How Damaging is Solvent?


February 6, 2012, 06:00 AM
When I clean (which is frequently, if not after every time I shoot), I swab a liberal amount of solvent into the hammer, trigger mechanism, magazine well, and anywhere else that I see crud. It's hard to then make sure that I've cleaned up the solvent.

1) If I don't get it all, am I damaging the gun?
2) Am I using solvent incorrectly?

I tought myself to clean 25 years ago and have never felt that anything has gone wrong, but I'm second guessing. *Edit: same routine for plastic guns, polymer, steel, aluminum, etc... all of them.

My routine:

Wipe down dry patches and cotton rag.
Dip brass brush in solvent and run through barrel, slide rails, cruddy areas.
Let sit for a minute or two.
Dry patch throughout.
Gun oil in barrel with patch.
Dry patch through barrel.
Oil the metal-to-metal... slide, hammer, trigger.
Wipe excess oil after racking slide repeatedly.
Light oil to rag and shine up the outside.


A search didn't bring up my specific questions. This surprised me, so go easy on me if this is like an oil thread on a motorcycle forum.

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February 6, 2012, 12:02 PM
What kind of solvent?
There are solvents, and there are solvents.

Hoppes #9, CLP, etc, will not harm a thing, except some stock finishes & sight paints.

High Ammonia copper solvent, not so much.


February 6, 2012, 12:08 PM
Mr Jewell of trigger fame uses lighter fluid on his trigger mechanisms, so vm&p naptha should be GTG. JMO

February 6, 2012, 12:31 PM
Hoppes #9 actually. Thanks. I stress about the fact that I may be leaving some solvent and it is quietly eating through the gun's guts.

February 6, 2012, 12:36 PM
I have no idea what that means?


February 6, 2012, 12:43 PM
I'll try that again with an edit.

February 6, 2012, 04:08 PM
No, leaving small amounts of Hoppe's #9 on or in the gun will not hurt it.
The solvents quickly evaporate leaving an oil film behind.

I would think though if you are getting that much inside the action?
You are using too much.

Use Q-Tip's dipped in it to clean inside the gun.

Just put a dab on a clean patch and wipe the gun down when you get done cleaning the chambers & bore.


Onward Allusion
February 6, 2012, 04:46 PM
How Damaging is Solvent?

It depends. Hoppes #9 is pretty easy on finishes and even wood. Paint is another thing, though. However, on YOU the gun owner - you should wear gloves and work in a well ventilated area.

February 6, 2012, 04:49 PM
I don't use q-tipps. Good suggestion. Ventilation? The buzz is half the fun! Actually, I've learned to fan out the room while working. The wife doesn't appreciate the aroma like I do.

Jim K
February 7, 2012, 10:58 PM
I use G96 Gun Treatment and have never found it to harm anything except crud.

The only solvent I caution about is the kind that removes everything, like Gun Scrubber. Good stuff, but it takes off grease and oil and leaves bare metal, wide open to rust if a new application of an oil or other protectant is not put on soon.


February 8, 2012, 12:22 PM
One can buy the long, 6" Q-tips from the web, Midway has them, can get into areas not normally reached. Also, along with Jim K's suggestion, I use either Gun Butter w/needle, or Pro 7 to re-lube after cleaning. I also use canned air with a snorkel tube to blow out any lingering cleaner before lubing, just my way of doing things.

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