| Ed's Red, Revised
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
for the passing parade that didn't get it the
I originally did this because I used a lot of
rifle bore cleaner
and was deterred by the high price of commercial
knew there was no technical reason why you could
not mix an
effective bore cleaner using common hardware store
which would be inexpensive, effective, and provide
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
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
kerosene. We use K-1 kerosene of the type normally
indoor space heaters. An inexpensive, effective
sperm oil is Dexron (II, IIe or III) automatic
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
autos after WWII, sperm oil was no longer practical
ATF in the quantity demanded, so the synthetic
the basis for the Dexron fluids we know today.
The additives in
ATFs which include organometallic antioxidants
make it highly suitable for our intended purpose.
Hatcher's original formula used gum spirits of
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
It is commonly sold under the names "odorless
"Stoddard Solvent" or "Varsol".
There isn't anything in Ed's Red which will chemically
copper fouling, but it does a better job on carbon
anything out there. Several users have told me,
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
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
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
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,
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
NFPA approved plastic gasoline storage containers
are also OK.
Do NOT use HDPE, which is breathable because the
evaporate. The acetone in ER will attack HDPE
in about 6 months,
making a heck of a mess!
Add the ATF first. Use the empty container to
measure the other
components, so that it is thoroughly rinsed. If
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
the bore cleaner mix, and stirring until it is
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"
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
Cleaning is most effective when done while the
still warm to the touch from firing. Saturate
patch with bore cleaner, wrap or impale on jag
and push it
through the bore from breech to muzzle. The patch
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
forward in 4-5" strokes and gradually advancing
patch emerges out the muzzle. Waiting approximately
to let the bore cleaner soak will improve its
3. For pitted, heavily carbon-fouled "rattle
leaded revolvers or neglected bores a bronze brush
bore cleaner may be used to remove stubborn deposits.
is unnecessary for smooth, target-grade barrels
4. Use a final wet patch pushed straight through
the bore to
flush out loosened residue dissolved by Ed's Red.
patch fall off the jag without pulling it back
bore. If you are finished firing, leaving the
bore wet will
protect it from rust for up to 30 days. If the
incorporated into the mixture, it will protect
from rust for up to two years. For longer term
recommend use of Lee Liquid Alox as a Cosmolene
"ER" will readily remove hardened Alox
5. Wipe spilled Ed's Red from exterior surfaces
the gun. While Ed's Red is harmless to blue and
finishes, the acetone it contains is harmful to
6. Before firing again, push two dry patches
through the bore
and dry the chamber, using a patch wrapped around
sized brush or jag. First shot point of impact
not be disturbed by Ed's Red if the bore is cleaned
7. I have determined to my satisfaction that
when Ed's Red is
used exclusively and thoroughly, that hot water
unnecessary after use of Pyrodex or military chlorate
primers. However, if bores are not wiped between
shots and are heavily caked from black powder
water cleaning is recommended first to break up
fouling deposits. Water cleaning should be followed
thorough flush with Ed's Red to prevent after-rusting
could result from residual moisture. It is ALWAYS
to clean TWICE, TWO DAYS APART whenever using
ammunition, just to make sure you get all the
LABEL AND OBLIGATORY SAFETY WARNINGS:
RIFLE BORE CLEANER CAUTION: HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED.
KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN
1. Flammable mixture. Keep away from heat, sparks
2. FIRST AID, If swallowed DO NOT induce vomiting,
physician immediately. In case of eye contact
flush thoroughly with water and call a physician.
contact wash thoroughly.
3. Use with adequate ventilation. Avoid breathing
spray mist. It is a violation of Federal law to
product in a manner inconsistent with its labelling.
have associated repeated and prolonged occupational
overexposure to solvents with permanent brain
system damage. If using in closed armory vaults
forced air ventilation wear respiratory protection
NIOSH TC23C or equivalent. Keep container tightly
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