Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cleaning: Corrosive Ammo

In my previous post I'm running my SGL 31 and fired approximately 250 rnds of 7N6 (corrosive milsurp) and about 60 rnds of Silver Bear (non-corrosive commercial) during the course of the day. After running corrosive in a firearm I make it a priority once I get home to clean that particular weapon ASAP.

Before proceeding, first & foremost, clear your firearm! Visually and physical inspect the chamber to ensure it is safe.

[1] Remove Accessories & Strip Down Your Firearm

Remove any accessories that do not require any cleaning as a result of firing corrosive ammo and place them aside.

After stripping down your AKM, release the hammer forward with your fingers. Place all parts in a bucket or a dirty garage sink (as pictured below). Avoid using your bathtub, unless you are a bachelor, because your wife shall hath fury unlike anything you've seen before. 

[2] Boiling Water

Boiling water is the key to removing corrosive primer salts. I will address the use of Windex/ammonia in my final notes at the end of this post. While stripping down your AKM, put the kettle on. 

After the water has boiled, pour it over the internals, down the barrel, through the gastube, and over all affected parts. Use all of the water and immediately remove the parts after dousing. Use caution, as the parts will be hot!

Next I place all the parts on a towel, preferably outside in the sun, and dry off any excess water with a rag or paper towels. If you have any compressed air, this is an excellent way to disperse pockets of water. Additionally, this is the only time you'll want to use WD40 on your firearm. WD stands for "water displacement". Apply and wipe away any residue if used.

After wiping down and drying off the water I discovered orange, corrosive build-up on my muzzle brake, muzzle, and inside the gas tube (as seen below). I ultimately had to do a second boiling water rinse to ensure I effectively removed the corrosive salts.

[3] Let the Scub Down Begin!

Bring out the brass brushes, your preferred lubricant (Breakfree CLP being mine), Hoppes 9, nitrile gloves, paper towels, the bore snake, anything that will get the job done. The corrosive salts have been removed with the boiling hot water rinse, now to clear away excess carbon and lubricate your firearm.

Below are a series of pics on how I usually clean the gastube out. I'll first apply some CLP on the interior, then shove some paper towel in, pushing it through with a wooden dowel (that is thin enough to go all the way through, but not so thin it punches through the paper towel). When that paper towel exits you'll find a good helping of carbon build-up. This is a non issue when using/firing non-corrosive ammo, but it is part of my cleaning regiment after using corrosive.

Below I use a brass brush to break down the heavy carbon build-up on the muzzle & the muzzle brake.

Everything gets wiped down with CLP, applying heavily and then wiping away the excess while leaving a noticeable but fine layer as a corrosive inhibitor and lubricant.

The barrel is usually cleaned last with a bore snake. Insert the brass weight into the chamber & down the bore, then pull straight out of the muzzle. Do not pull it out at an angle as it will generate uneven wear on the crown. Always pull straight out when using a boresnake. I usually only do 2-3 runs and inspect the bore to ensure no debris remains and then call it good.

[4] Reassembly

After everything is cleaned & lubed, most of the parts will go right back into place upon reassembly without any additional attention. If you did want to take the cleaning process one more step, you could break down the bolt and give it a thorough cleaning. Additionally, if you use grease on your rails or FCG, check that it is still there and reapply if necessary. Another corrosion inhibitor I use is called Corrosive-X (LINK). I have used it many times in the past when storing a firearm, especially a firearm that uses corrosive ammo or any firearm that is exhibiting any sign of rust or corrosion. 

I decided to use some anti-seize copper compound on the AK74 muzzle brake as it was a bitch to remove with all the carbon that had built up. I have actually never used it on my muzzle brake, but will test it out to see if there is a difference or added benefit.

Above is a pic of the interior of the muzzle brake with excessive carbon build-up prior to cleaning.

Post clean with an application of anti-seize copper compound.

Reassembled and ready for action or, rather, the safe in this case.

Final notes. Let's discuss the use of Windex/ammonia. First, please read Krieger's advice on the use of ammonia (LINK):

Some copper solvents contain a high percentage of ammonia. This makes them a great copper solvent, but if left in the bore too long, can damage/corrode the steel. Do not leave these chemicals in a bore any longer than 10-15 minutes MAXIMUM! DO NOT EVER use straight ammonia to clean a barrel.

Now, if you do use Windex & it works for you, by all means, continue using it, but at least know that you may be damaging the lifespan of your barrel. Boiling water works just fine when washing away the corrosive primer salts. 

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