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Old February 5, 2013, 05:25 PM   #1
BigTex308
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Sonic cleaners?????

Been hearing a lot about sonic cleaners and how great they are. I'm kinda curious about them.


I've been using my Lymann tumbler to polish my brass, but if a sonic cleaner works better and faster that'd be great. Also, what about cleaning metal frame pistols like a 1911? could you disassemble it and put it in there or is this not a good idea?


What are some good brands to look into? Is there some kind of solution (cleaning media) you put in there or is it just water or what?


Pretty much any info would be appreciated.



Thanks



Ike
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:30 PM   #2
Unclenick
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Better, yes. Faster, no. Not unless you have only a few cases to clean at a time. Figure about half an hour per load, and the loads are smaller than your tumbler can hold. Plus you have to get them rinsed and let them dry, time and effort you don't have with the tumbler.

If you want really clean cases, search for the rotary tumbler and stainless steel media threads.
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Last edited by Unclenick; February 7, 2013 at 10:56 AM. Reason: typo fix
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Old February 5, 2013, 06:39 PM   #3
cryogenic419
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With an ultrasonic my cases are as clean as the day they were made at the factory, and after they get out of the tumbler they are as shiny as new factory brass. I am not sure that there is a time savings for me though. I'll explain...

1. To fully utilize the wonderful cleaning abilities of my ultrasonic cleaner, I deprime all the brass. Depending on how much brass I have this could be anywhere from 10 mins to well over an hour.

2. Time spent in the ultrasonic depends on how much I have and what caliber it is. Unclenick pretty much nailed it though,about 1/2 hour per load. I like to stir the load around at least twice to make sure everything gets cleaned.

3. Rinsing isn't so bad and I'm usually done with that in under 5 mins. You need to dry the brass before you do anything else with it. Some folks prefer to air dry, while others take more active steps to aid drying. I use a heatgun with a metal strainer. Takes under 5 mins per load.

4. I throw in a tumbler with walnut shell and some polish for about 1/2 hour.

Brass is clean and shiny, and if there are any flaws/defects/signs of wear in the case I find its easier for me to spot it. Yes its a little more involved but for me its totally worth it and I even actually enjoy it.

Word is you can achieve the same kind of results with a rotary tumbler and the SS pins and then throw in a tumbler to polish.

I'm using a Hornady Magnum ultrasonic with the Hornady solution. Some people like the cleaners from Harbor Freight. Some cleaners are Harbor Freight ones with a different name on them. Some people have recipes for cleaning solutions you can make at home.

You can use them to clean pistols/revolvers but be aware some unwanted side effects may occur with the finish. You will also need to thoroughly rinse then oil/lubricate. Ultrasonics are a godsend for cleaning AR bolts and magazines.
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Old February 5, 2013, 07:39 PM   #4
LE-28
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http://www.hornady.com/store/Hornady-Hot-Tub-9L

Check out this link if your serious about cleaning your AR in a sonic cleaner.

It has to be expensive but it would be the only game in town that I have found.

I also use an untrasonic for all my cleaning needs, including my shower heads with CLR and anything else I can find to put in it.

I use mine exactly as Cryogenic419 does and for the same reasons.

I use Hornady's solution and also a Lemi-shine (from Wallmart, 3.99 a bottle) and a squirt of dawn dishwashing detergent. Works about as well as Hornady's One Shot for brass. You have to use a different solution for steel products, Hornady sells it also.

I've never cleaned a whole pistol in mine but I throw my 9mm pistol barrels in mine once in a while.

I've never used stainless steel pins and cleaning solution in my rotary tumbler so I can't comment on it. I'm sure it works very well also. Theres a lot of good feedback on the other forums about it.
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Old February 5, 2013, 08:10 PM   #5
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I use the cheapo from Harbor Freight. It is the one quart model I think. It runs in 3 minute cycles. I clean my BP revolvers in it. I do clean some brass in it at times. About 4 cycles and the brass is clean enough. I then rinse the brass well. The longest part of the whole thing is the brass drying. I put mine on a towell in a produce crate outside in the sun for a day or two.

My tumbler takes about 2 to 3 hours to clean brass most times. I use it to remove case lube from rifle cases most times. I also tumble loaded rounds that I used spray on case lube when sizing. (.45-70 Gov't. and .30 carbine.) Those take about an hour and half to remove the case lube.

For ready right now I use a rag, and denatured alcohol to wipe the cases clean. They are dry in less than 30 minutes. I only do this with small batches of rifle ammo.

Pistol brass that is cruddy from the ground, or range barrel get a couple of hours in the tumbler. After it is clean I load it like it is. Shiney does not shoot better.
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Old February 6, 2013, 06:50 PM   #6
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I clean my guns by hand and my brass with citric acid. I use about a teaspoon of CA per gallon of water in a bucket. Dump in brass, swish around for a minute and they are done. Dump the CA down the drain and rinse all the case well. Then lay out to dry. Fast, easy, economical. You can literally clean hundreds of cases with one gallon of the solution. Throw it out when it gets dirty.
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Old February 6, 2013, 06:56 PM   #7
Grizz12
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Quote:
I clean my guns by hand and my brass with citric acid. I use about a teaspoon of CA per gallon of water in a bucket. Dump in brass, swish around for a minute and they are done. Dump the CA down the drain and rinse all the case well. Then lay out to dry. Fast, easy, economical. You can literally clean hundreds of cases with one gallon of the solution. Throw it out when it gets dirty.
I would have never thought CA would work, good to know
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Old February 6, 2013, 06:59 PM   #8
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Love my sonic cleaner. Forget the store bought solution though. Home-made is better. At least it was for me. De-prime your cases. Make a 50/50 solution of 100% lemon juice, and hot water. Add a squirt of Dawn. Run for about 30 mins. Cases come out like new!
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:03 PM   #9
thump_rrr
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I use my sonic cleaner to clean my gun parts.
I prefer cleaning brass in a wet tumbler with Stainless Steel Pins.
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:15 PM   #10
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I go with thump_rrr says, the stainless pins clean brass like new inside and out.
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:29 PM   #11
Grizz12
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will a sonic cleaner clean lead/copper fouling from a barrel?
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:33 PM   #12
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According to Patrick Sweeny in the last Guns and Ammo, an ultrasonic cleaner will work wonders on tarnished brass. I am accumulating quite a pile of chocolate brass. I may try out one of those $29.99 Harbor Fright specials.
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Old February 7, 2013, 11:18 AM   #13
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I guess I'll put my pictures up. Solution is 5% citric acid, which is an old arsenal cleaning solution the NRA published. That's a higher concentration than others have mentioned, but does last forever. Add 7 oz to a gallon of water. Citric acid has some water softening capability, so detergent probably isn't required. I squirt a little Dawn in to help suspend dirt and cut through residual gun oil, but I'm not going to next time I make some up, just to see what how it compares.

I got 10 lbs of the citric acid for $2.70/lb, postage paid, from this guy. Prompt service. That's enough to make up 23 gallons, which would last you a long, long time. Smaller quantities cost more per pound, so it's a good joint purchase project for yourself and some club members.

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