Saturday, March 7, 2009

SHTF Gun Cleaning

Someone asked me about this, cant find teh comment right now but here it goes.

I don’t have money anymore for fancy gun cleaning stuff. Not at the current prices.
I have some H&R bore cleaner still left, but mostly use cheaper stuff.

Guys, pick pen and paper. Better yet, get your knife and carve this little list into your arm so you don’t forget!
Write it down and buy plenty of it next time you go to the hardware store:

*Red High Temp GREASE


Synthetic motor oil works just fine. Some people like it better than your favorite Hoppes.
I heard good things about Dexron Automatic Transmission Fluid too.
The best part is that you can buy large amounts of it for little money. Refill a smaller bottle for ease of handling.
Unlike expensive cleaners that come in little bottles and costs a fortune when you calculate how much money it’s all worth, here you buy quantity too. How much would a quart of Hoppes cost!?


Kerosene has many uses, its cheap, and cleans barrels as well as most stuff. Maybe a bit better than most. I use it just for the barrel, some people dunk the entire gun but some worry about plastic and finish.

Red high temp auto Grease

Red grease (thanks Nomad for the tip!) is great stuff. You can almost clean all the gun with it and will keep your rails lubricated 4x longer than Hoppes oil.

Cotton Rags

Hoppes Cleaning patches is what Angelina Jolie uses to clean her H&K USP.
Men uses cotton rags from old t-shirts.
Don’t waste your money!

So guys, this is a double treat.

1)It’s all VERY cheap
2)Buying large amounts not only saves money, but it ensures you have years worth of cleaning goods when SHTF. Something the guy that has all those little expensive bottles wont.

The way I clean guns:

Basic disassemble.
I put some kerosene in the barrel and let it soak in for a few hours. Scrub well and run some tight fitting kerosene rags through it, the tighter the better.
After that, and if wont be using that gun for a while, I put a few drops of oil and run another rag until it’s dry.
Some people say this creates a micro film that increases the pressure… but I’m hetero, so I just dry it up well and forget about it.

My guns work fine this way. I dry it well mostly to avoid oil getting to the primers. Even thought sealed primers are safe, I prefer not to risk it.
I clean slide and frame with an oily/greasy rag. Use a screwdriver to clean the rails and other groves.
I put some grease in the rail and contact surface of the barrel/slide, and oil for springs and smaller parts.
Try not to overdo the grease and oil, it attracts dirt and might do more harm than good.
I put a bit of grease on the exterior and rub all the exterior surface with the oily rag.
I try to avoid chemicals getting into much contact with plastic, but I don’t worry that much either.
Plastic is usually better left alone. Just rub some silicone once in a while.(also cheap and found in quantities in auto shops)
That’s basically it. Scrub the barrel, protect all surfaces with rubbing with oil/grease and dry everything up nicely, then put small amounts of oil and grease where necessary.

If my gun gets wet, I also spray it with WD40.
I used to clean everything with WD40 (drying it up with a rag) but it’s getting too expensive as well, so only use it when water or a lot of sweat is involved.

Ed's Red Bore Cleaner

Some people say pure kerosene can ruin a gun finish.
For those that want to try it and also very cheap, there Ed’s Red homemade bore cleaner:

1 Quart Dexron II, IIe or III ATF (automatic trans. fluid).

1 Quart 1 part Kerosene - deodorized

1 Quart K1 1 part Aliphatic Mineral Spirits, Fed. Spec.
TT-T-2981F, CAS #64741-49-9, or substitute "Stoddard Solvent" CAS
#8052-41-3, or equivalent, (aka "Varsol")

1 Quart Acetone, CAS #67-64-1

Mix in a well ventilated area.

That's it guys, take care


Anonymous said...

be careful with ammo around the silicone solvents like wd 40 the silicone is what gunsmiths use to kill primers when a gun cant be unloaded, the soak it in silicone for a week to deactivate the primers.


FerFAL said...

I’m extra careful with WD40.
There’s that cop story, that supposedly had all duds in his revolver when he needed it the most, apparently because he soaked it in WD40.


Anonymous said...

Johnson's Floor Wax can be used to water proof barrels/action on the outside - leaves a waterproof film. A gun dealer has told me WD 40 is 85% Kerosene.
An Alaskan

Shambhala said...

I understand white lithium grease is good lube for rifles such as my AKs.

norwegianwiking said...

Another good way of really getting old oil and crap out of your guns is hot water and soap. (i know, water+guns don't usually mix, but it actually works good) just make sure you can heat it and\or blow it dry with compressed air afterwards, then soak it in the oil of your choice and wipe of the excess.

Moriarty said...

The complete formula for Ed's Red also includes 1 pound (about 500 gm) of anhydrous lanolin. (Add this last.)

The acetone in Ed's Red will evaporate over time, unless it's kept in a well-sealed container. Acetone causes neoprene rubber gaskets to swell, so use a cardboard gasket if you plan to store it in a gas can or glass bottle with a screw on cap. Even then, it's a good idea to "top off" with fresh acetone occasionally.

"Mad Ogre" also has a cleaner well suited to SHTF use (quoted from his site):
----- begin quoted text -----
Ogre’s Open Source CLP

"Horde CLP version 1.1"

Very simple with only 3 components. It’s easier to make than Ed’s Red and you don’t have to mix in any melted wax to make it lube and protect better either.

2 parts CASTROL GTX START UP. This oil has polarized molecules that allow the oil to stick to the metal better. This gives better lubrication and protection. 3 bucks at Checkers locally.

1 part B-12 Chemtool. You can buy this and the oil at your local NAPA or CHECKERS or AUTOZONE parts store. The B-12 can be had in small cans and that’s all you need. The B-12 contains high energy solvents that clean your gun very well and very fast. Carbon fouling has no chance. It did great on the lead fouling in my old Remington .22 too. In the mixture it wont melt your plastic parts or damage the finish on your stocks… at least not that I have found in my testing. If you don't use this for your car or truck, you are missing out... this stuff is awesome for cleaning your carburetor and injectors or any greasy parts.

1 part Kerosene. This will thin the oil, and stabilize the B-12 to allow for a good mixture. You can find this at ACE hardware or other such store for just a couple bucks. You probably have some for your Coleman Lanterns or portable heaters or for use in cleaning autoparts and stuff.

You don’t need much and only mix up as much as you are going to use… “1 part” can be a table spoon full and that will do you just fine. This is stuff you might have in your garage already. B-12 is great stuff and I use it on my truck and Jeeps all the time. Kerosene you might already have around too. If you don’t have the GTX Start Up, you can use Mobil 1 if you like. I like the 5W. Anyways, if you already have this stuff in your garage, mixing some up for your guns wont cost you a thing. I've tested this in my guns and it works great. My Beretta Cougar and Detonics love it. The Mak loves it. The Marlin likes it when I use a thin coat on the bolt... Just mix a little as you need it and you will never have to spend money on gun care products ever again.

Now, this is Open Source... means I give you the recipe for free, and you can use it as you like as long as you give credit to You can also change and alter the formula as you like... And if you find a mix that works better - send it in so it can be posted and the main formula can be updated.
----- end quoted text -----

For a "quick and dirty" cleanup, I use either straight B-12 Chemtool or any good grade of automotive starting fluid (heptane/diethyl ether) sprayed downbore from the chamber. I follow with a Bore Snake saturated in Hoppe's No. 9 or even Dextron III transmission fluid. (A few drops can be gleaned from your transmission dipstick in the field.)

If you're shooting corrosive ammo, Ed's Red works well, but if it's not available, you can fall back on the old practice of flushing the bore with boiling water through a tube and funnel. I follow with a quick shot of WD40 ("WD" stands for "water displacing) and then clean as usual. (WD40 is not a particularly good lubricant or preservative.)

Old-timers recommended cleaning any firearm shot with corrosive ammo for three consecutive days following shooting to remove any corrosive salts that might "flower" from the fine tooling marks in the bore.

Last, it bears mention: In these days of lead azide priming, many more bores are damaged through incorrect and excessive cleaning than corrosion. Get things clean but don't be too aggressive.

(FWIW, automotive transmission fluid deserves special note. It is an excellent light machine oil that displays good lubricity, temperature stability, contains antioxidants to avoid gumming and is well suited to precision mechanisms. [I have an old mechanical clock I "brought back to life" with a sparing application of Dextron.] I use it exclusively in my general purpose oil can.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post FerFal - it confirms my belief that most specialized lubricants are mostly hype and advertising to justify the price.

saocisd said...

qué patetico, escribir en inglés, para los gringos, en vez de escribir en tu idioma, para tu nación.

CapnRick said...

Saludos: Hey, FerFal... we had a cop friend and his wife over for dinner the other night. I was asking his opinion on different types of pistols to buy here, so I could get parts, etc. I need something small enough that my petite wife could handle it. He recommended the same pistol the lady cops carry here... the 9mm Bersa. He told me the requirements for my buying a pistol here include a 3 month background check, a training course and I can't even apply until I have my DNI: Documento Nacional de Identidad which is going to probably be issued in about a year.

So, I just about have my chiquitita, bonita wifecita ready to agree to buy this pistol and take the course, so we can get a pistol and I can rest assured she is trained and safe as possible while at home alone. I've already told her that the training class to get permission to own the pistol is only the beginning: we will continue to train with the BB pistol we will buy so I can train here for instinctive shooting in our home.

Now the question: is there a pistol you would recommend for the wifecita other than the Bersa Mini Thunder 9mm? I want something small that won't intimidate a new shooter, and will make a good backup for a bigger 9mm with high capacity magazine capability.


FerFAL said...

Saocis, fijate bien amigo. Tengo un blog en Español tambien dedicado a exactamente lo mismo.
Me tome el trabajo de promoverlo un poco en algunos foros en castellano.
Aparentemente no hay mucho interes, aunque pienso seguir intentando.

Quiza esa falta de interes por estos temas es el motivo de que hoy estamos como estamos.

Hoy vi al Vicepresidente Julio Cobos apoyando a la gente en Catamarca donde vencieron al regimen K.

Quiza hay esperanza...


Anonymous said...

The topic of cheap cleaning solvents and lubricants is super idea. And the timing of the subject is perfect as at this very moment I'm going through my stuff. I loved the Johnson Floor Wax idea. If the rifle is stored, one should gives them a light coating of oil every 6 months to avoid rust. This is very important in humid climates. I may now experiment with John's Floor Wax for the exterior.

I have a couple of Mausers, the antique ones, rifle produced before 1898. (these are Federally exempt and not considered a firearm btw, and no paper is needed to purchase these). The rifles have obviously seen a great deal of use. These are a testament that old time and inexpensive methods do work, yet I have a question for the bloggers. How does one safely remove copper cheap and easy? After round after round is run through the barrel, the jacket material covers up the powder and gas residue in succession. Removing the copper is critical and not simply for accuracy's sake.. If corrosive ammunition is use, the corrosive chemicals are trapped and corrosion can take place under the safety of the copper or cupro nickel smeared over it. I've read that ammonia is effective. The solvents of copper are primarily ammonia in these high tech and expensive cleaners, 10% or less is prescribed, as more can micro-etch the barrel, yet even less than 10% is dangerous without additives to the ammonia-water mix. These additives are difficult to obtain. Is there a cheap, easy to obtain and safe substitute or other method?

High tech and expensive cleaners do offer some advantages, not only protecting the mechanism long term, but as a time safer as well. Having a little of the high tech helpers on hand could solve problems that inexpensive means cannot. J.B. Bore Cleaning Compound is one example. It can polish a barrel and restore it's accuracy where conventional techniques, expensive or otherwise, cannot.

A non ymous

Anonymous said...

Though I dont post here, I do read it a LOT.

This might be of interest.

hardiansyah said...

yea I understand white lithium grease is good lube for rifles such as my AKs.