View Full Version : Ultrasonic Cleaners

02-24-2010, 04:17 PM
First things first - I am new to the forums and wanted to say hello to everyone here. I have been shooting regularly for about 10 years and reloading for about 6 years. I am always on the lookout for new tricks and tips.

My real question here is do any of you have / use ultrasonic gun cleaners, and would you give them a thumbs up or down, reasons for why you feel the way you do about them, etc. Do they work well enough to get leading out of a barrel? I shoot IDPA matches at least once a month if not 2 or more and I am looking for new ways to clean my firearms without having to get out all of the chemicals, etc. They are fairly expensive and I don't want to get stuck with a piece of junk if they completely suck.

Thanks in advance for the help,


02-24-2010, 05:49 PM
Welcome to the Guide.

I really don't know how well they would work on a barrel, (logic says they ought to work reasonably well) but you can get a Lewis Tool from Brownells for much less than you can get any kind of cleaner. Nothing cleans out serious lead fouling better and no solvents are required. I have good results with Rig #44 solvent. It's one of the better lead solvents available and very easy to use.

But the bottom line is that it is always so much easier to prevent leading by using bullets that are larger in diameter and softer in alloy. Undersized and overly hard bullets are the cause of leading in pistol barrels 99% of the time.

02-25-2010, 06:56 AM
Hi bcbulldog, welcome aboard;

I'm curious about your hardware; is this only about the leading or about the goo in the gun too? Do the other competitors have similar problems?
I never use chemicals, only oil, towels/rags and elbow grease (but then I got rid of my stainless guns years ago...).


02-25-2010, 09:34 PM
no - you are correct - its not only about leading - its about general gun maintenance / cleaning the goo out after shooting on a regular basis. Currently I am shooting jacketed bullets but I am seriously considering a switch to lead so that I can shoot more for the same money. I know from previous experiences that shooting lead leaves a gun dirtier that shooting jacketed so my anticipated cleaning time would likely increase if I do make the switch. The question about ultrasonic cleaners stems from the fack that I know first hand that they do an excellent job on jewlery - from having older family pieces professionally cleaned, but would they work as well or better on firearms?

As far as the hardware - I am shooting a 4" service model Springfield XD. The matches are usually anywhere between 80-125 rounds. If thats all I have a chance to shoot for the weekend I really don't want to have to break out the cleaning kit if there is a better option. I am very meticulous about cleaning and maintaining my firearms. It takes me between 45 and 60 minutes to clean and lube a gun to the level I feel comfortable that it is truly ready to go back into the safe. Maybe that overkill, but that's just the way I am. As far as chemicals, I am using Montana Extreme Solvent, Wipe Out foaming bore cleaner, tetra-lube for slide rails to prevent wear, and ballistol penetrating oil in various stages of the cleaning process.

As far as some of the other competitors - the answers I have gotten to say the least have been surprising. Most of the ones that I have talked to only clean their firearms once a month regardless of how many different times they shoot it. The gernal conception is that they go more by a round count (300 - 500, some push it even to a 1000) before cleaning - kind of like an oil change in a car. Overall, they don't seem to be worried about it.

02-26-2010, 07:19 PM
I only shoot cast and it seems that bullet lube makes guns easier to simply wipe (but probably adds to the amount of deposit.. )
The only residue I am concerned about is in a 1911 frame's barrel bed and the matching patch under the chamber; it's hard enough to build up but can still be wiped easily.

03-19-2010, 01:35 PM
Greetings BCBulldog and Welcome about.
My experience with Ultra-sonic cleaners is this.
I rebuild and repair Pocketwatches. Been at it for 20+ years. I was taught the Old School method of cleaning with brissle paint brushes and fluid. Every watch I have seen "Cleaned" by ultra sonic methods is never as clean as I get them manually. Loose dust and fluid oils are removed BUT dried oils are not by sonics. PLUS when I do a watch the old way I am holding and looking at every part and make a visual inspection for wear and damage. Ultra sonic cleaners do not do that.
The ultra sonic machine "Speeded up" turn around time for watchmen but it sure did not improve the quality of the cleaning process. But them PROFIT rules for many.

Az Shooter
03-20-2010, 06:44 PM
Ultrasonics are a great way to get started on cleaning. They are a great time saver but not a replacement for proper disassembly and inspection. They are also not cheep but can pay for them selves if you are in business. In addition nothing , nothing can match there ability to lube any assembly as long as the excess is blown out with clean, clean compressed air.

03-29-2010, 06:32 PM
I'm a new guy in here too. What expirence I've had with the ultisonic cleaners is limited to just 2 pieces ,the bbl out of my HP-9 and the cyl from a 45 Blackhawk. Both were new to me at the time the 9 had almost no rifling from the fouling and the black hawk had been on a Schofield bienge (think 3-400 38s in a 357) desprite I had access to 1 at work so I took the bbl 1st ran it about 20 minutes. I could actually see the leading lifting in the bore I knocked the loose stuff out ran it 20 more took it home hit with a phosphore brush and Hoppes good as new. With the cyl it was amazing based on the learning curve I ran it about 30min ,the rings were gone and the lead on the gap end was gone after a quick brush. I've been wanting 1 ever since.