Ed's Red recipe

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by scarletfire, May 3, 2020.

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  1. scarletfire

    scarletfire Member

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    Hi all,
    Looking for a replacement for the Dextron 3 in my Ed's Red recipe,
    There was some in the garage from a vehicle I no longer own but that supply has run out.
    Can't seem to find any.
    Is there a preferred replacement or will any ATF work OK?
    Thanks, Bob
     
  2. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    ATF can really stink up the place. I'm use Amsoil ATF (NO Ordor) but most any will work as long as it's a dextron mix and not Type F.
     
  3. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I don't see why a later Dextron ATF would not work as well as Dextron III. The base oil is probably 98% of the mix, additives will have changed, but so what.

    I have added Ed's Recipe and rationale to this thread,in case some one is looking for it.



    By C.E., "Ed" Harris

    Since I mixed my first "Ed's Red" (ER) bore cleaner five years ago, hundreds of users have told me that they find it as effective as commercial products. This cleaner has an action similar to military rifle bore cleaner, such as Mil-C-372B. Itaner, such as Mil-C-372B. It is highly effective for removing plastic fouling from shotgun bores, caked carbon inn semi-automatic rifles or pistols, or leading in revolvers. "ER" is not a "decoppering" solution for fast removal of heavy jacket fouling, but because is more effective in removal of caked carbon and primer residues than most other cleaners, so metal fouling is reduced when "ER" is used.

    I researched the subject rather thoroughly and determined there was no technical reason why an effective firearm bore cleaner couldn't be mixed using common hardware store ingredients. The resulting cleaner is safe, effective, inexpensive, provides excellent corrosion protection and adequate residual lubrication. Routine oiling after cleaning is unnecessary except for storage exceeding 1 year, or in harsh environments, such as salt air exposure.

    The formula is adapted from Hatcher's "Frankford Arsenal Cleaner No.18," but substitutes equivalent modern materials. Hatcher's recipe called for equal parts of acetone, turpentine, Pratts Astral Oil and sperm oil, and (optionally) 200 grams of anhydrous lanolin per liter into the cleaner.

    Some discussion of the ingredients in ER is helpful to understand the properties of the cleaner and how it works. Pratts Astral Oil was nothing more than acidg more than acid free, deodorized kerosene. Today you would ask for "K1" kerosene of the type sold for use in indoor space heaters.

    An inexpensive, effective substitute for sperm oil is Dexron III automatic transmission fluid. Prior to 1950 most ATF's were sperm oil based. During WWII sperm oil was mostly unavailable, so highly refined, dewaxed hydrofinished petroleum oils were developed, which had excellent thermal stability. When antioxidants were added to prevent gumming these worked well in precision instruments.

    With the high demand for automatic transmission autos after WWII, sperm oil was no longer practical to produce ATFs in the needed quantities needed, so the wartime expedients were mass produced. ATFs have been continually improved over the years. The additives contained in Dexron include detergents or other surfactants which are highly suitable for inclusion in an all-purpose cleaner, lubricant and preservative.

    Hatcher's Frankford Arsenal No. 18 used gum spirits of turpentine, but turpentine is both expensive and also highly flammable, so I chose not to use it. Much safer and more inexpensive are "aliphatic mineral spirits," which are an open-chain organic solvent, rather than the closed-chain, benzene ring structure, commontructure, common to "aromatics," such as naptha or "lighter fluid." Sometimes called "safety solvent," aliphatic mineral spirits are used for thinning oil based paint, as automotive parts cleaner and is commonly sold under the names "odorless mineral spirits," "Stoddard Solvent" or "Varsol".

    Acetone is included to provide an aggressive, fast-acting solvent for caked smokeless powder residues. Because acetone readily evaporates and the fumes are harmful in high concentrations, it is recommended that it be left out if the cleaner will be used indoors, in soak tanks or in enclosed spaces lacking forced air ventilation. Containers should be kept tightly closed when not in use. ER is still effective without acetone, but not as "fast-acting."

    "Ed's Red" does not chemically dissolve copper fouling in rifle bores, but it does a better job of removing carbon and primer residue than most other cleaners. Many users have told me, that frequent and exclusive use of "ER" reduces copper deposits, because it removes the old impacted powder fouling left behind by other cleaners. This reduces the abrasion and adhesion of jacket metal to the bore, leaving a cleaner surface condition which reduces subsequent fouling. Experience indicatesrience indicates that "ER" will actually remove metal fouling in bores if it is left to "soak," for a few days so the surfactants will do the job, when followed by a repeat cleaning. You simply have to be patient.

    Addition of lanolin to ER is optional, because the cleaner works perfectly well and gives adequate corrosion protection and lubrication without it. Inclusion of lanolin makes the cleaner easier on the hands, increases its lubricity and film strength and improves corrosion protection if firearms, tools or equipment will be routinely exposed to salt air, water spray, or corrosive urban atmospheres.

    I recommend the lanolin included if you intend to use the cleaner as a protectant for long term storage or for a "flush" after water cleaning of black powder firearms or those fired with military chlorate primers. This is because lanolin has a great affinity for water and readily emulsifies so that the bore can be wiped of residual moisture, leaving a protective film. If you inspect your guns and wipe them down twice yearly, you can leave out the lanolin and save about $10 per gallon.

    At current retail prices you can buy all the ingredients to mix ER, without the lanolin for about $12 per gallon. I urge you to mix some yourself. I ame yourself. I am confident it will work as well for you as it does for me and hundreds of users who got the "recipe" on the Fidonet Firearms Echo.

    CONTENTS: Ed's Red Bore Cleaner

    *

    1 part Dexron ATF, GM Spec. D-20265 or later.
    *

    1 part Kerosene - deodorized, K1
    *

    1 part Aliphatic Mineral Spirits
    *

    CAS #64741-49-9, or substitute "Stoddard Solvent", CAS #8052-41-3, or equivalent.
    *

    1 part Acetone, CAS #67-64-1.
    *

    (Optional 1 lb. of Lanolin, Anhydrous, USP per gallon, or OK to substitute Lanolin, Modified, Topical Lubricant, from the drug store)

    MIXING INSTRUCTIONS:

    Mix outdoors, in good ventilation. Use a clean 1 gallon metal, chemical-resistant, heavy gage PET or PVC plastic container. NFPA approved plastic gasoline storage containers are OK. Do NOT use HDPE, which is permeable, because the acetone will slowly evaporate. Acetone in ER will attack HDPE over time, causing the container to collapse, making a heck of a mess!

    Add the ATF first. Use the empty container to measure the otherainer to measure the other components, so that it is thoroughly rinsed. If you incorporate the lanolin into the mixture, melt this carefully in a double boiler, taking precautions against fire. Pour the melted lanolin it into a larger container, rinsing the lanolin container with the bore cleaner mix, and stirring until it is all dissolved. I recommend diverting up to 4 ozs. per quart of the 50-50 ATF/kerosene mix to use as "ER-compatible" gun oil. This can be done without impairing the effectiveness of the remaining mix. Label and safety warnings follow:

    FIREARM BORE CLEANER

    CAUTION: FLAMMABLE MIXTURE -- HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED -- KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN

    Contents: petroleum distillates, surfactants, organometallic antioxidants and acetone.

    1. Flammable mixture, keep away from heat, sparks or flame.

    2. FIRST AID, If swallowed DO NOT induce vomiting, call physician immediately. In case of eye contact immediately flush thoroughly with water and call a physician. For skin contact wash thoroughly.

    3. Use with adequate ventilation. Avoid breathing vapors or spray mist. It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with itsonsistent with its labeling. Reports have associated repeated and prolonged occupational overexposure to solvents with permanent brain and nervous system damage. If using in closed armory vaults lacking forced air ventilation wear respiratory protection meeting NIOSH TC23C or equivalent. Keep container tightly closed when not in use.

    INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE:

    1. Open the firearm action and ensure the bore is clear. Cleaning is most effective when done while the barrel is still warm from firing. Saturate a cotton patch with bore cleaner, wrap or impale on jag and push it through the bore from breech to muzzle. The patch should be a snug fit. Let the first patch fall off and do not pull it back into the bore.

    2. Wet a second patch, and similarly start it into the bore from the breech, this time scrubbing from the throat area forward in 4-5" strokes and gradually advancing until the patch emerges out the muzzle. Waiting approximately 1 minute to let the bore cleaner soak will improve its action.

    3. For pitted, heavily carbon-fouled service rifles, leaded revolvers or neglected bores a bronze brush wet with bore cleaner may be used to remove stubborn deposits. This is unnecessary for smooth, target-grade barrels in routine use.
    routine use.

    4. Use a final wet patch pushed straight through the bore to flush out loosened residue dissolved by Ed's Red. Let the patch fall off the jag without pulling it back into the bore. If you are finished firing, leaving the bore wet will protect it from rust for 1 year under average atmospheric conditions.

    5. If lanolin is incorporated into the mixture, it will protect the firearm from rust for up to two years, even in a humid environment. (For longer storage use Lee Liquid Alox or Cosmolene). "ER" will readily remove hardened Alox or Cosmolene.

    6. Wipe spilled Ed's Red from exterior surfaces before storing the gun. While Ed's Red is harmless to blue and nickel finishes, the acetone it contains is harmful to most wood finishes.

    7. Before firing again, push two dry patches through the bore and dry the chamber, using a patch wrapped around a suitably sized brush or jag. First shot point of impact usually will not be disturbed by Ed's Red if the bore is cleaned as described.

    8. I have determined to my satisfaction that when Ed's Red is used exclusively and thoroughly, that hot water cleaning is unnecessary after use of Pyrodex or military chlorate primers. However, if bores are not wiped between shots and shots and areand shots and are heavily caked from black powder fouling, hot water cleaning is recommended first to break up heavy fouling deposits. Water cleaning should be followed by a flush with Ed's Red to prevent after-rusting which could result from residual moisture. It is ALWAYS good practice to clean TWICE, TWO DAYS APART whenever using chlorate primed ammunition, just to make sure you get all the corrosive residue out.

    This "Recipe" has been placed in the public domain, and may be freely distributed provided that it is done so in its entirely with all current revisions, instructions and safety warnings included herein, and that proper attribution is given to the author.
     
    DukeConnor and troy fairweather like this.
  4. DukeConnor

    DukeConnor Member

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    I've seen the formulas before but have never seen that article. Very interesting. Thanks for posting.
     
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  5. rdnktrkr

    rdnktrkr Member

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    I like to use ER in an ultrasonic cleaner, bring handgun in, field strip, put in US for 2 or 3 cycles, then run patches through the barrel and wipe everything down with a rag, I use the same rag over and over, then put everything back together and deposit in the safe. I remove wood grips before putting revolvers into US. I use the same solution for a while then filter using a coffee filter and a funnel then add a little more solution and good to go. Another great use of ATF is 50/50 ATF and acetone for a penitration oil, I like it as much as Kroil.
     
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  6. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    You can drop out the acetone if your not going to do shotguns. The acetone is to remove plastic.
     
  7. AZAndy
    • Contributing Member

    AZAndy Contributing Member

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    I didn't know that! Thanks.
     
  8. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    And you can still get Dex3/Mercon ATF at any parts store, Walmart, etc...later variations such as Merc 5 and LV or Dex 6 are synthetic.
     
  9. Vettepilot555

    Vettepilot555 Member

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    More interesting info on Ed's Red, and other home-made gun chemicals that really work:

    http://www.frfrogspad.com/homemade.htm

    Vettepilot
     
  10. Vettepilot555

    Vettepilot555 Member

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    One day a couple of years or so ago, I had thoroughly cleaned a gun barrel with good carb cleaner. All us mechanics just know that carb cleaner will clean anything that CAN be cleaned.

    Then, I remembered I had mixed up some of this Ed's Red, so I decided to hit the barrel once with that. HOLY SMOKES!! Tons of black crud came out of that "CLEAN" barrel. Made a believer out of me!!

    Vettepilot
     
  11. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    What I find odd/humorous is the Aliphatic Acrylic Urethane we sell is the stinkiest, most nausea inducing, lung and CNS destroying product we have. Yet aliphatic mineral spirits are called odorless...

    I wear a respirator just to tint that nasty stuff, with an industrial fan for extraction.

    In the automotive circles, a 50/50 mix of any ol ATF and acetone is touted as the best rust penetrant.
     
  12. JJFitch

    JJFitch Member

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    Before I ever heard of Ed's Red I had read an article probably in the American Rifleman about a Kerosene/mineral spirits/ATF gun cleaner. Since I mainly shoot lead in my handguns I've used it almost exclusively. The mixture is 50/50 kerosene and mineral spirits and much less ATF at 32:1. I use this in a 1 quart spray bottle and use it like a pressure washer to flush the "smutz" out. I catch the excess in a tray. The gun then gets lubed as usual.

    For copper I still use the regular stuff!

    Smiles,
     
  13. Vettepilot555

    Vettepilot555 Member

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    The only thing I don't like about Ed's Red is the kerosene smell. The "odor free" kerosene sold at Home Depot and such is very definitely NOT odor free!!

    I need to run to the airport and see if they'll sell me some jet fuel. It's kerosene without that awful smell. I used to fill up my boat and gas cans at the airport with 100LL, but it's a different world now, and they might not sell to me.

    Vettepilot
     
  14. Vettepilot555

    Vettepilot555 Member

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    The odorless mineral spirits is neutered and DOES NOT work the same as true mineral spirits, no matter what some will tell you. It is mineral spirits with two of the important, volatile chemicals removed. Sorry, can't remember the names of the chemicals, but trust me, true mineral spirits, if you can find it, is what you want to use.

    All I have to say is one word, and you'll understand. CALIFORNIA! That's where all the hysteria about mineral spirits came from. It was used as "charcoal lighter fluid", and California outlawed it. Then prices went through the roof, then we got the crappy odorless version that doesn't work anything like the real stuff, and won't light charcoal either....

    Vettepilot
     
  15. ev780

    ev780 Member

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    Been a fanboy for years! I make 3 gallons at a time of acetone free ER in a gas can. Way overcautious, but something about plastic guns and acetone doesn't feel right. Mix in the acetone in smaller bottles for barrels. I have a small Tupperware container and another liter bottle of ER. I drop the whole field stripped pistol in the container and let it soak until I get around to finishing it up. May take a day may take a week. Do the barrel with the other bottles I made. A lot of the carbon settles out so I reuse that liter bottle of ER a few times but it does get cruddy after a few pistols. After a good soak carbon falls off with a soft toothbrush. The carriers evaporate leaving only the machinist dirty little secret (ATF) on the steel. Best stuff ever!

    Oh yeah your question.

    I buy the cheap store brand at whatever store I happen to be in. Dexron. I don't over think it.
     
  16. Vettepilot555

    Vettepilot555 Member

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    Yeah, ATF really IS the "best kept secret". For proof, just wander through an old junk yard. Everything, even standard transmission guts and differentials that had gear oil in them will be rusty if they've laid around out in the weather for very long at all. But the auto trans guts are almost always rust free.

    Another hobby of mine is remote control model airplanes. The engines are famous for corroding and rusting due to the nitromethane and methanol in the fuel. I have engines that are over 40 years old, have never been apart, and still run perfectly. I use ATF as an after-run oil preservative treatment religiously and exclusively.

    I do add the lanolin in my Ed's Red though. I like the extra protection it affords. There is nothing worse than finding rust on one of your guns that ended up being in storage longer than had been anticipated...

    Vettepilot
     
  17. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    The acetone is for removing plastic from shotgun shell wadding. I leave it out since I very seldom shoot shotguns any more. The ATF has more of a stink than the mineral spirits or K1. But if you use a Syn ATM it's almost odor free .
     
  18. Hillbillyz

    Hillbillyz Member

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    I found somewhere that Marvel mystery oil was substituted for the ATF. I mixed some up, it works well, and have been using it ever since. (Can’t stand the smell of ATF)
     
  19. Guy48065

    Guy48065 Member

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    I'll tolerate the smell. Marvel Mystery Oil (NOT the top cylinder oil, or the air tool oil) is expensive & hard to find in my area. ATF is cheap & everywhere.
     
  20. Vettepilot555

    Vettepilot555 Member

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    Hmmm.... I've found the opposite to be true regarding ATF. The synthetic I've bought stinks like very burnt ATF and I can't stand to have it in the shop nor house.

    The old fashioned, non-synthetic ATF hardly has an odor at all.

    Best to crack it open and have a smell before leaving the store...

    Vettepilot
     
  21. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Try Amsoil syn ATF, little to no odor.
     
  22. JDeere

    JDeere Member

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    I use it all the time and have some mixed with and without the acetone. I actually kind of like the smell. Of course I enjoy working on cars, trucks or whatever so it's normal for me...
     
  23. Vettepilot555

    Vettepilot555 Member

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    I add the acetone in mine. It helps with cleaning the carbon besides cleaning shotgun wad plastic. It also cuts through old oil and grease so you can add new/fresh lubricant where applicable.

    I use the pure acetone nail polish remover from the dollar store. If you add it up, it actually comes out cheaper than buying a whole gallon from Home Depot or wherever. The small bottles are convenient as well, and I fequently use acetone for one thing or another in my many projects. Just keep it off your stocks, plastic, etc. Not that hard to do if you're careful, and the benefits are worth it in my opinion.

    Vettepilot
     
  24. ev780

    ev780 Member

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    If I lived anywhere that wasn't bone dry I would also.

    And about the smell. Sweets or Hoppes stink just as bad. Its just that Hoppes is associated with most everyone's earliest shooting experiences. Thus pleasant. Burnt ATF smells expensive!
     
  25. Guy48065

    Guy48065 Member

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    Anyone else notice how similar Ed's Red and Kroil are?
     
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