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Fluid To Use In Ultrasonic Cleaner For Gun Parts

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Cavediver,...I have only used L&R solutions in my ultrasonic cleaner,however Marvel and kerosene sounds interesting...if you use the heat option don`t clean any plastics or painted surfaces..such as the wrinkle finish on a Sterling or a grip panel on a Mac 10,etc...even without the heat button turned on the tank will heat up if left on long enough...good luck with the new toy!... http://www.machinegunbooks.com/forums/invboard1_1_2/upload/html/emoticons/biggrin.gif
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WARNING! Folks.....Ultrasonic cleaners are ONLY designed to operate with an aqueous (water-based) solution! They cannot efficiently use a NON-aqueous solution as the mechanical action of the cleaner is dependant upon the physical properties of water as the cleaning agent. It must be understood that Ultrasonic cleaners "clean" by simple mechanical abbrasive action.


There is a mistaken notion that ultrasonics are more effective with solutions containing significant amounts of other additives, in reality the most aggressive cleaning action is achieved with undiluted water. Any additional additives are there simply as the unfortunate realization that when used to clean ferrous metallic objects there needs to be some form of rust preventative solvent in solution to prevent immediate oxidation effects upon removal. Usually a light, water-soluble, preservative oil is used, along with small percentages of surfactants, detergents, and common wetting agents.....all unnecessary, but make a great marketing/advertising tool when you otherwise feel unworthy advertising "water" as your preferred solvent and you can make good money fooling uninformed consumers into buying your "magic" cleaning solution.


Ultrasonics are NOT, I repeat NOT, the best answer for firearm cleaning for two reasons. One, is that they are simply not that effective on the most common types of firearm cleaning situations, namely carbonized deposits and encrusted propellant by-products. The effective loosening actions of ultrasonics are limited to relatively low-adhesive-force deposits, such as common soils, grimes, and non-organic "greases". Agressively attached deposits such as carbonization accretions, are unaffected despite any amount of time or commercial "cleaning solvents" used as the cleaning solution. Secondly, there is a very real concern that using an ultrasonic cleaner on a firearm will actually INCREASE the potential for damges from undetected rusting actions and other metallic(non-ferrous) oxidation damages as the cleaner is capable of removing 110% of the protective surface-film protecting "gun oils/greases" most people use to prevent their firearms from rusting/oxidizing. People will not usually realize the ultrasonic action has removed the entire protective layer of oils, for instance, from a "parkerized" surface treatment. In short, the WORST way to clean a firearm with an ultrasonic cleaner is to do it as the Mfgrs' advertise, i.e., immerse the entire unassembled action in the cleaner.......do that, and you better then IMMEDIATELY immerse said action in a tank full of a penetrating preservative treatment. Most people won't do that......and the guns begin rusting right then and there in all those little tight, undetected/invisible, out-of-the-way places you can't see or get to.....like under extractors, in between threaded joints like barrel-to-receiver joints, under riveted joints like rear sights, etc. The ****ONLY*** way to restore these protective surface films is to immerse the entire assembled gun in a suitable solvent with a CAPPILLARY ACTION, like KROIL /AERO-KROIL.


We have attempted use of several Ultrasonics over the years, both as a firearms manufacturer and in attempts to field service firearms used extensively for high activity R&D testing service with our FED/MIL.GOV customers.....all to no avail. I can reasonably guarentee you at least two large FED.GOV PROFOR agencies will NEVER use them again as we saw numerous premanent damages to modern weapons that had been immersed "as advertised" and then became unserviceable as a direct result of interior rusting actions that were irreversible as a result of the Operator not being aware of the secondary requirement of restoring the protective surface films. These unseen rustings can occur in under 24 hours.


If you simply must use an ultrasonic cleaner......the only way to reasonably assure you won't run into these problems is to COMPLETELY disasemble the firearm to the smallest component part......and then you still won't be able to escape the after-cleaning capillary-action oiling, and you still won't be able to loosen the encrusted carbon deposits......all of which kind of kills the notion of using one in the first place, as the whole reason of the sales pitch is that you can immerse complete guns to clean them.....you can, and you CAN'T if you care about your gun.



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TactAdv nice write up on Ultrasonic cleaning - in particular on issues with doing "whole guns".


At work for very small parts use one or two solvents that caviate to remove polishing compond for tiny spaces. There is a saftey issue due to potential for fire when inputing energy into any solvent that can burn.


For 98% of the gun cleaning like a nice solvent tank myself. However for a few limited uses with parts, still like the ultrasonic (i.e. to remove the last of sand residue from used M16 mag housings during the AW ban).

Edited by JTinIN
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