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Silencer cleaning!

Discussion in 'NFA Weapon Discussion' started by Mr Smith, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. Mr Smith

    Mr Smith 54 68 65 20 73 74 69 63 6b 73 Active Member

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    Edited to keep people on topic.
    20140330_170748_zps699e9a34.jpg

    Like me, I'm sure many of you are tired of cleaning the damn things with a brush and solvent for hours trying to get them "mostly clean" or "good enough." Along with my research I have discovered a couple methods of cleaning that make it effortless though I am more leaning towards 1 method over the other...


    Method 1: soda blasting.

    Items needed:

    Soda blaster
    Soda media (baking soda)
    blast cabinet or respirator

    basically sand blast the baffles with baking soda inside a cabinet, or wear a respirator while doing it.

    Downside to this method is cost and the mess...

    Soda blasting is very expensive because the media can't be re-used. It's one time use sorta thing. spent blast media needs to be tossed.


    Method 2: Wet tumbling!

    items needed:

    6-12lb capacity Rock tumbler (example: thumlers tumbler)
    5lbs stainless pellet pin tumbling media (re-useable for a LONG time)
    lemi-shine detergent (lasts a long time as only about 1/3 teaspoon is needed per batch)
    dawn dish soap (or other brand dish soap/degreaser) not much of this is needed either... few drops really
    enough water to raise the water level above the tumbling media and the baffles (and casings if you reload)


    after that, seal up the drum and put it on the tumbler and let it run for 4-6hrs. should come out with 95-100% clean baffles that look good as new. some reports say you may need to pick one or two spots off after they are done but the vast majority of buildup will be gone.

    Added bonus of the tumbler is if you reload or plan to reload in the future for your pistol or rifle, you can toss your brass in with the baffles and let it clean your brass at the same time!

    From every report I have seen, this method is the cats meow and causes no damage to aluminum baffles.

    Just make sure to clean your tube and end caps by hand if they are anodized otherwise the coating my get cleaned off... endcaps and the tube are simple enough to clean by hand, but cleaning 6 baffles and a spacer ring on top of that is a PITA!!!


    I think I am definitely taking up method 2 soon as I get paid :D

    All suggestions/comments welcome! if you have a different method, post it up with before/after results! Would love to see em.

    Or if you have tried any of these methods post up how it worked out for you!
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  2. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Well over 10k though one of my .22 cans and never cleaned it. Still functions as well as my newer one.

    For a while I did worry about cleaning them. Then after shooting the one to the point it would not come apart I decided not to worry about it. Some day I might have to send it back to the maker and have it "rebuilt" but I figure that is a cheap price to pay for a decade of shooting.
     
  3. usagi

    usagi Redmond Well-Known Member

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    hope that machinist was an FFL with the appropriate SOT.

    aluminum baffles must not be steel tumbled, it will damage them.
     
  4. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    Why not just use carp and choke cleaner?
     
  5. usagi

    usagi Redmond Well-Known Member

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    because carb/choke cleaner doesn't do anything for caked carbon. the only thing that will remove carbon is mechanical action. media blasting and tumbling do that.

    there isn't any cleaning solution that will "dissolve" carbon. otherwise carbon wouldn't be used for nuclear reactor cores and crucibles. one of the few known carbon "solvents" is molten steel.

    also... carb/choke cleaner won't do anything for lead.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  6. captqc

    captqc Tigard Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    Q: May a Federal Firearms Licensee repair a silencer by replacing worn or damaged components?
    A person who is licensed under the Gun Control Act (GCA) to manufacture firearms and who has paid the special (occupational) tax to manufacture National Firearms Act (NFA) firearms may replace a component part or parts of a silencer. Repairs may not be done if they result in removal, obliteration, or alteration of the serial number, as this would violate 18 U.S.C. § 922(k). If a silencer part bearing the serial number, other than the outer tube, must be replaced, the new part must be marked with the same serial number as the replacement part.

    The term “repair” does not include replacement of the outer tube of the silencer. The outer tube is the largest single part of the silencer, the main structural component of the silencer, and is the part to which all other component parts are attached. The replacement of the outer tube is so significant an event that it amounts to the “making” of a new silencer. As such, the new silencer must be marked, registered and transferred in accordance with the NFA and GCA.

    In the event that identical replacement parts for a silencer are not available, new and different component parts may be used as long as the silencer retains the same dimensions and caliber. In addition, the repair may result in a minimal reduction in the length of the outer tube due to rethreading, but repair may not increase the length of the outer tube. Increasing the length of the outer tube significantly affects the performance of the silencer and results in the “making” of a new silencer. As stated above, a new silencer must be marked, registered and transferred in accordance with the NFA and GCA. Reducing the length of the tube by a minimal amount in order to repair a silencer is often necessary to replace damaged end caps, as the tube must be rethreaded. Such minimal reduction of the length of the tube uses all of the original parts, does not significantly affect performance of the silencer, and may be done as part of a repair process without making a new silencer.

    Persons other than qualified manufacturers may repair silencers, but replacement parts are “silencers” as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(24) that must be registered and transferred in accordance with the NFA and GCA.
    Be very careful when "repairing" NFA items, the rules can be tricky! Gary
     
  7. usagi

    usagi Redmond Well-Known Member

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    ^^^ yep. exactly.

    if that machinist isn't a licensed FFL + SOT, i'd recommend destroying that baffle asap.
     
  8. Mr Smith

    Mr Smith 54 68 65 20 73 74 69 63 6b 73 Active Member

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    tumbling: tend to agree with you, but I may have found a source for aluminum pellet pins :)

    6061-T6 (baffle material) has a RockWell hardness of B60

    The pin supplier I found can make the pins out of 2 different choices of aluminum wire.

    Their mixed one (1100-1345) has a RockWell hardness of B30 - B40
    the other is 4043 which also has a RockWell hardness of B40

    Neither material is harder than 6061, therefor is not capable of scratching or causing wear to the harder 6061 material. however it IS harder than lead which is the element we want to eliminate from the baffles. Lead is so soft it wont even register on the rockwell scale. in the brinell scale it is 5.0 to give you an idea: 6061-T6 is 95 on the brinell scale, and the 4043 is 39 on the brinell scale.

    based on hardness it seems like the perfect media to tumble with for the baffles.

    Not really ideal for brass as it is too soft for that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  9. Mr Smith

    Mr Smith 54 68 65 20 73 74 69 63 6b 73 Active Member

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    all this reading up on how to clean and were, etc. has made me consider sending the bastard to the silencer shop who offers to replace the baffles with better designed stainless steel baffles for $275

    Sure it costs more than I paid for the can (excluding tax stamp), but it wouldn't wear out near as fast, and they claim an additional 8db noise reduction from it.
     
  10. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    Ive got no experience with sonic cleaners.. But would that aid in cleaning just the baffles?
     
  11. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Why dont you use what you have now until you have a decrease in performance THEN send it in? If you just like spending money to spend money send it in now.......
     
  12. PDXSparky

    PDXSparky Keizer / Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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    From what I've read, ultrasonic isn't good for aluminum baffles.
    Ease of cleaning is one of the reasons I bought a SS Sparrow. I can clean it using the "Dip", ultrasonic, soda blaster, or tumbler.
     
    Toddsthoughts and ZA_Survivalist like this.
  13. Mr Smith

    Mr Smith 54 68 65 20 73 74 69 63 6b 73 Active Member

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    That would be the plan. When it wears out, send it in and have the baffle stack replaced with stainless baffles.

    I still think this tumbler method of cleaning is the way to go.

    btw definitely do NOT want to clean aluminum in a sonic cleaner... it will pit the aluminum. The idea of this thread is to find a way to clean aluminum baffles without damaging them and without intense labor. aluminum pellet pins might just be the answer since the alloy is softer than 6061-T6 (what 90% of aluminum baffles are made of) yet harder than lead. about the same hardness as copper so if the rounds FMJ left deposits it may or may not scrape that away.

    Gonna havta see if this source will let me buy less than 50# of the material
     
  14. usagi

    usagi Redmond Well-Known Member

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  15. robbijer

    robbijer Salem Oregon Member

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    I have a 22 suppressor with aluminum baffles, I have had great success with soda blasting.

    I use a cheap blast gun, with medium soda from harbor freight and do it outside in a gravel area over a plastic tub to catch most of the soda. I already had the air compressor and other equipment needed. Does not take very long and they look almost new when done.

    Wash away the soda that is not caught with the garden hose.

    Good luck
     
  16. PDXSparky

    PDXSparky Keizer / Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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    If not, you might want to see if you can get a group buy going. I'm sure others would be interested in buying enough to clean their suppressor baffles.
     
  17. Mr Smith

    Mr Smith 54 68 65 20 73 74 69 63 6b 73 Active Member

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    That thought crossed my mind as well.

    I did however find another alternative as well in my search:

    Copper pellet tumbling media which is used to clean glass bottles for art purposes.

    There is a seller on ebay selling both new and used copper pellets in 1#, 5#, and 15#+ amounts.

    Copper alloy used in wire which this tumbling media is made of is roughly the same hardness if not just barely harder than 6061-T6 (copper alloy = B60-B65 rockwell hardness vs B60 for 6061-T6)

    I don't think that will be a problem considering many have had success tumbling 6061 in stainless media which is rockwell hardness of B84

    The thing I don't like about copper is mixing that with aluminum in water will cause corrosion, so a corrosion inhibitor would need to be used.

    Still haven't got a reply from the first source of the aluminum media, so I'm going to try another source to get some cost estimates.
     
  18. usagi

    usagi Redmond Well-Known Member

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    I would expect copper or brass to discolor the target metal. brass brushes sure put a nice golden glow on my steel BCGs.

    of course copper colored baffles might be cool.
     
  19. Dogfish

    Dogfish Washington Member

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    Soda blaster link is helpful. Thanks!
     
  20. Doc In UPlace

    Doc In UPlace Tacoma-ish Well-Known Member

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    I use a combination of dip to start, then finish in an ultrasonic with Hornady Gun Cleaning solution..

    Once baffles are clean, painting the front and rear surfaces of the baffles with TW-25B grease, using a small sable brush has greatly improved the speed with which the baffles come clean. I'm surprised the technique isn't widespread.

    It prevents the lead and carbon from bonding to the baffle metal.

    Frequency is about every 500 rounds, stainless Spectre-II baffles. They still look like new when cleaned up.