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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Powder Room - CAS reloading (Moderator: Professor Marvel)  |  Topic: Regarding the Cleaning of Guns After the Use of Pyrodex and 777 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Regarding the Cleaning of Guns After the Use of Pyrodex and 777  (Read 9467 times)
Professor Marvel
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« on: November 11, 2015, 12:44:34 am »


I was searching for my dissertation on BP vs Pyro, and found it! Not on my confusicator, but out on the interwebs.

 So here it is again:

Regarding the Cleaning of Guns After the Use of Pyrodex and 777
( both of which utilize potassium perchlorate )

Real Black Powder contains sulfur and potassium nitrate and charcoal. On combustion we get gasses (which propel the bullet) and
byproducts of incompletely burned material (fouling). Both are corrosive due to the resultant chemicals formed.

Pyrodex contains, among other things Potassium Perchlorate. That is the material with which people take issue.
Many have complained, "Awe come on we're just shootin stuff- , this isn't Chemical Science here!"

Unfortunately it *is* Chemical Science. Any chemist (and any advanced chemistry student) who is also schooled in
metallurgy and corrosion can understand and explain the difference in corrosion vis-a-vis chlorates and steel.

It has been proven in various scientific tests that when fired in a gun, the residues from Potassium Perchlorate (whether via "corrosive primers" or via any powder mix), are particularly corrosive to steel (not so much to wrought iron) at a microscopic level
and is particularly difficult to stop once this corrosion gets started. This was very well known in the early 1900's and became the topic of the "corrosive primers" discussions in the past.

It is because of this particular "perchlorate corrosion" associated with Pyrodex that people are upset.

The big advantage In My Opinion to Pyrodex is that it is not classified in the same manner as BP, and thus
is treated in the same manner as Smokeless for transport and storage. To quote my Chemist friends:

"Potassium perchlorate is a low-order detonating compound. But when you mix it in with a bunch of other things
it is now longer capable of going low-order detonation."    ....    (Thus it is less sensitive than BP) .

Also "Compared to potassium nitrate, the potassium perchlorate simply provides more oxygen in a shorter period of time."
so you need to use less Pyrodex than BP *BY WEIGHT*

Thus we have established:
- Both BP and Pyrodex are corrosive. But not in the same way.
- Both can be cleaned - but Pyrodex must be cleaned quickly

one must pay attention to the nasty details.

the big issue is that if perchlorate salts are missed during cleaning the resulting corrosion is initially subtle but aggressive.

This sort of corrosion is more easily seen and dealt with in C&B revolvers than in closed-breech ML,
The corrosion is even less apparent if Pyro is used in cartridges.

I have contacts in the Very High End ML gunsmith community who have dissected modern made traditional ML rifles and
analyzed the corrosion to the Breech. To a man they are all able and willing to identify the unique perchlorate corrosion
and evaluate how badly the breech has been compromised.

The basic problem is clearly that the perchlorate residue has not been adequately cleaned, thus allowing corrosion to proceed.
Whether the corrosion is due to BP or Pyro is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the appropriate cleaning solvent was not used.

Lately the advert is that Pyro "is no more corrosive" than BP. That statement, whilst technically correct in some ways, is misleading
to newbies without telling them exactly what cleaning product *will* kill the "corrosive salts".

It is unfortunate that "back in the day" Pyrodex was in fact advertised and marketed as a BP substitute that did not require the kind
of cleaning that BP needs. That was both unfortunate and wrong, and we can blame the "marketeers" and their usual hype.

In fairness to the marketeers it is nothing different than advertizing that "Kedz Sneakers make you run faster and jump Higher" or
that "Koldgate toothpaste makes your smile whiter".

Unfortunately, once the product is purchased and used, the reality of the situation strikes home, at times with a vengence, and the
marketeers are nowhere around to pay the piper.

----
Regarding The Cleaning of Perchlorate Salts

It appears that it is no longer generally well known that "modern bore cleaning solvents" are not effective on chlorate salts; this does unfortunately include Hoppe's No 9.

It used to be generally well known that "hot soapy water kills the salts" - howver it is not really killed, but flushed away.

Some feel that that a strong lye soap is the key, whilst others maintain that the hottest water possible is the cure.

However, being a pragmatist, if one is using very hot soapy water "which one does it" becomes irrelevant :-)

Some feel that the vinegar in Windex will do it, this I do not know.

whilst one fellow believes "Hoppes says right on the bottle 'neutralizes corrosive salts'", there is an excellent discussion seen here on THR:
http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-571391.html

with excellent points by Jim Watson, which if I may snip his statements:

snip-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hoppes does not neutralize the corrosive salt (potassium chloride) from chlorate primers.
Nothing "neutralizes" the corrosive (chloride) salts, they are already neutral.
...
{{meaning, PH neutral which he later clarifies}}
...
The only reliable way to deal with corrosive primers is with water. You can dress it up with Windex or peroxide or emulsifiable oil,
but it is the water that dissolves the potassium chloride. Then dry and oil.
...
The research that showed what the problem was with newfangled smokeless ammunition came out in a paper titled "Corrosion Under Oil Films."
endsnip-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


and he later states regarding Hoppes:
snip-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The corrosive residue from chlorate (or perchlorate) primers is potassium chloride, KCl.
That is what is known as a neutral salt, the product of reaction between a strong acid and a strong base.
A KCl solution is at or very near  pH 7 which is as neutral as you can get. So you cannot neutralize it in a chemical sense.
...
Hoppe's main ingredients on the MSDS are kerosine and alcohol. KCl is not much soluble in either.
So you would be depending on it flushing out the salt physically.
...
endsnip-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


In the book "Gunsmithing" by Roy Dunlap, the author writes:
"Water must be introduced to the chlorate or salt-containing primer mixtures ... Oil will not disolve salt..."

And A wonderful post by Jowen Lawson here:
http://pistolsmith.com/workshop/9338-soap-water-pistol-cleaning.html

briefly discusses the issue and the "fix" by the U.S. Army:
extremely thorough cleaning of the firearm using boiling water and  Government Issue soap.
It is my opinion that the only "magical property" behind GI soap is that it is already issued :-)

----------------------
Thus we can see that the solution (pun intended) is soap and hot water - In my humble opinion, the hotter the water the better.
Heats up all the metal and provides a self drying feature :-)

More Hivernaughts than I can count have been cleaning their smokepoles after dark by the using simmering water from the pot on
the coals of the campfire. I do recall laughing hysterically at one hairy friend who mixed up his hot water cleaning cup with his hot coffee cup.

I am told by my Chemist acquaintances that soap is in fact a "surfactant" - ie: a mystical material that breaks the surface tension
of water and thus promotes or enhances the solvent action of the water.

WRT "harsh lye soap" referred to in the GI cleaning link - all real "soap" is lye and fat. I am told that Ivory is one of the last of the
true "soaps" on the market. I am unsure where the "harsh" part comes from.

Finally, this information vis-a-vis the most effective method of cleaning Pyrodex perchlorate residue. From my friend The Mad Monk, chemist and BP specialist:

"In dealing with Pyrodex residue the key is to use large volumes of warm water. Seventeen parts of potassium perchlorate in the powder. During powder combustion the oxygen atoms are released leaving a large number of crystals of potassium chloride scattered over the surfaces in the bore. This potassium chloride is poorly soluble in water. If anything else is dissolved in the water, other than a soap, the potassium chloride crystals are nearly insoluble in the water. The potassium chloride crystals are also kinda picky as to what kind of soap will encapsulate them to be carried away in the water if they don't dissolve. " He offers further discussion as substantiation but I expect I am overly verbose enough for most folks :-)

Thus when shooting pyro, the advised method of cleaning according to my chemist friend is hot water and lots of it! I am sure that vigorous scrubbing with appropriate brushes will help as well, and any way that one can provide further access the better (ie: remove nipples from revolver cylinders, etc) .

hope this helps
yhs
prof marvel
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2015, 07:19:30 am »

Nice. Somebody should "sticky" this. wM1
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Gabriel Law
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2015, 12:25:08 pm »

I agree.  This is extremely important information that every shooter should know and have continuous access to.  It boggles my mind why someone would spend many hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a firearm, and then jeopardize it with a modern substitute propellant, when the real Holy Black is so readily available - no matter what it's cost.
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DTS
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2015, 07:02:03 pm »

I agree.  This is extremely important information that every shooter should know and have continuous access to.  It boggles my mind why someone would spend many hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a firearm, and then jeopardize it with a modern substitute propellant, when the real Holy Black is so readily available - no matter what it's cost.

Absolutely, Gabriel Law - in the States, with BP so easily obtainable - delivered right to your door and under $20.00 per pound including haz-mat & shipping fees. Ask the question on how to get it on www.americanlongrifles.org web site.  One of the USA lads in the shooting forum will be glad to give you the appropriate web site and probably phone number - or you could simply do a search for black powder suppliers or some such.

As for the Subs:
I have a couple pounds of 777 I have been thinking of testing, maybe in a ctg. gun.  I've been informed that there are no perchlorates in T-7 even though the hazmat sheet says there is - it is a misprint to bypass having to go through testing - I was informed they simply used the same descripto as pyrodex, even though there is no perchlorates in T-7).  I will however NEVER use Pyrodex again. I tried it back in the 70's and it actually eats holes into the steel. Some barrel steels and castings (breech plugs)  are worse than others, but that stuff seems to have an affinity to the steel at the molecular level, or something. Seems to dissolve the steel into sharp-undercut craters that deepen- even to perforation of the barrel or breech plug.  I've read that 17% of Pyrodex is perchlorates. Chlorates is what made primers in the WW1 era, corrosive and there was not much in each primer.
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Professor Marvel
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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2015, 08:05:47 pm »


As for the Subs:
I have a couple pounds of 777 I have been thinking of testing, maybe in a ctg. gun.  I've been informed that there are no perchlorates in T-7 even though the hazmat sheet says there is - it is a misprint to bypass having to go through testing - I was informed they simply used the same descripto as pyrodex, even though there is no perchlorates in T-7).

Greetings DTS

I am very interested in "who exactly" told you this. I humbly suggest that someone is trying to either BS you or is outright lying. The use of potassium perchlorate as an additional oxidizer is the only way Hogdons was able to achieve the desired results.

here is the straight poop, as published by Hogdons:

https://www.hodgdon.com/PDF/MSDS%20Files/Muzzleloading/Pyrodex%20SDS%20Sheet-2013.pdf
https://www.hodgdon.com/PDF/MSDS%20Files/Muzzleloading/Triple%20Seven%20SDS%20Sheet-2013.pdf

I am rather vehement about it because the MSDS is a federally required safety doc; and firefighters and doctors rely on these things being accurate!  Hogdons latest is dated 2013, and these are documents required for Federal Safety purposes - if they have "typos" they can be heavily fined. If there is any sign that they were trying to bypass testing, well, you saw what is happening to VW and their diesel testing fiasco!

yhs
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2015, 11:40:04 am »

Guess I will flush the T-7 - The man is now retried from "the industry" - appears he was also wrong about the content of perchlorate as the list shows 30% perchlorate, not 17% as reported.
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Professor Marvel
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2015, 01:03:55 am »

Well sir, I would not be overly concerned over a misunderstanding, I myself have been wrong more times than I have been right :-)
Also, Lots of warm water never seems to hurt :-)

yhs
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2015, 07:56:07 pm »

I personally use water from the cold tap for cleaning black powder fouling from my barrels, ml and ctg.  I've used cold water ever since Holland and Holland told "us" to, in 1978.  My friend, a double rifle and shotgun collector asked them about hot water with an order for his SxS 6 bore ball and shot gun refurbish and a fitted leather bound case for it - they said "do not use other than water from the cold tap".  They said cold water will dissolve the fouling. Hot water can have a glazing effect on hard breech plug fouling buildup, whereas the cold water has no such effect. I've done this since 1978 and have never pitted nor rusted a barrel - since.
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