By 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 nonpolar 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, Pratts Astral Oil and sperm oil, and optionally 200 grams of lanolin added per liter.
Pratts 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 that most ATF's 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 produce 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 with 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.
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")
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 gage 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 ozs. 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.
RIFLE BORE CLEANER
HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED.
KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN
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.
In Home Mix We Trust, Regards, Ed
- --- msged 2.05
* Origin: Home of Ed's Red (1:109/120.3006)