Gun cleaning solvents: reverse engineering and DIY

I have just received a few new solvents for gun cleaning that i bought online. One was KG12 that makes some big claims so I was interested in seeing what the ingredients would be. On the bottle there is no indication only the scull and cross bones. So I went to the Australian distributors website to see if I could find a MSDS still nothing but good old google turned one up.

Turns out the one active ingredient is Cyanide at about <3% so this is one I wont be taking a good sniff of or splashing on my face like a real mans aftershave.


The order was stuffed up and I only received one bottle of the copper solvent instead of the two ordered but got a free sample pack of the Moly bore coat and the gun oil. Will see how well they sort the stuff up out and let everybody know as well as the results of the Solvent.


What’s a Moly Bore Coat?

I had never heard of it before either. I had heard of the moly bullet coat which is probably also similar as in the bullet is the transmission method.

From the manufacturer
KG-6 was developed to offer the advantages of Moly to both re-loaders and those who buy factory ammo. KG-6 is unlike the greases you are used to seeing. Formulated with Molybdenum Disulfide suspended in a fine oil, our finished product is a superior lubricant that does not need to be shaken and has a natural affinity for metal. KG-6 will embed a very thin film of Moly onto the bore that will aid in less bore fouling. Most shooters today are reporting 50 to 100 round strings without loss in group size or a need to clean.

Who really knows there are so many claimed wonder products. Not sure I will use it I like to keep things pretty simple. KISS rule

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I have been known to push the great qualities of Windex as a gun cleaner. In my search for the “good” solvents Pro shots copper solvent has popped up among conversations and being sold by BRT a well respected Australian Bench Rest supplier of quality goods so it got my attention.

Of course I normally have a little looky into the MSDS to see what the active ingredients are and if I can understand any of them and get a feel for how they may work.

Pro shot turnerd out to contain 2-Butoxyethanol then a google of this showed some interesting results.

What is Butoxypropanol?

Butoxypropanol is a solvent cleaning agent commonly used in detergents. It works by dissolving the soils so they are easy to remove. It removes many types of soils including dirt and soap scum. Propylene GlycolCarrier. Propylene glycol is a solubilizer that can also be found in cosmetics, toothpaste, food and beer.

Windex ® Multi-Surface Vinegar - : SC Johnson

The first link is broken but the second on works.
Makes for some interesting reading. The way I read it is if you drink beer it will help to keep your insides clean as well as your firearms, it’s a win win situation.

It’s actually the same link, he just don’t computer good. Fixed.

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So what’s the relationship between the link and Windex Vinegar

Ok the links stuffed up. The whats in the Windex shows a very similar chemical composition although it is not as strong. 2-Hexoxyethanol, Butoxypropanol and Propylene Glycol along with some wetting agents and a little acid. In some ways it may have a more rounded chemical composition. The Vinegar version not one I have used has the acid and the Original has some ammonia in it.

So this made me think about Hope’s 9. Had a look at the data sheet… Seems like it can be DIY’ed. Mmmm need to find proportions…

@juststarting, now that’s a good idea. Could be your mission for the week.

Looks like some pretty common chemicals Ethenol (methlated spirits now Ethanol for safety) , Kerosene, Oleic Acid Diggers Rust cleaner? Amyl Acetate (Acetone) and some Ammonium hydroxide (cloudy ammonia)

What is in cloudy ammonia?

It is also used to produce fertilisers, plastics, synthetic fibres, dyes and pharmaceuticals. Household ammonia , bought in the cleaning section of the supermarket, is really a solution of water with 5-10% ammonium hydroxide. Cloudy ammonia is the same thing with a little soap added.

Based on the price of some of those products you could make killing mixing up your own brew and maketing it.
“Uncle JS’s milsurp soap”
“Battle wash”

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Funny, I’ve often thought that too. Most of them are made of pretty common & cheap solvents. Kero, turps, acetone, petrol, diesel. List just goes on & on.

PS, Ed’s Red does a reasonable job. I use it all the time.

Ed’s Red is bloody handy for a lot of other things too. Sometimes I have to take things apart that were built in the 19th century, soaking threads in Ed’s Red for a couple of days works wonders.

I wonder how CRC BRAKLEEN Brake and Parts Cleaner would go?
I use it for cleaning car parts etc and it works well.

So here are the safety data sheets for Hopes products:

The specific one I am talking about, is Hope’s #9 - PDF download.

# Ingredient % weight
1 Ethyl Alcohol 15 - 40
2 Kerosene 15 - 40
3 Oleic Acid unknown
4 Amyl Acetate 5 - 10
5 Ammonium Hydroxide 1 - 5

oh yes, you can totally do tables in this forum :wink:

Going to pick my friends brain about it a little more later, some are obviously for cleaning, others are little trickier, but certainly something I can play with. I also think that Ed’s Red mixing ratios are very helpful to reverse engineer this.

After I asked the question (he’s a biologist, not organic chemist, but I know one too :slight_smile: So I will ask there as well). For now, some preliminary thoughts:

yeah biology and organic chemistry are very different beasts. So your oleic acid is likely to act as an emulsifier or a lubricant probably emulsifier, so that you can mix kerosine with water (though ethanol should also help). nfi about amyl acetate except for what i just read on wiki and that its a solvent (which i guessed) and is a flavouring agent. My guess would be that the kerosine and ethanol dissolve the grease like substances and ammonia dissolves all the other gunk, oleic acid keeps it all together. Kinda like egg yolk in mayo.

Where did water comes from? This is the unknown. If everything is mixed at maximum and Oleic Acid is at 5%, then it’s probably a lubricant. However, if there is water (also a good solvent, to make up the remaining percentage), then it could act as an emulsifier. And so can ammonia I am told. While Kerosine and Oleic Acid would displace water. That said, I don’t see water separate to the top, so my poorly educated guess is that it’s not an ingredient, in which case, Ethyl could act as an emulsifier and Oleic Acid is rust inhibitor.


  • Ethyl Alcohol - cleaning (and potentially emulsifier).
  • Kerosene - cleaning.
  • Ammonium Hydroxide - (ammonia) cleaning; and/or emulsifier. However, I suspect it’s at the very minimum for cleaning to act as a mild coper solvent.
  • Oleic Acid - most likely rust inhibitor (oily feel in Hopes), I suspect; but friend tells me it could be an emulsifier or both. Now that I think about it, I think it is both, similarly to Ed’s Red transmission fluid, that acts as both.
  • Amyl Acetate - my guess, this is used to give the solution its distinct’ smell.

I think an experiment will be to:
Remove Oleic Acid and Amyl Acetate from the solution, to test above hypothesis.
Mix the rest at various ratios, maybe mix some similarly to Ed’s Red…

#1 Burn some powder on steel and clean. See what does a better job.
#2 Rub a copper bullet on steel plate and see what dissolves it.
#3 As above, swap copper for plastic to simulate shotgun wads.

Passing thought:
Do some research on what dissolves lead and is harmless to gun, then either mix this in and test again or use it and then displace with the above solvent. Maybe Kerosine or alcohol would be doing the displacement, hopefully, unless it doesn’t but that’s the test.

Note: terms ‘lubricant’ and ‘rust inhibitor’ is used interchangeably here.


Example of when emulsifier is required. Obviously something in his new ATF had the ingredient to act as an emulsifier, while his original ATF didn’t.

Oh, hello…

Ammonium hydroxide has water that is why the other terms for it is ammonia with water, ammonia liquor etc. This means ammonium hydroxide is an ammonia solution with water content. It only has a small amount of ammonia.

This probably means that there is no additional water. Interesting.

The Ammonium hydroxide I think could be pretty easily replaced by the cloudy Ammonia available in supermarkets. From Google Cloudy ammonia is the same thing with a little soap added. Can only be a little bonus :grinning:

I was saving that for my next brain dump, lol. Yes, cloudy ammonia is just ammonia with soap and ammonium hydroxide is ammonia and water.

Exploring another ingredient now, to beef up kerosine and at the same time keep it, well, less harmful to humans and furniture.