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dromia

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Ed's Red recipe.
« on: June 02, 2014, 12:33:16 AM »
Here is Ed Harris' instructions for making and using his Ed's Red bore cleaner.

This is my go to cleaner for all by cast bullet rifles.

"Ed's Red" - - Revisited

By C.E., "Ed" Harris

Since I mixed my first "Ed's Red" (ER) bore cleaner five years ago, hundreds of users have told me that they find it as effective as commercial products. This cleaner has an action similar to military rifle bore cleaner, such as Mil-C-372B. Itaner, such as Mil-C-372B. It is highly effective for removing plastic fouling from shotgun bores, caked carbon inn semi-automatic rifles or pistols, or leading in revolvers. "ER" is not a "decoppering" solution for fast removal of heavy jacket fouling, but because is more effective in removal of caked carbon and primer residues than most other cleaners, so metal fouling is reduced when "ER" is used.

I researched the subject rather thoroughly and determined there was no technical reason why an effective firearm bore cleaner couldn't be mixed using common hardware store ingredients. The resulting cleaner is safe, effective, inexpensive, provides excellent corrosion protection and adequate residual lubrication. Routine oiling after cleaning is unnecessary except for storage exceeding 1 year, or in harsh environments, such as salt air exposure.

The formula is adapted from Hatcher's "Frankford Arsenal Cleaner No.18," but substitutes equivalent modern materials. Hatcher's recipe called for equal parts of acetone, turpentine, Pratts Astral Oil and sperm oil, and (optionally) 200 grams of anhydrous lanolin per liter into the cleaner.

Some discussion of the ingredients in ER is helpful to understand the properties of the cleaner and how it works. Pratts Astral Oil was nothing more than acidg more than acid free, deodorized kerosene. Today you would ask for "K1" kerosene of the type sold for use in indoor space heaters.

An inexpensive, effective substitute for sperm oil is Dexron III automatic transmission fluid. Prior to 1950 most ATF's were sperm oil based. During WWII sperm oil was mostly unavailable, so highly refined, dewaxed hydrofinished petroleum oils were developed, which had excellent thermal stability. When antioxidants were added to prevent gumming these worked well in precision instruments.

With the high demand for automatic transmission autos after WWII, sperm oil was no longer practical to produce ATFs in the needed quantities needed, so the wartime expedients were mass produced. ATFs have been continually improved over the years. The additives contained in Dexron include detergents or other surfactants which are highly suitable for inclusion in an all-purpose cleaner, lubricant and preservative.

Hatcher's Frankford Arsenal No. 18 used gum spirits of turpentine, but turpentine is both expensive and also highly flammable, so I chose not to use it. Much safer and more inexpensive are "aliphatic mineral spirits," which are an open-chain organic solvent, rather than the closed-chain, benzene ring structure, commontructure, common to "aromatics," such as naptha or "lighter fluid." Sometimes called "safety solvent," aliphatic mineral spirits are used for thinning oil based paint, as automotive parts cleaner and is commonly sold under the names "odorless mineral spirits," "Stoddard Solvent" or "Varsol".

Acetone is included to provide an aggressive, fast-acting solvent for caked smokeless powder residues. Because acetone readily evaporates and the fumes are harmful in high concentrations, it is recommended that it be left out if the cleaner will be used indoors, in soak tanks or in enclosed spaces lacking forced air ventilation. Containers should be kept tightly closed when not in use. ER is still effective without acetone, but not as "fast-acting."

"Ed's Red" does not chemically dissolve copper fouling in rifle bores, but it does a better job of removing carbon and primer residue than most other cleaners. Many users have told me, that frequent and exclusive use of "ER" reduces copper deposits, because it removes the old impacted powder fouling left behind by other cleaners. This reduces the abrasion and adhesion of jacket metal to the bore, leaving a cleaner surface condition which reduces subsequent fouling. Experience indicatesrience indicates that "ER" will actually remove metal fouling in bores if it is left to "soak," for a few days so the surfactants will do the job, when followed by a repeat cleaning. You simply have to be patient.

Addition of lanolin to ER is optional, because the cleaner works perfectly well and gives adequate corrosion protection and lubrication without it. Inclusion of lanolin makes the cleaner easier on the hands, increases its lubricity and film strength and improves corrosion protection if firearms, tools or equipment will be routinely exposed to salt air, water spray, or corrosive urban atmospheres.

I recommend the lanolin included if you intend to use the cleaner as a protectant for long term storage or for a "flush" after water cleaning of black powder firearms or those fired with military chlorate primers. This is because lanolin has a great affinity for water and readily emulsifies so that the bore can be wiped of residual moisture, leaving a protective film. If you inspect your guns and wipe them down twice yearly, you can leave out the lanolin and save about $10 per gallon.

At current retail prices you can buy all the ingredients to mix ER, without the lanolin for about $12 per gallon. I urge you to mix some yourself. I ame yourself. I am confident it will work as well for you as it does for me and hundreds of users who got the "recipe" on the Fidonet Firearms Echo.

CONTENTS: Ed's Red Bore Cleaner

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1 part Dexron ATF, GM Spec. D-20265 or later.
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1 part Kerosene - deodorized, K1
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1 part Aliphatic Mineral Spirits
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CAS #64741-49-9, or substitute "Stoddard Solvent", CAS #8052-41-3, or equivalent.
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1 part Acetone, CAS #67-64-1.
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(Optional 1 lb. of Lanolin, Anhydrous, USP per gallon, or 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 gage PET or PVC plastic container. NFPA approved plastic gasoline storage containers are OK. Do NOT use HDPE, which is permeable, because the acetone will slowly evaporate. Acetone in ER will attack HDPE over time, causing the container to collapse, making a heck of a mess!

Add the ATF first. Use the empty container to measure the otherainer 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 up to 4 ozs. per quart of the 50-50 ATF/kerosene mix to use as "ER-compatible" gun oil. This can be done without impairing the effectiveness of the remaining mix. Label and safety warnings follow:

FIREARM BORE CLEANER

CAUTION: FLAMMABLE MIXTURE -- HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED -- KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN

Contents: petroleum distillates, surfactants, organometallic antioxidants and acetone.

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 itsonsistent 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.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE:

1. Open the firearm action and ensure the bore is clear. Cleaning is most effective when done while the barrel is still warm 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 service rifles, 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.
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 1 year under average atmospheric conditions.

5. If lanolin is incorporated into the mixture, it will protect the firearm from rust for up to two years, even in a humid environment. (For longer storage use Lee Liquid Alox or Cosmolene). "ER" will readily remove hardened Alox or Cosmolene.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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 shots and areand 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 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 corrosive residue out.

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

APDDSN0864

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 05:04:56 PM »
Thank you!  What a great first topic.   :)

Ed

goodsteel

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 12:00:40 PM »
I use this cleaner exclusively. I am a gunsmith, and buying gun cleaners was eating my lunch. I tried several industrial solvents, but they were still very expensive.
I saw this recipe and tried it. It rivals Hoppes #9 in effectiveness, and at $20 a gallon, I'm pretty sold on it.
Now days, I soak parts and trigger groups in a tub of the stuff overnight, and have a spray bottle to hose off the internals of receivers etc etc.
Ed's Red and an air compressor are two tools no gunsmith should be without!
It is not hard on gun finishes either.

I might also add that keeping the components for Eds Red around separate is a very good idea also for anyone who has a gunshop, or works on firearms:
Acetone:
Good for cleaning parts prior to applying cold blue.
Mix 50/50 with the ATF for the best break free compound on the planet. Try this sometime! Mix up a small ammount with a Q-tip in a small dish. Touch the Q-tip to some clean steel under bright light, and you can see it swirl and churn when it touches the surface!
I have used 50/50 to break loose gaulded threads on space flight hardware. Stainless on stainless 2 1/2"-16TPI threads. Doesn't' get any worse than that!

ATF:
Makes a dandy rust preventative, (already mentioned 50/50) and is the perfect lubricant for the rails on a gunstock duplicator or any other piece of machinery that needs oil that wood dust will not stick to. (Ways on a ShopSmith woodworking machine come to mind).

Mineral spirits:
Cut through cosmoline, thin out wood stain.

Kerosine:
One of the most useful substances on the planet!
Use it in a lamp to blacken parts being fit together.
Use it as a dandy cutting/tapping fluid on the lathe or mill, especially for aluminum.
Douse your legs if you get into seed ticks at the range.

These are just a few highlights of the many many uses these chemicals can have in addition to making awesome guncleaner.

dromia

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2014, 03:53:30 AM »
I've never managed to get ATF and acetone to mix.

goodsteel

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2014, 05:59:25 PM »
Dromia, it doesn't have to mix to work! LOL!
You are right, it kind of swirls and churns like a witches brew, but doesn't mix immediately. I think of the acetone as a carrier for the ATF. It doesn't really mix, but it helps it to work into tight crevasses.
All I know is it isn't all that pretty nor logical, but it works like a son of a gun!

Blanco

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2014, 07:27:44 AM »
I have tried several versions of this and found my recipe a bit easier to source.
1.) Valvoline Universal ATF has a bright red color and very low odor, and works just as good as Dextron.
2.) Odorless Mineral Spirits (available at Home Depot)
3.) 10 wt compressor oil
4.) LPS Orange oil cleaner
Mix the first 3 in equal parts
If I mix a gallon I add about half a cup of the Orange oil. I have only been able to source it in spray can.
This is the best gun cleaner I have ever used and it is a fantastic penetrating oil, much better than WD-40.
Leaves a nice light oil film to protect and lube your firearms. Also use it for cleaning and lubing my reloading presses.
I put mine in a sprayer bottle and keep it on my bench.

dromia

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2014, 08:19:16 AM »
Dromia, it doesn't have to mix to work! LOL!
You are right, it kind of swirls and churns like a witches brew, but doesn't mix immediately. I think of the acetone as a carrier for the ATF. It doesn't really mix, but it helps it to work into tight crevasses.
All I know is it isn't all that pretty nor logical, but it works like a son of a gun!

Glad its not me then and pleased that it works for you as a it never worked any better than ATF on its own as a release fluid for me.

1johnlb

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2014, 12:47:14 AM »
Excellent thread, glad I stopped by its just what I've started playing with.

A little food for thought, MARVEL MYSTERY OIL, it's ability not to carbon up when burned ,to lubricate,clean far exceeds atf.

I have just begun using it on my no4 it is easily removing lead and traces of old copper that I thought was already gone.

Just food for thought

376Steyr

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2015, 09:04:15 AM »
My version:
      1 part ATF
      1 part K1 Kerosene
      1 part mineral spirits
      1 part Kingsford Charcoal Starter fluid
I intentionally left out the acetone, as I generally clean indoors and I really dislike the smell of acetone.  I've not used the original version, so I can't make a direct comparison, but I'm happy with my results.

lar45

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2015, 06:32:44 AM »
I made my first batch about 15 years ago because everyone was talking about it and I just had to try it.
My go to cleaner had always been Hoppe's no. 9 before that.
I was cleaning out my 35 Whelen to test different lubes with a 358-160PB.  I scrubbed with no. 9 until I was getting clean patches, then on a whim I tried one more patch but with Ed's Red.  I was rather surprised when the patch came out rather dark.  I swabbed the bore dry and tried another one with no. 9 which came back clean.  I then tried another with Ed's Red which came back very dark again.  I finished cleaning with Ed's Red and have never looked back.

Squigie

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2015, 09:51:05 PM »
Something all Ed's Red users should keep in mind:

The rust preventatives and detergents in ATF are actually hygroscopic.  That means that they actively DRAW moisture into the solution and hold it (either in your unused solution, or on the firearm).  While holding moisture on the firearm is bad enough, it also means that once the solution reaches 100% saturation, any more moisture will be attracted directly to the metal.

There's also the problem of acetone....  Acetone is also hygroscopic.  So, you have yet a third compound in the solution that is DRAWING moisture onto something where you're better off avoiding moisture.

And, finally...  Acetone mixed with ATF and Kerosene makes one of the best penetrating oils around.  It's great for stuck screws, but will ruin a gun stock like nobody's business.  Ed's Red should be kept away from wood, at all costs.  It will ruin your stocks.



If you ever want to make a chemical engineer laugh until they blow chunks through their nose and squirt milk through their tearducts, tell them that you're using ATF, Kerosene, and Acetone as a gun cleaner and preservative.  :o

dromia

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2015, 10:48:28 PM »
How come with all that theory working against it it performs so well then?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2015, 11:04:04 PM by dromia »

Squigie

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2015, 10:11:46 PM »
How come with all that theory working against it it performs so well then?
Lowered expectations?  ;)

I honestly don't know why so many people think it works so well, other than a belief that many people take pride in the fact that they made it, and it is, therefore, a better option.
I've tried a few variations, and didn't find them to be worth using.  I consider Hoppes #9 (modern formula) to be a pretty lousy gun solvent, but it still outperformed the "Ed's Red" "Ned's Red" and "Bob's Red" for cleaning.

For carbon and copper removal (that's exponentially quicker than Ed's Red), my preferred solvent might cost me about $10 / year. (It is not Hoppes #9.)
And my preferred gun oils costs me about $1.25 / year.
None leave a residue that will get stick and nasty over time.
None stink.
And, none are full of chemicals that will harm your skin, lungs, and nervous system.


If you want to stick with Ed's Red, and want it to REALLY get the job done....
Add some benzene.  That was the 'magic' ingredient in the gun cleaners of yesteryear (including the original Hoppes #9).

dromia

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2015, 08:53:44 AM »
Lowered expectations don't think so as I have tried it alongside many branded cleaners so my choice is informed by comparative performance, just as yours seems to be.

Perhaps I just have guns that need less cleaning.

I've been using it for years and have shelves of branded products that do no better (and a lot of them do worse) all bought at an extortionate price.

Eds Red has never gone sticky or left a residue on me.

Ed's Red is no copper remover and has never claimed to be, before C2R came along I used ammonia patch and patch about with Ed's Red and that worked just fine however C2R being a one product, water soluble and very good is used for copper and black powder fouling.

I don't use C2R on my smokeless lead bullet guns as it cleans too well.

I assure you that if Ed's Red didn't perform then I wouldn't be using it. Shame it doesn't work for you, maybe your not mixing it correctly.

As to harmfulness that is like anything else it is how you choose to use it, don't get a smell off it but then I rarely need to add the acetone and if I do then it is small quantities at the time of use. At my age now whatever is going to do me in is no doubt locked and loaded.

Still each to his own.

alpha1

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Re: Ed's Red recipe.
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2015, 02:48:30 PM »
It works for me Iv used it for years. I don't use it for copper fouling but as a general gun cleaner its fine.

 



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