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Post subject: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:31 am
I recently returned from a rifle school and shot A LOT of rounds through my Colt AR. So I decided to tear it completely apart and clean everything really thoroughly. As most of you know their is typically carbon build up down inside the bolt that is really difficult to get to and clean out of there.

The method I used and it seemed to work well, was soaking the bolt in some Slip 2000 Carbon Cutter for about 20 minutes and then using a flat tip screw driver I reached down inside and as gently as I could scrapped the carbon out of the inside of the bolt. This seemed to work and I got the bolt pretty clean. I wondered if this is a bad approach, i.e. do you risk damaging the bolt by doing this?

I found other carbon scrappers on the market that are also made out of steel, so I figured a steel flat tip screw driver was the same thing and actually appeared to work pretty good for getting in the very edge and cracks at the bottom of the bolt. What do you guys think?

Fortune Hunter

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Post subject: Re: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:50 pm
I have always used a dental tool. Its the best for getting all of the crud out of the nooks and crannes in the bolt and carrier, especially around the extractor pin and inside the bolt itself like it sounds like your talking about.

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Post subject: Re: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:03 am
i used to use some brass cleaning tools and patches, ...but now have a special ar-15 cleaning tool, ...definitely worth it!

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Post subject: Re: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:53 am
Has anyone ever used an ultrasonic cleaner on a bolt? I'm just wondering how effective it was and if it made it any easier or if no further cleaning was needed.
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Post subject: Re: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:43 pm
JediSkipdogg wrote:
Has anyone ever used an ultrasonic cleaner on a bolt? I'm just wondering how effective it was and if it made it any easier or if no further cleaning was needed.

My preferred method. The carbon just falls off the bolt in the ultrasonic cleaner.
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Post subject: Re: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:58 pm
Quote:
i used to use some brass cleaning tools and patches, ...but now have a special ar-15 cleaning tool, ...definitely worth it!


What is the brand name/item that you got that you like so much?

In the meantime, does anyone see an issue with using a flat tip screw driver if I do it as gently as possible inside the bolt?

Fortune Hunter

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Post subject: Re: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:09 pm
Fortune_Hunter wrote:
Quote:
i used to use some brass cleaning tools and patches, ...but now have a special ar-15 cleaning tool, ...definitely worth it!


What is the brand name/item that you got that you like so much?

In the meantime, does anyone see an issue with using a flat tip screw driver if I do it as gently as possible inside the bolt?

..the magna-matic http://www.midwayusa.com/product/129691 ... r-15-steel

...i think you'd be ok w/ the screwdriver, assuming it's made of softer steel than the bolt... but most general purpose screwdrivers seem to have a bit of a rounded over tip, so it may not do the job well... i generally let the bolt soak in hoppes #9 for an hour or more before scraping the carbon off...

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Post subject: Re: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:52 pm
A mineral spirit dunk tank will clean the bolt spotless. Disassemble the bolt and toss it in, let it soak for a few hours then blow it off with a compressor and relube.

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Post subject: Re: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:43 pm
Quote:
i generally let the bolt soak in hoppes #9 for an hour or more before scraping the carbon off...


You may want to also try Slip 2000 Carbon Killer as well...

http://www.slip2000.com/slip2000_carbon_killer.php

I have only used this a couple of times, but so far I am highly impressed with it. I just poured it in a plastic bowl and dropped my bolt in and let it soak for about 20 minutes and it really helped loosen and remove the carbon I had built up on there.

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Post subject: Re: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:53 am
When you said you 'reached down in the bolt' what part do you mean? The recess in the bolt face? The only part of my bolt I've had carbon buildup on (over thousands of rounds) is the tail. Which has no effect on function so I happily let carbon build up there.

I've found that carbon cannot build up in crucial areas (like bolt lugs) because of the heat and speed with which the action operates. I pull the bolt every 500 rounds, wipe it down, and give it some more lube with Slip, Fireclean, or Mpro7.
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Post subject: Re: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:28 pm
How about not cleaning it off?

That carbon build up does not affect the operation of the AR15 at all. As the carbon builds up it simple breaks away and is pushed or falls away from the working parts. I spent MANY hours detail cleaning the M16/M4 while in the Marine Corps. I, like many others, were told how dangerous the carbon built up was. Fast forward to 2004 I took a basic carbine class from EAG Tactical. During this class the primary instructor, Pat Rogers, also a former Marine, explained that this was a myth. Pat has a rifle that went over 30,000 rounds with only one cleaning. The malfunctions experienced with this rifle have been minimal and documented. Pat wrote a nice article about the rifle for SWAT magazine titled "Filthy 14", look it up, it is a great read.

Pat's Filthy 14 is an extreme case. The broader picture... I am in charge of 16 AR15s at work. They are Colts or RRA, 4 of which are full auto capable. Since 2005 when I took over all weapons maintenance, I can tell you that 12 of those rifles have never had the carbon removed from the bolt or bolt carrier. The other 4 are maintained by specific people and I can only assume they follow my recommended cleaning procedures. As an agency we shoot between 18,000 and 22,000 rounds every year. Two of our rifles have been around since 1997, the rest being added over the years. Additionally, I own a dozen AR15s, all of which never had the carbon removed and I have not experienced any issues.

The time, effort and money spent on removing the carbon from the bolt is a waste of time. There is inspection/storage clean and then there is functionally clean. Functionally clean is what we need to concern ourselves with. Also keep in mind the life expectancy of the bolt and bolt carrier. The bolt should be replaced every 5,000 rounds and the bolt carrier every 10,000 rounds. All that time cleaning could be better spent dry practicing!

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Post subject: Re: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:48 pm
That's an interesting theory as I spent similar countless hours and thousands of patches and Q-tips GI-ing weapons. I'm going to have to give that a read when I have time.

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Post subject: Re: Cleaning Carbon from Bolt Question
Post Posted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:00 am
I would be very careful with that "carbon"......it may be very high in lead, should be treated with care once you remove it.


They have done lead level tests in casting and reloading rooms and the highest levels were around the case tumbler, which deals with the same exact residue.


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