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Old March 11, 2013, 01:16 PM   #1
Join Date: March 13, 2011
Posts: 67
AR cleaning, maintenance and storage

Another AR newbie with questions here.

Here is what I got so far.
Spikes tactical 5.45x39 complete upper
Seekins lower
Palmetto classic lpk

I bought 5.45 upper because i was able to buy ammo for about .19c shipped.
And from reviews of spikes upper, seems that its very good and reliable.

Since i never cleaned or mainted ar, especially after shooting corrosive ammo,
need advise on cleaning tools, supplies and proper methods.

Also looking for nice soft cases to transport my rifle to the range

e-mishka is offline  
Old March 11, 2013, 06:56 PM   #2
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Posts: 7,042
The corrosive element in corrosive ammo is the primer, which produces a form of salt. To clean you need a cleaner solvent that contains water which will dissolve and flush the salt out.
Since nothing is cheaper than hot water, and nothing works better, just use hot water.

Note that almost no lubricant or modern bore solvent will dissolve salt so you have to use water or something that contains water.
Ammonia has NO effect on corrosive ammo salts, and the only reason ammonia will work is because commercial ammonia is mostly water.
Windex with Ammonia D contains no ammonia. Ammonia D is a form of alcohol.

A good test to determine whether a product will clean corrosive ammo residue is to put some in a small glass and add a little table salt.
If the salt dissolves and disappears into solution, it's good. If the salt just lays there it's no good for cleaning.
Note that removing the corrosive residue is JUST a preliminary step to cleaning, and after corrosive residue removal you still have to clean the rifle as normal.

To clean, run hot water down the bore and chamber using a funnel. You can also use water soaked patches and a cleaning rod.
Flush out the gas tube by using some tubing fitted over the end of the gas tube inside the receiver and a small funnel to put water through the gas tube.
Since the gas tube is stainless steel and is self cleaning with standard ammo, you may not need to flush the tube. If you do, you MUST dry it thoroughly with compressed air or by warming the tube with a hair dryer.
DO NOT put any pipe cleaners, solvents, or anything else in the tube.
Flush off the bolt and bolt carrier, and wipe out the inside of the receiver with a damp cloth.
When flushing the bore, don't forget to get the muzzle brake.

After flushing the parts above with water, dry with air or by warming with a hair dryer.

With the corrosive residue off, clean as normal with bore solvent.
Use bore solvent an if necessary a bronze brush to clean the bore.
Use a GI-type chamber brush to scrub the chamber and clean the locking lugs.

Clean the carbon off the bolt and out of the bolt carrier.
You can use chemical or mechanical cleaners for this.
Chemical cleaners are carbon removal liquids like Slip 2000 Carbon Killer.
You simply soak the parts for 15 minutes then brush.

For mechanical cleaning of carbon deposits you use special scraper tools. One of the best that does it all is the C.A.T. 4 tool as sold by Brownell's and other retailers.
This is used to scrape the carbon out of the bolt carrier, off the bolt tail, and to clean the firing pin.
Use a worn bore brush to clean the inside of the gas key on the bolt carrier.

Once everything is clean and dry, lubricate with your favorite lubricant.
One that's very popular for the AR is CLP Breakfree.

To clean your AR, buy a ONE PIECE stainless steel or carbon fiber cleaning rod.
DO NOT use aluminum, brass, or any type of screw-together rod.

You can buy really nice AR carry bags from companies like Eagle.
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Old March 12, 2013, 11:45 AM   #3
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Sorry...double post

Last edited by Erno86; March 12, 2013 at 11:52 AM.
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Old March 12, 2013, 11:49 AM   #4
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I use wet patches...soaked with Simple Green solution, that I run thru the bore {once} with a .17 caliber cleaning rod, till they come out clean --- then I use 22 caliber bronze core brushes soaked with copper remover --- will the help cleaning rod follower with a 22 caliber cleaning rod.
Use a chamber rod and chamber brush, that I bought from Sinclair, {soaked with Simple Green} rotate twelve times.
Run soaked brushes six to ten times {back an forth} thru barrel, soak again with copper cleaner --- run six to ten times more --- wait 6 minutes, run dry brush six to ten times more, clean out with three dry patches, 3 soaked {cotton flannel patches that I buy in square yards at Wallmart or Jo-Ann Fabrics} patches with Hoppes #9, three dry patches, one oily patch and one dry patch.

Spray receiver & upper with high pressure degreaser {using eye protection}, wipe carrier and bolt clean. Take extractor pin out {using firing pin} and clean extractor, without getting brake cleaner on any rubber parts. Oil bolt and front part of the bolt carrier, and oil lower trigger group. GunZilla is a non-explosive, vegetable based cleaner and lubricant; but will take the finish off of some wood stocks. My oil a semi-synthetic motor oil.

Last edited by Erno86; March 12, 2013 at 11:55 AM.
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Old March 12, 2013, 12:31 PM   #5
Join Date: March 13, 2011
Posts: 67
thanks for repply guys.
if just using hot water to desolve salts,how much of it needed to have a good cleaning?
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Old March 12, 2013, 07:09 PM   #6
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Join Date: May 13, 2011
Location: Carolina
Posts: 3,414
Here's my 'how to' video for cleaning corrosive ammo:

Cleaning after corrosive ammo link

...and here's my 'how to' video for cleaning an AR:

How to clean your AR rifle link

The corrosive video focuses on the '74 series rifles but the same techiques apply to your AR (I have a 5.45 AR as well)
Mrgunsngear Youtube Channel
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Old March 13, 2013, 02:13 PM   #7
Join Date: March 13, 2011
Posts: 67
What are you guys using for carrying cases?

So far list of cleaning tools are:
Chamber brush
Bore brush?
Cleaning rod or wire (otis), what do you recommend for both range and home?
Patch loop
Nylon brush
Cleaning vise?

what else im missing?
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Old March 13, 2013, 10:03 PM   #8
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Posts: 7,042
As above, buy a ONE-PIECE stainless steel or carbon fiber cleaning rod for home.
For the range, the Otis is the best of the pull-throughs, but remember, ALL pull-through cleaners WILL break sooner or later, even the Otis. This can leave you with a plugged bore and an extraction problem.

If you insist on using a bore snake, don't keep washing and re-using it too long.
That weakens the material and they WILL break off in the bore, leaving you with a real problem on how to get it out.
Also, every time you pull a snake through, you're pulling all that grit and fouling right back through.

To keep dirty solvent and debris out of the receivers, buy a bore guide. These are plastic tubes that lock into the chamber and receiver and act as a cleaning rod guide as well as keeping crud out of the action.

For other equipment:
Either carbon scraping tools to clean carbon from the bolt and bolt carrier, or a chemical carbon remover like Slip 2000 Carbon Killer.

Buy a couple of GI type M16 toothbrushes.

A nice accessory is a plastic solvent application bulb. This is a plastic bulb with a long tip that allows putting solvent on the brush or patch or into a solvent port on the bore guide. This prevents dipping th ebrush or patch in the solvent bottle and contaminating it.
Buy these bulbs from lab supply houses or from Brownell's listed with Accu-Bore bore solvent.
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