Cleaning with Gun Scrubber or brake cleaner. What do you think?

tickled pink

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I have used both for years and like both. When I clean my .223 AR I spray it down the gas tube and barrel then the BCG. Then I run a clean (243) patch down the barrel and it comes out almost perfectly clean. Then I run about 10 more and spray the for mentioned on each of those patches. Still no patches show any kind of carbon or anything. Then I run about 10 dry patches down the barrel and still no dirty patches. They come out looking brand new. When I'm done cleaning I lubricate. What is up with this stuff? I reload with Varget.
 

19Scout77

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Test it. Run a real cleaner through the bore after your brake clean job and see how it looks.
 

Dallas4rceMarine

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we used to use brake cleaner in the Marines at the end of a long day of shooting and it worked great for getting rid of carbon build up. However after you patch it and its clean you need to re-clean it with regular gun cleaner like CLP or Hoppes #9 and get what it missed while also re lubricating the metal. Those aerosols can be harmful if you let them dry out the metal.
 
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Handloader

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Our unit armorer (SP) would shit bowls of grape-nuts if we used brake cleaner on anything (but did not care if we ran a bore brush running full speed on a drill back and forth through the barrel….go figure). However, as others here have said, it works great if you follow with a good oiling.
 

drifto808

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Non-chlorinated brake clean followed up by your preference of oil. Brake clean is cheap and goes on sale often.
 

Smcarroll

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I love brake clean, I use it on about anything metal that needs scrubbed. Oil it up with some mobile 1 after and you're good. IMO you should add a good copper solvent to your cleaning regimen. I use sweets myself.
 

Oryx

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I have used both for years and like both. When I clean my .223 AR I spray it down the gas tube and barrel then the BCG. Then I run a clean (243) patch down the barrel and it comes out almost perfectly clean. Then I run about 10 more and spray the for mentioned on each of those patches. Still no patches show any kind of carbon or anything. Then I run about 10 dry patches down the barrel and still no dirty patches. They come out looking brand new. When I'm done cleaning I lubricate. What is up with this stuff? I reload with Varget.
If you run a patch through and it comes out clean, why do you run 10 more and then follow up with 10 additional dry patches? What's the point of 20 additional clean patches through the bore if you are not removing anything?
 

steppenwolf

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If you run a patch through and it comes out clean, why do you run 10 more and then follow up with 10 additional dry patches? What's the point of 20 additional clean patches through the bore if you are not removing anything?

Similar to what I was thinking ... At what point to do we pass the limits of effective cleaning and start treading into overcleaning our rifle and wasting time and/or the resources?

Just askin', not arguin'.
 

Zebra644

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I use either brake cleaner or powder blast,then I use patches covered in rem oil for the barrel. I use the CLP for stainless & rapid fire weapons as its a thicker oil for the BCG ect. Just be leary of using or letting the brake cleaner / powder blast sit on polymer.
 

tickled pink

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If you run a patch through and it comes out clean, why do you run 10 more and then follow up with 10 additional dry patches? What's the point of 20 additional clean patches through the bore if you are not removing anything?

You are correct. I used the brake clean with the first ten then the dry because I forgot to bring the copper solvent (Bore Tech Eliminator) and at the end I ran Super Tech oil on a patch through the bore. When I get ready to shoot again I run a patch with brake clean through the bore then a dry patch.
 

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elmuzzlebreak

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Going to kick this up. I’m starting to hear brake cleaner is a no go. Any idea why?
 

Aaros143

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I still clean with normal products. I just use brake cleaner to clean out excessive lube and carbon. Mostly on my suppressed guns. So the first step is blast out all the gunk then clean normally.
 

black5.3

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I use it as well. You run a AR for a couple thousand rounds suppressed and there is no better way to clean the lower in my opinion. Then i spray a light oil all over trigger and blow out the lower with compressed air... brake cleaner does well on the bcg, upper receiver and lug area.
 
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Kamerad

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I use it as well. You run a AR for a couple thousand rounds suppressed and there is no better way to clean the lower in my opinion. Then i spray a light oil all over trigger and blow out the lower with compressed air... brake cleaner does well on the bcg, upper receiver and lug area.
I reckon Brake cleaner would be hell on the extractor o-ring, if present.
 

E. Bryant

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    I reckon Brake cleaner would be hell on the extractor o-ring, if present.

    It's generally safe on "rubber" (synthetic elastomers). Modern brake cleaner is very tame stuff. Old-school carb cleaner was a different story, but it's been a long time since I've come across the formulations with methylene chloride.
     
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    Kamerad

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    It's generally safe on "rubber" (synthetic elastomers). Modern brake cleaner is very tame stuff. Old-school carb cleaner was a different story, but it's been a long time since I've come across the formulations with methylene chloride.
    Well, I learned something today!! Thanks for the info.
     

    502Chevelle

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    Brake cleaner will get into the pores of your metal. After you finish cleaning and lube it up and put it away, the brake cleaner will leach out and dissolve the lube. I told a pretty high end pistol smith that I was cleaning His guns with brake cleaner, and he got pissed! He explained about the leaching and it made sense. Haven’t used it since. I really, really trust this smith.
     

    Tiger_Shilone

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    Going to kick this up. I’m starting to hear brake cleaner is a no go. Any idea why?
    Clorinated brake cleaners give off phosgene gas when exposed to high temps. Read a report in an AC maintenance circular advisory article a few years ago where a welder had cleaned parts prior to welding with clorinated brake cleaner because he was out of alcohol and didn’t realize there was a small puddle of it still remaining when he started welding. Guy wound up with permanent nerve damage IIRC. Since I read that article I stick with dedicated gun cleaners.
     
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    Reload10

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    Most brake cleans are non chlor. Heat should be ok. I used it today to clean a 22 pistol that had a lot of rounds on it, and it worked great to clean the breach face.
     

    CountryShooter

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    I still clean with normal products. I just use brake cleaner to clean out excessive lube and carbon. Mostly on my suppressed guns. So the first step is blast out all the gunk then clean normally.
    I do the exact opposite. I clean normally. Then use brake cleaner to remove any residue from pistol slides to remove cleaning solvents from the firing pin channel. Never in a bore. Sometimes blast out a lower after wiping with gun cleaning products.
     
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    elmuzzlebreak

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    Brake cleaner will get into the pores of your metal. After you finish cleaning and lube it up and put it away, the brake cleaner will leach out and dissolve the lube. I told a pretty high end pistol smith that I was cleaning His guns with brake cleaner, and he got pissed! He explained about the leaching and it made sense. Haven’t used it since. I really, really trust this smith.
    I did not know about this but it makes sense.
    Clorinated brake cleaners give off phosgene gas when exposed to high temps. Read a report in an AC maintenance circular advisory article a few years ago where a welder had cleaned parts prior to welding with clorinated brake cleaner because he was out of alcohol and didn’t realize there was a small puddle of it still remaining when he started welding. Guy wound up with permanent nerve damage IIRC. Since I read that article I stick with dedicated gun cleaners.
    Also a good point. I hit up the google machine after reading this. Good point.

    The whole thing for this started after watching one of the free modern day sniper videos on rifle cleaning where Caylen says brake cleaner is a big no go for rifle cleaning.
     

    elmuzzlebreak

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    So if I am understanding all this correctly the main issues with brake cleaner are the toxicity and leeching issues?
     

    Arc Light

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    I use chlorinated brake cleaner quite a bit as a general purpose degreaser around the garage, but not around my guns. First, it’s nasty stuff to be breathing in and getting on your skin. Second, it will absolutely fuck up any plastic, paint, and most rubber it touches. There are much safer products for gun maintenance, but you pay a little more for it.
     
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    CrabsandFootball

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    The ar gas system is self cleaning. No need to do anything with gas tube. Keep it lubed and shoot till you start seeing malfunctions or the gun starts running sluggish. Over and improper cleaning is the number 1 cause of damage.
     

    elmuzzlebreak

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    The ar gas system is self cleaning. No need to do anything with gas tube. Keep it lubed and shoot till you start seeing malfunctions or the gun starts running sluggish. Over and improper cleaning is the number 1 cause of damage.
    Yep my ARs get cleaned out once in a while but mostly just keep them oiled. My main concern was with bolt guns. I did some more googling and seems brake cleaner is to be avoided for some bluing and wood finishes.
     

    Simonsza1

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    I use it as well. You run a AR for a couple thousand rounds suppressed and there is no better way to clean the lower in my opinion. Then i spray a light oil all over trigger and blow out the lower with compressed air... brake cleaner does well on the bcg, upper receiver and lug area.
    Good spray with brake clean then hit with air then a good wipe with triflo which is a great oil and cleaner then i usually dust everything with triflo and blow off all the excess with air. Then a good wipe with a dry cloth and there spotless. I use slip2000 to lube the hard use stuff but generally run everything dry besides obviously the little bit of triflo that’s left
     

    E. Bryant

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    A couple of things:

    1) In my experience, chlorinated brake cleaner is fairly uncommon, even in jurisdictions that still allow its sale and use. Most of the stuff I grab off the shelf at the local parts store is non-chlorinated/low-VOC formulation (and no, I don't live in California or some other state that mandates this stuff).

    2) Excessively heating chlorinated compounds can indeed be very dangerous. Don't do that. Keep the stuff away from spacer heaters and open flames, and makes sure a part is completely dry before exposing it to high heat. Avoid the stuff for welding in general. At normal room temperatures, the stuff evaporates pretty quickly and I've got very little concern about the health hazard of using it to clean a firearm. If you hose down the interior of a suppressor or similar component in cooler weather, it may stick around for many minutes and so plan accordingly.

    3) As far as "drying the pores" of metal is concerned, solvents do indeed break down and remove oils. That's basically the point of using them! And if the metal is quite cold - like well below normal room temperature - a solvent can stick around long enough to disturb a fresh application of oil or paint. I've seen this before when working in an unheated shop during winter. In this case, make sure the solvent is completely evaporated by applying some compressed air, or have some patience. High-quality gun parts of the type we are considering here do not have "pores" that are going to open up, trap solvent, close up, and then wait patiently to destroy lubrication at a later time. Sintered self-lubricated bearings are a different story, and if your firearm contains such a part, act accordingly. I've also gotten screwed by cranks and what-not in porous castings when attempting to clean the surface and apply paint, but if this applies to someone's firearm, lubrication failures are likely low on the list of future problems.

    Apply solvent, dry solvent, apply lube, and get on with life. The deeper the cleaning process, the more work required to reapply lubrication.
     
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    army_eod

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    Clorinated brake cleaners give off phosgene gas when exposed to high temps. Read a report in an AC maintenance circular advisory article a few years ago where a welder had cleaned parts prior to welding with clorinated brake cleaner because he was out of alcohol and didn’t realize there was a small puddle of it still remaining when he started welding. Guy wound up with permanent nerve damage IIRC. Since I read that article I stick with dedicated gun cleaners.
    Mean Green Phosgene is a choking agent where I come from. Not a nerve agent. It just makes you cough. LOL.