Gun Cleaning Solvent – What’s Effective?

A gun cleaning solvent should loosen and/or dissolve carbon and/or metal fouling in the bore so that a patch can wipe it clean. There are many solvents on the market and again I have to say, some are good and some are not. Also be aware of the Warning or Caution labels. Make sure you are comfortable with the warning. Some solvents are pretty toxic and have very strong odors like Hoppe’s #9. I don’t like to use and will not use toxic chemicals to clean my gun or my house for that matter. Be careful of Ammonia cleaners as they can damage steel barrels.

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Soaking carbon fouling – 10 minutes with good gun cleaning solvent

1st cleaning patch wipe…no pressure just quick wipe.

2nd wipe…nice and clean.

Anyway I stick with the more human friendly solvents/cleaners. I like to see “biodegradable” and “non-flammable” and “non-toxic” on the labels before I buy them. When I used to use other gun cleaners many years ago, I would have to go outside to clean my guns. I put on Nitrile gloves, a long sleeve shirt and protective eye glasses. I couldn’t do anything about the strong smell of the old gun cleaners other than hope for some wind in the backyard. I sure don’t miss those days! Now you don’t have to put up with any of these issues.

I have used, tested and reviewed many gun solvents over the past 30 years or so. I have used the old standbys and the new technology cleaners. I think the first “safe” or “non-toxic” solvent was M-Pro 7. I used it for many years and it works great. It’s non-toxic without a strong odor and is safe on steel barrels. The M-Pro 7 gun cleaner is very good on carbon fouling and light copper fouling. The more you use M-Pro 7 on your gun the easier it cleans. It sort of “seasons” the metal to resist fouling. They make a special solvent for heavy copper fouling plus a foaming gun cleaner and a bore gel. They are all great products.

Gun Cleaning Tip…

A point to remember about using M-Pro7 Gun Cleaner is to apply it very generously. If you could dip the gun in a tank of M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner, that would be ideal. You want to apply enough to allow it to thoroughly soak into the carbon fouling. It has to be WET. M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner is a water-based gun cleaner which is why it penetrates and lifts carbon fouling so well. Anyway, soak the gun parts to be cleaned and then let it sit for 10 minutes. Then you can run some clean patches through the bore. It should clean up easily. I used to remove my Glock barrel and soak it in a container filled with M-Pro7 Gun Cleaner. I only had to run a few patches through the barrel and it was squeaky clean.

Here is my gun cleaner test featuring M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner. Note that this bottle of M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner is about 6 or 7 years old and it still cleans like a champ.

My gun cleaner test is simple. I burn some smokeless powder on a metal bar and then attempt to clean it with a gun cleaner. You can see the test setup in the photo above. A flat metal bar and M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner. I thoroughly clean the metal bar before the test commences.

I poured and ignited 3 charges of H4831 smokeless powder on the metal bar to accumulate a good amount of fouling. You can see the fouling. It is stuck to the metal pretty good.

I sprayed a liberal amount of M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner on the fouling and then let it soak for 10 minutes. Then I took a few cleaning patches and wiped the area without scrubbing or brushing. Notice how the fouling wiped off very easily.

Slip2000 725 Gun Cleaner is another great choice. It is also non-toxic, biodegradable, non-flammable and water soluble. Slip2000 725 will remove oil, grease, cosmoline, and carbon fouling. It works really well. I used it a few times on my Glock 22 and it removed the carbon super fast and it doesn’t smell either.

Here is how I clean my guns…I apply a generous amount of 725 Gun Cleaner to the bore and action of my guns then let it sit for 10 minutes. Then I brush the barrel 3 or 4 times and then patch and it was shiny clean. Almost too fast. Letting a gun cleaner sit for 10 minutes is crucial to a thorough and sweat-free gun cleaning. I personally do not enjoy brushing and patching a gun for hours. I like to spend about 30 minutes at most per gun but at the same time I like a really clean gun. Slip2000 725 Gun Cleaner will get the job done quickly if used properly.

Here is a gun cleaner test featuring Slip2000 725 Gun Cleaner. I burn 3 charges of smokeless powder on a metal bar and then try to clean it without brushing or scrubbing.

Here’s the burnt on carbon fouling from 3 charges of H4831. Let’s see if 725 Gun Cleaner can remove it easily.

I sprayed a very liberal amount of 725 on the fouling, in other words, I soaked it. I did not brush or scrub it at all. Just spray on and let it soak for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, I used 2 cleaning patches to wipe the area. The carbon fouling slid right off and the area was super clean. Slip2000 725 Gun Cleaner is Awesome!

Hoppes Elite Gun Cleaner is a odorless, non toxic and biodegradable product that loosens and cleans down to the pores of metal. It conditions the metal the more you use it which will make future cleanings much faster. Elite cleans and smells very similar to M-Pro 7 gun cleaner. It works great and is safe to use. I have used it on my Glocks with great success. I would remove the Glock barrel and plug one end with a rag. Then pour some Hoppe’s Elite Gun Cleaner down the bore until full and stand it up on the plugged end. I would let it sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes were up, I’d drain the gun cleaner and then patch the barrel until clean. It makes gun cleaning way easier. It’s a great product.

I did a gun cleaner test featuring Hoppe’s Elite Gun Cleaner. The test consists of burning 3 powder charges of smokeless powder on a metal surface and then trying to clean it…easily.

Here’s the powder fouling after 3 charges of H4831. I sprayed a liberal amount of Elite on the fouling and then let it soak for 10 minutes. I will then attempt to wipe the area clean without brushing or scrubbing.

Here are the results. Dirty patches and clean surface. Hoppe’s Elite Gun Cleaner is awesome!!!

These are the 3 gun solvents that I really like and would recommend. I have used them many times and still use them. They all are non-toxic, odorless and biodegradable…and clean extremely well. They all cost about $15 or so for a 8 oz bottle and are available in larger sizes. These highly effective gun cleaners eliminate the “chore” of gun cleaning and make it safe for shooters.

There is one more gun cleaning that I would like to add to this list and that is Mil-Comm MC25 Weapon Cleaner. Mil-Comm MC25 Weapon Cleaner is a water-based cleaner that is non-flammable, non-toxic, odorless and colorless too. MC25 emulsifies organic substances on contact which means carbon, gun oils/lubricants and powder fouling. Since it is water based, it will penetrate better if you let it soak for about 10 minutes. Carbon can easily be removed if it is  first. Then there is no need for brushing or scrubbing.

I have used Mil Comm MC25 on many gun oil and gun cleaner tests and it is awesome. Before and after all of my oil and cleaner tests, I use MC25 to clean everything before the next test. I don’t have to wear latex or nitrile gloves, eye protection or a long sleeve shirt when using MC25. It’s totally non-toxic. No odors or stains if spilled.

Since Mil Comm MC25 is water-based, it will do a great job on corrosive fouling from corrosive ammunition. Water is the only thing that will remove/dissolve the salts left behind from corrosive ammunition. When using corrosive ammunition, clean the gun thoroughly with a water based solution and then dry and lubricate.

Here is a gun cleaner test featuring Mil Comm MC25. I sprayed the fouling very liberally with MC25. It’s important to apply a good amount of gun cleaner so that it can soak into the fouling and below. Also let it soak for around 10 minutes before attempting to clean with patches.

And here are the results….Awesome!! The carbon fouling came off very easily…no brushing or scrubbing. MC25 is Excellent!