's Choice Bore cleaner liquid until the patches were coming out clean.
The Shooter's Choice Copper Cleaner really broke loose a ton of crap!
I thought it was relatively clean until I used the Copper Cleaner and the result surprised me quite a bit.
The flush after with the carb cleaner poured out a stream of sludge but after more brushing and flushing, came clean on the patches.
The Bore Cleaner after that got a little more but nowhere near really dirty until it cleaned up completely.
Considering the results, I will now add patching with well soaked patches of Copper Cleaner to the mid portion of the cleaning on all the guns. Note that I didn't let it sit for any amount of time, just soaked the patch to well coat the bore and then brushed and patched.
The bore is now mirror bright with nicely distinct rifling.
Whatever is in the Copper Cleaner seems to have broken loose a high amount of carbon residue that was not touched by the other products.
I observed very little blue copper discoloration on the patches showing that it didn't take out that much copper residue.
I only got the Copper Cleaner to reach the $30 for free shipping but will certainly continue to use more of it in the future.