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Looking for recipe for ?? Red's cleaning solvent

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by al391claybuster, May 14, 2009.

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  1. al391claybuster

    al391claybuster TS Member

    Feb 7, 2006
    Looking for recipe for ?? Red

    I'm looking to make up a batch of cleaning solvent. I remember there's something called Red's, but can't remember the whole name. Any recipe help would be great. The only problem is I live in BFE(3 hrs from everywhere), and sources are limited here. Thanks David
  2. 97STR

    97STR TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Google "Ed's Red" that should do it for you.
  3. Bob_K

    Bob_K Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Afton, Virginia
    December 15, 1995

    Editor's Note:

    Ed Harris is a well known, knowledgeable gun writer with years of
    experience working for Ruger and the US government. The following
    article is a re-post of his famous "Ed's Red" Bore Cleaner, which is an
    inexpensive, effective firearms cleaning agent.

    I've mixed Ed's Red, and one HAS to use it in a well ventilated area,
    preferably outside. If you use it inside, you really should use an
    appropriate respirator and exhaust fan to remove the volatile and
    potentially explosive fumes. YOU MUST FOLLOW DIRECTIONS AND WARNINGS ON USE.

    Mix Your Own "Ed's Red" Bore Cleaner... It Really Works!

    By Ed Harris Rev. 12-27-94

    Three years ago I mixed my first "Ed's Red" and I still think the
    "recipe" is a great idea. If you have never tried it, or maybe lost the
    recipe, I urge you save this and mix your own. My followers on the
    FIREARMS Echo think it's the best thing since smokeless powder!
    Therefore, I'll summarize the story again for the passing parade that
    didn't get it the first time...

    I originally did this because I used a lot of rifle bore cleaner and was
    deterred by the high price of commercial products. I knew there was no
    technical reason why you could not mix an effective bore cleaner using
    common hardware store ingredients which would be inexpensive, effective,
    and provide reasonable corrosion protection and adequate lubrication.

    The "recipe" is based on proven principles and incorporates two polar
    and two nonpolar ingredients. It is adapted from a formula in Hatcher's
    Notebook, Frankford Arsenal Cleaner No.18, but substituting equivalent
    modern materials. I had the help of an organic chemist in doing this and
    we knew there would be no "surprises." The original Hatcher recipe called
    for equal parts of acetone, turpentine, Pratts Astral Oil and sperm oil,
    and optionally 200 grams of lanolin added per liter.

    Pratts Astral oil was nothing more than acid free, deodorized kerosene.
    We use K-1 kerosene of the type normally sold for indoor space heaters.
    An inexpensive, effective substitute for sperm oil is Dexron (II, IIe or
    III) automatic transmission fluid. Prior to about 1950 that most ATF's
    were sperm oil based, but during WWII a synthetic was developed for use
    in precision instruments. With the great demand for automatic
    transmission autos after WWII, sperm oil was no longer practical to
    produce ATF in the quantity demanded, so the synthetic material became
    the basis for the Dexron fluids we know today. The additives in ATFs
    which include organometallic antioxidants and surfactants make it
    highly suitable for our intended purpose.

    Hatcher's original formula used gum spirits of turpentine, but
    turpentine is expensive and highly flammable. Cheaper and safer is
    aliphatic mineral spirits, which is a petroleum based "safety solvent”,
    used for thinning oil based paints and as automotive parts cleaner. It
    is commonly sold under the names "odorless mineral spirits," "Stoddard
    Solvent" or "Varsol".

    There isn't anything in Ed's Red which will chemically remove copper
    fouling, but it does a better job on carbon residue than anything out
    there. Several users have told me, that with exclusive use of "ER" does
    reduce the buildup of copper fouling, because it removes old impacted
    fouling which is left by other cleaners, reducing the adhesion of
    abraded metal to the surface, and leaving a cleaner surface which
    reduces subsequent fouling. It appears that "ER" will actually remove
    metal fouling it if you let it "soak" so the surfactants will do the
    job, though you may have to be patient.

    The lanolin is optional. The cleaner works quite well without it.
    Incorporating the lanolin makes the cleaner easier on the hands, and
    provides better residual lubrication and corrosion protection if you use
    the cleaner as a protectant for long term storage. If you want to
    minimize cost, you can leave the lanolin out and save about $8 per
    gallon. Mix some yourself. I know it will work as well for you as it
    does for me.

    CONTENTS: Ed's Red Bore Cleaner

    1 part Dexron II, IIe or III ATF, GM Spec. D-20265 or later. 1 part
    Kerosene - deodorized, K1 1 part Aliphatic Mineral Spirits, Fed. Spec.
    TT-T-2981F, CAS #64741-49-9, or substitute "Stoddard Solvent", CAS
    #8052-41-3, or equivalent, (aka "Varsol") 1 part Acetone, CAS #67-64-1.

    (Optional up to 1 lb. of Lanolin, Anhydrous, USP per gallon, OK to
    substitute Lanolin, Modified, Topical Lubricant, from the drug store)


    Mix outdoors, in good ventilation. Use a clean 1 gallon metal,
    chemical-resistant, heavy gage PET or PVC plastic container. NFPA
    approved plastic gasoline storage containers are also OK. Do NOT use
    HDPE, which is breathable because the acetone will evaporate. The
    acetone in ER will attack HDPE in about 6 months, making a heck of a

    Add the ATF first. Use the empty container to measure the other
    components, so that it is thoroughly rinsed. If you incorporate the
    lanolin into the mixture, melt this carefully in a double boiler, taking
    precautions against fire. Pour the melted lanolin it into a larger
    container, rinsing the lanolin container with the bore cleaner mix, and
    stirring until it is all dissolved.

    I recommend diverting a small quantity, up to 4 ozs. per quart of the
    50-50 ATF/kerosene mix for use as an "ER-compatible" gun oil. This can
    be done without impairing the effectiveness of the mix.

    INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING Ed's Red Bore Cleaner:

    1. Open the firearm action and ensure the bore is clear. Cleaning is
    most effective when done while the barrel is still warm to the touch
    from firing. Saturate a cotton patch with bore cleaner, wrap or impale
    on jag and push it through the bore from breech to muzzle. The patch
    should be a snug fit. Let the first patch fall off and do not pull it
    back into the bore.

    2. Wet a second patch, and similarly start it into the bore from the
    breech, this time scrubbing from the throat area forward in 4-5" strokes
    and gradually advancing until the patch emerges out the muzzle. Waiting
    approximately 1 minute to let the bore cleaner soak will improve its

    3. For pitted, heavily carbon-fouled "rattle battle" guns, leaded
    revolvers or neglected bores a bronze brush wet with bore cleaner may be
    used to remove stubborn deposits. This is unnecessary for smooth,
    target-grade barrels in routine use.

    4. Use a final wet patch pushed straight through the bore to flush out
    loosened residue dissolved by Ed's Red. Let the patch fall off the jag
    without pulling it back into the bore. If you are finished firing,
    leaving the bore wet will protect it from rust for up to 30 days. If the
    lanolin is incorporated into the mixture, it will protect the firearm
    from rust for up to two years. For longer term storage I recommend use
    of Lee Liquid Alox as a Cosmolene substitute. "ER" will readily remove
    hardened Alox or Cosmolene.

    5. Wipe spilled Ed's Red from exterior surfaces before storing the gun.
    While Ed's Red is harmless to blue and nickel finishes, the acetone it
    contains is harmful to most wood finishes).

    6. Before firing again, push two dry patches through the bore and dry
    the chamber, using a patch wrapped around a suitably sized brush or jag.
    First shot point of impact usually will not be disturbed by Ed's Red if
    the bore is cleaned as described.

    7. I have determined to my satisfaction that when Ed's Red is used
    exclusively and thoroughly, that hot water cleaning is unnecessary after
    use of Pyrodex or military chlorate primers. However, if bores are not
    wiped between shots and shots and are heavily caked from black powder
    fouling, hot water cleaning is recommended first to break up heavy
    fouling deposits. Water cleaning should be followed by a thorough flush
    with Ed's Red to prevent after-rusting which could result from residual
    moisture. It is ALWAYS good practice to clean TWICE, TWO DAYS APART
    whenever using chlorate primed ammunition, just to make sure you get all
    the residue out.




    1. Flammable mixture. Keep away from heat, sparks or flame.

    2. FIRST AID, If swallowed DO NOT induce vomiting, call physician
    immediately. In case of eye contact immediately flush thoroughly with
    water and call a physician. For skin contact wash thoroughly.

    3. Use with adequate ventilation. Avoid breathing vapors or spray mist.
    It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner
    inconsistent with its labeling. Reports have associated repeated and
    prolonged occupational overexposure to solvents with permanent brain and
    nervous system damage. If using in closed armory vaults lacking forced
    air ventilation wear respiratory protection meeting NIOSH TC23C or
    equivalent. Keep container tightly closed when not in use.

    This "Recipe" is placed in the public domain, and may be freely
    distributed provided that it is done so in its entirely with all
    instructions and safety warnings included herein, and that proper
    attribution is given to the author.

    In Home Mix We Trust,


  4. Savage99Stan

    Savage99Stan Active Member

    Dec 27, 2007
    Central Illinois
    A simple mix, not to be confused with the above, is to mix 1/3 Kroil with 2/3 Shooter's Choice. Wet patch through bore, let stand for a half hour, a few brush strokes and what looked like a clean shiny bore before you started will give up a terrifying amount of crud when you push that tight white clean patch through.

    Nothing else smells like #9, howevere. Every one of my grandkids, at nine months or so, learned to laugh hard at the words, "Hoppe's Number Nine" spoken with much animation.
  5. cle

    cle Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    The "Ed's" recipe I've used for years is......
    25% Each - Acetone - Mineral Spirits - Kerosene - Dextron ATF & a baseball sized gob of lanolin if you can find it. Takes several days for the lanolin to dissolve.
    Works Great but to be extra cautious, keep it away from the wood. The Acetone is not real friendly to finishes.
  6. Dave P

    Dave P TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Jan 29, 1998
    Canton, Il.
    Acetone is bad stuff if you inhale it. Plan on blacking out.
  7. tom-n8ies

    tom-n8ies Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    lots of good recipes here: http://www.frfrogspad.com/homemade.htm

    Ed's Red is one of them.

  8. Carol Lister

    Carol Lister TS Member

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kingsford Charcoal Lighter Fluid is Stoddard Solvent. We prefer it to plain mineral spirits as it seems to be a more aggressive cleaner.

    Carol Lister
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