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Thread: How to clean lead out of a barrel and cylinder?

  1. #1
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    Default How to clean lead out of a barrel and cylinder?

    Forgive me ...I didn't do a forum search first and I'm asking my question anyway...

    My S&W 500 is made from a different, much harder/tougher, stainless steel than other S&W stainless steel guns. The manual says NOT to use ammoniated gun cleaners on it (CR-10, Sweets 7.62, etc). All of the gun cleaners that advertise the ability to clean lead out of a gun have oodles of ammonia in them ...

    Here are the methods that I'm aware of...

    1. Using an ammoniated cleaner such as CR-10 or Sweets 7.62 (a few bucks)

    2. Using an electrochemical/electrolytic like Outer's Foul-Out III ($160 to get started, including supplies.

    3. Using a Lewis Lead Cleaner system ($50+ to get started ...and only goes through .45 caliber, but maybe the .50 caliber rifle cleaning adapter would work on my 4" 500 S&W?)

    4. Mechanically cleaning with pure copper brillo pad in various ways (doesn't clean the grooves in the rifling?)

    What else is out there? What works entirely well yet doesn't break the bank? Are those ammoniated cleaners OK in my S&W as long as I follow the instructions on the bottle and limit exposure ...or is there cumulative damage that I should be aware of? How should I get the lead out!?

    Thanks,
    Brian

  2. #2

    Default ammonia cleaners

    I thought the ammonia based cleaners were geared towards copper. Shooters choice lead solvent does not have an ammonia smell, I cant remember whats in it off the top of my head. That solvent has worked good for me. Ive also heard of using lead removal cloths cut into patches. (as a side note dont use these on blued guns, I know its not applicable to the question at hand but worth throwing out there anyway) Lastly, there always the elbow grease method with a brush.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aklefty View Post
    I thought the ammonia based cleaners were geared towards copper. Shooters choice lead solvent does not have an ammonia smell, I cant remember whats in it off the top of my head. That solvent has worked good for me. Ive also heard of using lead removal cloths cut into patches. (as a side note dont use these on blued guns, I know its not applicable to the question at hand but worth throwing out there anyway) Lastly, there always the elbow grease method with a brush.
    The lead removing cloth patch deal is the Lewis Lead Cleaner thing mentioned below.

    Didn't know about the Shooter's Choice lead removal cleaner. And yes, Sweets and CR10 are aimed at copper but they also claim it removes lead. From what I've heard, the lead removal is probably not what these cleaners were intended for but they do work better than straight Hoppes #9 or equivalent. I'll go buy some Shooter's Choice lead remover... And follow the rules that I'm learning for preventing lead fouling in the first place.

    Brian

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    New member George's Avatar
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    Default lead out

    Don't know about solvent warning for the alloy of that gun. I think many folks advise against letting some of the stronger ammonia solvents like Sweets sit in the bore too long. Plus the ammonia based solvents usually don't do much if anything to lead. Lead is pretty inert.

    So I've found a couple of ways to get it out- both of them mechanical. First try.... I get a worn out bronze brush. Then wrap the brush tightly with strands of bronze wool either med or fine. Then it's elbow grease. The fit has to be fairly tight. If that doesn't do it then the Lewis Lead Remover (brass screen over expandible jag) type setup. This usually works but is caliber specific.... within ranges of the jags.

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    Default

    Brian, try this. This way you won't have to scroll all the way down to the third post below.



    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=26976



    Why do I get the feeling you are thinking about doing some shooting with lead bullets?
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Thanks ...I think all my questions have been answered.

    Brian

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    Default clarification

    The lead removal cloths I referred to are not the same as the lewis lead remover. The lewis system uses a screen. The lead removal cloths are made by KleenBore (maybe others to) and are a chemically treated cloth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aklefty View Post
    The lead removal cloths I referred to are not the same as the lewis lead remover. The lewis system uses a screen. The lead removal cloths are made by KleenBore (maybe others to) and are a chemically treated cloth.
    Thanks. I misunderstood.

    Brian

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    I have used the lead removal cloth that akleft mentioned and they seem to work pretty well, but I still think the fastest way to skin that cat is the manual labor route with a bronze brush and lots of stroking. I was able to get a sharpend brass rod (bent at a 90) into the forceing cone on my Vaquero and pick at the heavy lead plating until it came out in big spiral slivers and then took care of the rest with a bronze brush. Obviously the key here is to find / use a bullet and load combination that does not cause leading in your gun to begin with. For my Vaquero that meant opening up the (reaming) the cylinder and casting properly sized bullets out of a softer alloy. It is not a problem for me to shoot 100 rounds and have virtually no leading at all, where before, 50 rounds and the forcing cone was so full of lead that it would lock up the gun.
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    Default Gittin the Lead Out

    I guess I don’t get a lot of leading, but even when I can’t see it, pretty often there is some in there, near the forcing cone.

    I use the lead removal solvent and the brush etc. but the thing that works for me, is a tight patch, and the only way to get the patch tight enough is to push it all the way through, but with part of the patch still in the barrel, then back it up, to where it’s tight. Just experiment with it, and you’ll see what I mean.

    When it’s tight, I mean really tight, so tight it won’t come back out of the barrel, I pull hard on the cleaning rod, so hard that it HAS to come out, and when I do there are bits of lead on the patch. Oh Goody, I got the lead out of there. Nope, not usually. Usually, I gotta do it over and over again, until it’s really out.

    I just stumbled onto this “method??”. Probably, others have too. No amount of planning will ever replace dumb luck, I reckon.

    Smitty of the North
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    Smitty,

    I do that too ...double patches to make them fit tight. Or I wrap patches around a brush and then dip in solvent and push it through. I never reverse direction in a barrel (or cylinder) with a brush, wrapped or not. The patch on a brush trick really seems to keep on getting stuff out ...the first time you try it, it'll seem like something's wrong because gray matter keeps coming out...

    Brian

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    There is one other way to remove lead from the forcing cone and barrel that is nearly effortless, extremely fast, and fun:

    • make sure firearm is unloaded.
    • start your gas barbeque grill and adjust to high.
    • drink beer until barbeque grill reaches 750 F.
    • insert firearm into barbeque grill
    • remove firearm after all lead has melted from barrel and forcing cone.

    Ok………..so there are a couple of minor drawbacks to this method of gun cleaning, notably the melting of any non-metal components of the gun, the destruction of any heat treatment and finish that has been applied, and of course there is that whole issue of toxic lead that is now living in the bottom of your barbeque grill…………………..but it is fast, effective, easy and oh so much fun!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

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    You can find cheap screens at your local tobaccoist

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    Alangaq:

    I'll just remember that one for future reference.
    At least, until I can manage to forget it.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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