Investments in firearms by individuals and organizations can be substantial. Here you will learn how to use an ultrasonic gun cleaning tank to maintain firearms. It offers you guidance on when and how to use gun cleaning solvents and lubricants, explains why ultrasonic gun cleaning tank is a wise investment for maintaining firearms, and offers two equipment options for you to consider.
Gun Cleaning Solvents Described
Firearm owners may be aware of many gun cleaning “solvents” available on the market, but just what is a solvent? According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a solvent is “ordinarily a liquid in which other materials dissolve in order to form a solution.”
When it comes to maintaining firearms, gun cleaning solvents are generally employed just after a session on the shooting range or in the field. Savvy firearm owners recognize the importance of cleaning and lubricating their weapon immediately after use using rods, brushes, pads, solvents and oils.
Ultrasonic Action – an Alternative to Gun Cleaning Solvents
Firearm maintenance with an ultrasonic gun cleaning tank is more effective than manual methods using solvents and oils. While it’s not practical in the field, ultrasonic cleaning provides more thorough cleaning and lubricating on a periodic basis depending on how frequently firearms are in use.
Let’s look at:
- Why ultrasonic gun cleaners are preferred
- Why they are so effective
- How ultrasonic gun cleaners work
- Ultrasonic gun cleaning exercises
- Two ultrasonic gun cleaner options
Why an Ultrasonic Gun Cleaner Tank is Preferred
Ultrasonic cleaners are widely employed by gun shop repair services, law enforcement agencies, the military and gun clubs, and for good reason.
Nothing is better when it comes to removing lead shavings, residues from powders, old lubricants, in fact any contaminant that causes wear or otherwise impacts the performance or degrades the value of the firearm.
The effectiveness of ultrasonically cleaning guns is due to how the process works.
Cleaning takes place in a stainless steel tank containing an ultrasonic cleaning solution formulated for particular cleaning tasks being performed. A recommended cleaning solution is described later in this post.
The underside of the gun cleaning tank is fitted with what are called ultrasonic transducers. These are excited by a generator causing them to vibrate at ultrasonic frequencies such as 45,000 cycles per second (45 kHz).
When the ultrasonic cleaner is activated the transducers cause the tank bottom to become a vibrating membrane that creates what are called microscopic vacuum cavitation bubbles in the cleaning solution.
Cavitation bubbles implode on contact with objects immersed in the cleaning solution to blast loose and carry away contaminants. Because they are so small the bubbles reach cracks, crevices and blind holes difficult or impossible to reach by manual cleaning methods.
For more on this see our post on ultrasonic cleaners and how they work.
An Ultrasonic Gun Cleaning Exercise
Let’s move to an example of maintaining firearms with an ultrasonic cleaner. Then offer two equipment options that can do the job.
We’ll begin with recommended gun cleaning and lubricating formulas.
First is biodegradable GunClean L6 one-gallon containers. The recommended dilution is 1:10 with water. (Don’t worry, water is addressed later.)
The formulation is designed to remove powder residue, bullet shavings, hardened lubricants and other contaminants from firearms.
Second is an option to hand-lubricating cleaned weapons. Instead we suggest ultrasonic lubrication using GunLube L5 also available in one-gallon containers. This is used full strength in a lubricating pan that is partially immersed in the GunClean L6 solution in a procedure described next.
A 6-step Ultrasonic Firearm Cleaning Procedure
Following is a representative cleaning exercise for firearms.
- Fill the cleaning tank half way with water, add the correct amount of GunClean L6 then add water to the fill line.
- Fill the lubricating pan with GunLube L5 (allowing room for displacement). Insert the lubricating pan into the cleaning tank so the bottom is partially immersed in the cleaning solution.
- Activate the ultrasound (and degas function if so equipped) to degas the cleaning and lubricating solution. Remove the lubricating pan and set it aside until later.
- Disassemble the firearms according to manufacturers’ instructions. If you observe loose contaminants remove them with a brush to help preserve the effectiveness of the cleaning solution. While you are doing this turn on the unit and set the thermostat to 150⁰F (65⁰C) if so equipped. Place the components (minus grips and stocks) into the basket. Avoid crowding the parts.
- Lower the basket into the solution and set the timer for 20 minutes.
- At the end of the cycle remove the basket and examine the parts. If satisfied place them in the lubricating solution, insert the pan into the cleaning tank to set the time for 20 minutes to remove all traces of water, leaving a fine dry lubricating film.
Parts are now ready for reassembly.
Two Ultrasonic Gun Cleaner Options
For cleaning pistol components, we suggest the HCS-200 ultrasonic gun cleaning kit sized for two full size semi-automatic handguns or a 6-inch revolver.
Designed and manufactured in the USA for law enforcement personnel, the recreational shooter, hobbyist, collector or sportsman, it cleans up to 16 times better than hand cleaning and eliminates the need for multiple cleaning products.
This kit contains your ultrasonic gun cleaning tank, basket and cover along with a separate lubricating pan, cleaning solution concentrate and lubricating solution.
Cleaning Rifles and Other Long Guns
For rifles, long guns or cleaning multiple pistols in the same cycle a good choice is the 36-inch LE-36 ultrasonic weapon cleaning system, also made in the USA.
Featuring a sweep mode to provide uniform cleaning action throughout the bath, this system includes a timer, heater, drain, cover, full and half sized weapon baskets with adjustable compartments, full and half sized lubricating pans, 4 gallons of weapon cleaning concentrate and 8 gallons of lubricating solution. Contact us for full details.
Maintaining the cleaning solution
Contaminants that rise to the surface of the ultrasonic gun cleaner bath should be skimmed off and set aside.
When cleaning time takes longer it is time to replace the solution. Drain the tank and dispose of the solution along with skimmed residues following local regulations. Take the time to remove sludge that settled to the bottom of the tank then clean the tank. This should be done using a cleaning process recommended by the manufacturer.
Then you can prepare and degas a fresh batch of cleaning solution.
While gun cleaning solvents play an important role in maintaining firearms after a day on the range or in the field, they should be used with care. For more thorough cleaning, especially reaching the cracks, crevices and other difficult-to-reach areas, nothing beats a periodic session in an ultrasonic gun cleaning tank.
Contact Tovatech’s ultrasonic cleaning professionals for recommendations on ultrasonic firearm cleaning equipment and cleaning solution formulations that meet your ultrasonic gun cleaning requirements.