Every once in awhile you come across a product delivering more than advertised. Such was my discovery of Shooter’s Choice new Aqua Cleaner and Degreaser. I had purchased an Enfield No. 5 Mk I Jungle Carbine from Old Western Scrounger last summer. Dated 9/44, it is one I like to imagine as having “seen the elephant” during WWII. It was certainly well used, still having all matching serial numbers, but showing some rust peeking out from under the wood. In fact, it appeared the handguard ring was rusting through even.
Disassembly showed pockets of rust under the wood and other areas still protected by dried up old cosmoline. I have a protocol for removing rust, and it does not affect existing finish. Since I wanted to clean all the old cosmoline off, this seemed a perfect test for Aqua Clean. A water-based cleaner, Aqua Clean is “50-state legal,” ideal for jurisdictions limiting the use of petroleum-based cleaners. I sprayed it on the metal and let it work for 5 minutes.
I began cleaning with an old nylon toothbrush and, to my amazement, saw the rust lifting off the gun with the dried grease. I used a bronze toothbrush to get the rust out of the deeper pits and have never seen rust dissolved so quickly and easily. I had no need to follow up with my proven rust removing method! Another new product, Ramrodz, was dragooned into the chore of digging out the cosmoline from other assorted nooks and crannies—especially inside the capacious flash hider.
Shooter’s Choice MC 7 (above) removed extensive copper fouling in the WWII-era Enfield.
The well-cared for Swiss K-31 rifle still had plenty of copper fouling in the barrel and
Aqua Clean Bore Cleaner (below) easily removed it all. Because it is a water-based cleaner,
follow-up protection with an oil like FP-10 is a must.
Aqua Clean packaging says the product is safe on wood, but that isn’t entirely accurate. Aqua Clean will attack and lift the linseed oil finish most military rifles have, so keep it away from any wood finished as such.
After getting all the rust off, I cleaned the Enfield barrel’s interior with ammonia-free MC-7 aerosol, following the directions on the bottle (although it is indeed ammonia free, it still has quite an odor). I wore nitrile gloves and kept a fan going. Throw the patches away outside when you’re done or the odor will linger.
A better bet if you don’t have a garage or live in an apartment is Aqua Bore Cleaner. It is water-based and also removes copper fouling quickly and easily. I used a pristine Swiss K-31 acquired from Classic Arms for this test. Following the instructions, I cleaned first using a bronze Pro-Shot bore brush. The bronze brush will also leave some copper fouling, so I routinely switch to a nylon bore brush for follow-up passes. Patches came out clean after the third trip down the bore. I then lubricated the action and protected the bore with FP-10. One real bonus? The brushes cleaned up with a water rinse, and there is almost no odor.
Upon removing the fore-end (above), surface rust and dried grease greeted Jeff on his
newly-acquired Enfield Jungle Carbine. Although not billed as a rust remover, Shooter’s
Choice Aqua Cleaner & Degreaser (below) ate right through rust without affecting the
Two recently acquired rifles—a nice Swiss K-31 and an Enfield No. 5 Mk I—were
the test mules for new cleaning products from Shooter’s Choice.
Think of Ramrodz as a giant bore-size Q-Tip. I decided to give them a tough job—removing heavily crusted black powder fouling on a Stoeger/Uberti Old Model Russian .44 after a day at the range.
It was a hot, dry day and the fouling became pretty crusty. Because Ramrodz give full contact with the bore and grooves, the cotton swabs—soaked in Aqua Clean—quickly loosened and removed the fouling. They also compress more easily and make cleaning chamber throats much easier than using a patch. The swab stays on its bamboo rod and can be pushed back and forth to quickly loosen the crud. Another place they work great is cleaning large bottleneck chambers like those found on the Mosin-Nagant after shooting corrosive ammunition.
This Stoeger/Uberti Old Model Russian .44 (above) was fired with black-powder ammo.
In the dry desert, the fouling became hard and thick. Aqua Clean cut through the heavy
fouling and the Ramrodz made cleaning the bore and chambers fast and easy (below).
Back in 1994, as the riots began in Los Angeles where I then lived, I took my M1 Garand out of the safe as my “defensive” rifle, since I had traded my AR’s away rather than register them. I had lubed the rifle with yellow GI grease after the last shooting session, and the lube had dried and frozen the bolt to the point I had to rest the butt on the ground and use my foot to break it free. I cleaned off the old grease and relubed it with Pro Gold grease, a product I used on my shotgun’s hinge pin. I haven’t shot my M1 for probably 5 years, yet it stands at the front of the safe still (although now it has my AR to keep it company).
Occasionally I still take the M1 out of the safe and open the bolt. To this day it opens smoothly (I can feel a little residual grease on the bolt still, but it’s probably time to clean and re-lube Old Faithful.) Pro Gold is a heavy petroleum-based grease with bronze flakes suspended in it to add lubricity. It’s perfect for high load areas and withstands high operating temperatures quite well.
I’ve also used a Pro Shot pistol rod for the last 20 years or so as well. It still works fine, and the new ones are even better.
Since Pro Shot bronze bore brushes are twisted around a brass core, they can be made with larger bristles and last longer than aluminum core brushes. I find they remove lead fouling quicker, too.
Pro Shot jags are very good, and the patches are flannel, finished on both sides. They hold plenty of solvent and fit the jags well. There are no surprises when I match up Pro Shot brushes, patches and jags. The patches can be purchased in large quantities such as 500-count bags. I rarely run low anymore. I find the patches useful for plenty of other chores around the shop—if they are abundant.
By Jeff John
P.O. Box 763
Taylorville, IL 62568
16 Yerry Hill Road
Woodstock, NY 12498
15050 Berkshire Industrial Pkwy
Middlefield, OH 44062