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Scottish Member
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Who here uses an ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning firearms (not brass cases). I tried a harbor freight unit and was less than impressed. For brass I'm happy with my Thumbler rotary and vibratory units.

If you do:

1. Do you use them for both plastic frames/parts and metal, or one or the other?

2. Typical times to clean frames / slides?

3. How much disassembly?

4. Do you use an air compressor to blow out / dry the parts?

5. What solutions do you use? Do you reuse solution or new for each batch of parts?

6. Do you have a recommended brand? Anything worthwhile for <$250 / $200 / $150 ?

ETA: 7. How do you re-lubricate, spray? 2nd Lubricant bath?
Tx
 

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Premium Member
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I look forward to hearing what other here say. I have a Hornady ultrasonic cleaner that works well on SS suppressor baffles with Purple Power and distilled water. I've tried gentler cleaners on gun parts and haven't been impressed. I also wonder if finding the right solution is key.
 

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I can't offer much on the process he uses, but a close friend of mine swears by them. Especially for old, gunked rebuilds. He's looking into buying a bigger one, I'm gonna see if I can get his current off of him for cheap.
 

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I look forward to hearing what other here say. I have a Hornady ultrasonic cleaner that works well on SS suppressor baffles with Purple Power and distilled water. I've tried gentler cleaners on gun parts and haven't been impressed. I also wonder if finding the right solution is key.
Same setup for the same reason. Still it's not fun to clean baffles even with the ultrasonic.
 

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We have one at work for cleaning our issued duty pistols.

I wasn’t impressed with it. I still had to scrub parts to get the funk off.

It is good for getting excess oil and loose grit out of hard to reach places, but it’s almost more trouble than it’s worth sometimes.

It takes a long time to work and then you have to let the parts drip and air dry afterward. I saw some guys drop their entire assembled Sig P226 frames one there and it took a long time for all that stuff to drip out and dry. Not good after a long day on the range and you’re ready to do a quick cleaning and get home. It is faster if you use an air compressor to blow them out. I’m not sure what the solution they keep in it is, it’s whatever it came with.

I like it for AR bolt carriers though. I’ll occasionally drop one in and it will help loosen up the gunk inside. But you will still have to scrub it out afterwards.
 

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I use a Branson industrial ultra sonic cleaner.

You need to check if you US cleaner has enough power.

Here is a quick and dirty way

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR5PgwEDFzs


I used water / dawn dish soap / orange cleaner as a mixture. But HEAT also really helps. I generally clean gun parts at 55 degrees C (my US is in C). Heated US is the way to go.

60 minutes in the heated cleaner and gun parts are clean. Rinse with water. Blow out.

Dry in a food dehydrator. Lightly oil with your favorite (I like Hornady gun lube). Have been playing with Extreme purple lube. Jury still out on that.
 
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A few tips I've picked up along the way.
  • Like Khufu said, heat really helps.
  • Make sure to degas.
  • If you're using a cleaner mixed with water, most sources say to use distilled water.
  • If you're cleaning smaller items, you can put the cleaner or cleaner and water mixture in a sealed ziploc/freezer bag and then fill up the rest of the reservoir with tap water. The ultrasonic passes through the plastic bag. Saw this in some YouTube videos, and it has worked well for me when cleaning the wife's jewelry and other small parts.
 

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I would love to have a cleaner I could put my guns and parts in and have them come out clean, without doing any work, but I have never seen it and I don't believe the ultra-sonic cleaners will do it.​
 

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Used the Harbor Freight US on a modern sporting rifle bolt carrier group. Used the Hornady solution, and ran tree cycles. Was as clean as the day I bought the rifle. I wouldn't do it a lot, but this particular BCG was giving me trouble, even though I clean it after every use. Since then 200+ rounds without issue.
 

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1. Do you use them for both plastic frames/parts and metal, or one or the other?

Only metal. Barrels and baffles it’s where you will be really happy.

2. Typical times to clean frames / slides?

I don’t us it for neither (sights get in the way)
3. How much disassembly?

Barrels, extractors, springs, other metal parts.

4. Do you use an air compressor to blow out / dry the parts?

My wife hair dryer, in the winter. In the summer, Texas.

5. What solutions do you use? Do you reuse solution or new for each batch of parts?

Water, heat and some cleaner. Strong one for suppressor baffles only.

6. Do you have a recommended brand? Anything worthwhile for <$250 / $200 / $150 ?

Bought a basic one from Amazon, works just fine.

ETA: 7. How do you re-lubricate, spray? 2nd Lubricant bath?

I lubricate barrels with Ballistol.
 

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1. Put nothing but water in your cleaner's tank.

2. Put some gasoline in a thick glass jar of proper physical size, such as a nice pickle jar

3. Put your metal parts in the jar of gasoline. Put the lid on.

4. Put the jar in your tank so the top/neck of the jar is well above the water line. No heat. Run the cleaner.

You may say that's crazy, gasoline is flammable, etc. But it works. No gasoline ever comes into contact with your US cleaner. Your tank stays clean. (And DON"T try this with gasoline in the actual tank - always sequestered with a container.)

Plastic jars work too, like peanut butter jars. But not as well as glass.

Clean plastic/polymer parts separately with a soap solution.

Large parts like a slide or frame will be a challenge to clean this way, depending on the size of your cleaner. I never promised the solution to all your problems.


Watch this:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTN7-C72eHA

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeBB-J0fOp4
 

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1. Put nothing but water in your cleaner's tank.

2. Put some gasoline in a thick glass jar of proper physical size, such as a nice pickle jar

3. Put your metal parts in the jar of gasoline. Put the lid on.

4. Put the jar in your tank so the top/neck of the jar is well above the water line. No heat. Run the cleaner.

You may say that's crazy, gasoline is flammable, etc. But it works. No gasoline ever comes into contact with your US cleaner. Your tank stays clean. (And DON"T try this with gasoline in the actual tank - always sequestered with a container.)

Plastic jars work too, like peanut butter jars. But not as well as glass.

Clean plastic/polymer parts separately with a soap solution.

Large parts like a slide or frame will be a challenge to clean this way, depending on the size of your cleaner. I never promised the solution to all your problems.


Watch this:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTN7-C72eHA
Ultrasonic cleaners (at least industrial ones) warn against using flammable solvents. It can cause explosions.

What happens is the ultrasonics cause the liquid to have much more vapor off-gassing from the liquid. That is what explodes.

One company I worked for had a large US cleaner explode (engineers lost jobs over it). Flammable solvents were used.

Be extremely careful with flammable solvents in US cleaners. If you choose to do it, make sure and have a well ventilated area.
 

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Ultrasonic cleaners (at least industrial ones) warn against using flammable solvents. It can cause explosions.

What happens is the ultrasonics cause the liquid to have much more vapor off-gassing from the liquid. That is what explodes.

One company I worked for had a large US cleaner explode (engineers lost jobs over it). Flammable solvents were used.

Be extremely careful with flammable solvents in US cleaners. If you choose to do it, make sure and have a well ventilated area.

Well, obviously. Do I really have to provide lawyer-language disclaimers for doing anything with gasoline??? Use your head.
 

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1. Put nothing but water in your cleaner's tank.

2. Put some gasoline in a thick glass jar of proper physical size, such as a nice pickle jar

3. Put your metal parts in the jar of gasoline. Put the lid on.

4. Put the jar in your tank so the top/neck of the jar is well above the water line. No heat. Run the cleaner.

You may say that's crazy, gasoline is flammable, etc. But it works. No gasoline ever comes into contact with your US cleaner. Your tank stays clean. (And DON"T try this with gasoline in the actual tank - always sequestered with a container.)

Plastic jars work too, like peanut butter jars. But not as well as glass.

Clean plastic/polymer parts separately with a soap solution.

Large parts like a slide or frame will be a challenge to clean this way, depending on the size of your cleaner. I never promised the solution to all your problems.


Watch this:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTN7-C72eHA

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeBB-J0fOp4
I've seen his YT videos. I haven't tried gas on gun parts yet, but I did use it as you said in a separate glass container, and it worked very well on mower parts. Based on your post, I may try it on some gun parts.
 

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JAFO
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1. Put nothing but water in your cleaner's tank.

2. Put some gasoline in a thick glass jar of proper physical size, such as a nice pickle jar

3. Put your metal parts in the jar of gasoline. Put the lid on.

4. Put the jar in your tank so the top/neck of the jar is well above the water line. No heat. Run the cleaner.

If you're going to do something this retarded just make sure you do it outside. :rolleyes:
 

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If you're going to do something this retarded just make sure you do it outside. :rolleyes:
Think whatever you want. Without an ignition source, gasoline ain't gonna burn. It won't 'spontaneously combust.' It actually takes a pretty high temp to get gasoline vapors to ignite; throwing a lit cigarette on the ground like they show in movies, for example, won't do it. Not hot enough.

It's safe to do as described above, if you're not an idiot. But I do agree about doing it outside or at least in an open garage, cuz the stuff stinks.
 
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