Features — 03 June 2013

Options & Innovations: Care for Your Firearms

A rundown of products that can help you maintain your facility’s firearms

Good firearms maintenance is essential on any range. Whether you employ a full-time gunsmith or do basic care and cleaning yourself, you need some basic tools and solvents to get the job done right.




Matt Kinamore, product manager at Battenfeld Technologies, said that because most ranges have more space available for firearms maintenance than the average gun owner, ranges tend to purchase larger and more sophisticated vises for holding firearms.

Tipton’s Best Gun Vise

“Ranges tend to purchase vises that perform multiple functions,” Kinamore said. “They also tend to purchase longer gun cleaning rods, such as rods that are 26 inches in length and longer because they have room to store them.”

Battenfeld’s gun vise, the Tipton’s Best Gun Vise, is designed to accommodate a wide array of firearms for cleaning and maintenance, including bolt-action rifles, break-open shotguns, ARs and handguns. Kinamore said Battenfeld Technologies offers carbon fiber cleaning rods under their Tipton brand.

Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rods“A carbon fiber rod is much softer than metal, so it has much less chance of damaging the lands and grooves than other rods,” Kinamore said. “But it’s still rigid enough that you get a good clean bore.”

Each carbon fiber rod has an ergonomically designed handle that spins on two sets of ball bearings to it smoothly follows the rifling both on the push and on the pull, even when under pressure. Tipton carbon fiber rods come in lengths from 12 inches to 62 inches.

Lyman Gunvise TiltRex Gore, owner of Black Wing Shooting Center in Delaware, Ohio, said he found a new vise from Lyman at the SHOT Show.

“It rotates and tilts,” he said.

The vise is the Lyman Revolution Rotating Gun Vise, which has padded contact points and inserts to securely clamp any firearm. It also rotates and has a number of positions from which the gunsmith can work.

Tetra Gun Care ViseA couple of years ago Tetra Gun Care also introduced its version of a professional gun vise for use when working on a firearm. The feet and all the gripping surfaces are rubberized to prevent marring or scratching of the working surface or the gun.

Smaller than either of the previous vises, the Forster Products Swiv-O-Ling vise has fully rotatable jaws that tilt a firearm or just a part to your best working angle. The jaws lock securely in place; the jaw-tightening handle comes off the vise, so you can work with a minimum of interference from the handle.

Ammo Broom has a line of bench-top shooting traps under the Weapon Clear brand that will let you fire a gun to clear it without going out onto the range. Their most recent release is the Gunsmith Clear, which safely handles pistol and rifle rounds up to .300 Win Mag.

Forster Products has a Universal Sight Mounting FixtureForster Products has a Universal Sight Mounting Fixture that provides proper spacing and alignment of scope mount, receiver sight and shotgun bead holes. It’s machined from a solid aluminum casting, so all the components are perfectly aligned, and it accommodates most long guns including bolt- and pump-action firearms.

Brownell’s has put together a kit of all the tools needed for disassembly and cleaning of the 1911. The Brownell’s 1911 Critical Tools Kit includes a mainspring housing tool, a safety detent depressor, a bushing wrench, a bench block, an extractor tensioning tool, a brass alignment and push punch and an extractor removing tool.

Iosso Products has assembled kits of tools specific to AR-type modern sporting rifles. Each kit contains six precision-fit brushes that clean the upper receiver, chamber, bolt carrier, bolt carrier key tube, and the gas tube. The kit also includes an eliminator cleaning tool and rod and an eliminator bore-cleaning rope. The kit comes in both AR-15 and AR-30 options.

Guncleaners ultrasonic firearms-cleaning systemGuncleaners offers a variety of ultrasonic firearms-cleaning systems. Ultrasonic transducers mounted to the tank bottom produce high-frequency sound waves, which cause rapidly alternating high- and low-pressure conditions in the cleaning solution. Millions of microscopic bubbles form and then implode in a process called cavitation. Those bubbles create an intense cleansing action that removes fouling from even very small indentations and grooves. Guncleaners offers 24 standard systems, each of which contains all the necessary accessories and cleaning solutions.


Solvents & other chemicals 


Black Wing Shooting CenterBlack Wing Shooting Center’s Gore said that over the last few years he’s seen a trend toward products that are biodegradable and less caustic than some conventional solvents.

“New shooters are helping us move into a ‘greener’ environment when it comes to gun care products,” he said.

Aside from that trend, Gore said, Black Wing Shooting Center uses a lot of Kleen-Bore products.

“They’re the same products that the military uses,” he said. “However, we’re transitioning over to FrogLube and some of the other biodegradable solvents that have come out on the market. We’re going that way because these products are less caustic and are better for the environment and for the employees who are using the products. And they just smell better than some of the traditional cleaning chemicals.”

Hoppe’s No. 9 Synthetic Blend FrogLube’s new solvent is made of food-grade materials; when used with FrogLube’s CLP it provides a totally “green” cleaning system. With both of these products, hazardous material concerns are eliminated, and concern over inhalation exposure to vapors in the air is reduced or eliminated.

Hoppe’s has introduced a new cleaning solution for modern firearms. The new Hoppe’s No. 9 Synthetic Blend smells and cleans like the traditional No. 9 formula, but is a nonflammable and biodegradable bore cleaner. Hoppe’s No. 9 Synthetic Blend is safe on materials used on anodized aluminum, titanium, steel, chrome, nickel, plastic, polycarbonate, and rubber.

Otis has developed a number of biodegradable gun care products. The company’s O12-C Carbon Remover, O12-CU Copper Remover, O12-PL Shotgun Blend Plastic Remover and O12-GP General Purpose Blend all are ammonia free and biodegradable. All four come in large, 16-ounce bottles.

Birchwood Casey Bore Scrubber, Moly Lube and Sight BlackBirchwood Casey has been offering Gun Scrubber, Bore Scrubber, Moly Lube and Sight Black for quite some time now. Recently the company has introduced all four products in larger “professional size” containers. Sight Black now comes in an 8.25 ounce aerosol can, Moly Lube comes in a 9.5 ounce aerosol can, Bore Scrubber comes in a 10 ounce aerosol can (11.5 ounces if you get the foaming version) and Gun Scrubber comes in a 15 ounce aerosol can.

Ultrasonic Gun Cleaning Solution from UltrasonicsDirect.com is water-based and biodegradable, noncaustic and nonpetroleum. It contains surfactants, wetting agents, emulsifiers, cleaners and rust inhibitors and is compatible with most oil-water separators. It’s compatible with Ultrasonic Gun Lubricant, which in an environmentally safe lubricant that protects guns from rust and reduces friction.


Other items 


Although not gun-care products in the traditional sense, some of the new metal coatings coming onto the market can lengthen the effective life of range firearms and reduce necessary maintenance and cleaning. Holden Kriss, range manager at Indian River Shooting Range in Sebastian, Fla., also is one of the owners of WMD Guns in Stuart, Fla.

WMD Before & After“We’re putting a nickel-boron coating on firearms that allows them to run lube free,” Kriss said. “When you clean them, you just wipe them down.”

Kriss said the cost of applying the nickel-boron coating is not particularly expensive when compared to the overall cost of a firearm.

“It’s less than $100 to have a gun coated, as long as the gunsmith breaks down the gun and sends it to us that way,” he said. “It not only adds value to the gun, it makes it much easier to clean. All you have to do is take apart the gun and wipe it down and make sure it’s clean inside. There’s no residue because there’s no oil buildup in the gun. That makes them easier to keep clean.”

The nickel-boron coating is getting attention from range owners. Michael Halbreich, one of the owners of Stoddard’s Range and Guns in Douglasville, Ga., saw the coating at the SHOT Show.

“By putting the coating inside and out, they’re fully protecting the guns,” he said. “It’s almost impervious to scratches. From a cleaning standpoint, it’s a wipe-down gun. It eliminates all the harsh solvents. From what I can see, it looks like the gun will run even without lubrication; I don’t think you can even overheat it.”


 Resource Directory 
PO Box 60581
San Diego, CA
GunCleaners Division
Police Products Corporation
540 Ravine Ct
Wyckoff, NJ 07481
Otis Technology
6987 Laura Street
P. O. Box 582
Lyons Falls, NY 13368
Battenfeld Technologies
5885 West Van Horn Tavern Road
Columbia, MO 65203
9200 Cody
Overland Park, KS 66214
Tetra Gun Care
8 Vreeland Road
Florham Park, NJ 07932
Birchwood Casey
7900 Fuller Road
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Iosso Products
1485 Lively Boulevard
Elk Grove, IL 60007
Ultrasonics Direct
486 S Opdyke Rd
Pontiac, MI 48341
200 South Front Street
Montezuma, IA 50171
13386 International Parkway
Jacksonville, FL 32218
Weapons Clear (Ammo Broom)
1111 Desert Lane, Suite 2286
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Forster Products
310 East Lanark Avenue
Lanark, IL 61046
Lyman Products475 Smith Street
Middletown, CT 06457
WMD Guns
KC Jones Plating
3070 SE Dominica Terrace
Stuart, FL 34997

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