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View Full Version : Ultrasonic case cleaning definitely works (updated with pics)


C.G.
02-20-2007, 9:01 PM
After reading this article
http://www.6mmbr.com/ultrasonic.html
I was a little skeptical, but thought what the heck it just might work. Rather than going on e-bay I ordered the Chicago Ultrasonic Digital Unit for $59.99 plus shipping from Harbor Freight. I received the unit today. Since I went shooting yesterday I had plenty of spent rounds, time to test the unit out.
I dropped 10 thrice fired .50 Beowulf into the unit, added some water and tiny bit of the ultrasonic cleaner and ran the unit 480 seconds. After 480 seconds the cases were a lot cleaner but not yet to my liking, so I ran two more cycles of 480 and the cases came out nice and shiny (eventhough they have some scratches from previous firings).
Next were once fired 9mm Luger and .357 Sig cases (about 20 at a time)which I ran once for 480 seconds and they came out like new.
If fact I am cleaning my brass as I am typing this. Next I just have to rinse them in fresh water and dry them out with an air nozzle from my little portable compressor.
If you like saving time this may be just the thing for you. I used to brush the inside of the neck before sizing and depriming, now I don't have to. Tomorrow I'll deprime and resize and then dump the cases into the Ultrasonic unit to get rid of sizing lube instead of wiping each and individual case.
:)

thmpr
02-20-2007, 9:03 PM
C.G.

Need some before and after pics....:p
Will try the link. How many rounds can you place in the unit?

C.G.
02-20-2007, 9:19 PM
C.G.

Need some before and after pics....:p
Will try the link. How many rounds can you place in the unit?

They are all clean now.:D You'll have to wait till my next trip to the range.

According to the article I did not want to overfill, which may be the case if they have been fired a few times, with once fired it seems I could do more than I did.
Anyway, I did 10 Beowulfs at a time and about 20-30 pistol cases at a time.
I could fit probably about 30 Beos and 50-70 pistol cases; I'll give it a try next time to see how that will do.
There was a whole bunch of burned powder at the bottom of the tank.

Slamer
02-21-2007, 2:25 PM
I have always wondered about cleaning my gun in the ultrasonic... ie: barrel, extractor, bushing,....
Does it have enough room for these items??
Thanx

ARRRR-15
02-21-2007, 4:18 PM
I have always wondered about cleaning my gun in the ultrasonic... ie: barrel, extractor, bushing,....
Does it have enough room for these items??
Thanx


I don't have one but from these choices it looks like you could fit your handgun parts in there.

http://search.harborfreight.com/cpisearch/web/search.do?keyword=ultrasonic&Submit=Go

Slamer
02-21-2007, 8:26 PM
Thanks ARRRR-15 for the link...

CG Thanks for bringing up this thread, didn't mean to change the subject...

ARRRR-15
02-21-2007, 10:05 PM
No Problem. I've been looking into reloading and using the ultrasonic right off the bat.

C.G.
02-21-2007, 10:39 PM
I don't have one but from these choices it looks like you could fit your handgun parts in there.

http://search.harborfreight.com/cpisearch/web/search.do?keyword=ultrasonic&Submit=Go

No problem fitting even a small barrel.

megavolt121
02-22-2007, 12:17 AM
No problem fitting even a small barrel.


In the big one or the small ones?

C.G.
02-22-2007, 10:11 AM
In the big one or the small ones?

The 59.99 version.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/GIFS/CAMERA.GIF (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93035)93035-1VGA (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93035)
Chicago Electric Power Tools DIGITAL ULTRASONIC CLEANER (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93035)$59.99

TonyM
02-22-2007, 4:06 PM
The 59.99 version.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/GIFS/CAMERA.GIF (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93035)93035-1VGA (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93035)
Chicago Electric Power Tools DIGITAL ULTRASONIC CLEANER (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93035)$59.99


I got the same one on ebay about 18 months ago.

Works well, but I ended up sticking to corn/walnut media, alot easier with a the big Dillon tumblers. Now I use the ultrasonic for small parts on occasion, and my wife's rings/etc. It really makes the diamonds sparkle.

ghostwong
02-23-2007, 1:51 AM
If you go to the Harbor Freight web site. . .

http://www.harborfreightusa.com/usa/common/start.do

and sign up fot the e-newsletter. You get special e-coupons, and every now and then a 15% off one product.

A dollar saved is that much more in ammo!!

michaels
02-23-2007, 2:21 PM
Had one of these units now for about 2 weeks, break each gun down into parts and then put them in the basket, let it run for about 5 to 7 cycles of the 480 seconds bursts and when you pull them out, they are really clean...

Not wanting to use water, I opted for some orange degreaser from Walmart. After the bath, just blow dry clean, and then lube'm up and you're ready to go. The glocks are really easy, strip the barrel & spring out and run those parts for a while, then take the frame and insert it inside the unit upside down, the vibes and gravity pull all the crap right down to the bottom and leave you with one clean gun...I've heard that using the gunk for getting lead out works on barrels that are really leaded up, 5-10 minutes of shaking and they're done, none of this leaving them soaking for 24-48 hours to get it done...

michaels

ghostwong
02-26-2007, 8:22 PM
I picked up one of these4 baby over the weekend . . and I want to set up to clean guns. Orange degreaser or Hoppes #9 in a glass beaker and shake it. I assume the qrange degreaser is water base. What effects does that have on steel parts. Water + steel + air = rust. Or is Hoppes a better choice no water in the solutions? I have a lot of guns to clean and I am lazy. Your input is a wanted

C.G.
02-27-2007, 12:53 AM
I picked up one of these4 baby over the weekend . . and I want to set up to clean guns. Orange degreaser or Hoppes #9 in a glass beaker and shake it. I assume the qrange degreaser is water base. What effects does that have on steel parts. Water + steel + air = rust. Or is Hoppes a better choice no water in the solutions? I have a lot of guns to clean and I am lazy. Your input is a wanted

I haven't used the orange stuff, but as long as you rinse with fresh or [preferably distilled water) and dry afterwards ( I use an air nozzle myself), you will be fine.

T-Bear
02-27-2007, 7:20 AM
I've been US cleaning firearms for the past 4 years using Ed's cleaner. This is the best stuff cleaning your firearms and it's the cheapest. here is the info:
CONTENTS: Ed's Red Bore Cleaner

1 part Dexron ATF, GM Spec. D-20265 or later.

1 part Kerosene - deodorized, K1

1 part Aliphatic Mineral Spirits

CAS #64741-49-9, or substitute "Stoddard Solvent", CAS #8052-41-3, or equivalent.

1 part Acetone, CAS #67-64-1.

(Optional 1 lb. of Lanolin, Anhydrous, USP per gallon, or OK to substitute Lanolin, Modified, Topical Lubricant, from the drug store)

MIXING INSTRUCTIONS:

Mix outdoors, in good ventilation. Use a clean 1 gallon metal, chemical-resistant, heavy gage PET or PVC plastic container. NFPA approved plastic gasoline storage containers are OK. Do NOT use HDPE, which is permeable, because the acetone will slowly evaporate. Acetone in ER will attack HDPE over time, causing the container to collapse, making a heck of a mess!

Add the ATF first. Use the empty container to measure the otherainer to measure the other components, so that it is thoroughly rinsed. If you incorporate the lanolin into the mixture, melt this carefully in a double boiler, taking precautions against fire. Pour the melted lanolin it into a larger container, rinsing the lanolin container with the bore cleaner mix, and stirring until it is all dissolved. I recommend diverting up to 4 ozs. per quart of the 50-50 ATF/kerosene mix to use as "ER-compatible" gun oil. This can be done without impairing the effectiveness of the remaining mix. Label and safety warnings follow:



CAUTION: FLAMMABLE MIXTURE -- HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED -- KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN

Contents: petroleum distillates, surfactants, organometallic antioxidants and acetone.

1. Flammable mixture, keep away from heat, sparks or flame.

2. FIRST AID, If swallowed DO NOT induce vomiting, call physician immediately. In case of eye contact immediately flush thoroughly with water and call a physician. For skin contact wash thoroughly.

3. Use with adequate ventilation. Avoid breathing vapors or spray mist. It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with itsonsistent with its labeling. Reports have associated repeated and prolonged occupational overexposure to solvents with permanent brain and nervous system damage. If using in closed armory vaults lacking forced air ventilation wear respiratory protection meeting NIOSH TC23C or equivalent. Keep container tightly closed when not in use.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE:

1. Open the firearm action and ensure the bore is clear. Cleaning is most effective when done while the barrel is still warm from firing. Saturate a cotton patch with bore cleaner, wrap or impale on jag and push it through the bore from breech to muzzle. The patch should be a snug fit. Let the first patch fall off and do not pull it back into the bore.

2. Wet a second patch, and similarly start it into the bore from the breech, this time scrubbing from the throat area forward in 4-5" strokes and gradually advancing until the patch emerges out the muzzle. Waiting approximately 1 minute to let the bore cleaner soak will improve its action.

3. For pitted, heavily carbon-fouled service rifles, leaded revolvers or neglected bores a bronze brush wet with bore cleaner may be used to remove stubborn deposits. This is unnecessary for smooth, target-grade barrels in routine use.

routine use.

4. Use a final wet patch pushed straight through the bore to flush out loosened residue dissolved by Ed's Red. Let the patch fall off the jag without pulling it back into the bore. If you are finished firing, leaving the bore wet will protect it from rust for 1 year under average atmospheric conditions.

5. If lanolin is incorporated into the mixture, it will protect the firearm from rust for up to two years, even in a humid environment. (For longer storage use Lee Liquid Alox or Cosmolene). "ER" will readily remove hardened Alox or Cosmolene.

6. Wipe spilled Ed's Red from exterior surfaces before storing the gun. While Ed's Red is harmless to blue and nickel finishes, the acetone it contains is harmful to most wood finishes.

7. Before firing again, push two dry patches through the bore and dry the chamber, using a patch wrapped around a suitably sized brush or jag. First shot point of impact usually will not be disturbed by Ed's Red if the bore is cleaned as described.

8. I have determined to my satisfaction that when Ed's Red is used exclusively and thoroughly, that hot water cleaning is unnecessary after use of Pyrodex or military chlorate primers. However, if bores are not wiped between shots and shots and areand shots and are heavily caked from black powder fouling, hot water cleaning is recommended first to break up heavy fouling deposits. Water cleaning should be followed by a flush with Ed's Red to prevent after-rusting which could result from residual moisture. It is ALWAYS good practice to clean TWICE, TWO DAYS APART whenever using chlorate primed ammunition, just to make sure you get all the corrosive residue out.

This "Recipe" has been placed in the public domain, and may be freely distributed provided that it is done so in its entirely with all current revisions, instructions and safety warnings included herein, and that proper attribution is given to the author.

T-Bear
02-27-2007, 7:23 AM
To: ALL

From: ED HARRIS

Subj: Ed's Red Revisited

Conf: FIREARMS (286) Read: No Status: Public

"Ed's Red" - - Revisited

By C.E., "Ed" Harris

Since I mixed my first "Ed's Red" (ER) bore cleaner five years ago, hundreds of users have told me that they find it as effective as commercial products. This cleaner has an action similar to military rifle bore cleaner, such as Mil-C-372B. Itaner, such as Mil-C-372B. It is highly effective for removing plastic fouling from shotgun bores, caked carbon inn semi-automatic rifles or pistols, or leading in revolvers. "ER" is not a "decoppering" solution for fast removal of heavy jacket fouling, but because is more effective in removal of caked carbon and primer residues than most other cleaners, so metal fouling is reduced when "ER" is used.

I researched the subject rather thoroughly and determined there was no technical reason why an effective firearm bore cleaner couldn't be mixed using common hardware store ingredients. The resulting cleaner is safe, effective, inexpensive, provides excellent corrosion protection and adequate residual lubrication. Routine oiling after cleaning is unnecessary except for storage exceeding 1 year, or in harsh environments, such as salt air exposure.

The formula is adapted from Hatcher's "Frankford Arsenal Cleaner No.18," but substitutes equivalent modern materials. Hatcher's recipe called for equal parts of acetone, turpentine, Pratts Astral Oil and sperm oil, and (optionally) 200 grams of anhydrous lanolin per liter into the cleaner.

Some discussion of the ingredients in ER is helpful to understand the properties of the cleaner and how it works. Pratts Astral Oil was nothing more than acidg more than acid free, deodorized kerosene. Today you would ask for "K1" kerosene of the type sold for use in indoor space heaters.

An inexpensive, effective substitute for sperm oil is Dexron III automatic transmission fluid. Prior to 1950 most ATF's were sperm oil based. During WWII sperm oil was mostly unavailable, so highly refined, dewaxed hydrofinished petroleum oils were developed, which had excellent thermal stability. When antioxidants were added to prevent gumming these worked well in precision instruments.

With the high demand for automatic transmission autos after WWII, sperm oil was no longer practical to produce ATFs in the needed quantities needed, so the wartime expedients were mass produced. ATFs have been continually improved over the years. The additives contained in Dexron include detergents or other surfactants which are highly suitable for inclusion in an all-purpose cleaner, lubricant and preservative.

Hatcher's Frankford Arsenal No. 18 used gum spirits of turpentine, but turpentine is both expensive and also highly flammable, so I chose not to use it. Much safer and more inexpensive are "aliphatic mineral spirits," which are an open-chain organic solvent, rather than the closed-chain, benzene ring structure, commontructure, common to "aromatics," such as naptha or "lighter fluid." Sometimes called "safety solvent," aliphatic mineral spirits are used for thinning oil based paint, as automotive parts cleaner and is commonly sold under the names "odorless mineral spirits," "Stoddard Solvent" or "Varsol".

Acetone is included to provide an aggressive, fast-acting solvent for caked smokeless powder residues. Because acetone readily evaporates and the fumes are harmful in high concentrations, it is recommended that it be left out if the cleaner will be used indoors, in soak tanks or in enclosed spaces lacking forced air ventilation. Containers should be kept tightly closed when not in use. ER is still effective without acetone, but not as "fast-acting."

"Ed's Red" does not chemically dissolve copper fouling in rifle bores, but it does a better job of removing carbon and primer residue than most other cleaners. Many users have told me, that frequent and exclusive use of "ER" reduces copper deposits, because it removes the old impacted powder fouling left behind by other cleaners. This reduces the abrasion and adhesion of jacket metal to the bore, leaving a cleaner surface condition which reduces subsequent fouling. Experience indicatesrience indicates that "ER" will actually remove metal fouling in bores if it is left to "soak," for a few days so the surfactants will do the job, when followed by a repeat cleaning. You simply have to be patient.

Addition of lanolin to ER is optional, because the cleaner works perfectly well and gives adequate corrosion protection and lubrication without it. Inclusion of lanolin makes the cleaner easier on the hands, increases its lubricity and film strength and improves corrosion protection if firearms, tools or equipment will be routinely exposed to salt air, water spray, or corrosive urban atmospheres.

I recommend the lanolin included if you intend to use the cleaner as a protectant for long term storage or for a "flush" after water cleaning of black powder firearms or those fired with military chlorate primers. This is because lanolin has a great affinity for water and readily emulsifies so that the bore can be wiped of residual moisture, leaving a protective film. If you inspect your guns and wipe them down twice yearly, you can leave out the lanolin and save about $10 per gallon.

At current retail prices you can buy all the ingredients to mix ER, without the lanolin for about $12 per gallon. I urge you to mix some yourself. I ame yourself. I am confident it will work as well for you as it does for me and hundreds of users who got the "recipe" on the Fidonet Firearms Echo.

C.G.
04-13-2007, 9:21 PM
I didn't have pics when I posted this thread so it was a little useless. Now I have pics. Three times fired Grendel cases on the left and once fired 5.56http://www.sailmontereybay.com/Photos/ultra/DSC00800.JPG

Mix some old with the new:
http://www.sailmontereybay.com/Photos/ultra/DSC00801.JPG

And into the ultra sonic cleaner (BTW, the cleaner, also bought from Harbor Freight) can be re-used many times:
http://www.sailmontereybay.com/Photos/ultra/DSC00802.JPG

Once fired 5.56 Wolf after one 480 cycle (didn't get a good pic of the inside):
http://www.sailmontereybay.com/Photos/ultra/DSC00803.JPG

The 3 times fired Grendel goes back in for about five more 480 second cycles and after it comes out (continued due to too many images):

C.G.
04-13-2007, 9:27 PM
http://www.sailmontereybay.com/Photos/ultra/DSC00806.JPG

That is good enough for now, they will get one more cycle after depriming and sizing, which will get the case lube off.

Once fired .357 and 9mm:http://www.sailmontereybay.com/Photos/ultra/DSC00804.JPG

And after one 480 second cycle:
http://www.sailmontereybay.com/Photos/ultra/DSC00805.JPG

If you only have once fired brass one 480 second cycle will clean them just fine, especially handgun ammo. With more firings you may have to repeat the cycles and if really bad fouling, might have to reduce the number of cases in the basket.:)

1norcalvarmintHunter
04-15-2007, 11:25 PM
My buddy just bought one for cleaning jesel rockers for SMB chevy, Well i told him to try cleaning brass in there, and bam he was impressed.

They also clean jewlery too!!! like new

maxicon
04-16-2007, 10:54 AM
I have a bigger pro ultrasonic in the garage, and it does a fine job on crudded up parts. I especially like it for my Ruger MK512, which gets pretty caked up.

You want to avoid having parts touching against each other if you care about the cosmetics (like a slide), as they can get scuffed from the vibration, but for small parts, it's no big deal. If I were going to clean a slide, I'd suspend it by plastic-coated wire in the middle of the tank.

After cleaning, I rinse the parts in warm clear water, blow them dry, then leave them under a heatlamp for 5 minutes or so, and they're bone dry.

And yes, it really puts the sparkle back into jewelry (what mine was originally for). My wife and daughter have matching rings that I pop in every few weeks, and they come out looking brilliant.

Don't put anything porous or organic in there - opal, pearls, ivory - or anything with inclusions that's fracture-prone, especially emeralds. I suspend fine jewelry in the middle of the tank too, but I'm pretty cautious there.

C.G.
04-16-2007, 11:01 AM
I have a bigger pro ultrasonic in the garage, and it does a fine job on crudded up parts. I especially like it for my Ruger MK512, which gets pretty caked up.


Now that I know it works, I'll get the bigger unit once the one I have gives up the ghost.

maschronic
04-16-2007, 12:15 PM
sweet!!! i have been thinking about it for some time of getting one of these!!! now, i just signed up on the e-newsletter and have to wait for a coupon. then, i'm going to order the 2.5 liter jumbo one. i'll let everyone one know when i get one and post some pics.

megavolt121
04-16-2007, 2:42 PM
If you use this with Ed's Red, DO NOT cover the cleaner with the plastic lid. The fumes from the acetone WILL melt it. (yes i speak from experience)

grammaton76
04-16-2007, 2:50 PM
Interesting. Although, it always seems to me that the speed of the ultrasonic setup is slower than that of a traditional tumbler. What's the attraction here? Is it being able to do small batches faster, or do you guys feel you're getting it cleaner?

C.G.
04-16-2007, 2:53 PM
If you use this with Ed's Red, DO NOT cover the cleaner with the plastic lid. The fumes from the acetone WILL melt it. (yes i speak from experience)

Acetone will dissolve or at least etch many plastics including acrylics and polycarbonates; it is not the best for prolonged breathing or moisturizing your skin, either.

C.G.
04-16-2007, 3:13 PM
Interesting. Although, it always seems to me that the speed of the ultrasonic setup is slower than that of a traditional tumbler. What's the attraction here? Is it being able to do small batches faster, or do you guys feel you're getting it cleaner?

Unfortunately, I have the small unit so I can only put as many rounds that the basket will hold, which is about 30 of 5.56 and a lot more for handgun ammo. One of these days, I'll find a bigger basket than I have that fits or get a bigger unit.
If it is once fired brass a cycle of 480 seconds is plenty to get it spotless inside and out; several times fired will require more cycles depending on fouling. From now on I'll use it after each firing.

But I diverted, the reason I like it:
1) As you said one can do small batches faster
2) I think the inside of case comes out cleaner than with a tumbler
3) Don't have to worry about media stuck in the primer pocket or separating media for that matter.
4) The ultrasonic unit and cleaner take up less space.
5) If one runs out of cleaner, one can go to Safeway and use diluted white vinegar instead.
6) I don't like wiping case lube, so I give them one more run in the ultrasonic unit and that takes care of it.
7) One other benefit, it cleans handgun barrels well.

I realize that this method is not for everybody, but it does work for me.:)