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Do's and Don'ts of Ultrasonic Gun Cleaning

Police officers, military service members, and security personnel fire their weapons at the shooting range in order to maintain their proficiency and accuracy. Just as these people need to maintain their marksmanship skills, they also need to maintain the weapon itself at its most optimal level. For the fast, efficient removal of excess oil, grime, dirt and other particles from the weapon's moving parts, these users will often use an ultrasonic cleaner.

How an Ultrasonic Cleaner Works

Cleaning Your Gun with an ultrasonic cleaner

The ultrasonic cleaning action relies on the rapid building and sudden collapse of microscopic bubbles in a detergent solution. The agitation of the water by innumerable small implosions produces an extremely efficient scrubbing of both visible and concealed surfaces of components immersed in the cleaning bath. When the frequency gets higher, the amount of these bubbles increases while the energy expelled by each collapse decreases, which makes frequencies in the range of 35-45 kHz perfect for the removal of tiny particles without damaging the surface.

DO Field-strip the Weapon

Most people with experience in handling weapons understand that field-stripping and disassembling it are part of the task of cleaning it by hand. The same holds true for ultrasonic cleaners. The ultrasonic cleaner works at its best on these smaller parts, where the microscopic bubbles can penetrate into the hard-to-reach holes, cracks and crevices that hand-cleaning methods cannot access. The ultrasonic cleaner can remove much of the contaminants from these areas in a fraction of the time, without scratching the metal surfaces.

DON'T Clean Wood or Ivory Parts in an Ultrasonic Cleaner

The intense action of the ultrasonic cleaner is highly effective at cleaning metal surfaces, but it can be too much for some non-metal parts. Components made of wood or ivory can warp, crack or be otherwise damaged by the high temperatures and agitation found within an ultrasonic cleaning bath. Other methods should be used to clean these parts, such as hand grips, separately from the weapon's core components.

DO Maintain the Weapon After Cleaning

After ultrasonic cleaning, users will still need to rinse, dry, and lubricate the weapon's moving parts. The maintenance tasks must be done within a few minutes of the end of the cleaning process, as humidity and pollutants in the air can undo much of the efforts to keep the weapon clean and rust-free.

DON'T Use Flammable Solvents in an Ultrasonic Cleaner

Most ultrasonic cleaners use a water-soluble, biodegradable detergent for cleaning tasks, while only a few are rated for use with flammable solvents (e.g. turpentine). Even for those machines equipped to safely handle solvents, users must take serious precautions to keep the area well-ventilated and to prevent inhalation of dangerous vapors.

Features of an Ultrasonic Cleaner

A modern ultrasonic cleaner, such as this ultrasonic parts cleaner, has several features that can clean a weapon quickly and efficiently. The machine employs “sweep frequency” mode, which makes continuous slight variations to the frequency of the ultrasonic vibrations to ensure an even cleaning. Users can also adjust the heat and ultrasonic power settings to save on electricity or to increase the solution temperature as needed. An optional auxiliary tank simplifies lubricating the weapons after cleaning. Simply add lubricating solution to the auxiliary tank, position the tank on top of the ultrasonic cleaner so that the bottom of the tank contacts the cleaning solution in the ultrasonic bath, and put the cleaned weapons in the auxiliary tank. When the ultrasonic power is turned on the sound waves will travel through the cleaning solution, through the bottom of the auxiliary tank, and into the lubricating solution. This method offers a very thorough and uniform lubrication of all weapon surfaces.

For more information on finding an ultrasonic cleaner that meets your needs, contact the experts at at 973-821-3406.

Photo by USAMU


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