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Ammonia, Nickel, and MSDS

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by strat81, Jun 10, 2008.

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  1. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    After purchasing my new nickel-plated revolver, I knew that many of my current cleaners would not be suitable due to the ammonia content. For those who are unaware, ammonia and nickel are a no-go. The nickel plating process uses copper and ammonia dissolves copper which can cause flaking.

    Products on my bench that contain ammonia include Hoppes #9 Solvent and Montana X-Treme Copper Killer. I have Breakfree Fomaing Bore Clean for copper removal and I spoke with them and got the MSDS for it it. It does not contain ammonia.

    I searched online and got the MSDS for Hoppes #9 (contains ammonia), Hoppes Elite CLP (no ammonia), and Hoppes Elite Gun Cleaner (no ammonia). Hoppes Elite is made by Pantheon Chemical, the folks who make M-Pro 7, and the products are reputed to be nearly identical.

    If anyone wants the MSDS, PM me with your e-mail address and I'll send them to you.
     
  2. bruss01

    bruss01 Member

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    Ammonia... they clean the floors with it... seeps up through the soles of your shoes, burns your feet!
     
  3. LongRider

    LongRider Member

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    PM sent thanks:cool:
     
  4. Kentak

    Kentak Member

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    Interesting. I've used a variety of ammonia containing cleaners and I don't recall ever reading a caution about using on nickel finishes.

    Also, does electroless nickel plating still use a copper substrate? Isn't that only for electrolytic plating?

    K
     
  5. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Most of the solvents which don't contain enough ammonia to be obnoxious -also- don't remove enough copper from a rifle bore to be worth the effort spent brushing, much less how much the bottle cost...
     
  6. Hoplophile

    Hoplophile Member

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  7. XDKingslayer

    XDKingslayer member

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    Thanks for ruining my weekend...
     
  8. strat81

    strat81 Member

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    Gonna have to cancel the gun-licking party, are ya? :)

    Kentak, my bottle of Hoppes #9 says not to soak nickel plated parts in Hoppes. I'm not sure about how ammonia affects electroless nickel. I'd err on the side of caution until you find something from a knowledgeable source. There are a lot of alternatives to ammonia-containing cleaners.

    Bogie, I've used Breakfree Bore Cleaning Foam which is a non-toxic, non-ammonia containing copper remover and it works pretty well. Plus, it doesn't asphyxiate me the way Montana X-Treme does! I used it on my Garand with excellent results.
     
  9. mainmech48

    mainmech48 Member

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    The ammonia isn't attacking the nickel; it's dissolving the copper substrate through minute pores or scratches in the nickel top plate.

    In conventional "decorative" electroplating the bond is mechanical. Essentially, it is very similar to paint applied over a base coat of primer.

    In "electroless" processes the bond between the coating and the base metal is on a molecular level. It becomes, for all intents and purposes, a part of the base metal.

    Very different things.
     
  10. Kentak

    Kentak Member

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    And that's what made me wonder if the caution about ammonia-containing cleaners might really not apply to electroless nickel. The amount of ammonia in normal cleaners is strong enough to convert copper fouling, but probably not strong enough to affect a good electroless nickel finish.

    K
     
  11. Kentak

    Kentak Member

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    Okay, I'm not a scientist, but I'm going to challenge you on this one. Isn't there a big difference in the toxicity of normal exposure to metals in the elemental form and various compounds? (Actually, I know the answer to this is, "yes.")

    There are many metals for which normal, environmental contact to the elemental or alloyed form are harmless, yet have various compounds that may be toxic. All our lives we drink water that comes through copper pipes. We handle copper coins. No one would say copper is toxic. Yet, there are compounds of copper that are toxic.

    There are highly toxic compounds of chromium, yet, do you worry about you or your children coming in contact with chrome plated plumbing fixtures or car parts?

    You can fondle and lick your nickel (or chrome) plated gun all you want, if that floats your boat. It won't kill you, at least if you make sure it's not loaded when you do so.

    K
     
  12. mainmech48

    mainmech48 Member

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    FWIW Kentak, I've been using bore/gun cleaning solvents with various amounts of ammonia in them to clean a Star M-43 with their "Stavel" finish and an EAA Witness 9x19 with their "Wonder Finish" for a good many years. Both are proprietary 'electroless' formulas.

    While I can't tell you the specific contents of either compound, both are most likely to be primarliy nickel and/or chromium. Neither has suffered the slightest degree of deterioration from years of exposure to various bore solvents containing ammonia ranging in relative strength from Hoppe's No.9 to Butch's Bore Shine and Sweet's 7.62.
     
  13. Auburn1992

    Auburn1992 Member

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    Does RemOil contain ammonia?
     
  14. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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  15. Arrogant Bastard

    Arrogant Bastard Member

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    This post reminded me of this cartoon.
     
  16. Kentak

    Kentak Member

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    AB,

    Good one. LOL
     
  17. makarovnik

    makarovnik Member

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    Do not breathe or ingest nickel dust. Also do not let the dust stay on your skin very long. It is very toxic if it enters the body so be careful refinishing nickel plated guns.

    My brother bought a nickel plating system and nickel plated one derringer. I think he followed the instructions carefully. One day about a month later he noticed the skin under his watch and wedding ring was red and peeling.

    It seems he breathed in some fumes during the nickel plating process and now he is permanently allergic to nickel. This is a bad deal as many metals contain nickel (stainless steel, gold). He now can't wear his wedding ring. I suggested he buy a titanium ring which he did. He also has to wear a leather or velcro watch band so the back of his watch won't touch his skin. This is forever!

    He needs some spine surgery and I told him he needs to let the doctor know he can only have titanium implants. What a bummer. This is a true story so please be very careful. Touching nickels and nickel plated guns is one thing but don't let it get into your body please.
     
  18. Kentak

    Kentak Member

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    mak...

    Yes, nickel is one of those substances that can cause a sensitivity to develop. After the fact, it's difficult to determine what part of the plating process might have caused your brother's sensitivity to develop.

    However, I think the point I made above is valid. Exposure to nickel and many other metals in "normal" settings is not harmful. You said that nickel dust is harmful. Yes, but did you know the same thing can be said of copper dust? In fact, ingestion/inhalation of copper dust may be more hazardous than nickel dust. People don't usually come in contact with nickel or copper dust except in some industrial settings--and then precautions are likely to be taken. Even ingestion of iron powder can be hazardous.

    A distinction needs to be understood between the toxicity of the elemental form of a metal and that of some of its compounds. We are constantly bombarded with warnings about "lead" poisoning, especially in water and old paint films. But, paint does (did) not contain metallic, elemental lead. It contained lead compounds which were toxic. Metallic lead is not particularly toxic. Mercury metal, the shiny liquid, can be hazardous to handle, but not nearly so much as some of its compounds. Mercuric oxide, which is a red powder, is extremely toxic.

    If you are interested in learning more about toxicity of substances, go to sciencelabs.com and browse their lists of chemicals and metals. Each one has a link to the MSDS which will give toxicity and handling information.

    No one need fear handling their nickel plated guns. Even persons who are sensitized to nickel contact may not have a problem with the occasional contact shooting provides, as opposed to the 24/7 contact of rings and other jewelry.

    K
     
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