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Ultrasonic Cleaning Of Drums?

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#1 pat k

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 11:00 PM

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#2 TD.


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Posted 10 December 2004 - 08:00 AM

I am not an expert on ultrasonic cleaners but I understand the use of this type device removes all lubrication from a product. This is not a good thing for firearm drums and magazines. Metal objects require some lubrication to function properly (and to insure longevity). Lubrication does not mean dripping wet with oil or grease. In the case of magazines, lubrication is needed only in the pores of the metal - especially in the inside of the magazine. Magazines can be easily disassembled, cleaned, very lightly lubricated and reassembled. The complete disassembly/re-assembly of a drum is more difficult. The problem one faces after a part is cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner is re-lubrication. If you miss re-lubricating an area, something easy to do with a drum, the result more than likely will be rust. I would suggest a good complete cleaning using conventional methods, i.e., Hoppes NO 9, brush and cotton cloth, followed by a light wipe down with oily cloth, and then a final wipe down with a clean cloth to remove all excess lubrication. This will insure cleanliness and lubrication for functionality and preservation. Obviously, each situation is different and the ultrasonic cleaning of a part may be the best way to go in some circumstances. However, I would not think this type of cleaning would be safest way to clean a firearm, drum or magazine after normal use – unless you really know what you are doing and can re-apply lubrication over the entire item.

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#3 Bob B

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 02:02 AM

Has anyone tried a process that used to be called "grease plating" to lubricate the workings of a drum without completely disassembling it? As I understand it, the desired type of grease is dissolved in a volatile solvent such as gasoline, and the assembly is immersed in this and sloshed around. After draining, the solvent evaporates leaving a film of grease. The thickness of the film is dependent upon the ratio of grease to solvent in the mixture. Never tried this myself, but seems like it might be a good way to get real grease into inaccessible places.
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#4 Zamm


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Posted 12 December 2004 - 12:33 AM

Personally, I don't hold much stock with so- called "grease plating".
Evaperative solvents allways change the makeup of an oil based product as they evaporate. Wrong mix, just by a bit, can lead to trouble.
Same thing with ultrasonic cleaning. A little too much, and you have etched your metal.
Best bet is tryed and true: Disassemble, clean and re-lube.
2 cents, Z
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#5 PK.


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Posted 13 December 2004 - 09:08 AM

Grease is nothing more than oil suspended in a solid carrier (lithium being the most popular). It would seem to me that dissolving the oil out of the carrier with the solvent and…. I don’t know.

As far as greasing to much- yes, this could be a problem if a heavy grease were employed, but it’s hard to get a hi-viscosity product into the spring cage. The lighter greases will squeeze out of the joints of the springs cage and rotor if to much is applied and be no problem.

Traditionally, a good quality #3 grade of petroleum grease has been used, I’ve been using a #2 grade of synthetic grease recently that promises to last indefinitely and is easy to get into the spring cage. It’s expensive to buy (twice the cost of regular grease), but I think it a value as it only amounts to a few cents per application and won’t dry out in your lifetime.


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#6 john


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Posted 13 December 2004 - 11:28 AM

I clean my drums on a regular basis after I run a few loads through them. Gets the powder residue and dust out and recoats all internal surfaces with a thin layer of lube. I like the idea of Merle's greaser and if I didn't live in the Frozen white North (Minnnesota) I'd probably grease my drums. But they'd get a bit stiff at 10 below zero!!! wink.gif

Up until three years ago I used surplus Military CLP (Cleaner Lubricant Preservative). Buy this stuff at Knob Creek surplus in the gallon jug and you'll see what it's made out of as it separates after the expiration date. It does this because some of the solvent evaporates from the jug due to the plastics porosity, so all you have to do is top it off with Mineral Spirits and shake the bejeebers out of it!! It's a solvent base with white lithium grease (and some other proprietary lubes dissolved and suspended. That's what coats parts after the solvent evaporates. Military tested this stuff rigorously before adopting it's universal use and also independent organizations have also tested it and rated it highly.
Take the cover off the drum, swish the parts around in the juice (gotta have enough of it in a bucket to do this) and let it drip dry. Wipe the surface and you're good to go.

Then I ran across a recipe in the "American Gunsmith" magazine for homemade lube. They called it "Lubricating Solvent" and many gunsmiths
have used this in parts washers for years with no problems.
I call it RCLP (Red CLP).
It's kinda like Ed's Red but has a couple differences that I think make it a superior product. Ed's Red uses Dexron Transmission fluid instead of Marvel oil, but I've tried them both and the residual film left by the RCLP seems to protect better and lubricate better also.

Here is the RCLP recipe for all to use. (anyone needs an MSDS I have a copy of that somewhere for this stuff but it's no more harmful than the Mineral Spirits).

2 Gallons Mineral Spirits (I use the low-odor stuff)
2 Gallons Kerosene (again, the low-odor stuff for indoor heaters)
3 Quarts Marvel Mystery Oil (this stuff is amazing!)
1 Quart Rislone engine oil treatment

Mix in a large bucket. I use a 6 gallon pail with a screw-on "Beta" lid and have a stainless pasta-cooker basket in the bottom with a handle for small parts. I hold out 2 gallons in the empty mineral spirit jugs to add later as the stuff is used up....this leaves 3 gallons in the pail.
I also have a gallon in a small parts washer for handguns and new greasy magazines....really easy to clean!

I did my own testing of this before using it on my guns to make sure it wouldn't harm anything. It seems OK with plastics but it WILL stain Nickel plating a little yellow!! And it'll take the shiny oil finish right off the wood so remove the stocks before you douse them (leaves them dull but I'm sure it protects them well!!)
I hung three pieces of bare metal (freshly surface ground then wiped with acetone) outside in a tree by wire hooks. One was dipped in Military CLP, one in Ed's RED and the other in this RCLP mix.
After 6 months both the CLP and the RCLP strips were still rust-free. The Ed's RED had some very fine spots on the surface and looked dry.
After that I started using this on all my guns. Easy to clean as I can take the bucket right to the shoot. I've shot lots of corrosive stuff in my Thompson and hosed it out with this.....works great! Totally neutralizes corrosive salts, cleans and lubes all at once! smile.gif

Back to the drums. Swish them around right side up, sideways and upside down. Let them drip-dry and wipe off the outside. Never had a problem and it's easy!

I agree with Zamm that if the mix is wrong there could be problems but test this stuff out and you will find that it works great! And drums aren't spinning at mach 3 either....there isn't a lot of pressure anywhere, so it shouldn't require a lot of lube. In my gun I still give the lube pads a few drops of regular CLP before I shoot....it's thicker and sticks better, but for cleaning and protecting, I haven't found anything better or cheaper than this (5 gallons for about $25.00!!). More money for ammo!!

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