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Old March 10, 2000, 07:04 PM   #1
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Are automotive brake and/or carb cleaners a safe (and cheaper) alternative to spray cleaners like Birchwood-Casey Gun Scrubber?

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Old March 10, 2000, 07:52 PM   #2
Mouse Gun
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I think Gun Scrubber and the like are expensive as well, they also have warnings about finishes and plastic parts. What I use is a cleaner we get from and industrial supplier and I don't think it's available commercialy. What I know of some of the part store cleaners I've used for brake jobs is; they are pretty harsh, at least on plastic and finishes. If you use these I wouldn't get it on the stock or plastic parts. As a rule I rarely use these on anything but my 10/22 to get that receiver/action clean. I remove it from the stock and disassemble to do so, that 22lr ammo is dirty stuff. A little elbow grease works for me most of the time for my pistols and centerfire rifles and I'm pretty anal about keeping them clean.

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Old March 10, 2000, 08:02 PM   #3
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Spike all I use is the cheapest carb cleaner I can get my hands on.2 cans for 1.70 at the local discount automotive parts store.I have no trouble with finishes or on plastic or rubber grips.My experences only of course but if it works on my guns it should work on all of them.
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Old March 10, 2000, 08:04 PM   #4
Jim V
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Ahhhhh, the ever popular, on going question. I have before me two cans of spray cleaners, one at $2.00 per can and the other at $8.00 per the same sized can. I read the contents of both cans and they are the same. The $2 stuff is "SUPER X" brake cleander and the $8 stuff is "CRUD CUTTER" a brand of gun cleaner. I buy 4 cans of brake cleaner and do a lot of firearms.

You can also spend a little more a can and buy automotive electronics spray cleaners. If they don't hurt computer parts, they will not hurt you favorite bullet blaster.

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Old March 10, 2000, 09:40 PM   #5
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We have been using brake cleaner for years in our gunsmithing shop. We buy it by the case! Works great!
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Old March 10, 2000, 11:40 PM   #6
Mouse Gun
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I'm not sure what all everone is using but it sounds like just about anything is safe. I had some of the brake cleaner I purchased a few years ago damage the finish on a shotgun and have been very "gun shy" about using it. The brake cleaner we use now is called Penray and it is safe on my guns and does a good job. For those that have heard of or use ZEP products stay away from the ZEP EC cleaner it will do some nasty things to certain plastics but has no effect on curcuit boards.

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Old March 11, 2000, 03:46 AM   #7
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Some of the brake cleaners will leave a white film after they evaporate. Having an air hose and no sparks/open flames nearby minimizes the film, as well as maximizing the deep cleaning of crevices.

As to your topic, it would have been a stupid question only if it had gone unasked.
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Old March 11, 2000, 09:37 AM   #8
george miller
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i use the cheapest carb cleaner i can get but i remove all the plastic stuff and the stock as engine cleaner will remove the finish too as i found out.
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Old March 12, 2000, 10:17 AM   #9
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No such thing as a stupid question.
Have any of you guys tried or are using the gun cleaner stuff in the bucket? I've seen it advertised in some of the gun mags
It would be great, just take off your grips, throw it in the bucket, let it soak awhile, pull it out,wipe it down and presto changeo you have a clean gun ?
Just curious

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We preserve our freedoms by using four boxes: soap,ballot,jury, and cartridge.
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Old March 13, 2000, 11:03 AM   #10
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I think you are referring to Dunk-it from Cylinder and Slide. It works quite well and you can't beat it for ease.

I made up a batch of my own. A slightly modified version of "Ed's Red". I use it all the time and find it a great time saver.


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Old March 13, 2000, 11:12 AM   #11
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I use a toothbrush and Ed's Red, then hose it off with brake cleaner. Works good. I didn't have kerosene, so I just doubled up on the mineral spirits in the formula. I'll have to say that Ed's Red is very good stuff. I am careful to keep the solvents and cleaners off of my wood. Rubber gloves are a must when using brake cleaners or gun scrubber, as they contain carcinogens.

"An unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."

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Old March 14, 2000, 01:28 PM   #12
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All of those are solvents(read: carcinogen!).
Hit this site:
or 1-800-YES-4MP7 Forgive me if I seem overly "preachy" on this stuff. BUT, it's SAFE and it WORKS!
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Old March 16, 2000, 09:00 PM   #13
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I work with carb cleaner on a regular basis. I would, under no circumstances, recomend the use of this stuff on anything that you care about. It will turn plastic and finishes into a sticky mess. Simple Green works well for me. Amonia will clean corrosive residue off of your guns also.
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