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152 Posts
Dunkit may be great, I've only read about it.

What's wrong with hot soapy water? I almost never use any other chemicals for
cleaning my pistols. I do use bore cleaner, if I need it. If you get the water
boiling hot -- I use a camp stove in the garage -- the water dries right off.

I'd also be hesitant to 'dunk' an assembled pistol for fear of washing gunk
into the works. So, if I have to take it apart, might as well use hot soapy
water. Cheap (free), healthy (no headaches, liver damage, etc.), and works really well.

13 Posts
I use odorless mineral spirits. Mild solvent, harmless to the finish, and inexpensive.

I now have an ultrasonic cleaner, but I used to just use a bucket with a lid or a coffee can.

I've heard good things about some home-made concoction called Ed's Red. I'm sure someone here knows the scoop (and recipe).

152 Posts
If you blow-up, poison, or burn yourself, I'm not responsible! (Kenneth == not
liable idiot) Use this 'information' at your own risk. I do my best to not
use this poison, or any other nasty chemicals any more. Joking aside, all of these
ingredients are REALLY BAD for you.

I've use Ed's Red on my rifles for a long time. Most of the time, I clean my
pistols with boiling water. The best thing about mixing this stuff up, after
the low price, is the looks you get from the clerk at OSH when you buy a
gallon of acetone, kerosene, paint thinner, and atf. I was stocking my cabin
the last time I stocked up and had a bunch of batteries, matches, propane, and
candles in the shopping cart. The clerk clearly thought I was the next

I mix it up in a glass mason jar that has measuring lines on the side. That
way, it's easy to mix up a quart at a time. I've never added the lanolin.

You can get the whole skinny at the rec.guns faq:


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
may substitute "Stoddard Solvent", CAS #8052-41-3, or equivalent, (aka

1 part Acetone, CAS #67-64-1.

(Optional up to 1 lb. of Lanolin, Anhydrous, USP per gallon, OK to substitute
Lanolin, Modified, Topical Lubricant, from the drug store)


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
permeable, because the acetone will eventually evaporate. The acetone in ER
will also attack HDPE, causing the container to collapse, making a heck of a

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 ozs. per quart of the 50-50
ATF/kerosene mix for optional use as an "ER-compatible" gun oil. This can be
done without impairing the effectiveness of the remaining mix.



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 labelling. Reports have associated repeated and
prolonged occupational over exposure 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.
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