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Cleaning question for a Dead Air Mask

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by Spats McGee, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    I went and dug up my thread on buying my first suppressor, and I posted that I got The Call in February 2019. I'm probably getting close to 1k rounds through it, so I figure it's time to clean it. I read in the owner's manual that there's a "dip" of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, but some old threads around here made it sound like this mixture is highly toxic. I'm no scientist, and I really don't want to start creating biohazardous liquids in my home. Nor do I have any idea where I would dispose of such hazardous waste. Is there a less toxic, but (close to) equally effective dip? I'm not adverse to investing in one of the less-expensive ultrasonic cleaners if that's really the way to go.

    As an aside, I went to a gun show this weekend, and a new .22 was high on The List of things I wanted to look for. I've discovered that a threaded barrel is a big factor in picking a new .22 now. I'll assume that's normal.
     
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  2. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    The "dip" isn't toxic until you use it to clean the silencer. Then you have a solution with lead acetate...and thats highly toxic.
    Read: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead(II)_acetate



    Most cities have a haz mat collection site for used industrial chemicals.
     
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  3. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    So my next question: In what sort of container should I put this dip? I'm guessing it will eat through a peanut butter jar? Something in heavy glass?
     
  4. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    The same kind of jar the vinegar came in.
    It’s not that it’s a strong acid, it’s that it’ll have lead in it. Lead that is now turned into a soluble salt easily digested and dissolved into water, and even absorbed through skin contact.

    I’d keep that in a shatter-proof container...:)
     
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  5. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    In addition, my local “Haz-Mat” collection won’t take “Toxic” liquids.:confused:
    You may want to check before using any.

    (I think he’s just collecting free car washing detergent. And scrap.:D)
     
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  6. Odd Job

    Odd Job Moderator Staff Member

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    According to their user manual, you can clean the baffles with the "dip" or ultrasonically clean them or tumble them with stainless steel media.

    https://deadairsilencers.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/The-Mask-Manual-Low-Res.pdf

    If it was me, I would use a toothbrush to get excess residues off the baffles and inside of the can and reassemble. Doesn't have to be factory clean and it is faster, safer and cheaper than the other methods.
     
  7. whughett

    whughett Member

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    As a learning question, a aerosol cleaner like Birchwood Casey’s Gun Scrub would not suffice? My understanding of lead contamination in firearms comes from the primers, suppressors collect lead particles from the bullets?
     
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  8. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    I don't own one, but looking at pictures. . . I don't see anything I wouldn't clean with the same brass bristle toothbrush I use for cylinder faces. I'd probably soak and wipe the powder fouling first. . .
     
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  9. Odd Job

    Odd Job Moderator Staff Member

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    I have used similar gun cleaning sprays such as Napier's to clean the individual steel baffles on my ASE Utra Dual Rimfire suppressors and it works just fine. Ultrasonic cleaner would be more convenient on those baffles, but not the can itself. It has a surface finish that the manufacturer says can be spoiled by ultrasonic cleaning.
    They don't say whether he can or cannot spray his Dead Air Mask in the manual. I can't see how it would hurt it though.
     
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  10. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm thinking the Gun Scrubber (of which I have some) would be a good first start. Thank you, one and all.
     
  11. Indigo22

    Indigo22 Member

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    After you get it clean prepare it for the nest time out... I use a Faucet Silicone Grease that is 90+% silicone in content. Allow the baffles to thoroughly dry then smear or paint the entire surface areas with the grease then re-assemble. After 200 to 500 rounds through it take it apart and wipe clean. Re-apply grease and it is ready for the next time out. I've found 700 to 1000 rounds starts to make it a little more difficult to clean when using dirty bulk rimfire ammo. YMMV depending on the ammo you shoot.
    5irfesUm.jpg
    Find it in the plumbing section at your hardware store. I have used the Oatey and the Danco brands with excellent results.
    Note: Be aware there are some faucet greases that are low to very low in silicone content... avoid those.
     
  12. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    One possible way of dealing with the toxic leftovers of using the dip (lead acetate) is to precipitate the lead out of the solution into a much less soluble form as lead chloride. How do you do this? Easy, just make a strong solution of ordinary table salt and pour it into your dip, and watch it precipitate out the lead. Let the solution evaporate and you have a much less dangerous solid which you can dispose of more easily. I think you can also create an even more insoluble precipitate, lead phosphate if you use phosphoric acid, but I'm not 100% positive of my chemistry here. Some concrete cleaners are concentrated phosphoric acid, as is Birchwood Casey liquid brass cleaner and also some cleaning products sold under The Works brand and available at Walmart or the Dollar General. It's either their toilet bowl or shower cleaner IIRC.

    I tried soaking my brand new can in pure silicone before shooting, then cleaning it after 1000 rounds. I don't know how much it helped since I've never cleaned a can before, but I can report that it wasn't all that difficult to scrape the baffles relatively clean with a screwdriver blade.
     
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  13. LocoGringo

    LocoGringo Member

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    Ok, I don't have a Mask...yet (got one in jail waiting to be freed), but I do have an Axiom. Cleaning a .22 suppressor is a PITA. You can let it soak in whatever gun solvent you want and it won't make a bit of difference. The trick WAS to pretreat with some kind of silicone liquid before shooting it the first time, but you're past that step. My choice is DOT #5 brake fluid (almost pure silicone). Heat the parts in an oven at around 250 degrees for about 20 minutes and "quench" in the brake fluid...maybe letting it soak overnight to allow every little bit into the pores of the metal whether it's titanium or steel.

    The last time I had to clean my suppressor, I allowed my parts to soak in Kroil for 24 hours and I had to use a dental pick and I still didn't do very well getting it clean. I worked on it for a couple of hours. My uncle has a glass bead blaster and he got the baffles almost perfectly cleaned in a matter of minutes, but the appearance wasn't as nice and shiny.

    There are lot of videos on YouTube about cleaning suppressors and baffles. A toothbrush isn't going to do a freakin' thing. I also asked my uncle about soda blasting and he said that probably isn't a very good idea because the soda can react with the steel, so he offered the bead blasting. I believe sand blasting is too aggressive.

    I have heard of ultrasonic being used to clean a suppressor, but have no experience with it. I've been considering that option.

    I wrote Tactical Solutions about the possibility of using "the dip" and they advised against it for health reasons. There are several videos on Youtube about using the dip. Other posters are correct, it's not dangerous until you introduce the lead coated parts in the dip and lead is dissolved in the solution.

    When I get my Mask, I will thoroughly degrease and pretreat with silicone before the first round is fired.

    Good luck with the cleaning. It's the most unpleasant part of owning a .22 suppressor, BY FAR.
     
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  14. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    I have a mask . I posted on here before some pictures of it before and after the dip. Loco gringo is right, no solvent I ever used touched the lead build up. After a thousand rounds or so the lead buildup was enough that I struggled to even get the baffles apart. The dip works really well. Just dump some salt in to precipitate the lead out when you're done. I wear nitrile exam gloves I swipe from work when I handle it. But you can get a box of 100 for like five bucks at harbor freight.
    Also, I've tried dropping it in the ultrasonic cleaner with a purple power and water mixture. Took powder residue off easily, but it didn't touch the lead, and left a lot of carbon. It also ate the finish off my aluminum parts.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020 at 4:53 AM
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  15. LocoGringo

    LocoGringo Member

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    Greyling made a great point. If you use the dip, DON'T use it on aluminum. It's ok to use on steel and titanium, but not aluminum. The difficulty is the lead and how well it bonds to the internals after being cooled from gas to solid. During firing, some of the lead gets vaporized and that is what gets cooled on contact with the suppressor internals and hardens. That's the hard stuff to clean off. It doesn't happen to centerfire rifle calibers because they are encased in much thicker copper jackets that don't get vaporized which is why centerfire rifle caliber suppressors don't need to be cleaned. I don't know about pistol caliber suppressors because some people use lead for pistols. Do those need to be cleaned also?
     
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  16. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    Anything you shoot lead through needs to be cleaned. I have a liberty mystic monocore can, and while it has been a good performer for me, it is a beating to take apart. Between the lead buildup ( I shoot a lot of lead) the carbon and the powder residue, it is an ordeal. For disassembly purposes, the mask is a vastly superior design.
     
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  17. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    I've been trying to be sure I've done my due diligence in this. My understanding (and I genuinely hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong) is that I can dip the baffles, but not the tube or endcaps on a DAM. The owners' manual specifically mentions the dip for the baffles, which I believe are stainless steel. Other posts on here mention that the dip will strip the cerakote right off of anything it's on, though.
     
  18. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    I've been dipping my gold colored baffles, but not the tube or end caps. See here https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/my-adventure-with-the-dip.812839/#post-10398611
    I generally leave them in for 12-24 hours, then fish then out, scrub or scrape any stubborn deposits, then soak them for a few more hours. They typically look like new. Then rinse, dry, and reassemble.
     
  19. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    ^^^Ah-ha! I looked for the pics you mentioned, but couldn't find them.
     
  20. Topos

    Topos Member

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    Under heading "For what it is worth" after cleaning consider placing parts in
    a vessel filled with DOT 5 Silicone Brake fluid, e.g.,
    Maxima Racing USA 80-81916 DOT 5 Silicone Brake Fluid.

    Then wipe parts down and the next clean up will be easier.

    Best.
     
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