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cleaning tips

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Dental pics, pipe cleaners, stripped down q-tips...  and lots of carb cleaner. 

The dental pics are a life saver in the bolt carrier and chamber.  Pipe cleaners work great going up through the bolt, all the way through the bolt face.  Sometimes, the stripped down q-tips (pull off most of the fuzz) can help in the bolt, and everywhere else in general.  I'll let the parts air dry so I can see that carb cleaner film (whitish), then use q-tips with CLP to oil everything back up.

EDIT - Militarily, my unit always had a solvent tank right there at the arms room - I LOVE using the solvent tank and brush to clean these things.  I'd do that all day long on the work guns, but I don't know if I'd do it on my own guns...  ;D

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Awesome, I use everything but the dental picks and solvents....what do you do with them???  I got everything cleaned like I wanted except the gas tube.  The pipe cleaners I have are about three inches short of getting all the way to the end and I would rather not have to punch the roll pin and take the tube off everytime I want to clean it.  Do they make cleaners long enough to go all the way through? (I haven't looked, these were just what I had on hand) For the cleaning agent I have gunslick ultra-klenz, foaming bore cleaner, ultra-lube, gun-seal, and gun-dri.  Brake cleaner and Prepsol eh?  Might have to look into those.  Thanks guys


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Dental picks are great for scraping the carbon deposits and getting that stuff "unstuck."  I'll put carb cleaner (or whatever you prefer to use) on the q-tip, and just soak stubborn carbon deposits to soften them up.  Attack them with the pick, and it scrapes right off most of the time.  Very effective in the front of the bolt carrier once you remove the bolt.  Works great around the tail of the bolt, too (but sometimes I'll wear that stuff down with a brass brush).  The picks are perfect for getting into the chamber and scraping away the buildup in the corners/edges of it. 

I've seen long pipe cleaners somewhere before.  If I can find the link or source, I'll post it up here.  I don't worry about the gas tube that much - IMHO, once the gasses are moving through there with force, you get most of the buildup where the gasses would turn a corner, or come to a stop.  Most of the hard deposits build up in the carrier key, around the bolt tail, and in the front of the carrier.

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Carb cleaner is your friend. Then spray with CLP and brush as required. I use the foaming bore cleaners to check for copper fouling. I clean the barrel with CLP and then a dry patch and then fill with foam. Let stand while cleaning the rest of the gun, then run a patch through and look for blue. If the patch comes out blue I continue to use foam until no more blue, then a light coat of CLP. If you have a heavily fouled AR the sooner you clean it the better. I don't think I've ever cleaned a gas tube.

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so just your everyday, run-of-the-mill carburator cleaner...never would have thought of that.  That's the reason I asked though; thanks for all the tips guys.  I'm more than happy to look at all the info/advice I can to keep my gun in the best condition possible...plan on keepin this one for a nice long time.

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Yep, just plain old carb cleaner.  Tip:  I'm a motorcycle mechanic by profession now, and I get my stock of carb and brake cleaners from Wal-Mart.  No joke.  I buy the Super Tech stuff there for about $1.50 a can.  It does the exact same job as a $3.50-a-can stuff from Gunk, CRC Chemicals, Chemtool, Gumout - all of them.  It's all the same exact stuff, so don't overpay for a name.  Get the cheapest carb cleaner you can, especially if you think you'l be going through alot of it.  I use too much of it - as witnessed by my posts, probably.  :o

Here's an example from amazon. com:


Pay about $1.50 for the same thing, man, and hit Wal-mart.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I use BreakFree CLP almost exclusively.  I "liberated" some one-ended q-tips from the first-aid station at the office.  I use the cotton end where I can, and the wood end with a cleaning patch in tight spots.

For the bore, I use BoreSnakes - got one in every caliber I own.

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  • 3 months later...

Long pipe cleaners are available at Wal-Mart in the section for craft supplies.  Could not find pipe cleaners anywhere because smoking and pipes are such a social no-no now?  A clerk at Wal-Mart led me to the "similar item" in stock.  Pipe cleaners 3 feet long?

A few years ago I needed oil for gate hardware on the fence.  Black (painted?) iron that rusts out in less than a year and usually must be replaced every two or three years.  I oiled the metal all over with "Mobil One 10W-30 full synthetic."  Five years later I heard a squeak and touched up the oil.  Almost ten years now and all that hardware still looks and works like new.

While marveling at the gate hardware for a few years I got a wild hare idea and washed the mechanisms (all the metal parts) of my guns with "Mobil One 10W-30 Full Synthetic."  I use paper towel (what else?) to put a thick juicy coating on each gun,  inside and out.  Let it sit for a couple of days or a couple of weeks.  By then the synthetic oils contained in the stuff in the bottle will have penetrated into the pores of the metal and everything else.  A lot of the carrier oils will have evaporated and the gun will not be nearly as oily as when it was set to soak.  Wipe the gun with paper towel to remove more of the excess oils.  Tolerate oil seeping from holes and crannies and keep some paper towel (Bounty is my personal choice) to dry drips and seeps.  If you do not repeat the oiling much,  the gun will eventually be 'dry.'

After shooting,  the guns clean up with little effort.  Nothing can stick too tight.  Before shooting at the range I wipe the bore with a strip of dry paper towel wrapped around an undersize bronze brush.  The first one or two shots will be a bit wild or low because of residual excess oil,  but after that everything is fine.  The basic synthetic oils are still there,  however,  and lead and brass comes out with minimal effort.  I like "Outers" solvent because it is clear and the color of the fowling shows clearly.  A few swipes with the towel saturated with solvent is usually enough.

One day there was a clear blue sky at the range with a few tiny puff-ball thunderstorms drifting by.  One of them gave us a 5 minute rainstorm and I watched the raindrops blow in under the cover onto my rifles,  hit the metal,  bead up and run off.  Some of the rifles that day had not been oiled in many months.  All of them looked and felt completely dry.

The rationale and explanation for this is that the synthetic motor oils are formulated by mixing discreet,  pure gasses that then form big long-chain polymers.  The end product is very precise and highly engineered (and very very expensive) oils that attach themselves to the metal of an internal combustion engine and work and survive in a high-temperature,  high-pressure,  corrosive environment.  Not to mention the mixture of other highly reactive chemicals and solvents that are floating around in that environment.  When these oils are used casually for other lubrication and protective purposes,  like my gate hardware,  they perform admirably.  On a gun they work like the cosmoline of times long past.  Start with a rifle fresh from the production line and newly blued in,  maybe,  1867 or 1919.  The Army says to put it in storage until the next brush fire.  So the rifle is carefully coated with cosmoline and packed away in a storage bunker or warehouse for 20 or 60 years.  Then it is sold to a civilian agent who sells you that great model old rifle that just has this fantastic bluing job that never rusts or even gets dirty!  The real thing is that the blue is no different than the bluing process used to manufacture the gun that came off the production line this afternoon.  The old rifle had 20 or 60 or however many years for the oils in the cosmoline to work their way very slowly down into the pores and between the molecules  of the surface of the gun.  Way too deep and entrenched to be removed by the cleaning process when the rifle was being prepared for resale.

Now we have a way to accomplish the same kind of deep oiling and to do it in a couple of days,  maybe a week or two. 

More recently I bought a small oil can (Harbor Freight) and for the last two or so years have been mixing my synthetic motor oil with Kroil for my guns.  I have already noted that I am a purist <laughs> with these things.  I try for 25% Kroil in the mix with the synthetic motor oil;  at least some,  not more than half?  1/4 to 1/3 optimum?  Bolts and triggers work very smoothly,  cleanup is,  as already noted,  easy.  It does not seem to affect trigger break on my guns except make it break a little more cleanly,  but then all my guns are of good quality and highly reputable manufacture.  If there was a problem,  then all those old cosmoline-packed guns would have the same problem and we would all be aware?

Do not get any of these oils on scopes or electronic or electrical devices on the guns.  The oils can attack some polymers,  optical lenses,  get under printed circuits on circuit boards.  (coat the battery terminals in your car with a few drops,  work it into the cable connector and the end of the electrical cables and stop corrosion).  Do not use synthetic motor oil on an old engine.  The high solvent and penetrating carrier oils will clean out the old gunk from standard motor oil and your engine will leak oil like a sieve.  These qualities are good for a gun to help keep it clean.

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  • 4 years later...

CAUTION..... I use a lot of B-12 carb cleaner in aerosol cans to clean small engine and old Chevrolet carbs. Be sure to wear good eye protection any time you are using carb cleaner,it will go right toward your face just like your eyes are magnetized. It is rough on plastic and skin.Just one spraying on your clear plastic safety goggles will ruin them so that tells me the stuff can blind you.

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I am odd, in that since the first time cleaning a firearm in basic training... I HATE CLP. Clean, lubricate, protect!? All in one?! The stuff does work, I just dont feel it works well enough... for me... so as soon as I could in basic, I snuck off and purchased some hoppes #9

My cleaning kit will consist of hoppes #9, Lucas gun oil (use w/e here), dental picks (careful around aluminum!), pipe cleaners, q tips, and BORE SNAKES! I love bore snakes. Everyone made fun of me for my xl ifak size weapons cleaning kit... until they were all borrowing it. (I hate small kits, they dont do it for me)

Without too much detail, everything on the gun gets at LEAST 3 go overs. (3-1,000). First I use solvent. Once everything is clean, dry everything, then I lubricate. I dont like the idea of my lubricant cleaning... sounds like extra work and dangerous residue.

So there you go.

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