As a Gunsmith I often see Firearms that have been ruined by Owners who haven’t been taught the proper way to clean their Firearm after firing them with Corrosive
Some Surplus/Imported Ammunition made from the 1940’s up until the 1990’s used Primers with Mercuric Salts in the Priming Compound in the Primers. When the Primer is fired, Corrosive Salts are deposited all inside the Barrel of the Weapon and anywhere Powder, Carbon, Copper Residue travels.
Fulminate of Mercury was discontinued by all major ammunition makers for use in Small Arms Primers by the late 1920's due to Corrosion of the Brass and failure rates that increased as the Primers aged. The Corrosive Salts used in Ammunition Production from the 1930's through 1990's was Potassium Chlorate which is also the same salt left by Pyrodex. That is the Salt that will cause Corrosion in your Firearm.
Some often comment; “Why shoot Corrosive Ammunition?" Simple answer is that it is often very cheap Ammunition compared to most current Production Ammunition, and other than the Corrosive Residue issue, the Ammunition shoots fine BUT, it is not Ammunition for the "lazy" Shooter.
If these Corrosive Salts are not removed they will grab moisture or humidity from the environment
and corrode the inside of the Barrel, Bolt and other areas of the Firearm. Even Chrome Lined Barrels can corrode, so don’t neglect cleaning Corrosive Ammunition residue just because the Bore or Chamber is Chrome Lined. If Corrosive Ammunition is being used in a Semi Auto Firearm the damage can be even more extensive because the Corrosive Salts get inside of the Gas System and back into
the Action as well, so don’t neglect these areas when you clean.
Just swabbing a Barrel with Oil WILL NOT stop the Corrosion Process, it will just Rust and Corrode under the Copper and Carbon Deposits, right under the Oil. Using Oil based Solvents and Oils will not get the Corrosive Salts out contrary to what some Gun Products advertise. Some Gun Solvents and Cleaners state that the Product will neutralize the Corrosive Elements. DO NOT trust the label or
the claims. I have seen too many Firearms ruined by people using said Products and improper Cleaning Methods when dealing with Corrosive Residue.
The only answer is to remove the Corrosive Salts. This is easily done by using a Water-Based Solvents, or just plain Water.
How I Clean Corrosive Firing Residue:
I use and HIGHLY recommend a product called Ballistol. This Product is not utilized straight for this specific purpose, you make a mix with it 10 Parts Water/1 Part Ballistol. Once mixed, the Solution
will look like Milk. If the Solution sits for an extended period of time, it can separate, so before usage shake the Mixture thoroughly.
The Ballistol Mixture cleans the Corrosive Salts with the Water and leaves a nice protective finish of Ballistol Oil once the Water evaporates. I take my Ballistol Solution and put it in a spray bottle which makes using the mixture very convenient. Ballsitol is a decent cleaner too, sort of an “Old School” CLP.
Alternatives to Ballistol & Water Mix:
If you are cheap you can use Windex to flush Corrosive Salts from a Firearm. Windex has high amounts of Water and Ammonia. The Water in Windex helps flush out the Corrosive Salts, and the Ammonia helps the Water evaporate. Many feel that this is not necessary since the Water is
what is doing the work. Be careful though, Windex leaves NO protective properties once it evaporates. Windex does NOT work better than Water Alone.
If you are super cheap then just Water works ok, Hot Water works slightly better. If you use HOT Water please take precautions to avoid burns. Hot Water with Soap works a best of the 3 Water Options. You must be sure the Barrel and other Parts are dried and then Oiled to prevent
My Corrosive Ammunition Cleaning Tips:
When you are finished shooting for the day, remove the Bolt and any other Parts that get exposed to firing residue and spray with G96 CLP Aerosol or Breakfree CLP Aerosol.
DO NOT EXPOSE THE WEAPON TO ANY MOISTURE, Just use the CLP Aerosol and spray the exposed areas down.
Spray enough CLP down the Barrel until it comes out the muzzle. Try to spray into the Locking Lugs and Chamber as well and any areas exposed to Firing Residue. The CLP will break down Firing Residue to make cleaning easier once you are Home.
Once you get Home, scrub the effected Parts with a nylon brush to break free any firing residue and wipe the dry with a clean Shop Rag, old clean T-Shirt, or Paper Towels. Next, I spray the Ballistol Mixture down the Barrel, on the Bolt Body/Carrier, on the springs, inside of the Gas System, and on the Fire Control Parts. The grime will run off as you spray the parts down, so do this over an Oil Pan, Sink, or outside the House. Spray Enough Ballistol/Water Mixture down the Barrel until it comes out the Muzzle. Try to spray into the Locking Lugs and Chamber as well. Keep spraying and using
nylon brushes till the runoff is clean/white.
Once the runoff is clean, then push a dry patch through the barrel. If you have a Muzzle Device REMOVE it and clean the threads, and Muzzle Device thoroughly. If you
have a Muzzle Brake then its VERY important to remove it as the corrosive residue will build up in the Expansion Chamber and on the Muzzle and CORRODE Heavily.
Once the runoff is clean, then push a dry patch through the barrel.
Spray some more Ballistol/Water Mixture down the Barrel and run some more Patches through the Barrel just to be sure it’s CLEAN of ALL CORROSIVE SALTS. When you are satisfied everything is
flushed, you don’t have to run a final Dry Patch, the Ballistol/Water Mixture leaves an Oil Protection Barrier. I then move to cleaning the bore to remove Carbon and Copper. I use a product Called Wipe Out Bore Foam. It’s a Cleaner that requires NO BRUSHES, just a Patch and Jag.
Wipe Out Bore Foam or Wipe Out Tactical Advantage
You simply won’t find a better Bore Cleaner that works so effectively or is as safe for your bore as WipeOut Bore Foam.
I scrub the bore from the breach going in one direction with a Patch and Jag until the patches come out clean. The Wipe Out will break away some Copper and Carbon Fouling that the Ballistol/Water Mixture simply couldn’t get to. I suggest you make one more spray down the Bore with your Ballistol/Water Mixture to be sure all signs of Corrosive Salts are gone. I do this because Corrosive Salts can get under the Copper Fouling and cause corrosion if they are not removed. Just be
sure to get the Copper Fouling OUT and then use one more use of Ballistol/Water Mix.
I, then lightly oil the barrel with patch coated in Breakfree CLP, Weaponshield CLP, or G96 CLP for storage in the safe.
Sounds like a lot of trouble?
Well, if you let your Firearm rust you cant put the metal back, there is no way to restore it to "perfect" unless you want to start replacing Barrels, Bolts and such.
With little effort, you will always have a "like new" Firearm. I have tried pretty much everything on the market ands the methods and products listed are the most effective and cost efficient way to
approach this subject.
Basically, if you choose to shoot Corrosive Ammunition then you must be willing to immediately clean your Weapon after coming home from the Range.
So there is my advice. Take care of your Firearm, and when you need it your Firearm will take care of you
Does anyone use this stuff on Firearms that don't shoot Corrosive Ammo? Reading around, I got the impression that people use this on just about anything relating to firearms
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