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Ultrasonic Cleaner

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by vmkeith, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. vmkeith

    vmkeith Vancouver, Washington, United States Member

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    I've got an ultrasonic cleaner that I'm thinking of using for two things...cleaning smaller gun parts and cleaning brass. I've done searches for what to use for cleaning gun parts and brass, and all I really came up with was brass cleaning. The general consensus is to use distilled water, white vinegar, and a drop or two of dish soap (optional). Then put it through a standard tumbler to get that nice shine.

    For all you guys that use ultrasonic cleaners, does this sound about right?

    The other part of that is for cleaning gun parts. I've read that it does wonders for the BCG. What would be a good cleaning recipe for gun parts, besides just getting the Hornady One Shot stuff.
     
  2. FelidaHouse

    FelidaHouse Vancouver, WA New Member

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    Best info I've seen on the subject:

    UltraSonic Case Cleaning

    The usage of a flask or jar placed in the cleaner works great as well. That way, no mess left in the ultrasonic cleaner.

    I'm also having good results with a tiny bit of Lemi-shine (available at Target) and plain old water, running the cleaner for 30 minutes.

    I haven't cleaned any gun parts yet, but I'd imagine just a drop or two of dish soap as a degreaser with water would work fine. I've been meaning to clean a pistol barrel using that formula.
     
  3. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Went to a trade show several years ago where some industrial sized ultrasonic cleaners were displayed. Almost all used a simple solution of "detergent and water". Nothing special, just any commercial detergent that dispersed the grease and crud in the water.

    Dawn dish detergent works great as does Simple Green and both are available without having to buy a 5-Gallon bucket or paying an outrageous price for a "Magic Solution" like most that accompany these Ultrasonic Cleaners is.

    If you have hard water in your area add some "Lemi-Shine" or even "Jet-Dri" to keep the cases from spotting.

    For those that like shiny cases why not just clean and polish using the Stainless Steel media and leave the small capacity ultrasonic cleaners for cleaning gun parts. The "pins" leave a nice shine as well as a clean case, all in ONE operation.
     
    ogre and (deleted member) like this.
  4. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Stainless is so much harder than brass that I can't understand how it doesn't "work harden" the brass. To each his own.

    Also, please don't use anything lemon or other citrus on brass. It is acidic and will damage the zinc. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, and zinc is soft.
     
  5. FelidaHouse

    FelidaHouse Vancouver, WA New Member

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    That hasn't been my experience. Citric acid is cited as an effective brass cleaner. If anything, citric acid passivates brass, inhibiting further corrosion.
     
  6. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    Citric acid (or most acids) on brass is a chelating agent. It converts the zinc oxides to citrate complexes or acid complexes. In layman's terms, chelation can be the bonding of a metal with a liquid. A simpler way of saying it is that acid can dissolve zinc into the liquid.

    While we're at it, ammonia or any cleaner with ammonia is also a really bad offender for brass.
     
  7. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Being harder isn't enough. It also takes sufficient mass to "work" the metal. These pins weigh about 1/2 a grain each. They "slide" across the metal of the case in a water bath.

    If work hardening is a concern to you I suggest that you merely hand clean every piece of brass. Having all those cases weighing from 30-200 grains tumbling around in dry media is a greater risk for work hardening than those small pins.

    I am going to the range in a couple hours to shoot some .308 brass that has been cleaned in Stainless Pins over 12 times. Absolutely NO sign of "work hardening" and I expect that they will last through a great many more cleaning/loading cycles.

    As for Citric Acid or any other acidic additive, I find that Dawn and water softener work just fine.
     
  8. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    I get it. That's good to hear. I didn't know they were so small.
     
  9. vmkeith

    vmkeith Vancouver, Washington, United States Member

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    I'm lovin' the ultrasonic cleaner. I used it to clean my BCG today using the Lyman cleaning solution...all I can say is wow. I like to take my time when I'm cleaning any of my firearms, and what usually takes me 1-1.5hrs in the BCG alone, only took 30min to clean...without all the mess. Next I'll try cleaning all my once fired brass.
     
  10. vmkeith

    vmkeith Vancouver, Washington, United States Member

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    Decided to clean the brass that I've saved with my ultrasonic cleaner...280 pieces of brass, 2 8min cycles, distilled water with Lyman Cleaning Solution mixed approx. 10:1.

    Before cleaning:
    BeforeUltrasonicCleaning.jpg

    After cleaning:
    AfterUltrasonicCleaning.jpg
     
  11. Speedsteel

    Speedsteel Oregon Member

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    looks good, how well does it clean inside the cases?? TIA
     
  12. vmkeith

    vmkeith Vancouver, Washington, United States Member

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    It's not shiny like the outside of the cases, but all the carbon build up and dirt is gone. A win in my book.