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Old 03-19-2010, 04:45 AM
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Default WD40 cleaning

Is it okay to clean a nickel plated gun with WD40? Whats the best way to clean the black powder around the cylinder and inside the cylinder? Is steel wool okay?
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:37 AM
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When cleaning nickel plated guns, I do not use barrel cleaning solvents, especially ammonia based solvents. If they are intended to remove jacked bullet fouling, it's logical that they will also remove nickel. I use WD 40 as a substitute. Combined with bronze brushes WD 40 works well for cleaning the bore and chambers. Steel wool will remove nickel fast. I just leave the dark rings around the chambers on the front of the cylinder alone.

Gil
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:03 AM
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WD40 is Ok on the outsides. Don't use it on the insides, it can screw up your gun.
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:35 AM
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Many of us are fans of Kroil. The oil that kreeps does an amazing job of cleaning with no ill effects. I buy a gallon a year directly from the factory for about 40 bucks delivered.
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:41 AM
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I have found Kano Kroil to be excellent, as well as Clenzoil.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:06 AM
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Back in the 1970's when WD-40 was much younger than it is today, there was a rumor that it would cause nickle finishes to go cloudy. In those years it was widely used on guns and many of us who carried daily in humid conditions and wet environments also sprayed the insides our holsters frequently. When that rumor came out I checked my 2.5" nickel M19 and sure enough it slightly cloudy around the high points of the cylinder, so I quit using it. I cannot say there was a definitive connection.

Another problem back then with WD-40 is many LEO's sprayed their guns while loaded at the end of their shifts, and later learned that could deactivate the primers in exposed rounds.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:25 AM
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A lot of misinformation here.

The problem with some gun cleaning solvents is that they contain ammonia. Ammonia really likes copper. It turns your cleaning patch green (with envy? ) It shows you its working.

Roy, our only real source for the information other than looking ourselves says the factory didn't use a base layer of copper on nickel plated guns. Refinishing companies often do use a first coat of copper to help the nickel adhere to a steel frame gun. Ammonia and steel have no real affinity for each other. Likewise with nickel. You could store ammonia in a nickel can if you could find one, and you'd have no problem.

If you've been shooting copper jacketed bullets, a cleaning or fouling remover containing ammonia will remove it. You see that as bluish green color on your patch. Ammonia has no ability to soak thru the nickel if its an intact plating. The only problem you could have is if you've got a gun that has been refinished in nickel, the refinisher used copper before he plated it in nickel, and the copper now has cracks or copper exposed.

How WD40 got into this discussion is interesting. It contains no ammonia. Its also a product that has changed its formula over the years.

Originally, it was the 40th formula tested in a search to displace water. That was long ago. At that time it was a varnish based substance. When it dried out, the varnish turned to ...... wait for it.....varnish. So yes, it did form a gum. Over the last few decades, the varnish (which, by the way, did an excellent job of displacing water) was replaced with stoddard solvent. It doesn't gum. Of course if you've got a gum deposit that has turned to rock, the WD40 in its current iteration will probably soften it. But then so will CLP or any of a host of other powder solvents and cleaning agents. Under those circumstances, blaming WD40 when any other agent will do the same is foolish. And note that a good cleaning with it or anything else will actually remove all the gum - end of problem.

But what we're really talking about isn't a good cleaning. Its the half way jobs people do because they're too lazy or stupid to do it right. And this only on formerly abused guns. There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving a dripping wet gun a quick shot of WD40 to protect it on a very temporary basis.

WD40 doesn't disable ammo, or if it does, its one of the least offensive products in this capacity. Back in 1980 (just yesterday to some of us) the American Rifleman decided to do a pretty comprehensive test of WD. And all other gun cleaners and solvents they could find. The basically sealed in plastic bags a bunch of ammo, soaked, doused, even submerged in every gun cleaner and oil they could find. Then at regular intervals, they fired the ammo.

Some of the chemicals did a fair job of killing ammo. WD40 wasn't one of them. It didn't affect the test ammo much at all. If you don't believe me, go find the December 1980 index of AR. It will direct you to the correct month (I think maybe October, but I'm not certain.) Then read it and weep.

So in summary, you can use WD40 to clean your S&W nickel plated guns. Or your blued ones. And you can use Hoppes #9 to clean and remove copper fouling. If you want to be prudent you can wipe it off and then smear a pleasant amount of CLP on the gun. Or you can just clean the gun with CLP and be good to go. Remember, CLP is a specification the military uses. The brand names have come later. And CLP stands for Cleaner, Lubricant, Protectant. Really. Who'd a thunk it.

If you want to remove the ugly black burn stains (not black powder), try cotton cloth, some CLP, or any other powder solvent you can find and rub a bit. It won't dissolve it, but it will make it less offensive, if it really bothers you, you're in trouble. I've never found a way to remove the burns. I leave it there as long as its not building up.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:32 AM
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That was a lot of typing, Dick, but I appreciate it.

Thank you!
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Old 03-19-2010, 12:20 PM
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+2 on Mr. Berg's excellent discourse.

On Stainless Steel guns I have used Mother's Metal polish, Flitz as well as Lead away cloths to remove the powder and Lead stains on the cylinder holes; but on Nickel I use Mothers or Flitz occasionally. Most polish has some abrasive in it which with repeated use may thin the Nickel finish. So if you shoot a Nickel plated gun a lot, just live with the staining. If you are readying a "Safe-queen" for storage clean it up with mothers or flitz and then protect it with Renaissance Wax. That is the way I do it.
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:04 PM
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+3 on Mr. Berg's WD-40 synopsis. I'm not sure what the anti-WD-40 movement is all about. It works well as a short-term rust preventative and water displacer, and it cleans most types of grime fairly well. I think people try to use it as a lubricant, a purpose for which it does not do well. It will lube for a short time, until the solvent evaporates. If you are at the range and need something to get your 1911 running, use it if you have no lube available (of course, the oil or tranny fluid from your dipstick will work better). It is a jack of all trades and a master of none, with its greatest strength being its ubiquity. I donít use it on my guns unless the go in the drink or I have nothing else available, but Iím certainly not afraid of it.
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Old 03-19-2010, 01:12 PM
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Use Flitz and some elbow grease and it will look new and use it to polish the extier of the gun and finish it off with Renaissance wax.
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Old 03-19-2010, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rburg View Post
How WD40 got into this discussion is interesting. Its also a product that has changed its formula over the years....WD40 doesn't disable ammo, or if it does, its one of the least offensive products in this capacity. Back in 1980 ...pretty comprehensive test of WD... Some of the chemicals did a fair job of killing ammo. WD40 wasn't one of them.
Are you saying the 1980 test included all the different forumulas used over the years, including those from the late 60's early 70's?

I can't say factually that WD-40 ever killed any primers, but I can say factually that about 1972 or 73 the NACP sent notice to all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies that spraying the outside of loaded service revolvers with WD-40 could kill the primers. The actual situation involed the failure-to-fire of an officer's revolver in the Pacific NW, and the cause was traced to spraying WD-40 on the outside of the gun each day after the shift ended.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:21 PM
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Spray enough of just about anything on a round of ammo every day for a while and there should be no surprise when a dead primer is found. Imagine. I've occasionally cleaned and lubed guns over the the years with nothing but WD-40 and they worked just fine. No rust either. Is it the best? No. But it's just fine. So is that other product of the devil, 3-in-1 Oil. Once upon a time in Germany my carry piece was a Combat Masterpiece, and all I ever cleaned and lubed it with was 3-in-1 Oil and it worked perfectly for the 2 years I had it. Steel wool? You are joking, right?
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:19 PM
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Question Lead wipe away cloth??

Does a lead wipe away cloth damage nickle finish? I like others have said, have used the cloth on stainless finish for years. I understand that heavy pressure on the cloth could "grind" away the finish, but what about normal to light cleaning with the lead wipe away cloth.??
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:40 PM
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Try a product called Prolix.

Made by ProChemCo 800 248 LUBE

Made in Salt Lake City

Good stuff.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:57 PM
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In 1980 there was very little of the old formula WD40 left in consumer hands. This is 30 full years later. If anyone still has any of it, it would be a miracle. All the old stuff is gone, used, evaporated, and hardened into a solid mass of gum.

As for the lead away cloth, it does a fairly good job of taking the burn marks off the cylinder. It will remove blue finish very efficiently, too. So don't even have it on the workbench when a blue gun is nearby.

Its abrasive. Not a strong abrasive because that isn't needed with soft lead. The action, as I understand it, is both chemical and mechanical. Its a product with a narrow and specific use. Yes, I have some zip locked in a bag with my cleaning stuff. Gentle and occasional use on a cylinder of a nickel or stainless gun works well. Not just on the cylinder, but if you cut a strip, you can also work on the frame above the barrel and the barrel cylinder gap. If you have a spitting problem, it will remove the build up very well (but only on those finishes.)

But like all wonder products, this one has some serious drawbacks. First, we have the potential damage to blue guns. Then there is the toxic problems. Anything strong enough to chemically remove lead probably needs some extra steps to clean up afterwards. Just as when we cast bullets, handle fired cases, we need to wash up well after. I'm more leary of the lead away than I am of handling elemental lead. Lead is like mercury, its the salts that are dangerous. I don't say you shouldn't use it, but using it regularly will probably abrade and scratch the nickel finish. Washing up afterward is just good hygene.
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:10 PM
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Wax is better than greasy kid stuff, Plus it won't cause it to "RUST". WD sucks ------ Water that is .
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:59 AM
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I've been cleaning my firearms with WD40 for about 30 years. No problems. What am I missing?
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:07 AM
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1) Nobody outside of the manufacturer knows what's in WD40. Try getting an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) from them - they won't issue one. I tried and failed to get it approved for use in a Ford Motor Company plant because I couldn't get an MSDS.

2) WD40 left a coat of varnish on the barrel of a muzzleloader of mine. It took some pretty good solvent to remove it.

3) WD40 will temporarily disable primers, but the primers will reactivate after the WD40 evaporates.

4) I won't use it to clean or lubricate guns. There are better products available for both purposes.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:50 AM
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Here's the MSDS off of WD-40's web site.

http://www.wd40company.com/files/pdf...d482671453.pdf

I use WD40 as a rinse after I clean guns and parts in my ultrasonic cleaner. After I use the WD, I blow it off with compressed air and give a wipe down with my normal lube. I've never had any trouble with buildup or varnish.
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1911, combat masterpiece, fouling, m19, masterpiece, military, model 19, primer, renaissance, rifleman, solvent

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