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HF ultrasonic cleaner opinions.

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by CHALK22, Jan 5, 2012.

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  1. CHALK22

    CHALK22 Member

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    Howdy folks,

    Anyone have any experience/opinions on this cleaner?

    http://www.harborfreight.com/25-liter-ultrasonic-cleaner-95563.html

    Yes, I know it is a HF special, but it either works, or it doesn't right? I don't usually shop over there unless I need a tool only once, but I got a $50 gift card for Xmas, and found a 20% off coupon, so that starts to make that USC "worth the risk" if you will... anybody using one?
     
  2. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    I've seen others on here post that it is the same as the Lyman that Cabelas sells. I haven't a clue if this is true or not. I have heard that HF ones work fine. Last year their were several posts here about the guys having good luck with them. I have the Lyman brand and use it constantly. I use Hornady's One Shot concentrated cleaner in mine, I also neutralize my shells with a bath of water with 2 teaspoons of baking soda and run it through again after the cleaning solution.
    Their are several home solutions you can use also. Do a search on previous posts about sonic cleaner solutions and sonic cleaners in general, you should find them.
     
  3. CMV

    CMV Member

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    I have it and it works very well. I've seen the same one (or what looks to be the exact same one) under at least 5 different brand names.

    You won't get your brass as shiny as tumbling, but it will get clean and pretty close to the same shininess. It cleans the inside almost as well as the outside. It gets the primer pockets really clean so saves a separate step of brushing them out.

    It's fast - 100 pieces in 16-24 min. It's much quieter than a tumbler so you can use it in the house w/o bothering anyone. And it doesn't get dust or spilled media all over your house.

    It isn't perfect though & there are some cons.

    When you're cleaning, you're cleaning & have to be attentive to the US cleaner. Most solutions are acidic so you have to limit the time your brass is in there. You can't just leave it after it finishes like you can leave brass in the tumbler until you get around to it.

    You have to dry the brass when you're done. That can be as simple as just leaving it sit spread out for a couple days, but if you want it right now, you have to hit it with compressed air or use some other method to accelerate drying.

    It makes an annoying buzzzzzzz sound. Some people hate it. I really don't notice it - kind of like white noise to me. It runs my dog out of the room.

    Anyway, I like both - the US and the tumbler. they each have their pros & cons. If you're only going to have one method, consider volume and how shiny you want it. If you go with an US you can search & find tons of homemade solutions that work & ones that don't so you don't waste your time. this is what I like:

    A pinch (hardly any) of LemiShine (hardwater dishwasher additive available at WalMart by the JetDri), a small squirt (10-12 drops) of regular Dawn dishsoap, and enough plain old tap water to go to the fill line. I've read a lot of people using distilled water, and doing a separate rinse in baking soda solution to neutralize the acid, but really I just use that solution followed by two quick rinses in hot tap water & then set them out to dry.

    This is one from my US next to a tumbled one. 2nd is typical primer pockets after US cleaner.

    102_0416.jpg
    102_0418.jpg
     
  4. Magoo

    Magoo Member

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    I have one and have only one gripe about it. It will only stay on for four minutes at a time. You then have to restart the thing. It's just an annoyance, not really a problem. I use mine to clean my suppressor and it usually takes >30 minutes before gunk has broken up enough for me to take it apart for some scrubbing and more USCing.

    I'll add that I had their smaller version before I got this one. It lasted about a year before it crapped out (huge surprise for cheap, chicom goods huh :rolleyes:). I bought their exchange warranty when I replaced it with this one.
     
  5. CMV

    CMV Member

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    Mine runs up to 480 sec (8 min) cycles. I don't know if it's necessary, but I stir everything around after each 8 min cycle - thinking that parts that are touching will get exposed for more even cleaning.
     
  6. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Member

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    i'm happy with mine. pretty much any citric acid solution will work. it cleans inside the case and the primer pocket much better than the tumbler. worse part is it will only run for a max of 480 seconds before you have to restart it. i usually give it 4 or 5 max cycles.

    i'll probably use it until it craps the bed and then go to wet tumbling in a thumler's with stainless media.
     
  7. CHALK22

    CHALK22 Member

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    Thanks for all the comments, fellas. I think I will head on down to HF when I get a chance and see if they have one there. If anyone else has more to addm feel free.
     
  8. CHALK22

    CHALK22 Member

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    So, I went down to the local HF at lunch today. After the sale price, a 20% off coupon, and a $50 gift card, my out of pocket cost was $9.99. I figure it was worth a shot. Gonna pick up some hornady one shot. US cleaner and process some range pickup brass this weekend. Thanks everybody for the input. One more thing, would I use the same solution for gun parts, say AR BCGs, pistol barrels? Would I even want to put a barrel in there?
     
  9. CMV

    CMV Member

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    Don't see why not. You'll want to dry it really well & oil right away.

    Its not magic though - you'll want to hit real dirty stuff with a brush & solvent. Mine has done nothing to the hard carbon buildup on an AR bolt - might not be using the right solution, but I still have to scrape it.

    IDK what would happen if you filled it with something like Ed's Red - that might work really well.
     
  10. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    Not sure I would use the same solution for brass vs gun parts. You can use it for gun parts but should use the proper solution.
     
  11. CMV

    CMV Member

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    I remember reading that you shouldn't use the same solution - as in don't do brass & then put gun parts in the same stuff (without changing it). It can plate your parts in copper.
     
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