Author Topic: Electrolysis cleaning method or How to make your Yugo's bore shine.  (Read 24959 times)

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handyrandyrc and I used his electrolysis rig last night to clean a couple of my rifles.  One was my FR8 and the other my Yugo SKS. I will describe the steps that we used and the tools we used to do this.

First, the electrolysis rig:
This was an old AC power supply that was rated at 6 volts.  It has two alligator clips on it, one large clip for positive and a small clip for negative.  The electrode is just a piece of steel rod that has electrical tape on it to insulate it from touching the bbl and shorting the system.

Prepping the gun:
Too simple for words... Plug the chamber with whatever you have handy. Randy has a number of various sized rubber stoppers.  One of them fit perfectly into the 7.62 mm breach. Then you tape a funnel to the bbl to ease pouring the solution into the bbl and to accomodate the foam and detritus that will come up.

Getting started:
You then insert the rod into the bbl, making sure that you have tape at the muzzle to keep a short from occurring.  Pour in your solution (thoughts on this later) and attach the positive lead to the bbl and the negative lead to the electrode.

Time for fun:
Plug in the AC adapter and watch the surface of the solution.  Very soon, assuming no shorts in the system, you will see bubbles start to rise.  In a few minutes the bubbles will bring up some specs of the material being removed from the bore.  We let it sit for about ten minutes before unplugging the power source and cleaning off the electrode with cloth and then steel wool.  Pour out the solution and then rinse and repeat.

Finishing off the cleaning process:
After a few cycles of cleaning, remove the plug, pour boiling water into the bore to remove the solution, and then run some Ed's Red through the bore to bring out the funk.  Once your patches are clean oil the bore and you are good to go.

Final thoughts and theories:
Concerning the solution.  We used diluted household cleaner.  I think there may be better choices however.  I think that if you used salt water you would get a better result. 

The electrolysis did not remove all of the material, but it does seem to loosen it to the point that it is removed easily with patches and solvent.  The Yugo in particular had an almost tar substance that was coming out of the bore.  It's amazing how much crap came out once we loosened the baked on glaze that was in that bore.

The electrode may work better if you have high grade steel.  It also may work better if the solution was as close to neutral pH as possible. Some conductivity is required in the solution so salt water will work better than plain water and distilled water will not work at all.

The first power source we used died mid way.  Randy simply replaced the source with a 5 volt cell phone charger that worked like a champ.  He soldierd the clips to the wires after checking the voltage with a multimeter.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2008, 05:51:19 PM by marbike »

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Re: Electrolysis cleaning method or How to make your Yugo's bore shine.
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2007, 01:48:35 PM »
I did this a month or two ago. the solution I used was half ammonia, half vinegar.

Even after throughly cleaning a Mosin Nagant rifle that I have and it appearing to be totally clean, HUGE amounts of gunk came out using this method.

On the Mosin, I had used automotive brake cleaner down the barrel (and all over) to remove cosmoline. I then used bore cleaning solvent and a brass brush to scrub out the barrel. Then some CLP on a bore snake - then patches, which came out clean.

And then after using this electified cleaning of an "already clean" Mosin, here's what came out. Bear in mind the rod is smooth silver steel - anything that's not smooth steel is gunk from the barrel! I didn't photograph the junk that came out when I upended the barrel, these are just the rod and wipecloths that came out of the barrel, and a pic of the setup:

My instructions were similar to yours but used batteries:

Here's what you need:

1. some wire, maybe 3 ft
2. two or three AA batteries, you're looking for 3 volts
3. a rubber stopper (home depot has these
4. a 4' steel rod (2.38 at home depot)
5. some electrical tape
6. 2 aligator clips

7. ammonia
8. white vinegar
9. water
10. small funnel for use at the muzzle end

Basically, rig it however you like. Stack the two batteries end to end & tape them firmly together. Or do as I did, and take the 3-AAA battery 'tray' out of a little 9LED flashlight and use it. The commercial electric cleaners use 3 volts and there may be a good reason for that, so I'd stick to 3v if you can.

Attach a wire to the positive end of the battery stack, and attach ANOTHER wire to the negative. You can tape the wires on or use any other method you like.

Attach the aligator clips to the other ends of the wires.

Plug the barrel at the chamber end with the rubber plug so that the liquid cleaner you use wont run out into the chamber area.

Wrap a few wraps of electrical tape at one end of the rod (which will sit in the chamber end after you insert the rod into the barrel from the muzzle end) and some at the end that will be just inside the muzzle. The idea is that when the rod is inserted, the rod CAN NOT touch the barrel - the tape wraps wil insulated it so there is no metal on metal contact.

Wrap some paper towel around the muzzle end so that any overflow can be absorbed. Have extra towels on hand to clean up any spills.

Make a mixture of 1 part ammonia, 1 part vinegar and 1 part water. Pour it into the barrel via the muzzle. Leave a little room at the top so it doesn't overflow when you insert the metal rod.

Insert the metal rod, wiping any overflow. Clamp an aligator clip to the steel rod that's above the muzzle (outside the barrel obviously). Clamp the other end to the metal of the barrel, any place you can find a spot.

Let it sit for an hour or so. You will see it start to foam up within about 30 seconds. Within a minute or two the white foam will turn dark brown. Once done, disconnect everything and pour the dirty liquid mixture from the barrel and wipe down the metal rod which will be really gunked up by now.

Then clean the barrel as normal with brush & CLP, etc.

This is essential for surplus rifles in my opinion.

Do at your own risk, I'm just telling about my experience but assume no responsibility for your messes, etc etc etc blah blah blah.

Be careful letting the undiluted amonia get on any gun parts or wood as I'm not sure if it could damage the finish.