Lead removal from barrel

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by hkruss, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. hkruss

    hkruss Active Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Mobile, Al.
    What products do you feel do the best job of lead removal? I currently use Hoppes, but I wonder what might be better. Thanks
  2. Skipper

    Skipper Well-Known Member


    Give it a good soak, let it sit for a while.........use a tight patch to push it out.

  3. Shooter45

    Shooter45 *Administrator* Staff Member Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Here at TFF
    The very best item I have found to remove lead from a barrel is the Lewis Lead Remover. Available from www.brownells.com

    About any brand of liquid lead remover will work with a lot of scrubbing but I had rather shoot than scrub. :D
  4. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Just ordered thier 2 for 1 sale for release agent.

    Seems to be turning into a multi-use item
  5. bluesea112

    bluesea112 Active Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    West, TX
    I wonder if Kano Labs "Dryphite" would work in firearms instead of oil? Oil is such a magnet for dust and fine sand.
  6. army mp

    army mp Member

    Jan 30, 2009
    western Pa,
    Lewis Lead Remover if heavy leading, J-B bore cleaning compound, if moderate, both are at brownells. I have also cut Patches out of Birchwood Casey Lead remover clothes. If you are getting a lot of Leading. Something is wrong. Bullet Dia. to small or Pushing soft bullet to fast or hard Bullet not fast enough.
  7. hkruss

    hkruss Active Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Mobile, Al.
    Nah..., it's not excessive, I just want to be sure I am doing a thorough job!
  8. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    I am not recommending this procedure for use, today! I have used it extensively, but not in the last 30 years. I do not expect to use it again. It is potentially toxic! It is not safe unless necessary precautions are taken by a person trained and experienced in working with dangerous chemicals! It is presented, here, for academic purposes and to insure against the loss of potentially useful firearms related knowledge, only!

    The most effective way to remove heavy lead fouling from a handgun or rifle bore is with pure mercury.
    Mercury is a liquid metal that has the strong ability to dissolve and/or form alloys with some other metals, including lead, at room temperatures.

    The bore is cleaned in a conventional manner using bronze brushes, solvent, and thoroughly dried with tight patches. Next the breech is tightly plugged and the bore partially filled (typically 60%) with mercury. The muzzle is plugged. While holding the plugs tightly in place the the barrel is manipulated to cause the mercury to vigorously move back and forth for about 100 cycles. Then the muzzle is unplugged and the mercury and mercury/lead amalgam carefully poured into a suitable container while insuring that the breech plug remains secure. Rapping on the breech elevated barrel with a non marring mallet helps vibrate most of the mercury out of the barrel. Next the breech is unplugged and the barrel cleaned further with tight fitting patches and or bronze brushes to remove the residual amalgam and free mercury. Of course the mercury removal patches become toxic waste.

    The original 1935 S&W .357 Mag had a large primer case and drove a 158 grain lead alloy bullet out of a 8 3/8" barrel at 1510 fps. The 1956 S&W 44 Mag. claimed to drive a 240 grain lead alloy bullet out of a 6.5" barrel at 1450 fps (but 1300 was more realistic according to NRA Spring 1956 testing).

    I grew up shooting these guns with hand-loaded cast lead alloy bullets and steam locomotive rod cup grease. They leaded quickly and badly, effectively losing any reasonable target shooter accuracy in less than 50 shots. The caked on lead clung to the steel of the barrel like soft solder. Bronze bristle bore brushes were very slow and tedious. The Lewis Lead Remover was better than brushes but mercury was the preferred technology of knowledgeable reloader/shooters of the time.

    Again, I present this info for knowledge retention, only. While the"Green Freaks" may have gone overboard relative to mercury (it still can be used with silver powder in US Denistry for cavity filling) it is a toxic material and must be handled with extreme care.
  9. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR Active Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Imperial, MO
    I remember playing with Mercury in elementary school. A science teacher let us roll it around on our desks. :eek: I guess thats what happened to me.:rolleyes: Your two for two Hammerslagger. Learning something new from you everyday.

    Now on the lead removal, I've been using Gunslick foaming bore cleaner. You know when the lead is out b/c it quits turning green and it really helps loosen it up. I just brought a Lebel back to life b/c of it.
  10. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

    Oct 9, 2008
    Binghamton, NY
    WHere can I get mercury?
  11. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

    Oct 9, 2008
    Binghamton, NY
  12. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    I am not trying to be a "Smart Donkey" here (never do) ; but you do not want or need the EPA Haz-Mat problems it can bring !!!!!! The 76# "flask" is the standard unit that it is sold in for industrial use. Unless you have a business with an EPA registration number, no business is likely to actually sell it (or a lot of other materials that you used to could buy) to you.

    If a glass thermometer (containing mercury) gets dropped on the floor of a high school chemistry lab or hospital, and breaks; you have a Haz-Mat team "clean up" situation, today. Cost, likely several thousand dollars!

    Thus, no lab or medical instruments containing Hg (mercury). But you dentist can still use it to fill your teeth, even though few do, today. This all seems ridiculous; but this is typical of what is going on in the USA today.
  13. hkruss

    hkruss Active Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Mobile, Al.
    I can remember as a kid, a thermometer breaking and some of us kids playing with the mercury, rolling it around in our hands. Do you think this is what is wrong with me!!!:D:D
  14. Gabob

    Gabob Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2005
    Before the "Greenies" got involved Blue Ointment (used to treat crab lice) contained mercury and I used it in the past to remove leading.
    Nowdays for minor leading I shoot a few jacket bullets thru the barrel. For heavy leading I use Lewis lead remover or J-B Bore cleaner on tight patch
  15. gazzmann

    gazzmann New Member

    May 16, 2009
    So. Fla.
    Talk bout Mercury,what about florescent bulbs? If one of those new ones breaks in the house do you know what the HAZMAT fees are to clean it up! $$$$$$
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