Okay, fine dust needs cleaning


March 22, 2004, 07:30 PM
Our recent Tucson outing left me with 20+ handguns to clean and with fine dust where the sun don't shine. I have cleaned a few so far, but even just about completely detail stripping the stuff, I still hear some "grit" in there that I never heard before. So... do I try a Dunk It type treatment? Either from Cylinder and Slide or make my own Ed's Red concoction? If I make my own Ed's Red, where the heck do I get all that stuff? Or, should I just shoot the heck out of everything, and after a couple more cleanings, the grit should all be gone?

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March 22, 2004, 07:46 PM
Sorry but the proper way is to completely strip the guns and clean thoroughly.You don't need fancy stuff ,detergent in hot water and an old tooth brush will work fine. The problem is that in places like Tucson there's sand and sand mixed with oil is lapping compound . Sand is very abrasive ,it will even wear out carbide.

March 23, 2004, 09:31 AM
What I do as a first step is crank the shop compressor up to 140 psi and, using a needle-point blowgun, blow the snot out of every orifice on the gun. This is with the gun dry . Then proceed with usual thorough cleaning.

TFL Survivor

El Tejon
March 23, 2004, 09:43 AM
When I get back from GWR or Tejas, I always dunk my guns, clean, and then lube and then clean and lube again. That grit out there will chew your weapons to pieces.

20?!?! Talk about dedication!:)

March 23, 2004, 10:01 AM
When my guns get bad, I spray them down with brake cleaner until it all runs out.

March 23, 2004, 10:47 AM
20+? ..... damn! I knew you guys had a good session but ... wow ... THAT good!! :D

Seriously .. I don't think you have any options .. other than tear down and deep clean. This fine abrasive will harm all moving parts ... only slowly but as long as it's there .. might as well have put in some Jeweller's rouge with your lube!!

Once all parts are TOTALLY degreased ... then compressed air should displace all particulates .... then of course, reassemble and light lube only as needed. Pity but ... only way IMO to be thoro - and kind to guns at same time.

March 23, 2004, 11:04 AM
I have heard of people using hot water before, but have never worked up the nerve to try it myself. If hot water is ok to use for cleaning firearms why not just load them all up in the dishwasher and run it for half a cycle. I bet those would be some of the cleanest guns you ever saw.

March 23, 2004, 11:35 AM
load them all up in the dishwasher Sturm ... you jest? I hope!! :p

Sure, hot water is good for front stuffers and even after use of centerfire corrosive but - that doesn't get into the actions. There'd be a problem over drying . and even so I'd wager it would not divest small parts of all fine particulates .. not guaranteed.

Gotta believe you are joking!!:D

ken w.
March 23, 2004, 11:54 AM
I clean my most dirty guns first with brake cleaner,than I use hot soap and water with a brush.After I feel that it's clean,I take the compressed air to it.Blow the he!! out of it.Hot water isn't going to hurt your gun,not while your cleaning it with your hands under the hot water.I think you will know when it's too hot! and even then it's still not hot enough to harm your gun.Just make sure you dry it.

March 23, 2004, 12:34 PM
P95 I am definetly joking. I couldn't even bring myself to use regular old hot water. I think the whole hot water and guns thing sounds a little out there. I have never had the nerve to try cleaning my guns with hot water.

Now if you completely stripped them and then put them in the dishwasher. You could run it for a half cycle and then pull them out and dry them off with an aircompressor. NO...I got to stop thinking about this.


March 23, 2004, 12:55 PM
Detergent and HOT water works well, gun taken apart first of course. When it's rinsed with hot water of course the gun will be hot and the water will quickly evaporate.Then while the gun is still warm apply your gun oil.

March 23, 2004, 01:45 PM
gun taken apart first of course Now THAT is the key ingredient - way to go!! Then yeah .. hot water, plus some Dawn .. rinse well and dry throughly ... no probs, if that's the way anyone wishes to go. Maybe add some blasts of compressed air too while parts still hot, in those small spring retaining recesses... (rebound slide spring recess for example)

March 23, 2004, 01:50 PM
Did have a buddy who took his tactical tupperware apart, and used the dishwasher while his wife was gone.

Boy, was she mad when she got home, and found it in there!

Brake clean, and carb cleaner work pertty well, aling with a good compresser, for blowing dry.

March 23, 2004, 02:09 PM
The problem with the water and detergent is the need for some sort of air compressor to blow the water out of nooks and crannies.

I just e-mailed Cylinder and Slide and they said the Dunk It kit will clean the grit without a complete strip, essentially what El Tejon does.

I would use a degreaser, but it might take a few cans to do it. And I don't think it will get everywhere a dunk would get to, along with some shaking.

I think I am going to try the Dunk It kit combined with disassembling the majority of the guns. It saves having to blow dry the water off with the compressor I don't have. And will also save me any dangers of rusting caused by water I miss.

I'll let you know how (bad) it goes.

El Tejon
March 23, 2004, 02:15 PM
My eeevil alter ego KSFreeman on TFL got in trouble regarding water und guns (I was only funnin', but people who don't know you think you're a wisenheimer), so I say this out of my experience and my experience only, water and firearms do not mix. Keep water and firearms in separate places.:)

Jerry the Geek
March 23, 2004, 11:06 PM
I'm an aged widower, with no She Who Must Be Obeyed to argue about my housecleaning solutions (no pun intended), and me and my dishwasher are best friends.

No joke, I have used my dishwasher to clean both my S&W 659 (stainless) and, when that worked so well, I used it to clean my STI Edge. It worked just fine both times, with no subsequent rusting.

Yes you want to tear down the gun before you run it through the dishwasher. You set the water temperature on HOT! Whether you run the dry cycle is up to you, but I never did. Of course, you don't run wood or rubber grips, or electronic sights, through your dishwasher! Don't put soap in the washer, all you're trying to do is sluice the grit out, using a great amount of very hot water. You aren't really TRYING to remove residual oil.

Before you wash your pistol(s), clean them normally with a decent solvent, such as Hoppe's. This will remove the powder residue from slide, frame rails, etc. Here's a hint: try Simple Green cleaner, instead. It's cheap and removes powder residue quite handily. Besides, you're going to wash it anyway ...

Don't put small parts in the washer (you can clean them easily by hand) because (a) you might lose them and (b) if you have more than one pistol in the wash, you might get them mixed up.

If you have only a few pistols to clean, put them in the silverware basket. Ideally, they will drain completely.

After the HOT WATER wash cycle is completed (let them sit for 5 minutes or so to drain) pull the pistols out and spray them thoroughly with brake cleaner while they're still hot. This WILL remove the water, as well as any grit which may still be in the action. If you regularly use brake cleaner in normal cleaning, as I do, you know it takes only a few minutes to evaporate. Note that you want to use brake cleaner only in a well-ventilated area.

Finally, lubricate the pistol thoroughly with the finest (thinnest!) oil you can find. I highly recommend sewing machine oil, and in fact I use sewing machine oil normally during very cold weather and when breaking in a new pistol. Unless you're working with a Glock, the rule of thumb is "if a little oil is good, more is better." Did you put too much oil in the action? Fine, tip it on end and let it run out. Wipe off the excess, reassemble the pistol and store it wrapped in rags to absorb any oil which may seep out.

I found this to be an effective and efficient method of cleaning pistols which have been used in especially gritty environments. I used it after major IPSC matches in Bend, Oregon, and Reno and Las Vegas, which ranges are notorious for blowing dust and fine sand.

Note that this allows you to clean the action without detail-stripping the frame. However, there is no substitute for periodically tearing the pistol down and cleaning & inspecting them. I shoot in excess of 1,000 rounds a month, every month, for the past 15 years. I've never found rust in the pistol due to this technique. More likely, I find rust on the outside of the frame with parkerized, blued or "kimber-crap (tm)" finished pistols because of perspiration from my hand during hot weather. Living in Oregon, I get water on my pistols on a weekly basis, eight months out of the year, only because I shoot them in rain and snow and wind.

Clean your pistol, remove the water, oil it thoroughly, and store it in a safe with dessicant. What more do you need to do?

Oh, by the way, the use of compressed air to remove both water and particulate matter from the inside of the frame is ALWAYS a good idea. Don't have an air compressor? No problem; buy cans of compressed air from art stores, computer stores, office supply stores ... lots of places sell it. I also used compressed air to clean spilled gunpowder from my reloading press.

Jerry the (I swear I am not making this up) Geektrying

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