Ultrasonic Firearm Cleaning, Part Two

A remarkable, time-saving tool with the potential to wreck finishes if used improperly. Proper cleaning techniques and the experts reveal essential tips.

by Richard MacLean

When it comes to devices that have on-off switches, “We don’t need no stinking directions!” seems to be the predominant thinking when setting these units up for the first time. “Turn ‘er on and let ‘er rip!” This start-up mode may work for home electronics that come supplied with one-page quick-start guides, however, this approach can lead to all manner of problems with ultrasonic units. In part one, we covered the background on ultrasonic cleaning, its evolution in firearm cleaning, and the current state of the technology. In this second part we will explore proper cleaning techniques, what the experts say about ultrasonic cleaning, and essential tips that have, to the best of our knowledge, never been published before.

Proper Usage
Instructions for systems vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the basics are all the same. Firearms must be unloaded, of course, and for best results, field stripped. In the case of handguns, grip removal helps. Removal of forends and stocks on rifles and shotguns can be labor intensive for routine cleaning, but if these are synthetic, they can stay on. Wooden furniture should always come off. The same applies to telescopic, electronic, and laser sights. We will discuss other forms of sights later.

The cleaning solution concentrate should be diluted according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Dilution ratios vary among products, thus one should consider the “true” cost when selecting a cleaner in addition to the product’s reputation for performance.

This series would not have been possible without the assistance of the following individuals, organizations, and companies: Bob Ford, Bear Coat Gun Finishes; Branson Ultrasonics; Chris Peters, Metaloy Industries; Crest Ultrasonics; Dr. Lawrence Crum, University of Washington; Fran Rickenbach, Ultrasonic Industry Association; Glock USA; Greg Infante, Police Products Corporation; Jennifer Dorywalski, Sharpertek USA; Lyman Products; Mike Kodner, Ultrasonic Power Corporation; Monty Crain, Brownells; Rachel Kohn, Tovatech; RCBS; Robbie Barrkman, The Robar Companies; Sam Bass, Heckler & Koch USA; TechPlate; Tom Bowers, Bowers Group; Trijicon.

Read more in our February 2014 issue. Back issues are available.

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