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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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Old 07-20-2021, 04:47 PM
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Default Who makes the absolute best handgun cleaner?

Speaking of solvents, of course, not oils. Wondering if there is one that stands out compared to others. I know everyone "loves" Hoppe's, but lately I've been partial to another. Folks here have mentioned Hoppe's, Ballistol, MPro7, Break Free, CLP, and Shooter's Lube to mention a few - there are more, of course.

Which solvent cleans the absolute best? (Not looking for an internet study). Which one do you rely on to remove lead your handgun?

Thanks.
P.S. I have no connection with any solvent or gun cleaner maker.
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Old 07-20-2021, 04:54 PM
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I do—to answer your heading. 50/50 ATF & Acetone.
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Old 07-20-2021, 05:06 PM
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Getting the popcorn out!
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Old 07-20-2021, 06:13 PM
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Yup, this will be a long thread! My go to is Ballistol. I slather my wood grips in it too.
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Old 07-20-2021, 06:22 PM
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Mpro7 cleaner.
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Old 07-20-2021, 06:28 PM
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Same guy that makes the best bear gun. S&W .500 . . .
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Old 07-20-2021, 06:48 PM
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Cool Mr. Clean

Outer sufaces: any full synthetic motor oil,
your just wiping residue off, leaves moisture
protection barrier, doesnít gum up/harden,
and no smell.

For the Bore: Hoppes foam bore cleaner only.

Cotton make up remover rounds for cleaning
wipes. They are all I use anymore, just too
handy for Revolvers and Rifles, and other
items.
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Old 07-20-2021, 06:54 PM
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The absolutely best is liquid mercury. It is a natural product and not manufactured. It has much more expensive to buy than it used to be and is dangerous to handle so I can't really recommend it, but if you plug the barrel and pour it in it will strip it down to the steel with little actual work.
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Old 07-20-2021, 07:08 PM
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robertrwalsh wins the cigar. However finding and using mercury is just Not practical these days, let alone all the safety issues. Used to disassemble mercury safety switches, had about a 35 mm film canister full. Pour in an old jar lid, place cylinder face down and lead was gone in minutes. Fill the bore and same. Always wore old thin leather gloves.
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Old 07-20-2021, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLYDE View Post
The next day I'll run another CLP patch through the bore and chambers. You would be surprised by the amount of black that comes out the second day.
When I was in the service we had to clean our weapons to the armorers satisfaction for three consecutive days. Were still getting carbon out of them the second and third cleanings.

Then we discovered liquid Freon with a spray wand. Cleaned the M-16's in just a few minutes. Problem was it turned them white as it took all the oil and carbon out of the metal. Had to wipe them down with oil so the armorers would not know what we had done. Really did not need to be cleaned the second and third days, but we went through the motions.

Hot water works well to on M-16's!
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Old 07-20-2021, 07:14 PM
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Now I understand . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greyman50 View Post
robertrwalsh wins the cigar. However finding and using mercury is just Not practical these days, let alone all the safety issues. Used to disassemble mercury safety switches, had about a 35 mm film canister full. Pour in an old jar lid, place cylinder face down and lead was gone in minutes. Fill the bore and same. Always wore old thin leather gloves.
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Old 07-20-2021, 08:15 PM
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All thanks to Hickok45,

Ballistol

Wish I'd discovered it myself a long time ago.
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Old 07-20-2021, 08:27 PM
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Depending on the weapon, I like Ballistol or Hoppes Elite.
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Old 07-20-2021, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertrwalsh View Post
The absolutely best is liquid mercury. It is a natural product and not manufactured. It has much more expensive to buy than it used to be and is dangerous to handle so I can't really recommend it, but if you plug the barrel and pour it in it will strip it down to the steel with little actual work.
When I was a kid, we used to play with Mercury all the time. Put it on our fingers and rubbed on silver coins to make them shine.
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Old 07-20-2021, 10:02 PM
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There is no "absolute best', the answer is too subjective. For me, I have been more than satisfied with Break Free CLP for the nearly 50 years I have been using it since 1972 when I was assigned as my departments Armorer
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Old 07-20-2021, 10:43 PM
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I keep a tub of rubbing alcohol on the bench. Strip gun down and scrub with a clean CLP brush (or whatever they call em now. Think Otis makes ones same as we had in the Marine Corps years ago)

For me it makes quick work of the initial grimy cleanup. Peels off the carbon pretty good too. Then hit it parts with compressor. Then plain ol CLP and scrub like normal. Oil er up and good to go.

Keep a good sealing lid on it and it last a long while.
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Old 07-20-2021, 11:22 PM
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I use carburetor cleaner for my Ruger 22 auto. I remove the stocks and dunk the whole gun and the junk just runs off/out. For my Smiths I use Hoppes. Works great.
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Old 07-20-2021, 11:40 PM
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Hoppes No 9 for over 50 years.
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Old 07-20-2021, 11:50 PM
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I gave up on Hoppe's No. 9. After using it for decades I realized there were far less toxic things that work just as well. Go read the MSDS for Hoppes. Yikes. I have been exposed to far worse at work but still, I don't need any more chemical exposure than is necessary.

I use a non-toxic product from an outfit called Gunwerkz.
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Old 07-21-2021, 07:58 AM
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Hoppes #9 on all my handguns. It works and I'm addicted to the smell. CLP on my ARs which are far dirtier after shooting.
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Old 07-21-2021, 08:28 AM
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I've tried many cleaners in the last several decades. Many work, but I've found none better for cleaning handguns than Hoppe's #9 or Ed's Red. These can be safely used on any finish including nickel.

I've always seen the CLPs as compromise cleaners. They will work for cleaning, just not as well as pure solvents.

However, CLPs do a pretty good job of lubricating, but so will many other oils and lubricants. For "preserving", apply any of these lightly to a soft cloth and give your gun a wipedown.
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Old 07-21-2021, 08:32 AM
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Dr.Richard, agree with Robert on liquid mercury as the best but, a little toxic.
CLP and good o'l elbow grease works great with dental tools and a soft cotton cloth. probably second best!!!

Break Free power blast is my go to, I also use Hoppe's #9.
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:24 AM
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Elbow grease
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:39 AM
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Kroil for cleaner and Wilson combat oil for lube if needed. I tried Ballistol one time after I saw people loved it. Used it one time and the smell was so bad I tossed it in the trash.
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:46 AM
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Have used about everything mentioned here....with no real hands-down absolute favorites.....

Always been intrigued how well MPro-7 cleans, with almost NO smell.

Hoppe's is a favorite, and pairs with cleaning old guns like a correct wine with dinner. Smells, as we all know are inextricably tied to memories.

For a deep-cleaning overnight soak, I'm sure I've violated all sorts of safety rules by soaking parts and handgun frames in gasoline or kerosene - 'cuz it's what I had. That and a toothbrush scrub works fine.

Not a fan of RemOil, seems too thin for the larger moving parts that may be under heat or stress.
CLP seems fine as a lube, not a fan of it's cleaning abilities.

Have had good luck with both Lucas Gun Oil and Brownell's 'Friction Defense' for lube and have suspicions they may be nearly the exact same thing.

Many good products out there now - any claiming BEST is a little over-stated.......
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Old 07-21-2021, 11:20 AM
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You can make the best cleaner / solvent for about $20.00 a gallon .
All ingredients are available at Wally-Mart , buy 1 qt. of the following to make 1 gallon :

Ed's Red Bore Solvent / Gun Cleaner
Dexron Automatic Transmission Fluid , GM Spec. D-20265 or later
K-1 Kerosene - for lamp or heater fuel
Mineral Spirits - Aliphatic (odorless)
Acetone

If you don't wish to mix a gallon , mix equal parts each .

The 50/50 Acetone - ATF is a super penetrating oil and will get under and lift lead better than any other cleaner ,,, except mercury , but that is expensive and sorta dangerous stuff .

I use the solvent / bore cleaner to clean guns , reloading dies and presses , it is a good lube and grease cutter and leaves a film of lubricant (ATF) to help prevent rust .
Gary
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Old 07-21-2021, 12:29 PM
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For most things Hoppes has served well as long as Iíve been shooting. When shooting NRA Bullseye Pistol the oldtimers swore by ďEdís RedĒ which did a great job for a home-brew cleaner. When I got involved in Black Powder/Cowboy shooting I became aware of Ballistol; a mixture of Ballistol with some water in a squirt bottle is my choice for BP fouled revolvers and rifles.

On the topic of Mercury, an old timer I knew kept a vile of it on his bench to attack the lead in badly lead-fouled barrels. It worked great. I thought Mercury would be just the ticket for cleaning a leaded-up Model 41 muzzle brake but I never could find a quantity of Mercury to attempt it plus the health warnings made me leery of trying it.
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Old 07-21-2021, 12:56 PM
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Let me suggest that leaded up Model 41 muzzle brake isn't leaded up---it just looks that way after the anodizing's been blasted away. My remedy is a brand new muzzle brake----for display purposes only.

Ralph Tremaine

And I guess this is as good a place as any to remind you of the Notable Thread Index in the early hand ejector section----and the thread titled "lead in barrel".

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Old 07-21-2021, 01:05 PM
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Let me suggest that leaded up Model 41 muzzle brake isn't leaded up---it just looks that way after the anodizing's been blasted away. My remedy is a brand new muzzle brake----for display purposes only.

Ralph Tremaine
I bought a 41 years ago that had a badly fouled muzzle brake. It appeared to be a combination of lead residue and carbon. I removed much of it and also removed the muzzle brake as it didn't appear to have any practical function. I would suspect the anodizing on mine is okay as it's had a lot of protection from the coating of grime.
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Old 07-21-2021, 01:27 PM
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Doesn't Mercury make you as mad as a Hatter?

We have 100į weather here and had to clean some guns indoors (a/c) and can't imagine cleaning with Hoppes or gasoline or anything that volatile.

It was nice cleaning indoors with some Mpro7 (no smell) and used some clp for oil at the end.

I use very little clp.

As a side note. I ran out of those cotton cleaning squares I buy at the gun store. I got lazy and used my wife's cotton face cleaning circle things. Dont know what they're called but she has bags of that stuff laying around- to remove makeup. They work really well!!! I don't think I'm gonna buy those cotton squares again! Who makes the absolute best handgun cleaner?
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Old 07-21-2021, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
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Doesn't Mercury make you as mad as a Hatter?

We have 100į weather here and had to clean some guns indoors (a/c) and can't imagine cleaning with Hoppes or gasoline or anything that volatile.

It was nice cleaning indoors with some Mpro7 (no smell) and used some clp for oil at the end.

I use very little clp.

As a side note. I ran out of those cotton cleaning squares I buy at the gun store. I got lazy and used my wife's cotton face cleaning circle things. Dont know what they're called but she has bags of that stuff laying around- to remove makeup. They work really well!!! I don't think I'm gonna buy those cotton squares again! Who makes the absolute best handgun cleaner?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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For other uses, see Mad as a hatter (disambiguation).
"Mad as a hatter" is a colloquial English phrase used in conversation to suggest (lightheartedly) that a person is suffering from insanity. It is believed to emanate from Denton and Stockport, Greater Manchester, where men in the area worked predominantly in the hattery business, which used mercury in the hat making process. The accumulation of mercury in the body causes symptoms similar to madness. The earliest known appearance of the phrase in print is in an 1829 issue of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine.
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Old 07-21-2021, 02:00 PM
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For just cleaning Hoppes is about he best IMHO. I am not a fan of Acetone in any cleaner and I avoid it as much as possible.
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Old 07-21-2021, 03:43 PM
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Lately, I've been using ballistol. In the past, Hoppe's copper solvent and then some Breakfree CLP to finish it off and lube it.
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Old 07-21-2021, 05:11 PM
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I mop the bore with Hoppes and let it sit for a few days. Then push a very tight patch through. Be surprised how much gunk comes out. Same with rifles. If it's really bad I have been known to use Barnes #10, very carefully.
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Old 07-21-2021, 05:51 PM
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I've used many over the years and one that's not been mentioned yet is Frog Lube. Please don't jump on me as Frog Lube, apparently, has detractors and if you disagree that's fine. It is a "natural" product that is plant-based and there is zero doubt it smells better than anything mentioned in this thread so far - kinda menthol/mint. Perhaps a good choice for indoor cleaning or confined spaces.

If you follow the manufacturer's directions Frog Lube does what it says it'll do regarding rust protection and I've found it to get after crud as well as most anything else. And it's easy to apply to patches. As with most products letting it sit awhile enhances the action.

If it's leading that's the problem do yourself a favor and peel or slice some strands off a Chore Boy copper scrubber pad and wrap them tightly around your cleaning brush. The extra aggressive scraping removes lead about as well as most of us occasionally require and doesn't hurt a thing.

I also like Ballistol and a product called EEZOX Synthetic Premium Gun Care. Frankly I've always thought it a good idea to rotate cleaning products as some are better on certain elements of crud than others and sometimes follow EEZOX with Frog Lube during the same cleaning session. It's rare that changing solvents and running a patch through what you believed was a clean bore won't yield evidence of some residual something.
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Old 07-21-2021, 06:19 PM
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For just cleaning Hoppes is about he best IMHO. I am not a fan of Acetone in any cleaner and I avoid it as much as possible.
You can simply omit the acetone from the Ed's Red Bore Cleaner
recipe if you are "not a fan" of the stuff .

Remember it's only 25% of the total mix , replace the acetone with a cleaner of your choice or some mineral spirits , kerosene , marvel mystery oil or whatever cleaner you think best .

Hoppes ELITE Cleaner has no smell and works fairly well ... But it's just so darned expensive ... 2 ozs. for $5.00 @ Wally Mart.

True acetone is a rather harsh solvent but when mixed with three other ingredients in equal parts ...it's not nearly as harsh or dangerous , watering it down takes a lot of the bite out of it .
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Old 07-21-2021, 06:33 PM
Richard Simmons Richard Simmons is offline
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Corrosion X. Slather in inside and out on a clean firearm, let it sit for a bit then wipe it down. Cleanup after the next range session, also using Corrosion X is effortless.
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Old 07-21-2021, 07:06 PM
Walter Rego Walter Rego is offline
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Good old Hoppes No. 9 for general cleaning. It is not a super strong solvent but the key is to let it work by giving it some dwell time and not be in a big hurry. For barrels that have a lot of copper fouling, I will use Sweet's 7.62 solvent. It has a lot of ammonia and needs to be used in a well ventilated area. The manufacturers of most of the copper specific solvents don't recommend leaving the bore wet for more than about 15 minutes.

Hoppes No. 9 can be left to soak in the bores for days with no ill effects. Ballistol works as a light cleaner, and MPro7 does a good job on loosening carbon buildup on cylinder faces.

If I had to limit myself to one solvent product, I could use Hoppes No. 9 and just be prepared to let it work which it eventually will. And if I had a Nickel plated gun I would not let the Hoppes sit on the finish for more than a minute or so.
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Old 07-21-2021, 07:18 PM
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MPro7 cleaner and a good nylon brush. I sometimes use a bronze brush when the carbon and lead get a little heavy.

One thread mentions Frog Lube. I went down that rabbit hole and ended up throwing out about $150 worth of it. The only good thing I have to say about it is that it smells nice. Maybe it would make a good bathroom odor eliminator but all it does to guns is make them stop working. I don't care how carefully you follow the instructions. Do yourself a favor, stay away from it.
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Old 07-21-2021, 07:32 PM
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Then we discovered liquid Freon with a spray wand. Cleaned the M-16's in just a few minutes. Problem was it turned them white as it took all the oil and carbon out of the metal. Had to wipe them down with oil so the armorers would not know what we had done. Really did not need to be cleaned the second and third days, but we went through the motions.
Do you happen to remember which one you used? I have access to most of them except the really obsolete ones. It was most likely R-11 used in low pressure centrifugal machines. I know it makes a great degreaser, but never tried it on firearms.

On a side note, I knew about using Mercury as a lead stripper, but havenít tried it. A possible source of Mercury would be A/C parts houses that take in old Mercury bulb thermostats for hazardous waste disposal. A four stage commercial stat(2heat/2cool) will have about 12 grams/1 cc of pure Mercury. Iím not sure how much would be required, but 3 or 4 stats worth would probably last a lifetime if stored properly and handled very carefully. You normally see a recycle bin full of them next to the counter at most supply houses. My caveat is that I donít know what the policy is on them and never asked. They may be tightly controlled by EPA laws or something. Iíll ask a couple places tomorrow and see if thereís a consensus on what they can do with them and report back.

I didnít realize Mercury was that hard to obtain and expensive. I remember reading Richie Kohler and John Chattertonís novel The Shadow Divers, about IDíing the U-boat they discovered(ended up being U-869), and finding out the cargo was several tons of Mercury. They at first thought they had struck it rich, but later found out it was essentially worthless because of environmental impact fees to salvage and the actual salvage cost was more than itís value. Who knows...it still may be there to this day!
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Old 07-21-2021, 07:49 PM
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Do you happen to remember which one you used? I have access to most of them except the really obsolete ones. It was most likely R-11 used in low pressure centrifugal machines. I know it makes a great degreaser, but never tried it on firearms.

Sorry, I don't. We had 55 gallon drums of Freon behind the squadron area. Our Hydraulics Shop, Metal Shop, and Power Plants stored stuff there. We took a high pressure wand with a pick up tube attached to about 100 pounds of air pressure to spray it on the weapons. By doing this we took all the oil and carbon out and off the weapon, this turned them white. To be able to turn them in at the Armory, we had to oil them down and wipe off any excess oil to turn them black again.
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:13 PM
Flattop5 Flattop5 is offline
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Good old Hoppes No. 9 for general cleaning. It is not a super strong solvent but the key is to let it work by giving it some dwell time and not be in a big hurry. For barrels that have a lot of copper fouling, I will use Sweet's 7.62 solvent. It has a lot of ammonia and needs to be used in a well ventilated area. The manufacturers of most of the copper specific solvents don't recommend leaving the bore wet for more than about 15 minutes.

Hoppes No. 9 can be left to soak in the bores for days with no ill effects. Ballistol works as a light cleaner, and MPro7 does a good job on loosening carbon buildup on cylinder faces.

If I had to limit myself to one solvent product, I could use Hoppes No. 9 and just be prepared to let it work which it eventually will. And if I had a Nickel plated gun I would not let the Hoppes sit on the finish for more than a minute or so.

The great thing about Hoppes #9 is: when you're finished cleaning your gun, you can use it as cologne! You'll smell great!



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Old 07-22-2021, 10:33 AM
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MPro7 cleaner and a good nylon brush. I sometimes use a bronze brush when the carbon and lead get a little heavy.

One thread mentions Frog Lube. I went down that rabbit hole and ended up throwing out about $150 worth of it. The only good thing I have to say about it is that it smells nice. Maybe it would make a good bathroom odor eliminator but all it does to guns is make them stop working. I don't care how carefully you follow the instructions. Do yourself a favor, stay away from it.
I'd love some detail of your experience. What, specifically, did Frog Lube do that was detrimental to your firearms? I'm curious because I've been using it for six or seven years and have never had the slightest issue. I'd like to know what you think I'm in for so I'll pay attention. Thanks!
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Old 07-22-2021, 10:39 AM
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I'd love some detail of your experience. What, specifically, did Frog Lube do that was detrimental to your firearms? I'm curious because I've been using it for six or seven years and have never had the slightest issue. I'd like to know what you think I'm in for so I'll pay attention. Thanks!
It may never be an issue in warmer climes, but in the cold weather it gums up pistols very well.

It does smell nice.

Mpro7 is my go-to for cleaning, lube duties split between Mpro7 and Ballistol.
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Old 07-22-2021, 11:32 AM
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I’ve tried everything known to man.
Settled on Hopps #9 and Ed’s Red.
Use EEZOX for blued guns finish protection.
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Old 07-22-2021, 01:57 PM
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I too liked the idea of frog lube and bought a complete kit with the towel and brushes and all.
It smells like mint vapor rub?? Or something minty?? And its organic so I figured what they hey.

I cleaned up a few Revolvers and had them hanging in my rack in the safe all nice and clean. I thought I could get used to this.
I remember I did that in the winter here.
Although we have 100į weather now, when its cold, its COLD. Here.
Anyway. I checked on the Revolvers maybe a week later(?).

All of them had this dull film all over them. Turned the polished Revolvers dull and the glass bead ones even duller and you could see the swirl marks on em. Even handling em was messy. It took me a looong time to clean those Revolvers again.

I put them on a Sig I had too and it gummed up the springs also. I never had a malfunction with it. But, that's the last time I'd mess froglube and threw it all in the trash.

That was my personal experience. But I did hear froglube caused a gun to misfire on the internet. So, you know it has to be true. Ha! Ok. That last part I can't confirm . But I would believe it after the mess that it leaves.
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Old 07-22-2021, 02:04 PM
Taipan01 Taipan01 is offline
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Depends on the firearm. I go with Hoppes #9 for many but I do have some that have a protective coat like my 642, I use Hoppe's elite on that plus and a couple others. I clean mine with each use so my build-up isn't much. I run a bore snake through the barrels and cylinders first.
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Old 07-22-2021, 02:09 PM
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I used Hoppe's Elite for years and like it. Now, it looks like it isn't marketed any longer. I switched over to M Pro 7. It seems to be the exact same product.
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Old 07-22-2021, 02:20 PM
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For God's sake do NOT even think of messing around with Mercury to clean your guns . I don't care how great it works , that stuff is TOXIC to you , your family , your pets , whatever .
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Old 07-22-2021, 05:01 PM
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The absolutely best is liquid mercury. It is a natural product and not manufactured. It has much more expensive to buy than it used to be and is dangerous to handle so I can't really recommend it, but if you plug the barrel and pour it in it will strip it down to the steel with little actual work.
I must be living in a cave. I had never heard of using liquid mercury that way. As a middle schooler, I remember handling it some. IIRC, it was extremely heavy. Back then, we didn't know it was so toxic.
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