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  #1  
Old 12-30-2010, 11:28 PM
bigbird bigbird is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Savannah, Georgia
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Default Electrolysis as a method to clean a dark or dirty rifle barrel bore.

I have been wondering about the use of a method to clean a dark or dirty rifle bore called "Electrolysis" and what I would like to know is have any of you guys ever used this method and do you recommend it, if so, is there any benefit to using Electrolysis and will it help a frosted bore to shoot better groups?

I tried this method twice on a rough looking 1903 Sedgley barrel bore and a lot of blue and black crap came out, but the bore really doesn't look much better and I am also wondering now if I am wasting my time or is there some benefit to this?

Any experience or knowledge any of you fellows have about this, your comments would be appreciated.

Jim
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  #2  
Old 12-30-2010, 11:48 PM
jmm jmm is offline
 
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Outers sells a kit for cleaning barrels this way.
You are really just reverse electro-plating, moving metal particle from the barrel surface, and plating them onto a rod in the center of the bore. The kit uses 2 different electrolyte solutions, one of which will transport lead, and the other that will transport copper. It worked OK for me to strip the lead out of a badly leaded pistol barrel.
The solutions are designed to allow the particular ion to disolve and plate-out, so copper solution doesn't work for lead, and vice versa.
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct...tnumber=243419

Because the solutions are not designed for steel plating, they don't errode the bore, but they will remove the little partices caught in the metal surface. In reality, the surface ends up "rougher" than before you started.
In the case of the barrel you cleaned, you probably removed both lead and copper fouling.
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  #3  
Old 12-31-2010, 07:11 AM
ceresco ceresco is online now
 
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I have used the process. It works and may have it's place, but I found it messy and tedious. Simply using bore cleaning products and brushes seems more practical. Products like Sweets, J&B end even steel wool with graded abrasives can be used on really bad bores--(I have a Jap 6.5mm that looks like it came here on the outside of a submarine). I too noticed the electro cleaned bores were rough, as would be expected. Moly is sometimes suggested as a filler for frosted bores--removing it is likewise conterproductive. Good Shooting.....
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  #4  
Old 12-31-2010, 11:46 AM
E-7Ret. E-7Ret. is offline
 
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Location: Loveland, Ohio
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I've had alot of success with a method that, frankly, makes alot of grown men cringe. I use an old .30 caliber one-piece rod I cut the handle off of, a .22caliber rifle brush, 00 Steelwool and Kroil. I chuck the barrelled-action up in a padded vise, screw the brush onto the rod, slide a bore-guide on, wrap the brush with the 00 til it's a fairly tight fit in the bore, soak it with Kroil, chuck the other end in my VS Battery drill and run it in and out a few times at about 200rpm, all the way to the chamber and back out. Then, I run a clean patch through and check my progress.

Doesn't harm the bore and seems to polish it up pretty good. Rifles I've done this to, always seem to group better afterwards.
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  #5  
Old 12-31-2010, 09:16 PM
Unclenick Unclenick is offline
 
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Hmm. I think I'll join with the cringers. I suspect the wool would mainly ride the lands, leaving microscopic marks perpendicular to the direction of bullet travel, and not getting down into the corners where the lands meet the grooves. Anyway, there's no need. The chemicals have gotten so good you seldom have to do anything more than apply the right one and wipe the crud out.


Jim,

The electrolytic cleaning system is a metal removal system, as Jmm explained. I don't believe it's particularly good on carbon. At least, the original Outers solutions were not. I always got the carbon out first before using one. Father Frog's site has a home-built unit I designed for him several years ago that you can build from Radio Shack parts, or you can buy the Outers unit if you don't want to build your own.

The one situation in which these units can etch steel is when rust is present. The Outers instructions warn that if the solution turns yellowish to stop because that it what's happening. They suggest checking for that. An eyedropper works. The etching allows the acetates to take on iron atoms and begin moving them. This will further dull and activate the surface and promote rust.

Electrolytic removal of frosting or other surface textures can also be done, but it's a process called electropolishing and is quite different from electrolytic bore cleaning. I believe it requires the use of a chromic acid-based electrolyte which is dangerous and has regulated disposal requirements as well as handling precautions that need to be taken with it. It's not the kind of thing you normally do at home. For a barrel you have to use a center electrode with controlled current density and you have to mask off the chamber. I believe you need a pumping system that keeps the fluid moving over the surface of the bore. A company called Blackstar did barrels like this commercially for awhile. I have one on my mouse gun. Great barrel, but they seem to be defunct now.

If you have a lot of carbon crud you want to remove, I highly recommend a product called Gunzilla. It turns even hard carbon cake, like at the end of many Garand op-rods, into soft sludge if you let it work long enough. It is non-toxic and vegetable oil-based. it's become very popular over in the sandbox if the site testimonials are accurate, as a superior CLP.

For a barrel with heavy carbon, I recommend you get a chamber plug with o-ring seals like Sinclair sells. In a Garand, remove the gas cylinder and plug the gas port with a little dental wax you can get out later with a drill bit. Put the chamber plug in and set the gun muzzle-up and fill the bore with Gunzilla and set a cover over it. Just ignore it overnight. Pour the Gunzilla back in its jar for the next time. Remove the chamber plug carefully as it will now have carbon sludge on the end. Use a pull-through patch like the Otis kits have to remove the carbon sludge.

Copper is eaten quickly by KG-12. It's only drawback is it doesn't change colors like most other copper eaters. I use Boretech Eliminator or their Cu+2 to get the color change. Both work quickly on copper. But if you want to try the electrolytic method at that point, you can.
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  #6  
Old 12-31-2010, 09:29 PM
Torquemada Torquemada is offline
 
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Location: NC
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I used an electronic bore cleaner on a rough looking No. 4 Mk I bore not too long ago. The amount of fouling and copper that came out was amazing. The bore isn't perfect now, but it looks much, much better. Hopefully soon I'll know how well it shoots.

I made my own out of a wall adapter and about $15 in parts from Radio Shack. Check out this thread at the surplus rifle forums for more helpful info.
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  #7  
Old 01-01-2011, 02:57 PM
bigbird bigbird is offline
 
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Kool name Torquemada,
Sid Caesar used to play a character Called Torquemada and in his skit they would always end it with " You can't torquemada anything."

Thanks for all of you fellows info, it has made me think more about this technique. I guess I should have said what I have already tried.

1) When I made the tools, I used a 3/32nd dia. steel rod about 4 ins. longer than the length of the bore and put some electricians tape in the center for insulation and I used a long wooden dowel with a 3/32nd dia. hole bored into the end of it to hold the rod. It's Just large enough to plug the bore at the breach to keep the cleaning fluid from getting into the chamber and a short wooden dowel tapered at one end and with a 1/8th dia hole through it end to end, to center the rod at the muzzle end of the bore.

2) I used batteries for power with wire leads that have alligator clips on each end and marked POS. and NEG. I checked the voltage using a OHM meter 2.5-4 volts.

3) Poured the cleaning fluid ( 2 parts white vinegar and 1 part Ammonia) to fill the bore with the rod installed and then slid the tapered dowel down the rod to the muzzle.

4) Connected the POS lead to the barrel (I connected it to the front sight) and connected the NEG lead to the steel rod and allowed it to cook for about 25 minuted. NOTE: again after connecting the leads I checked, using the OHM meter, to see if I had current passing through.

BTW I always removed the barrel from the stock because it is kind of messy.

Jim
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  #8  
Old 01-01-2011, 03:57 PM
Torquemada Torquemada is offline
 
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Yeah I learned the hard way to take the barrel out of the stock. Ammonia is not gentle on wood.

I used an adapter rated for 3V, 200 mA. I got an appropriately sized resistor to drop the current to under 100 mA, and a 1000 microFarad capacitor from Radio Shack. I hooked all this up to a barrier strip and when running, it shows about 2.2V and about 95 mA. Based on what I read in the thread that I linked above, this is a reasonable setup for an EBC.

I use janitor's ammonia from ACE Hardware for the solution. I went to Lowes for some rubber plugs (they are in the specialty hardware, in the pull out drawers) to plug the chamber, as well as some 1/8" dia steel rod and some 1/8" o-rings from the plumbing section to keep the rod from touching the bore.

As you said, positive goes to the gun, and negative goes to the steel rod in the bore. I have to keep a close eye on mine, and add solution periodically to keep it from bubbling away. Depending on how dirty the bore is, I remove the rod and wipe it clean every 20-30 mins or so. I don't run it for more than an hour. Once I am done, I pour boiling water down the bore from the chamber to get all the ammonia out, then run several dry patches to dry it out followed by an oily patch to protect it.

I don't plan on using this as my normal cleaning regimen. I do like that it seems to get all of the accumulated years of copper and carbon fouling out of old surplus rifles, so I'll use it on newly-acquired rifles as a good first cleaning, and then clean normally from then on. That No. 4 Mk I that I mentioned was apparently a Turkish import, which are known for being poorly cared for. That bore was absolutely filthy and the EBC did quite a bit to bring it back to life.
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  #9  
Old 01-01-2011, 05:46 PM
bigbird bigbird is offline
 
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You are right Torquemada, I didn't mention that after the bore has been boiled out that I did flush the bore with a water hose. Then a normal clean and lube was done to the bore and the rest of the receiver and barrel.
I didn't go the extent you did researching the process. I got the idea from a video on Youtube. Then after I did it once I thought maybe I should ask if anybody had done this or knew about the process and maybe knew of anything that I might not want happen to my rifle. ( M1903 Mk I )

You know after the fact, it hits you like "Opps I hope I didn't mess up."

Jim
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  #10  
Old 01-01-2011, 06:13 PM
E-7Ret. E-7Ret. is offline
 
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First of all, the Steelwool is softer than the barrel steel, no scratches. Basic metalurgy. Second, it does get down into the grooves as seen by my magnifying Borescope. So, cringe away and be happy.
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