Use of solvents on titanium, scandium or alloy revolvers


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MillCreek
April 16, 2005, 09:23 PM
I have read some threads here and on various other fora discussing how the use of various solvents or sprays for gun cleaning have ruined the clearcoat now found on many titanium, scandium, aluminum or other alloy revolvers.

Being the proud owner of a new Taurus 651 in shadow gray titanium, this makes me somewhat nervous. My owners manual discusses not using abrasives on the frame or cylinder face insofar as that will remove the clearcoat, but nothing about solvents. I customarily use Shooter's Choice to clean the bores and can use Breakfree CLP, Shooter's Choice polymer safe degreaser or CRC Brakleen to spray out various tight places, linkages and the like.

Does anyone have any insight as to what solvents on what revolvers have caused finish problems?

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TarpleyG
April 16, 2005, 09:28 PM
A friend used brake cleaner / Gun Scrubber on his new 642 and it stripped off part of the finish on the barrel. I'd be careful. I don't use anything more potent than Hoppe's on my guns.

Greg

calzoom
April 17, 2005, 01:56 AM
Check on Hoppes #9 Its been doing a good job on guns for many years and have yet to hear of it taking anything off of em. Read the labels tho just in case. It should also say the cleaning restrictions in your gun manual, if any.

71Commander
April 17, 2005, 07:17 AM
I use Hoppe's #9 on my 386PD and the finish is still like new. It works too!! :)

MillCreek
April 17, 2005, 01:10 PM
I have read several threads about this over on the smith and wesson forum and in other places. On the scandium-framed revolvers, problems with peeling of the clear coat have been reported with using Gun Scrubber, Hoppes # 9, Simple Green, sprays containing acetone, solvents containing ammonia, and sometimes just from holster wear.

Far and away the most complaints come from using Gun Scrubber or carb cleaner. According to the MSDS, the active ingredient in Gun Scrubber is trichloroethylene. Tetra Action Blaster also contains trichloroethylene and CRC Brakleen (non-chlorinated) contains acetone, as do most carb cleaners. The Shooters Choice polymer safe degreaser contains heptane and isopropanol while the Shooters Choice quick scrub contains trichloroethylene. Breakfree Powderblast contains methylene chloride.

Of note, Smith and Wesson apparently recommends using Breakfree CLP and nylon brushes only to clean the revolver. I wonder if that is because CLP causes no finish damage. Although this is not mentioned in the S&W manual, many people have said that the service reps tell them this when they call to complain about the clear coat finish peeling.

Brownells sells some clear coat heat cured epoxy spray finishes in a variety of colors including satin and matte finish clear. Some people have reported good success in refinishing their own pistols by this method. The heat cured epoxy spray finishes are what are being used by the manufacturers these days, with Gun Kote being a popular choice. My research reveals that methylene chloride or methyl ethyl ketone are used to remove heat-cured epoxy clear coats, so any solvent or spray containing this chemical will also probably strip the clear coat.

Accordingly, based on their chemical composition, I would avoid using Gun Scrubber, Tetra Action Blaster, Shooters Choice Quick Scrub, Breakfree Powderblast, CRC Brakleen and any other spray or liquid solvent that contained trichloroethylene, methanol, acetone, methylene chloride, methyl ethyl ketone, or ammonia. These solvents seem to have a higher potential of stripping off or damaging any clear coat, based on anecdotal reports and my research. I would also not use any bore cleaner containing ammonia, at least on any part of the revolver that had a clear coat.

Many people have reported no problems with using Hoppe's # 9 while others have reported problems. All the problems that I found with using Hoppe's were with the S&W scandium-framed revolvers, and there are suggestions of at least one 'bad batch' of clear coat due to oil contamination during the finishing process. Simple Green attacks aluminum, and the scandium-framed revolvers are an aluminum alloy, so I would avoid that as well

So after digesting all of these threads and reading the MSDS on a variety of spray cleaners, I think that using Breakfree CLP, Shooters Choice bore cleaner or the Shooters Choice polymer safe degreaser along with nylon brushes or other non-abrasive tools has the least potential to damage a clearcoat finish. Given that my Taurus 651 titanium also has a clear coat finish, I would follow these same recommendations for a titanium revolver as well.

If anyone has any additional data or ideas, I would love to hear them. An expert on metal painting using clear coat finishes would be perfect to hear from.

6530
April 17, 2005, 02:17 PM
I use MPro7 cleaner plus Shooter's Choice FP-10 lube on my handguns, including a scandium S&W 340PD. No problems here.

JoeHatley
April 17, 2005, 10:10 PM
I've been cleaning my 325PD Sc/Ti for over a year now. The only cleaner I've used is Hoppe's #9 with nylon brushes on the the outside and bronze in the bore and chambers.

Works great. Just remember to wipe off the excess when done.

Joe

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