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A good quality gun cleaning solvent will ensure the task of taking care of your guns will not become a neglected chore. Fortunately there are a few products that make the task quite easy and the application of the cleaning solvent will ensure there is no build-up of residue or damaging acid. There is little doubt that the consensus of opinion is that the best gun cleaning solvents are listed below. You simply have to decide which one to use.

A good gun cleaning solvent will be able to achieve three primary functions: cleaning, protection and safe to use.

Cleaning - the first and most important requirement of a good solvent is that it should quickly and effectively dissolve and remove powder residue. It should also clean out any deposits that may be sitting in the gun’s barrel.

Protection – after cleaning the affected areas, the solvent should leave behind a thin layer of protective coating. Not only should this keep the surfaces in good working order but it should make it easier to clean in the future.

Safe – some solvents can be particularly caustic and will strip layers of skin off if it comes in contact. It should also not damage the non-metal parts of the guns that it is meant to be cleaning.

Trying to work out which is the best solvent for cleaning guns can be a difficult task. There are many different customer experiences to learn from, types of firearms and level of required cleaning you want to do.

Listed below is a selection of the leading cleaning solvents for guns that will allow you to browse through and compare the features of each. The table immediately below illustrates the bottle sizes that are available and the MSRP is the Manufacturer’s Recommended Sale Price (the actual price it is available is usually cheaper).

Use this bore cleaner comparison guide as a jumping off point in your quest for the best gun cleaners available today. It would be safe to say that one or more of the gun cleaners examined on this page will help in keeping your gun barrel clean.

Gun Cleaning Solvents Compared

Detailed Description of Gun Cleaning Solvents

Now that we have seen an overview of the solvents that are considered to be the best and most effective for cleaning and maintaining guns we will take a closer look at each product. You will find a more detailed description of each solvent as well as any problems or warnings associated with them.

Hoppe's No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaning Solvent

This is the original and, many people believe, the best cleaning solvent available. It removes powder fouling and cleans out metal deposits that may be sitting in the barrel. It also leaves a protective coating behind to prevent rust. It’s easy to use and penetrates rapidly and continues to prove a very effective cleaning agent. It makes sense to buy a large bottle of this because it will never spoil. It's strong stuff so you should be very careful when handling it and avoid contact with the skin.

One of the popular uses of this solvent is when it is paired with a BoreSnake. Simply douse it on the lead floss before pulling it through the barrel of your rifle or shotgun for an extremely effective cleaning result.

Breakthrough Military-Grade Cleaning Solvent

This is a low-odor gun cleaner that performs incredibly well, well enough to be considered amongst the best gun cleaners on the market. It is able to cut straight through any residue that may be coating a gun’s barrel.

This particular product is pH neutral and this means that it won’t damage your firearm’s wood, plastics, polymers, cerakote and/or hydroprinting surfaces.

Whereas you might find that you’re passing numerous patches through the barrel before they start to come out clean, the vast experience when using the Breakthrough solvent is that they’re clean after only 1 or 2 passes.

This solvent is available in a spray bottle in either 2 ounce, 6 ounce or 16 ounce sizes.

Sweets 7.62 Solvent

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This is a solvent that is used to clean out copper from the bore of the rifle. The solvent is an ammonia-based product that is quite aggressive and should be properly cleaned and removed from the metal when cleaning is complete. The smell of this cleaner is quite strong, too, being ammonia-based so you should ensure that you use it in a well-ventilated environment.

This solvent makes the list because it is considered the absolute leader when it comes to cleaning out copper fouling. No matter the age of the firearm and how badly the barrel has been caked, running pads through with Sweets 7.62 will remove every trace of copper.

Slip 2000 Carbon Killer Bore Cleaner

This is a cleaning agent that is designed to remove carbon on contact. It is at its most effective when applied to burnt on carbon residue that can discolor the metal surfaces that often proves difficult to move. It will also deal with other fouling metals such as lead and copper.

The cleaner works by direct application to the chambers and barrels and allowing to soak for any length of time from 2 to 10 minutes. The fouling materials will be loosened significantly to make them easy to remove with the swipe of a brush or cleaning pad.

You will find that the cleaner has a pronounced citrus scent to it that, while it is not overpowering, will be very noticeable while it is in use.

G96 1055P Complete Triple-Action Gun Treatment

This is a particularly effective gun cleaning product that cleans residue and rust traces extremely quickly and completely. Most people swear by it, claiming it to be the only cleaner and lube they have ever needed. After the metal has been cleaned a protective film will be left coating it as protection against rust.

The solvent is safe to use on all non-metal parts of the rifle without damaging them and it is also easy on the nose with a pleasant rather than overpowering odor.

Ballistol Multi-Purpose Oil

This is a highly effective cleaner and lubricant that is available either in an aerosol delivery can or as a non-aerosol liquid cleaner. If will destroy and remove powder residue and debris. It is an alkaline solution that will neutralize acid that may corrode the metal of the barrel. It is mild enough to use on materials other than metal without having to worry about ruining them. It will also leave a coating on the surface for ongoing protection.

CLP by Sage & Braker

This is a powerful three-in-one solvent that gives you cleaning, lubrication and protection. It is highly penetrative to clean carbon, lead and copper fouling. The lube agent gives a thin coating to protect the bore and moving parts. Corrosion and rust is a constant problem and the protection that CLP mitigates that during the weapon’s use.

The solvent is delivered from a bottle with a fine mist sprayer and it was designed with the express purpose of providing a CLP that would also reduce the amount of debris that would adhere to the surface of the firearm.

M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner

This is primarily a cleaning product that is designed to make the removal of layers of embedded carbon, lead and copper a quick and simple task. It will also condition the metal of the barrel so that future cleaning tasks are made simpler. It also neutralizes the acids that cause corrosion and rust.

The solvent is available in a number of different bottle sizes and delivery methods, from 2 oz pump bottles up to 55 gallon containers. The version that is displayed above is the 32 oz trigger spray.

Gun Scrubber Synthetic Safe Cleaner

This cleaning agent is designed to be applied to the dirt and grime of the gun without first requiring the gun to be disassembled. It will successfully break down and clean dirt and oil that it comes in contact with but will require some help blowing out the debris. It will not harm the wood and synthetic materials should it come in contact with them.

This product does not also provide any protective layer once finished and some other product will have to be applied after the gun is cleaned.

Break-Free CLP

This is a three-in-one cleaner that also lubricates the moving parts and provides a protective coating that will ensure rust and corrosion cannot take hold. It can bought in a 4 fl oz squeeze bottle or a 12 oz aerosol can or a 1 pint trigger spray. Not only is it one of the most effective gun cleaners available it is also extremely good value for money.

Otis O85 Ultra Bore Solvent

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The Otis O85 is an all-in-one cleaner and gun parts protector. When the solvent is applied to the rifle it will immediately start to loosen up heavy gunk and grime. It will also leave behind a thin layer that will help to protect from rust and corrosion.

One of the things to know about this solvent, however, is that it is very pungent, more so than other comparable CLP solvents.

G96 Crud Buster Polymer Safe Cleaner

Use this cleaning solvent for safe and effective cleaning of all moving metal parts, triggers, ejecters and extractors on your firearm. It comes in an aerosol form with an extender arm that will allow you to get into the tightest of hard to reach places.

It uses a solvent that will quickly penetrate and break down gun residue and it works without having to disassemble the firearm. As the name suggests, though, it is safe for use on polymer firearms.

The bottom line is that there is no product that will provide you with the magic formula that will do every cleaning role without some type of trade-off.

That trade-off may be an overpowering smell, corrosiveness that is just plain dangerous or questionable dirt-cutting strength.

Some will do some jobs better than others while falling down in other areas.

What we have done is taken a look at the most popular and well known gun cleaning solvents that are easily available and are commonly used by gun-owners everywhere.

They all exhibit at least a couple of the cleaning qualities out of the three that are necessary for complete gun cleaning effectiveness.

Gun Cleaning Kits

The solvent that you use is only one part of what should be a much more extensive gun cleaning kit. This kit might be something that you buy completely furnished or you may choose to put your own together by picking up the components separately.

A recommended kit that provides everything you require to do a thorough cleaning job is the M-Pro 7 Tactical Universal Firearms Cleaning Kit.

It has bore brushes for all of the major calibers along with cleaning patches and small containers of solvents and oils.

This is the kit to use to get you started and then you can easily replenish the items as you use them.

Whichever way you choose to put it together, the solvent is the part that is going to make the largest difference. Fortunately, bottles are not particularly expensive and it might pay off to equip your kit with different brands to cover various cleaning tasks.

The majority of the solvents that have been discussed above have been designed to provide more than just cleaning.

For further protection and lubrication of the gun’s components a number of these products are ideal. You will also find them as part of more extensive gun cleaning kits where you will also get brushes, rods, pads and oil to perform a complete a thorough clean.

However, it is important to note those solvents that are more specific and offer just bore cleaning.

Difference Between Cleaning Solvent and Gun Oil

The process of maintaining your gun involves the use of both a cleaning solvent and gun oil.

They perform two distinct jobs and are both equally as important if you want to ensure your gun will remaining in top working order.

 A cleaning solvent removes all of the debris and residues that build up as you use your gun while also cleaning all of the surfaces of your firearm.

Gun oil lubricates the moving parts and protects them from long-term wear and tear.

You will also be using your oil to prevent corrosion or to remove any rust that may have formed.

It should also be reiterated that solvents vary greatly in their potency with a few that are particularly corrosive.

If you'd prefer to use products that are not quite so rough on surfaces and pungent to the nose you could try a gun solvent alternative

As always when dealing with chemicals it is important that proper safety procedures are closely adhered to so that injury or damage is avoided.

Wearing protective gloves when handling chemicals such as cleaning solvents is recommended and you should always make sure you have protected your furniture by using a gun cleaning mat when you work.

Further Reading

Cleaning A Bolt Action Rifle

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Categories: Gun Cleaning


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