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Thread: Mineral Spirits and ultrasonic cleaner for gun cleaning

  1. #1
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    Default Mineral Spirits and ultrasonic cleaner for gun cleaning

    I was reading Patric Sweeney's "Gunsmithing, Pistols and Revolvers" and saw that he recommended using mineral spirits for gun cleaning. I had some in the basement, so I gave it a shot. I put an inch or two of mineral spirits into a plastic container that was big enough to work in and has a tight fitting lid and used some cleaning brushes to give everything a good scrubbing. When I finished, I wiped off the smaller parts to dry them, and used compressed air to blow off the frame and slide where I couldn't wipe with a rag. It cut through all the gunk and crud (I don't clean my guns as often as I should) and left everything ready for lubrication and reassembly.

    Not being one to leave well enough alone, while I was cleaning I looked over at my ultrasonic cleaner and was inspired! I checked the book for the ultrasonic and didn't see any warnings about using mineral spirits, so I gave it a shot. I put in the bolt for my Marlin 99 and let it go for 3 minutes. As soon as I turned it on, I could see all the gunk come off. After I pulled it out and blew it off, it looked like a new part - without any scrubbing. This will be my primary cleaning routine from now on.

    The only down side I can see to this is that when it cleans, it cleans everything! Anything steel or subject to friction needs to be wiped down or lubed with oil because there won't be any oil left on the parts after the mineral spirits have done its work.

  2. #2
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    Does ultrasonic cleaning affect bluing?

  3. #3
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    The ultrasonic cleaner doesn't affect bluing at all. It uses sound waves to agitate the cleaning solution, so its very genital, but still gets in all the crevices. So you just have to make sure the cleaning solution is blue safe - so nothing with ammonia.

  4. #4
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    I might have to give this a try, I'm having a hell of a time trying to get the threads in my shotgun barrells clean. The choke tubes don't want to go in our out anymore.

  5. #5
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    Cleaning like everything is so individual. I see videos or read articles where professionals disassemble a firearm and wipe everything off, run a wet pad down the barrel and brush the slide and frame, wipe and put back together. It alwaysw seemed to me that gun powder residue has to be getting in a lot more of the gun than that. Down in the trigger, back behind the firing pin. The idea of ultrasonic cleaning sounds great. My only concern would also be the removal of all the lube all over the inside pieces. I may try and then lube with Break Free. It does dry with time and might be the answer. Thanks for the post. I am wondering if ultrasonic cleaning with Break free might also work to dislodge all the junk and leave the parts lubed...."maybe messy"
    "I'm still breathing, and that means it's not over."

  6. #6
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    When I started with the ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning guns, I was using Simple Green and water, then rinsing in clean water, blow dry with compressed air, spray down with WD-40, blow with compressed air again, then lube with regular gun oil and reassemble. I think now I'm going to try using aerosol Breakfree spray after the mineral spirits, just to make sure anything that might rust has a coating of oil.

    I don't think my budget could handle the 3-4 quarts or so of breakfree I would need to fill my ultrasonic cleaner. And once its used a few times, the cleaning solution tends to accumulate a lot of gunk. With the mineral spirits, I can let it settle, the pour off the clean stuff leaving the crud behind. And at about $10 a gallon, its still affordable. I was able to find my ultrasonic cleaner (a laboratory type) on Craigslist for $30. A gallon of ultrasonic cleaner solution from Brownells is about $80 and the lube solution is close to $90 a gallon - way too much for me. So, I 'm trying to find a way to have nice clean guns with little effort - without spending all my fun-money.
    Last edited by kev74; 05-14-2010 at 07:21 PM.

  7. #7
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    kev74 all sounds very sensible to me. Hope you don't mind if I try something similar myself. When I talked about using the breakfree in the cleaner I was thinking very small cleaner. The mineral spirits and then a good coating of break free should do the trick. The air gun would ensure that the break free got down inside......
    "I'm still breathing, and that means it's not over."

  8. #8

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    Hi Kev 74, i read and own that same book. And do the same but i dont have the sonic cleaner, i imagine how good that will work. Mineral spirits clean everything off , like strips all the oil. I love that squeaky clean feeling it gives. Good when you want that deep clean, especially if you want to try a different type of gun oil. Also it does not harm plastic stocks and such. Although i wear rubber gloves because it does dry out your skin real fast, also air drys itself quickly to. i dont use air to blow nothing off. Again the air would be that nice next step though. Good stuff, I like sweeney i like the way he writes i try to buy all his books, good guy. He has that no nonsense way about him and he calls it like he sees it, when he tests guns in his review he is relentless, he puts them to thier paces, no favoritism. They tell him do not use steel ammo, he uses steel ammo. If he gives something a good write up, you know that it is a good gun. I just seen he ran 12,000 rds thru the new ruger 9mm Sr pistol with out cleaning, and it is still shooting.
    "read these signs son, numbers add up to nothin"

  9. #9
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    If anyone's near Woodstock, NY, I saw this on Craigslist last night. Its small, but a good price.

    http://hudsonvalley.craigslist.org/tls/2271549765.html

  10. #10
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