Cleaning stainless steel and aluminum revolvers


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SKL
July 21, 2013, 02:32 PM
2 questions. 1) I have a new S&W stainless steel revolver. I've cleaned the front of the cylinder with Hoppes no 9 and a bronze toothbrush style brush and it comes very clean. Will doing this repeatedly harm the surface? 2) I have an aluminum S&W revolver (including the cylinder) with a matt finish that I haven't fired yet. Aluminum is softer than stainless (I think). What is the safest way to clean the front of this cylinder without harming the finish?

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Hondo 60
July 21, 2013, 02:37 PM
Personally, I don't worry about the "raccoon eyes" and just leave the barrel side of the cylinder alone.

1. Well, eventually I think you'd enlarge the barrel/cylinder gap, but I think that would take years of repeated scrubbing.
No, I don't have any hard evidence to support that hypothesis.

2. I use Hoppe's #9 on ALL of my guns.
Including an aluminum alloy S&W Model 38.

CajunBass
July 21, 2013, 03:25 PM
I just wipe 'em off with a patch dipped in Hoppes. Steel or aluminun.

CraigC
July 21, 2013, 03:33 PM
I don't do any more than just wipe it off with a rag dampened with CLP. Don't overdo it.

SKL
July 21, 2013, 04:27 PM
Personally, I don't worry about the "raccoon eyes" and just leave the barrel side of the cylinder alone.

1. Well, eventually I think you'd enlarge the barrel/cylinder gap, but I think that would take years of repeated scrubbing.
No, I don't have any hard evidence to support that hypothesis.

2. I use Hoppe's #9 on ALL of my guns.
Including an aluminum alloy S&W Model 38.
Thanks for replying. Won't the build up of the residue eventually effect the operation of the cylinder?

CraigC
July 21, 2013, 04:33 PM
It's not residue, it's carbon scoring and no, it doesn't build up.

dfariswheel
July 21, 2013, 05:40 PM
If you absolutely insist on cleaning the carbon off the STAINLESS guns cylinder, the best product to use is a "lead-away" cloth.
This is a heavy, stiff cloth that literally wipes carbon and leading off with gentle rubbing.
You can buy them at most gun stores and online form most "gun stuff" sellers like Brownell's and Midway.

WARNING: DO NOT USE THIS on a blued gun or on aluminum. It will wipe bluing right off and will probably damage aluminum.

For blued and aluminum a carbon remover liquid works well.
Slip 2000 Carbon Killer is a safe liquid that dissolves carbon. After soaking per the jar instructions, gently brushing will remove any that's left.
For a cylinder, put a couple of patches on the area and after shaking the jar WELL soak the patches.

460Kodiak
July 22, 2013, 10:14 AM
I've been doing the same thing you do to my revolvers forever, with no problems. I can't stand that scoring on my guns. It doesn't hurt the gun though.

A brass brush on a dremel works good too, but is unnecessary.

Brass is much softer than steel and I think you would have to scrub the living hell out of your gun every day for a very long time before having to wory about it.

Alluminium, I'd treat it a little more gingerly. The cylinder is alluminum too? What model? It was my understanding that they will make alluminum/scandium/alloy frames, but the cylinders are steel, finished to match the frame. I think I may have heard of some titanium cyliders now that I think about it.

CraigC
July 22, 2013, 10:38 AM
I think the .22's are the only ones with aluminum cylinders.

weblance
July 22, 2013, 01:43 PM
The 317s have aluminum cylinders. They are the 22 LR J frames. I simply wipe the cylinder of my 317 with Hoppes #9 and it comes clean very easily. For whatever reason, the stainless guns dont clean up as easily as the aluminum guns. For stainless, a Lead-Away cloth is the ticket. Dont use Lead-Away on a blued gun.

SKL
July 22, 2013, 06:54 PM
It's not residue, it's carbon scoring and no, it doesn't build up.
Thanks for replying and yes it's the 22 LR mod 317. My question mow is what prevents the carbon from getting thicker with each shooting session if it's not removed?

dfariswheel
July 22, 2013, 07:48 PM
One factor is blast effect.
When the gun is fired you get incandescent gas under a lot of pressure coming out of the barrel-cylinder gap.
That tends to blow off any significant build up.

What you may be seeing is not carbon but leading. Leading also gets blown off, but for various reasons some revolvers may start to get a build up of carbon and/or lead.
Carbon build up is much less common and what you see is more a staining of the metal, not an actual build up.

Fishslayer
July 22, 2013, 08:35 PM
Thanks for replying. Won't the build up of the residue eventually effect the operation of the cylinder?

Key word is "eventually." A nylon toothbrush & Hoppes will keep things clean enough for a long time.

I bought a used '70's vintage M66 on which layer after layer of carbon came off the cylinder face. It was an ex-cop gun & I don't think it had been cleaned since the Carter administration. In that case I do believe the CB gap was affected although operation itself was fine. It actually locked up noticably tighter after cleaning. It was that dirty. :what:

I wouldn't use anything but nylon & Hoppes on a blued clinder.

perchieboy
July 22, 2013, 08:42 PM
S&W 38 allum. J frame - I just use patches, nylon toothbrush and Hoppes. I love a clean pistol.

SKL
July 22, 2013, 09:51 PM
I use semi jacketed 357 magnum ammo. I don't believe that the exposed lead tip of the bullet comes in contact with the barrel or chambers. Where does the lead come from?

SKL
July 27, 2013, 06:51 PM
I submitted my original 2 part question via e mail to both Smith & Wesson support and Hoppes support. Smith & Wesson replied with an answer that I'll paste below. Hoppes replied with a phone number to call for an answer. They wouldn't answer via e mail. I wonder why. First I'll paste the Smith & Wesson reply then I'll relay the information that the Hoppes support person gave me on the phone. Smith & Wesson is responding only to the question about the model 317 clear coated aluminum revolver.

Dear Customer,
Hoppes Elite will work well. If you get lead build up I would use lead free sheets but only on barrel and charge holes, being careful not to touch the frame.
If further assistance is required please reply accordingly.
Sincerely,

On the phone I asked the Hoppes rep what he recommended for both the SS and aluminum revolvers and he replied that Hoppes Elite would be best for both revolvers. When asked if Hoppes no 9 would also be suitable he replied that Hoppes no 9 was known to discolor stainless steel and it might eat through the clear coating of the aluminum revolver. I then asked if the synthetic version of Hoppes no 9 would be a safe option for these 2 revolvers and he said that it would be the same as the original Hoppes no 9 in this application. He further stated that Hoppes no 9 was originally formulated for the blued steel guns of earlier times and Elite is more suitable for the guns we are discussing here.

I'm sure alot of the people following this subject will disagree with this information but I just thought you might be interested in reading it.

sig228
July 27, 2013, 08:01 PM
Here is a good youtube video in which he uses a non abrasive scouring pad to clean the front of the cylinder:

http://youtu.be/CSI20nHKZwg

CraigC
July 27, 2013, 08:48 PM
Green Scotchbrite pads are equivalent to 600grit sandpaper. I would definitely NOT use them on any firearm for any purpose other than touching up a brushed finish.

sig228
July 28, 2013, 12:13 AM
Green Scotchbrite pads are equivalent to 600grit sandpaper. I would definitely NOT use them on any firearm for any purpose other than touching up a brushed finish.
Scotch-brite pads come in many different varieties including some used for industrial and woodworking applications. Those are probable the ones you are referring to, not the kitchen pads sold in the grocery store like what was shown in the video.

CraigC
July 28, 2013, 12:24 AM
600grit, look it up. Didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

shadow9
July 28, 2013, 12:40 AM
Was using GunSlick for my SP101 to clean it - worked marginally. Soaked a cotton ball with #9, pushed it down the tube, let it soak for ~10min, and out came almost all the lead. Simply wiping the front of the cylinders with another soaked cottonball was taking the carbon print off VERY quickly. There's still some black ring left, but honestly that says the revolver gets used.

sig228
July 28, 2013, 01:19 AM
600grit, look it up. Didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

Lol, with jokes that that, I'm not so sure about the turnip truck, but you are correct as to the grit equivalent. Thanks for the heads up.

SKL
July 28, 2013, 06:36 PM
After reading all the replies to this topic and after doing about 4 shooting/cleaning cycles with my 686 stainless steel revolver, I believe I will join the ranks of those who clean their stainless steel revolvers the same way they clean their other revolvers and not be concerned about the carbon scoring. I will clean this 686 stainless steel revolver the same way I have cleaned my Ruger LCR. The LCR also has a stainless steel cylinder but it is blackened so I've never noticed the carbon scoring. However, since I've become more aware of this issue, I've taken a closer look at the LCR and can see that those rings are there. The way I've cleaned the LCR is after cleaning the barrel and cylinder chambers, I would clean the back of the cylinder behind the ejector wheel, the front of the cylinder, the breech end of the barrel, and the crane area using a nylon tooth brush dipped in hoppes or CLP. I would then wipe those areas dry with a patch or a cloth. This process takes about 60 seconds (not including the time for cleaning the bore and chambers. After doing this I can take a clean patch and pass it along the front surface of the cylinder and it will remain white. This is how I plan to clean my 686 in the future without being concerned about the carbon scoring on the front of the cylinder as long as it's clean to the touch. I want to thank everyone who replied to this topic.

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