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Thread: Question about aggressive barrel cleaning, what to use...

  1. #41
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangolima View Post
    Electrolysis had been my killer cleaning method before I realized there were solvents much better than hoppe #9. Electrolysis really works, ...
    If its a commercial electrolysis system used, strictly adhering to instructions, with a correct commercial electrolysis fluid, you should be safe.

    However, you need to be careful,
    as you CAN damage/remove barrel steel and rifling by overdoing/improper use of electrolysis, or using the wrong chemicals,
    or using "home made" electrolysis setups or home made chemicals.
    Its a fast way to ruin your expensive barrel and get that sinking feeling in your gut that you just destroyed something good and valuable.

    FYI when using electrolysis, when the fluid turns black, that is evidence that you are destroying the barrel,
    as the black is extremely fine particles of iron oxide (i.e. barrel steel) in the fluid.

    FYI very old school ink (as in inkwells and feather quills) is black because its made of very fine particles of iron oxide.

  2. #42
    Boolit Buddy 458mag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edp2k View Post
    If its a commercial electrolysis system used, strictly adhering to instructions, with a correct commercial electrolysis fluid, you should be safe.

    However, you need to be careful,
    as you CAN damage/remove barrel steel and rifling by overdoing/improper use of electrolysis, or using the wrong chemicals,
    or using "home made" electrolysis setups or home made chemicals.
    Its a fast way to ruin your expensive barrel and get that sinking feeling in your gut that you just destroyed something good and valuable.

    FYI when using electrolysis, when the fluid turns black, that is evidence that you are destroying the barrel,
    as the black is extremely fine particles of iron oxide (i.e. barrel steel) in the fluid.

    FYI very old school ink (as in inkwells and feather quills) is black because its made of very fine particles of iron oxide.
    Never seen the fluid turn black, but have watched it turn greenish from all the copper crud that boiled up. Only black stuff was particles of built up powder fouling sandwiched between the copper fouling. As with everything GO SLOW and use moderation. I only use this method with BADLY fouled barrels and Im confident I am doing no damage. The fouling is usually atracted to the rod but some will be carried to the surface by the boiling action where it can be seen.
    Most folks see a firearm as rifle, pistol, shotgun, ect.... I see a canvas.

  3. #43
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    I've only used the electronic cleaner on a Mauser 1908 that nothing was getting the bore clean. Alternated 10 minute electrolysis sessions with Ed's Red patches. The steel cleaning rod came out covered with black on the first session, 2nd pass was less black and by about the 4th there was nothing. The patches started coming out relatively clean by about #5, the bore is still dark pitted, but at least you can see down the barrel now.

    You can certainly ruin a barrel with EBC, and the black coating on the rod had me nervous. But I didn't have anything to lose with that barrel, and it did clean a barrel that nothing else seemed to have any affect.

  4. #44
    Boolit Master
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    Firstly......why would anyone be using electrolysis on a Hart or Shilen target barrel?........simple ,they would not.........so a lot of the horror is twaddle......its a method for removing crud from what is by any realistic standard a "scrap" barrel.............Now ,Ive heard all the nonsense stories of masses of fouling being removed to reveal a pristine 1895 Spanish Mauser bore.........and some are caused by confusion between what is fouling ,and what is actually dried and petrified preservative grease and dust........when you remove dried preservative,you often do get a pristine bore...........very,very rarely when the fouling is a combination of wear ,corrosion and metallic deposit.......So ,when I hear some newbie telling these tall stories ,I just look at the wall ,and roll my eyes.

  5. #45
    Boolit Buddy 458mag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    Firstly......why would anyone be using electrolysis on a Hart or Shilen target barrel?........simple ,they would not.........so a lot of the horror is twaddle......its a method for removing crud from what is by any realistic standard a "scrap" barrel.............Now ,Ive heard all the nonsense stories of masses of fouling being removed to reveal a pristine 1895 Spanish Mauser bore.........and some are caused by confusion between what is fouling ,and what is actually dried and petrified preservative grease and dust........when you remove dried preservative,you often do get a pristine bore...........very,very rarely when the fouling is a combination of wear ,corrosion and metallic deposit.......So ,when I hear some newbie telling these tall stories ,I just look at the wall ,and roll my eyes.
    Exactly. A Hart or Shilen or any of the other target grade barrels should never be allowed to reach the point of aggressive methods. That being said, I have some mil surps that cleaned up beautifully with the electro method.
    Most folks see a firearm as rifle, pistol, shotgun, ect.... I see a canvas.

  6. #46
    Boolit Buddy
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    Need advice from some of the cleaning experts here. I came into a '98 Krag yesterday with a fouled bore. The seller said he used a bunch of Wipeout on it and couldn't get it clean.
    I gave it a dose of Wipeout last night, and the patch at left is what came out this morning. The center patch is what came out this afternoon after another five-hour soak with Wipeout, and the final patch at right is a follow-up patch saturated with Break-Free CLP. Subsequent patches are coming out the same brown color, and when I look down the bore, I get that "this is worse than when I started" feeling. I have seen this before, and believe is is junk coming up out of the steel that has been in there for decades, maybe a century. I can't take my own advice cited above yet -- shoot the thing -- as I am waiting for brass and dies to arrive so I can make up some handloads.
    fullsizeoutput_1017 by ComeWatson, on Flickr

  7. #47
    Boolit Mold
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    I'm no expert, and haven't used Wipeout.

    Looks like all 3 patches have brown in the mix. I'm afraid it is rust. The blue in the left patch is copper. The black in center patch is carbon.

    Probably Wipeout took away copper and carbon layers on the top, exposing rust streaks in underlying steel. I would keep scrubbing with ample of breakfree on brass brush, and relaxed patches in between.

    -TL

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk

  8. #48
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    When electrolysis solution has black crud floating on top,this is rust being lifted by the fine hydrogen bubbles....The method works solely by microscopic hydrogen bubbles forcing rust off the steel anywhere water/electrolyte is able to penetrate the rust ......this is why the process takes considerable time,the cleaning is only working in a small area.if too much current is used ,the process will plate iron onto the barrel,making a new lot of crud......so small currents ,and a current controll are required........more is not better,its worse...As long as current is flowing ,the electrolyte will not corrode the steel.....This process is used to protect marine structures in salt water......Theoretically,the process will not lift plating,but metallic fouling seems to be porous enough to work ok.

  9. #49
    Boolit Master
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    For aggressive cleaning of heavy metal and carbon fouling I plug the breech and using a coated steel rod with 7mm jag I run a loosely fitted patch of soft cloth lightly wrapped with 0000 steel wool down to rest against the plug then pour the bore about half full of sweets 7.62 solvent. I pull the patch slowly up and down then let it sit for awhile to give the solvent time to attack fouling exposed by the light scrubbing action, then repeat as many times as feels right.
    I then pour out the solvent and swab out the bore, replace the plug and pour the bore full of solvent to work overnight. I repeat this process for several days. I then take the rifle out for a shooting session and repeat the process while the barrel is still warm.
    Never use a tight patch if using steel wool. Its not meant to polish the steel its only meant to scour away partly dissolved fouling, exposing underlying fouling to the solvent.

    Modern barrel steel is much harder than steel wool, older BP era barrels and .22 RF barrels are softer steel and easily damaged by steel wool.

  10. #50
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    Happy to report that a dose of Wipeout given several hours to work followed by bronze brushing the Break-Free is making a world of difference. I think this old Krag bore will come right.

  11. #51
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    yup black means rust not copper fouling. Chances are when and if you do get it clean its going to be pitted.
    Quote Originally Posted by edp2k View Post
    NOT true, you CAN damage/remove barrel steel by overdoing/improper use of electrolysis, or use of the wrong chemicals.
    Not something to mess with, especially with "home made" setups or home made chemicals.
    Its a quick easy way to ruin your barrel.

    FYI when using electrolysis, when the fluid turns black, that is evidence that you are destroying the barrel,
    as the black is extremely fine particles of iron oxide (i.e. barrel steel) in the fluid.

    FYI very old school ink (as in inkwells and feather quills) is black because its made of very fine particles of iron oxide.

    Question: you say that the patches are coming out BLACK, not blue/green?
    I take it that you are not talking about the first few patches, which of course would have black powder fowling/carbon.

    BLACK makes me suspicious that it is iron oxide.
    The question is,
    is it iron oxide from barrel steel, or from something like steel residue from steel jacked ammo (i.e. russian and others).
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  12. #52
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    I think electrolysis cleaning is a real time/labor/money saver for this sort of thing. You can burn through $5-10 in brushes/cleaning solvent/patches before you know it on a bad barrel, while wasting hours of your time overall. If you look around online you'll find a few good articles on making your own setup very inexpensively (old cell phone charger etc.) I think the key is to just stick with a low power unit and not too aggressive a solution (make your own easily with household stuff), most of the manpower time in this sort of thing is in plugging/filling barrel/setup anyway so the power of the unit isn't too important & cuts your risk down to nil if you keep an eye on things. I pulled what had to be about a half ounce to ounce of lead out of a visibly clean/patch clean pitted enfield barrel with the one I made, couldn't believe it. Main investment is time learning how to use it and getting set up (rod, solution, stoppers, funnel etc), after that you reap the rewards of the setup/knowledge for life.

  13. #53
    Boolit Mold GranddadsDadsMine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimb16 View Post
    I've got an M1 carbine that I don't believe has been cleaned since it was made! I've spent more than 5 hours scrubbing that barrel with 4 different solvents and worn out 4 phospor/bronze brushes and the patches are still coming out BLACK! Any suggestions as to what might work better at clearing the crud out of that barrel? I've tried Hoppes, Hoppes copper remover, Quick scrub and another foaming cleaner. Or do I just have to keep working on it til my arm falls off?
    This past weekend I restarted my project to restore my Dads sporter Enfield SMLE, and I spent the cumulative amount of 24 hours over the course of Sat-Sun, scrubbing that bore. I made a 3 hour trip out of my city to get Hoppes #9 Benchrest copper solvent. It helped a lot compared to the regular old lead solvent. I scrubbed most of the afternoon on Saturday, trying just about everything and ruined 3 bronze brushes .

    What did work well was running a wet patch or two through, then dry patches until they're coming out dry. Then a wet patch and then brush it. So on and So on. Saturday night I put the benchrest through on a cotton brush and let it sit over night. I like Hoppes because of this, its not a solvent that will ruin your bore if you leave it in. In fact it recommends on the bottle you leave it over night. Anyway, after all my patches were coming out relatively clean Saturday, leaving the bore wet overnight changed that. The first pass I made sunday morning came out bright green! Now its the cleanest its ever been. Still got a little to go yet though. More than anything I think it just takes that undeniable elbow grease!

    P.S I have an order on the way for Sweets 7.62 to get an aggressive solvent in there, and JB non embedding bore cleaner coming to hopefully soften the edges of the pitting. The pits aren't particularly deep anyway.

    Good Luck!
    Take pride in everything you do, or not, you do what you think's right, I'll do what I think's right

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  14. #54
    Boolit Master
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    Foaming Wipe Out works great.
    I spray it in. Let it soak for an hour Brush it with a stainless brush. Patch it out. Repeat.
    I use stainless because sometimes the bronze will give a wrong color to the patch.
    Brush needs to be tight. When it gets loose, I wrap some stainless Chore Boy around it.
    Takes some time, but it cleans everything out.

    With a M1 Carbine, you want to use a bore guide.
    Don't want to put any wear on the muzzle.
    With rifles I have to clean from the muzzle, I don't really worry about the patch color.
    I clean it until the bore looks clean and shiny. Shoot it and see if it improved.
    If it did, I'm done.
    Can do more damage to the muzzle, by cleaning to much, than getting the bore sparkling clean.
    Last edited by abunaitoo; 06-13-2019 at 05:58 AM.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check