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Thread: RBC GI bore cleaner for corrossive ammo, What's in it?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master omgb's Avatar
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    RBC GI bore cleaner for corrossive ammo, What's in it?

    Does anybody have an idea of what's in GI bore cleaner from WWII and Korea? The stuff is getting expensive and I like to use it. It can't be too tough to make at home.

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    From Hatcher's Notebook.

    6 parts amyl acetate
    19 parts acetone
    19 parts spirits of turpentine
    58 parts sperm whale oil ( ATF fluid)
    26 Parts Pratt's Astral Oil

    He says this is the cleaner used at the Springfield Arsenal for years.

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    ................Whatever is in it it should also include water as the primer salts need to be dissolved and carried away. I had a bunch of those little ammo pouch sized oval metal cans from WW2. Stuff smelled bad 8)

    ................Buckshot
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    Boolit Master omgb's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=waksupi]From Hatcher's Notebook.

    6 parts amyl acetate
    19 parts acetone
    19 parts spirits of turpentine
    58 parts sperm whale oil ( ATF fluid)
    26 Parts Pratt's Astral Oil

    The amyl acetate is also called banana oil. It runs about $14.00 for 500 ml. The Prattt's Astral Oil is none other than K1 kerosene. None of this seems likely to counter the salts from chlorate primers. Some say Ed's Red will clean corrossive primer residue but I'm not sure. I wish I new what was in the GI stuff from WWII. It is either milky white in color or a nasty brown. Right now i use water with a little soap in it. Still, I am curious as to what the GI stuff was made of.

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    Boolit Master zuke's Avatar
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    I have a buddy of mine that use's Windex for his, and I've used windshield washing fluid in a pinch.

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    Boolit Master at Heavens Range

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    corrosive cleaner

    Lots of guys use a mixture of 50% household ammonia and 50% tap water. The ammonia neutralizes the salts, they say. After cleaning with patches soaked in the 50-50 mixture, run a couple of patches soaked with plain ol' tap water down the bore to remove the ammonia. Dry, then oil the bore.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I have several cans of the WWII stuff, it is dark brown and turns creamy white if water is added- I swear it smells just like LYSOL- just like it! Everytime I use it the kids and wife jump on me , that stuff stinks!

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    Isn't the GI stuff concidered extremely poisonous too?

    Joe

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    Hoppes is primarily kerosene, turpentine and nitrobenzene. Nitrobenzene
    is not expensive in drum quantities ($20 a gallon or so) but very
    expensive in the quantities you'd want to buy for homebrewing.
    Try $72 a liter from Fisher. All nitrohydrocarbons show at least some
    cardiac activity and you've never thought you've died until you have
    a nitro headache. Proceed accordingly.

    The military "Cleaner- Rifle Bore", Spec 2-117 - commonly found at gun
    shows and surplus - is primarily kerosene and cresylic acid. Cresylic acid
    is the active ingredient in the so-called "heavy dip" carburator cleaner
    available from auto parts stores in 1 and 5 gallon buckets at about $10
    a gallon. It is an excellent bore cleaner. I've posted on the use of
    carb cleaner before. Cresylic acid has a couple of negatives. First
    is its odor. Smells like its first cousin, Creosote. Only worse.
    It instantly penetrates the skin and guarantees you'll smell and taste
    creosote for a day or so. Because of this extremely unpleasant odor,
    I use the same precautions when handling it as I do handling cyanide
    plating solutions. It will instantly strip the finish from wood,
    etch and/or dissolve many plastics and cements and swells rubber like
    nothing you've ever seen. Drop a Volkswagen pushrod seal in some overnight
    and then wear it as a bracelet. If you use it with your gun, you MUST
    remove any organics (wood, plastics, etc.) The kerosene in the Mil Spec
    bore cleaner seems to mute some of these effects but it also mutes

    The best chemical cleaner I've found is the common, ordinary cresylic
    acid carburator dip. I use the brand Chem-Dip which is available around
    here from the car parts store for about $35 for 5 gallons. Smaller
    containers are available.

    CAUTION: This stuff is powerful. It absolutely will remove
    any organic materials from whatever it contacts. This
    included plastic bushings, bumpers, O-rings, paint
    and grease. The surface of the metal is left almost
    surgically clean. This stuff smells terrible and
    irritates the skin. Not good to get on you. It
    does not affect blueing or parkerizing.

    To use, remove the grips and any other plastic material. Then simply
    dip the gun in the stuff and leave it a couple of hours. This stuff is
    not an acid in the classic civilian interpretation; it will not eat away
    metal. However, it is powerful enough to eat away the baked-on carbon
    on the tops of engine pistons. On a gun, it eats away the organic material
    that is interspersed with the fouling in the barrel. The barrel will wipe
    clean with a pass of a brass brush followed by a swab.

    After removal from the dip, wash with a strong detergent and warm water,
    dry and oil immediately. The blueing will come out a strange grey color.
    This is because there is absolutely no oil left on the gun. The color
    returns when you wipe it with oil. Likewise, white metal will rust in
    minutes unless oiled. This is probably the cleanest the metal of your
    gun has ever been.

    I've been using this cleanup method for years on my Gold Cup, some Lugers
    and the action parts from my M-1s and M-1As. I have observed NO degradation
    to any of the finishes. The only caution is to lube everything after
    cleaning. The dip removes the grease from unsuspecting places like the
    mainspring on Colts and Lugers. The gas pistons on the rifles come out
    absolutely spotless.

    I can't stress enough the damage potential to organics. If one one
    wants to see this in action, drop an ordinary O-ring into the stuff and
    leave it overnight. An inch diameter O-ring will come out 6 or 8 inches in
    diameter with the rubber a half inch in diameter and so soft it disintegrates
    in your hand. Needless to say, use this stuff outside or on pavement.
    Your vinyl floor will be history if you spill some.

    Give it a try. You'll like it. Sure beats Hoppes and elbow grease.
    its cleaning ability.

    Okay Felix tune this post up for me, I don't mean that as a smartass, I mean that as
    you know chemicals pretty good...thanks.

    Joe

  10. #10
    Boolit Master omgb's Avatar
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    I've also read several articles that said that Breakfree CLP was milspec for cleaning corrossive primers. I think Ed Harris has said the same as well. Do any of you know whether or not this is true?

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    Boolit Buddy
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    G.I. Bore Cleaners/Corrosive Priming Residue

    The issue G.I. bore cleaners during the corrosive priming era were water-based. There are two commonly-encountered formulations: the first type is a brownish color and smells like creosote; the second is milky-white and is based on a water-soluble oil (Hatcher called it a 'polarizing oil'). Either of these will work to dissolve and remove the corrosive salt residue from firing corrosive-primed ammunition.
    The formula given by Hatcher as having been used at SA was not an issue item, and does not contain any effective solvent of the salt, Potassium Chloride - KCl. In fact, like Hoppe's #9, it was formulated in the days before the real cause of firearms corrosion was understood (at least in the United States - the Europeans had non-corrosive priming formulae long before the problem was recognized here), and was intended to dissolve any remaining powder residue, which was then thought to be acid.
    In fact, there is no readily available chemical which is even one-tenth so efficient a solvent of the salt residue as plain water, with or without additional ingredients.
    Neither will formulations containing ammonia 'neutralize' the salt, which is, in fact, of neutral pH, being neither acidic nor basic. Only by dissolving and removing the salt residue can after-corrosion be prevented, and no bore cleaning compound which does not contain water can be relied on to do this.
    So long as water is the most efficient, readily available and cheapest substance for the job, why not use it? All that is necessary is that the bore and parts exposed to firing residue be thoroughly swabbed (and a brush helps in the bore) with water, hot or cold, with or without additives, then thoroughly dried and oiled before being put away.
    I proved to my own satisfaction that Hoppe's and other bore cleaners which are not water-based will not work to remove corrosive priming residue sufficiently to prevent after corrosion, advertising hype to the contrary notwithstanding. This was more than 40 years ago, with my first .45 auto, and when gun cleaning was MUCH more interesting to me than it is today. After a session with surplus ammo from the 1920's, I cleaned the pistol thorougly with Hoppe's, oiled it and put it away - two weeks later, when taken out, the bore was brown and fuzzy - I cleaned it again with water, and have never since suffered any after-corrosion in firearms so treated.
    I recently had occasion to discuss label claims of Hoppe's in this regard with the manufacturers - after being completely unable to point to any chemical explanation of how their formula or any of its components might effectively dissolve the salt residue (which is the only way to remove it with any certainty), their response boiled down to a dependence on 'brushing and flushing' - that is, mechanical agitation and flooding - to remove the salt. This approach was thoroughly discredited more than 70 years ago.
    Modern shooters are often unfamiliar with the history of the problem, and all too prone to accept that the latest and greatest commercial nostrums MUST be good for all things - I'm more sceptical, and actually did some research on chemical solvents of KCl - I'd suggest that anyone who wants to know more about exactly HOW the current commercial formulae accomplish whatever they may claim in this case should contact the manufacturer(s) and request their explanation in chemical terms. Also, you might want to do as I did, and try to find alternatives to water as a solvent of KCl: there are NO good ones.
    Do what you think best, but, by all means, read the discussion of corrosion in 'Hatcher's Notebook' for the background.
    mhb - Mike

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    Oddly enough I just read a 1917 article by then Major Townsend Whelen on cleaning primer residue from barrels. He recommended HOT water flushing, followed by a thorough drying and then oiling. Sounds like he had the straight scoop 89 years ago.

    Regardless of the chemical makeup of any solvent, Hoppes still has the one thing all the others lack- a great odor! Worth it just for the smell IMHO.

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    mhb,

    If you read my post about the Chem-Dip carb cleaner you'll see it was mentioned that it too smells like creosote. Also this stuff is water based. Who's not to say that it may be or have the same stuff the original GI borecleaner had in it?

    Joe

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    Boolit Master omgb's Avatar
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    I think I am going to stay with water. Geez, the price is right. I wonder though, if one mixed water and Balistol 50/50 if there would be any advantage or even if its efficacy would still be the same?

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    Plain old hot water is the best.

    Joe

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    Boolit Master omgb's Avatar
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    I'm going out to the range today and will be shooting some milsurp Yugo 8mm. I'm going to try using hot H2O with a small amount of dishsoap added. the idea being that it will make the water "wetter" and thus work better. I think too, that a small funnel and a length of plastic tubing that fits into the chamber would help to regulate where the water goes. maybe I could even modify a case so that the tube slipped over a teet screwed into the back of a shortened case????

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    For StarMetal:

    Since your original post did not address the water issue, or state that the carb cleaner you use is water-based (unless I missed something), I thought it worthwhile to re-iterate that water is the gold standard for removal of corrosive primer residue, whatever the other virtues of other cleaning solutions. I do not know whether the creosote-odored ingredient is the same in the early G.I. bore cleaner as in the carb cleaner, but, as you say it is water soluble, it may well be. The other type of G.I. bore cleaner (the whitish stuff) is apparently compounded with water-soluble oil, such as we use in machining operations, and which is the basis for many radiator additives.
    The current standard Hoppe's #9 contains no nitrobenzene (a known carcinogen), though the 'original' formula is available through Bruno's Shooter's Supply - I buy it by the gallon - I think Bruno adds the nitro, but once you pop the lid on the stuff WITH the nitro, as compared to the later formula, your memory will remind you which is the 'real thing' (assuming you have been around long enough to have encountered the older #9).
    FWIW, Hoppe's offers a variant of its formula as '#9 Plus', intended for blackpowder shooters, which apparently IS formulated with water, and probably will work for corrosive-primed ammo cleanup. As an experiment, you might try adding a bit of water to the 'regular' Hoppe's #9, which immediately forms a milky emulsion resembling the 'Plus' stuff, and also demonstrates that there cannot be any significant amount of water in the regular Hoppe's.
    Still, since there is nothing better or cheaper than plain water, why waste money?
    mhb - Mike

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    mhb,

    You are most correct that good old water is the best for cleaning after corrosize ammo.

    Oh yes, I remember the old Hoppe's #9, the cologne for men...love that smell.

    Might look up that Bruno's supply..thanks.

    Joe

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    Nitrobenzene (also called nitrobenzol ) is a colourless to pale yellow, oily, highly toxic liquid with the odour of bitter almonds. Nitrobenzene is manufactured commercially by nitration of benzene (also a common air pollutant) using a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acids. Commercially nitrobenzene can be either produced in a batch or by a continuous process. Both batch and continuous processes employing mixed nitric and sulfuric acids are used to make nitrobenzene. The continuous process is favored over the batch process because its production capacity is much larger, it has lower capital costs and it entails more efficient labor usage. Reactors for the continuous process also usually utilized lower nitric acid concentrations, are smaller with more rapid and efficient mixing, and therefore have higher reaction rates. Nitrobenzene undergoes nitration, halogenation, and sulfonation much more slowly than does benzene. It may be reduced to a variety of compounds, depending on the reaction conditions. Most nitrobenzene produced is reduced to aniline; smaller amounts are converted to azobenzene, hydrazobenzene (the intermediate for benzidine), and phenylhydroxylamine. Reduction of both the nitro group and the benzene ring affords cyclohexylamine. Nitrobenzene is used as a mild oxidizing agent in the syntheses of quinoline and fuchsin. Nitrobenzene is used to produce lubricating oils such as those used in motors and machinery. Nitrobenzene and its derivatives are used in the manufacture of dyes, drugs, pesticides, polisher, paint, and synthetic rubber.


    Joe

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by omgb
    I've also read several articles that said that Breakfree CLP was milspec for cleaning corrossive primers. I think Ed Harris has said the same as well. Do any of you know whether or not this is true?
    OMGB, Real GI CLP Brake free will clean corrosive ammo salts. The current commercial brake free will NOT.

    I sold some Real GI clp to folks over a the old shooters bord. I recently ran across a limited supply of real GI clp brake free, that I had aquired at tat time and didn’t release was in storage.

    If any one on this board wants some I’ll definitely beat the prices you have to pay for the commercial stuff. Can sell it in pints if anyone likes.

    I also have a couple cases of Original WW II GI Bore cleaner
    It’s the milky stuff in 6 oz cans, If anyone wont’s that stuff ill cut them a real deal on it.
    Blueknight

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