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Ed's Red Bore Cleaner
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Picture of Michael Robinson
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I thought I would pass along this discussion and recipe authored by Ed Harris, on how he came up with Ed's Red, and how to mix and use it.

quote:
MIX YOUR OWN “ED’S RED” BORE CLEANER... IT REALLY WORKS!

Ed Harris, Rev. 12-27-94


Three years ago I mixed my first “Ed’s Red” and I still think the “recipe” is a great idea. If you have never tried it, or maybe lost the recipe, I urge you save this and mix your own. My followers on the FIREARMS Echo think it’s the best thing since smokeless powder! Therefore, I’ll summarize the story again for the passing parade that didn’t get it the first time...

I originally did this because I used a lot of rifle bore cleaner and was deterred by the high price of commercial products. I knew there was no technical reason why you could not mix an effective bore cleaner using common hardware store ingredients which would be inexpensive, effective, and provide reasonable corrosion protection and adequate lubrication.

The “recipe” is based on proven principles and incorporates two polar and two non-polar ingredients. It is adapted from a formula in Hatcher’s Notebook, Frankford Arsenal Cleaner No.18, but substituting equivalent modern materials. I had the help of an organic chemist in doing this and we knew there would be no “surprises.” The original Hatcher recipe called for equal parts of acetone, turpentine, Pratt’s Astral Oil and sperm oil, and optionally 200 grams of lanolin added per liter.

Pratt’s Astral oil was nothing more than acid free, deodorized kerosene. We use K-1 kerosene of the type normally sold for indoor space heaters. An inexpensive, effective substitute for sperm oil is Dexron (II, IIe or III) automatic transmission fluid. Prior to about 1950, most ATFs were sperm oil based, but during WWII a synthetic was developed for use in precision instruments. With the great demand for automatic transmission autos after WWII, sperm oil was no longer practical to use in producing ATF in the quantity demanded, so the synthetic material became the basis for the Dexron fluids we know today. The additives in ATFs which include organometallic antioxidants and surfactants, make it highly suitable for our intended purpose.

Hatcher’s original formula used gum spirits of turpentine, but turpentine is expensive and highly flammable. Cheaper and safer is aliphatic mineral spirits, which is a petroleum based “safety solvent” used for thinning oil based paints and as automotive parts cleaner. It is commonly sold under the names “odorless mineral spirits,” “Stoddard Solvent” or “Varsol.”

There isn’t anything in Ed’s Red which will chemically remove copper fouling, but it does a better job on carbon residue than anything out there. Several users have told me, that exclusive use of “ER” does reduce the buildup of copper fouling, because it removes old impacted fouling which is left by other cleaners, reducing the adhesion of abraded metal to the surface, and leaving a cleaner surface which reduces subsequent fouling. It appears that “ER” will actually remove metal fouling it if you let it “soak” so the surfactants will do the job, though you may have to be patient.

The lanolin is optional. The cleaner works quite well without it. Incorporating the lanolin makes the cleaner easier on the hands, and provides better residual lubrication and corrosion protection if you use the cleaner as a protectant for long term storage. If you want to minimize cost, you can leave the lanolin out and save about $8 per gallon. Mix some yourself. I know it will work as well for you as it does for me.

CONTENTS: ED’S RED BORE CLEANER

1 part Dexron II, IIe or III ATF, GM Spec. D-20265 or later.
1 part Kerosene - deodorized, K1.
1 part Aliphatic Mineral Spirits, Fed. Spec. TT-T-2981F, CAS #64741-49-9; or substitute “Stoddard Solvent”, CAS #8052-41-3, or equivalent (aka “Varsol”); OK to substitute aromatics free White Spirit.
1 part Acetone, CAS #67-64-1.
1 lb. of Lanolin, Anhydrous, USP per gallon; OK to substitute Lanolin, Modified, Topical Lubricant, from the drug store.


MIXING INSTRUCTIONS

Mix outdoors, in good ventilation. Use a clean 1 gallon metal, chemical-resistant, heavy gauge PET or PVC plastic container. NFPA approved plastic gasoline storage containers are also OK. Do NOT use HDPE, which is breathable because the acetone will evaporate. The acetone in ER will attack HDPE in about 6 months, making a heck of a mess!

Add the ATF first. Use the empty container to measure the other components, so that it is thoroughly rinsed. If you incorporate the lanolin into the mixture, melt this carefully in a double boiler, taking precautions against fire. Pour the melted lanolin it into a larger container, rinsing the lanolin container with the bore cleaner mix, and stirring until it is all dissolved.

I recommend diverting a small quantity, up to 4 oz. per quart, of the 50-50 ATF/kerosene mix for use as an “ER-compatible” gun oil. This can be done without impairing the effectiveness of the mix.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING ED’S RED BORE CLEANER

1. Open the firearm action and ensure the bore is clear. Cleaning is most effective when done while the barrel is still warm to the touch from firing. Saturate a cotton patch with bore cleaner, wrap or impale on jag and push it through the bore from breech to muzzle. The patch should be a snug fit. Let the first patch fall off and do not pull it back into the bore.

2. Wet a second patch, and similarly start it into the bore from the breech, this time scrubbing from the throat area forward in 4-5” strokes and gradually advancing until the patch emerges out the muzzle. Waiting approximately 1 minute to let the bore cleaner soak will improve its action.

3. For pitted, heavily carbon-fouled “rattle battle” guns, leaded revolvers or neglected bores a bronze brush wet with bore cleaner may be used to remove stubborn deposits. This is unnecessary for smooth, target-grade barrels in routine use.

4. Use a final wet patch pushed straight through the bore to flush out loosened residue dissolved by Ed’s Red. Let the patch fall off the jag without pulling it back into the bore. If you are finished firing, leaving the bore wet will protect it from rust for up to 30 days. If the lanolin is incorporated into the mixture, it will protect the firearm from rust for up to two years. For longer term storage I recommend use of Lee Liquid Alox as a Cosmoline substitute. “ER” will readily remove hardened Alox or Cosmoline.

5. Wipe spilled Ed’s Red from exterior surfaces before storing the gun. (While Ed’s Red is harmless to blue and nickel finishes, the acetone it contains is harmful to most wood finishes).

6. Before firing again, push two dry patches through the bore and dry the chamber, using a patch wrapped around a suitably sized brush or jag. First shot point of impact usually will not be disturbed by Ed’s Red if the bore is cleaned as described.

7. I have determined to my satisfaction that when Ed’s Red is used exclusively and thoroughly, that hot water cleaning is unnecessary after use of Pyrodex or military chlorate primers. However, if bores are not wiped between shots and are heavily caked from black powder fouling, hot water cleaning is recommended first to break up heavy fouling deposits. Water cleaning should be followed by a thorough flush with Ed’s Red to prevent after-rusting which could result from residual moisture. It is ALWAYS good practice to clean TWICE, TWO DAYS APART, whenever using chlorate primed ammunition, just to make sure you get all the residue out.

LABEL AND OBLIGATORY SAFETY WARNINGS
RIFLE BORE CLEANER
CAUTION – HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED
KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN


1. Flammable mixture. Keep away from heat, sparks or flame.

2. FIRST AID – If swallowed DO NOT induce vomiting, call physician immediately. In case of eye contact immediately flush thoroughly with water and call a physician. For skin contact wash thoroughly.

3. Use with adequate ventilation. Avoid breathing vapors or spray mist. It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling. Reports have associated repeated and prolonged occupational overexposure to solvents with permanent brain and nervous system damage. If using in closed armory vaults lacking forced air ventilation wear respiratory protection meeting NIOSH TC23C or equivalent. Keep container tightly closed when not in use.

This “Recipe” is placed in the public domain, and may be freely distributed provided that it is done so in its entirely with all instructions and safety warnings included herein, and that proper attribution is given to the author.


It does work!


Mike

Edited on advice of counsel.
 
Posts: 11473 | Location: New England | Registered: 06 June 2003Reply With Quote
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Store bought bore cleaners have come a long way since '94. I used carburetor cleaner (OMC Engine Tuner) since the "80s. I buy it by the gallon. It seems to work as well or better than others I've tried, including Wipe Out.

Dave
 
Posts: 2086 | Location: Seattle Washington, USA | Registered: 19 January 2004Reply With Quote
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I've been mixing Ed's Red for over 20 years. It is a great bore cleaner.
Bill
 
Posts: 1062 | Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA | Registered: 19 March 2002Reply With Quote
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Probably was great in the day, but pretty hard to say it cleans as well as KG-12 or the newer copper solvents.


___________________

Just Remember, We ALL Told You So.
 
Posts: 22442 | Location: Occupying Little Minds Rent Free | Registered: 04 October 2012Reply With Quote
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Picture of Michael Robinson
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I don't know about you guys, but I used to use a lot of Hoppes #9, and still have a few bottles lying around.

As a point of comparison:

    -- With lanolin, which is optional and relatively expensive (but I think adds a lot in terms of rust prevention), Ed's Red is 30-35% less expensive by volume than Hoppes #9.

    -- Without lanolin, which makes it about equal to Hoppes, it's about 60-65% less expensive.


Of course, to remove copper, you need something else besides, no matter which you use.

For me, apart from cost, it's just fun to mix this stuff up. It makes me feel like an alchemist!


Mike

Edited on advice of counsel.
 
Posts: 11473 | Location: New England | Registered: 06 June 2003Reply With Quote
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It is great stuff. I use it for maintenance and always on guns new to me. A small amount also makes ants stop if applied on their hills. They won't like you. Be Well, Packy.
 
Posts: 2084 | Registered: 28 May 2002Reply With Quote
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I still use Hoppes #9 on my 22 rimfires.

Dave
 
Posts: 2086 | Location: Seattle Washington, USA | Registered: 19 January 2004Reply With Quote
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Benchresters have been making their own solvent for years. GM Top Engine cleaner, a little Kroil and some blue print ammonia. Fairly simple and it takes care of everything.


The only easy day is yesterday!
 
Posts: 2734 | Location: Northern Minnesota | Registered: 22 September 2005Reply With Quote
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There's an Ed's Red "Plus" for copper fouling.

I've never mixed it, but I'll try to find the recipe and post it in this thread.


Mike

Edited on advice of counsel.
 
Posts: 11473 | Location: New England | Registered: 06 June 2003Reply With Quote
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frfrogspad.org/homemade Check out all his gun related articles if you have the time. Be Well, Packy.
 
Posts: 2084 | Registered: 28 May 2002Reply With Quote
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Found a new use for Ed's Red yesterday.

Was using my disk/belt sander and the old abrasive disk needed to be replaced. The disk adhesive stuck to the plate did not cooperate. A lot was stuck to the plate.

a paint scraper was useless for removing the adhesive.

Went to Ed's Red. Some of that on a cloth worked pretty well. took a while, but the adhesive came off. Then a paint scraper finished off the job.

Cleaned it with ethanol. good to go.

better living thru chemistry.
 
Posts: 58 | Location: minnesota | Registered: 16 July 2012Reply With Quote
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Picture of Michael Robinson
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It's a pretty good solvent, that's for sure.

This is the recipe for Ed's Red "Plus" for removal of copper fouling:

CONTENTS:

11 ounces of basic Ed’s Red
2 ounces of 10-20% industrial strength ammonia
2 ounces of cutting oil
1 ounce of Murphy’s Oil Soap


MIXING INSTRUCTIONS:

Mix the oil soap and ammonia in a separate container.

In a suitable 1 pint container containing 11 ounces of Ed’s Red, add the cutting oil and mix together.

Then add the oil soap/ammonia mixture to Ed’s Red/ cutting oil and shake the container to mix the ingredients.

Some components may settle out over an extended period. So, shake well before using.

Allow to work about 15-20 minutes.

I have not tried this yet.


Mike

Edited on advice of counsel.
 
Posts: 11473 | Location: New England | Registered: 06 June 2003Reply With Quote
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Lanolin - sheep smegma
 
Posts: 5401 | Location: NY, NY | Registered: 28 November 2005Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by richj:
Lanolin - sheep smegma


Have you published in any of the scientific journals on this subject? Big Grin

I have always heard it was oil generated from the sebaceous glands.


Mike

Edited on advice of counsel.
 
Posts: 11473 | Location: New England | Registered: 06 June 2003Reply With Quote
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The only home made witches brew Ive ever mixed and used, still do today...It a quart jar of commercial amonia, add a cup of Hyragen Peroxide, and if you want color add a copper bullet, a penny or what ever thats copper and it turns blue. the old bench resters called it "BLUE GOOP" and if your gun is coppered heavy, it will clean the bore, The worst I every used it on was my old 450-400 and it cleaned that old dog to as new..A day a p-dog hunting can foul a berral big time, so I use it then otherwise I use wipe out, it works..

Too many folks over clean a bore looking for a prestine internal finish, more guns are ruined by cleaning rods than anything I can think off..just a good cleaning is good enough, no need for squeeky clean, Keep in mind no animal on earth has ever been killed by a clean bore, that is an impossibility..


Ray Atkinson
Atkinson Hunting Adventures
10 Ward Lane,
Filer, Idaho, 83328
208-731-4120

rayatkinsonhunting@gmail.com
 
Posts: 38285 | Location: Twin Falls, Idaho | Registered: 04 June 2000Reply With Quote
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