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Picture of erj_pilot
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OK...there's been a lot of dancing around this issue through a number of threads and a variety of "rooms"...The Lounge, Reloading, etc. Since I can never pin down any specific results and answers to my questions, I'd like to consolidate that conversation into one educational thread, if possible.

So here's the issue at hand...I purchased an RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaner "just because" to have in my reloading tool bag. I have yet to clean ANYTHING in it, but after watching Gavin's Youtube video in Ultimate Reloader where he did a review of the cleaner, I'm convinced there is some good value in having it on my bench. Unfortunately, Gavin only cleaned some dies and some rifle brass, so he didn't demonstrate using it to clean pistol or rifle parts.

I contacted both H&K and Smith & Wesson to ask them if they recommend using an Ultrasonic Cleaner on their products, but both said they did NOT recommend it. However, I also consulted with CMMG to ask them about using it on their AR-15's, and they said it was no issue. I further pressed the rep at CMMG to ask why he thought the pistol manufacturers would recommend against using the cleaner, and he said he didn't think it was a problem unless "it has something to do with the coating process they use". So now I'm THOROUGHLY confused, which isn't that hard to do anyway.

To that end, I would like to ask members here if they use an Ultrasonic Cleaner specifically to clean their pistol and/or rifle parts. The information I'm looking for is:
1. What cleaning solution do you use
2. Do you use the heating function of the unit, if installed
3. How long do you set the timer
4. Do you use it to clean the plastic parts such as the grip/lower on a semi-auto
5. If using an ultrasonic cleaner, is there any additional cleaning necessary after that process is complete
6. Any other pros/cons and guidance in using an ultrasonic cleaner to clean gun/gun parts

I want to learn!! Tell me what you know... Big Grin

Thanks!!



"If you’re a leader, you lead the way. Not just on the easy ones; you take the tough ones too…” – MAJ Richard D. Winters (1918-2011), E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil... Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel." - Isaiah 5:20,24
 
Posts: 6406 | Location: NW Houston | Registered: April 04, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Not an expert in Ultra Sonic Cleaning but we have one at my workplace that we all use for our guns. To date, I have not seen anything detrimental done to any firearms except the white dot on the front sight of an XD wipe away after its bath.
1. We use simple green or the Lucas Bore Solvent/Ultrasonic Cleaner (gets expensive) in the unit.
2. Yes, I have allowed the heater to warm up before the "bath"
3. Timer is usually 30 minutes give or take
4. I only try to clean metal gun parts ie: frames, bolts, slides (careful of the sights)
5. After the sonic bath the parts are placed in oil for water dispersion then I hang them on hangers over the sink to dry.

Again, I am no expert but the tank has been great for cosmoline, dirty AR's, guns that were neglected and especially the baffles of my suppressor. Good luck.
 
Posts: 746 | Location: Ohio | Registered: August 14, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I use my ultrasonic cleaner for my suppressors routinely.
No aluminum parts
No cerocoated or painted parts
On rifle parts- AR bolt

My routine is to soak in Carbon Killer for 15 minutes. Ultrasonic for 10 minutes. Brake clean to displace the water. Lubricate- Ezzox.
 
Posts: 1410 | Location: Southeast CT | Registered: January 18, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks y'all...good guidance and I didn't even think about water dispersion after cleaning in a water bath.



"If you’re a leader, you lead the way. Not just on the easy ones; you take the tough ones too…” – MAJ Richard D. Winters (1918-2011), E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil... Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel." - Isaiah 5:20,24
 
Posts: 6406 | Location: NW Houston | Registered: April 04, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lead slingin'
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Picture of Modern Day Savage
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quote:
Originally posted by erj_pilot:
6. Any other pros/cons and guidance in using an ultrasonic cleaner to clean gun/gun parts

I want to learn!! Tell me what you know... Big Grin


I have used ultrasonic cleaner before, but never on gun parts, and so I'll apologize up front if this information doesn't specifically answer your questions with first-hand experience.

I've followed a number of threads over the years on ultrasonic cleaner use on this forum and the "best practices" seemed to trend from a general "don't do it" to later, in more recent years, a more cautious "it's ok, If you only use it on certain parts with certain finishes, using only certain solutions (Simple Green mostly recommend). AR bolts generally seemed to do ok in ultrasonic cleaners (although I wonder if this is still true for the coated or plated ones?). I wish I could be more specific in nailing down the specific details of which parts, which finishes, and which solutions but whether people were being cautious in their suggestions or simply didn't know, there didn't seem to be a list.

One point made repeatedly in these threads is that ultrasonic cleaner use removes all lubrication and so, after use, the gun will require a complete detail strip, not just a field strip, to re-lube all the internal parts.

I've never seen a discussion of heated vs. non-heated solutions used in ultrasonic cleaners.

I've read of some instances in which there was no harm done at all to the gun to the painted filler marks in engraved or stamped parts being removed by the process, and in some cases, entire gun finishes being ruined.

Many years ago, in one such ultrasonic cleaner thread, member JALLEN relayed the story of how he had put his beloved HK P7 (M8, IIRC), in an ultrasonic cleaner (I think using some sort of solvent cleaner) and when he removed it the finish was completely ruined with much of it removed...and the gun started to quickly rust. IIRC he lived in San Diego at this time. He was able to send the gun off and have the rust removed and completely refinished and seemed happy with the gun when it returned. I'm not %100 certain but I believe he sent it back to HK for a factory refinish...if this is correct then that might explain why HK doesn't recommend ultrasonic cleaner use.

Sorry for not being able to add more details or specifics.

Out of curiosity, did you start this thread in the What's Your Deal sub-forum because of a frustration with a lack of information? Wondering because you might get more responses if it were in the handgun or long gun sections. Regardless, I'll be watching the information added in this thread with interest.
 
Posts: 4568 | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What about a sonic jewelry cleaner? I scrounged a Connoissour La Sonic III from a rental house junk cleanup. I figured it could find some use for reloading and other "gun" stuff.
 
Posts: 327 | Location: Middle Alabama | Registered: February 27, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Thank you
Very little
Picture of HRK
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I use one for the bolt on the AR/AK, barrels, springs, internal easily removable parts that get really dirty.

I've even experimented with putting a glock lower into it, cleaned the snot out of the lower, all the dirt and carbon came right out.

I've also put the upper slide in from the same gun and it came out very clean, it does remove everything from the surface, so I blow out the firing pin area with compressed air and then coat the slide with oil before putting back in the safe.

Just wiped them down, lubricated and reassembled, no delamination, discoloring or damage, but then again, it's a Glock so it can take this stuff.. Razz

I run simple green in mine, you can get at Y'all mart in gallon jugs...



"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." Winston Churchill
 
Posts: 13885 | Location: FL | Registered: November 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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During my Coast Guard service in the mid 80's our unit Gunners Mate would clean our 1911's in one. He stripped the pistols down all the way and put all the pieces in the basket except for the grips. He used CLP which was the military all purpose weapons lube at the time and ran it for about 45 minutes. He would lift the basket out and wipe the pieces off and reassemble the pistol. These guns were parkerised with plain sights no night sights or painted. It was pretty efficient really but I still considered him lazy. He would bitch about us not being careful in getting saltwater on the guns but since we weren't allowed to do anything but load them and carry them I didn't care. He didn't seem to have much else to do any ways.

Seeing all the ultrasonic cleaners come around the last couple of years makes me wonder how many people use them for gun cleaning. It is obvious to me what cleaner you use on what finish matters so pay heed and use common sense.
 
Posts: 63 | Location: Kansas | Registered: September 05, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks again for all the tips, tricks, and potential trip-ups, y'all. Two thumbs up!!



"If you’re a leader, you lead the way. Not just on the easy ones; you take the tough ones too…” – MAJ Richard D. Winters (1918-2011), E Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil... Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel." - Isaiah 5:20,24
 
Posts: 6406 | Location: NW Houston | Registered: April 04, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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