View Full Version : Barrels: Ed's Red?

January 16, 2004, 15:49
I've seen a lot of references to using "Ed's Red" (a homebrew cleaner / lubricant), but haven't been able to find the "recipe" to brew some up.
I'm POSITIVE that some enlightened soul out there has is. Share?:shades:

January 16, 2004, 16:12
Here you go (http://www.totse.com/en/politics/right_to_keep_and_bear_arms/eds_red.html)

Steve A. Reno
January 16, 2004, 19:06
Here's a link to really good directions:

January 16, 2004, 19:16
CONTENTS: Ed's Red Bore Cleaner

1 part Dexron II, IIe or III ATF, GM Spec. D-20265 or later.

1 part Kerosene - deodorized, K1

1 part Aliphatic Mineral Spirits, Fed. Spec. TT-T-2981F, CAS
#64741-49-9, or may substitute "Stoddard Solvent", CAS #8052-41-3, or
equivalent, (aka "Varsol")

1 part Acetone, CAS #67-64-1.

(Optional up to 1 lb. of Lanolin, Anhydrous, USP per gallon, OK to
substitute Lanolin, Modified, Topical Lubricant, from the drug store)


Mix outdoors, in good ventilation. Use a clean 1 gallon metal,
chemical-resistant, heavy gage PET or PVC plastic container. NFPA
approved plastic gasoline storage containers are also OK. Do NOT use
HDPE, which is permeable, because the acetone will eventually evaporate.
The acetone in ER will also attack HDPE, causing the container to
collapse, making a heck of a mess!

Add the ATF first. Use the empty container to measure the other
components, so that it is thoroughly rinsed. If you incorporate the
lanolin into the mixture, melt this carefully in a double boiler, taking
precautions against fire. Pour the melted lanolin it into a larger
container, rinsing the lanolin container with the bore cleaner mix, and
stirring until it is all dissolved.

I recommend diverting a small quantity, up to 4 ozs. per quart of the
50-50 ATF/kerosene mix for optional use as an "ER-compatible" gun oil.
This can be done without impairing the effectiveness of the remaining

January 16, 2004, 19:17
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING "Ed's Red (ER)" Bore Cleaner:

1. Open the firearm action and ensure the bore is clear. Cleaning is
most effective when done while the barrel is still warm to the touch
from firing. Saturate a cotton patch with bore cleaner, wrap or impale
on jag and push it through the bore from breech to muzzle. The patch
should be a snug fit. Let the first patch fall off and do not pull it
back into the bore.

2. Wet a second patch, and similarly start it into the bore from the
breech, this time scrubbing from the throat area forward in 4-5" strokes
and gradually advancing until the patch emerges out the muzzle. Waiting
approximately 1 minute to let the bore cleaner soak will improve its

3. For pitted, heavily carbon-fouled "rattle battle" guns, leaded
revolvers or neglected bores a bronze brush wet with bore cleaner may be
used to remove stubborn deposits. This is unnecessary for smooth,
target-grade barrels in routine use.

4. Use a final wet patch pushed straight through the bore to flush out
loosened residue dissolved by Ed's Red. Let the patch fall off the jag
without pulling it back into the bore. If you are finished firing,
leaving the bore wet will protect it from rust for 1 year under average

5. If the lanolin is incorporated into the mixture, it will protect the
firearm from rust for up to two years. For longer term storage I
recommend use of Lee Liquid Alox as a Cosmolene substitute. "ER" will
readily remove hardened Alox or Cosmolene.

6. Wipe spilled Ed's Red from exterior surfaces before storing the gun.
While Ed's Red is harmless to blue and nickel finishes, the acetone it
contains is harmful to most wood finishes).

7. Before firing again, push two dry patches through the bore and dry
the chamber, using a patch wrapped around a suitably sized brush or jag.
First shot point of impact usually will not be disturbed by Ed's Red if
the bore is cleaned as described.

8. I have determined to my satisfaction that when Ed's Red is used
exclusively and thoroughly, that hot water cleaning is unnecessary after
use of Pyrodex or military chlorate primers. However, if bores are not
wiped between shots and shots and are heavily caked from black powder
fouling, hot water cleaning is recommended first to break up heavy
fouling deposits. Water cleaning should be followed by a thorough flush
with Ed's Red to prevent after-rusting which could result from residual
moisture. It is ALWAYS good practice to clean TWICE, TWO DAYS APART
whenever using chlorate primed ammunition, just to make sure you get all
the corrosive residue out.

January 16, 2004, 23:51
Must say that this stuff is great, especially on kits and recently aquired C&R rifles and handguns that are caked with cosmolene. I strip the weapon down to it's basic components and let them sit in the Ed's Red for about 10-20 minutes and then pull them out and give them a lightly scrub with an old toothbrush. The cosmo is broken down enough that it just rubs right off. Gotta love that. Makes a great general purpose cleaner also for all your tools.

January 17, 2004, 09:35
I haven't tried this yet, and just had the formula stored away on my computer.

Has anyone made this and used the lanolin? I was thinking of doing two batches and making one with lanolin for those "things" (guns, tools, etc) that need to be put away for awhile or aren't used that often.
I was just wondering what kind of results people have had with lanolin.

And, I use Kerosene to heat my shop. Would this kerosene work? Is it the same stuff? I would think any kerosene would work, and the stuff I use is top of the line heating kerosene.

January 17, 2004, 10:19
Lanolin is added to Ed's Red for YOUR hands sake! Its strictly for users skin upkeep and no other reason. These chems can be brutal on your skin,(not to mention hazardous to your health) and this stuff helps protect you a bit when you use it. I use rubber gloves whenever I clean my guns anyway(highly suggested) so I really didn't need it in my mix. I've made my Red without lanolin and it works just as well. Great stuff! Dissolves carbon in seconds. I'm still working on a gallon I made over a year ago!

January 17, 2004, 10:42
Originally posted by Synweap223
Lanolin is added to Ed's Red for YOUR hands sake!

I'm fairly sure lanolin was added as a preservative against rusting. But, it can't hurt your hands either.
I use all these chemicals, besides the ATF fluid, on an everyday basis. The solvent I use is Safety-Kleen. I wonder what would happen if I substituted the Mineral Spirits with Safety-Kleen solvent, seeing how I have that readily available? But, I suppose the Mineral Spirits is cheap enough to buy the real thing.
I'm going shopping today and get the ingrediants and make myself a batch.

January 18, 2004, 03:04
Originally posted by idsubgun
And, I use Kerosene to heat my shop. Would this kerosene work? Is it the same stuff? I would think any kerosene would work, and the stuff I use is top of the line heating kerosene.

Yep, that will work.

March 19, 2005, 20:39
Safety-Kleen works fine as a substitute for plain mineral spirits. It's basically Stoddard Solvent, which is mineral spirits modified for lower flammability/volatility. Not a bad feature for our intended use. Safety- Kleen may also have some "secret ingredients" for better cleaning action, since it is intended for cleaning grimy auto parts and such. If so, this also is good for our purpose. In any case, I used SK for the last batch I made up, and it works fine. HTH.

April 29, 2005, 13:50

if you dont want to mix it yourself

*edit* opps post a link to the weekly special. it changed, sorry

May 04, 2005, 16:18
I use lanolin (shoe care product). While it takes a while to dissolve, I note no ill effects. I don't use the acetone any more.. While I can't use the stuff plain as a solvent like I did my old laquer thinner tank, i am much more comfortable with my using it. Less fumes, milder on hands. etc.

Seems to do a decent job with black powder, although my cowboy shooting is pretty mild.

May 05, 2005, 03:22
I made a gallon of the stuff using the original formula with turpentine. Smells wonderful and works great. I also used Amsoil synthetic tranny oil. The lanolin is the preservative. The tranny fluid is loaded with all types of detergents and surfactants.

May 05, 2005, 09:45
turpentine is more volitile than mineral spirits is it not? Or rather - what is mineral spirits? I thought it was just chemically altered gum turpentine. Is this correct?

May 05, 2005, 11:34
Yes sir, you are correct, turpentine is much more volatile than the mineral spirits. Believe it or not, most of the acetone (but not the turpentine), evaporated out of my mix before I ever used it all. I gave a quart to a nephew who does a lot of shotgun hunting. I put that in a a can with the tight snap closing plastic top. That is still full-strength. I kept the rest of it in a small gasoline container I tagged as being gun cleaning solution. I guess the top was not tight enough.

The turpentine was labled on the can as "Pure gum spirits of turpentine". I honestly do not know exactly what mineral spirits are. I believe it is a mixture of low vapor pressure hydrocarbons, lighter than kerosene, but without the horrid stink. Kind of like deoderized home heating oil.

I can tell you the turpentine will make you dizzy if you aren't careful to do your work in an open space. I used some to make a beeswax-based wood polish (didn't work too good), and I found out it is powerful stuff. You can try out a small batch to see what you think. Seeing as you clean more in a week than most of us in our lives, you could do a side-by-side to see which solution you like best. Whatever turpentine you don't use, you can use up next time you paint your house.

Going back to my mix: I had put some in a marked quart Amsoil container. You know Amsoil tranny fluid can be used as power steering pump fluid? Well, my permanent Magic Marker wasn't so permanent. I had filled a leaking pump on my '94 Dodge Ram 1/4 ton with Ed's Red! It didn't hurt it a bit, and I replaced the pump about a month later. Ha!

May 24, 2005, 16:39
Turpentine's Boiling point is about 300 F per one source. I doubt it can get that hot before something strange happens.

Stoddard Solvent, 160 to 210 C (320 to 410F)
Mineral spirits, 150 to 200 C
Varnish Makers and Painters Naphtha, (VM&P) 95 to 160 C ( 203 to 320 F).

All are lumped together as "petroleum distillates" which seems to be used interchangably with the term "mineral spirits" The term mineral comes from the fact oil comes out of the ground now days, not from plants or animals like in the old days. I think they called it "Rock Oil" for a while.

There are lots of other PD's out there like gasoline, kerosene and whatnot.
Nowdays, they don't'have any benzene in them. The exception is gasoline. The formulations tend to vary by manufacturer and over time.

VM&P is mostly , C5 to C11 (pentane to undecane) with about half being branched (aliphatics/paraffins aka low melting point "wax"). Some aromatics

I'd use it if I want the stuff to evaporate more readily.

Mineral spirits is mostly staturated hydrocarbons (don't gum up or polymerize). Some aromatic. This is the most generic PD out there. It has qualities of both VM&P and Stoddard. It doesn't evaporate easily, but is more volatile than kerosene.

This is usually the cheapest stuff you can get. I use it for cleaning a lot, paint brushes, stain brushes, what not.

Stoddard is C7 to C12 (heptane to dodecane). About 1/2 is paraffins/aliphatics the rest is aromatics (substitued benzenes). Very common stuff. Frequently mixed with isopropanol (rubbing alcohol).

Better stuff than "mineral spirits" I don't know if I've used it for anything.

Kerosene is mostly just paraffins. Think of it as low melting point wax. It doesn't evaporate easily, tends to get gummy and really stinks. The only time I've used it is to make Ed's Red. The bp is 175 ot 325 C. The deoderized stuff is basically just mineral spirits.

I don't see any other use for it. Note that kerosene is the base for Hoppes #9 solvent. I don't know if mine is "kerosene" or "deoderized" (aka mineral spirits).

Turpentine is neat stuff. It is largely one chemical, alpha pinene with traces of other stuff. Pinene has a complex ring structure, unlike the other solvents.
It tends to polymerize/gum up over time.

I used it with beeswax and blo to make stock finishing wax. Equal parts makes a past which drys hard, not sticky. It doesn't keep well.

Hoppes number 9 is largely kerosene with methanol, ethanol, iso amyl acetate, n-amyl acetate, amyl alcohol and methyl salicylate.

I don't know what all else is in there. The kerosene screws up my data and my instrumentation doesn't detect some chemicals such as water.

n-amyl acetate is also known as "banana oil" It smells good and is used to flavor candy. Methyl salicylate is aka "wintergreen oil" and is also used to flavor candy. I guess that's why hoppes smells so good.

In my next batch of ER, I'm think of substituting methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) for acetone and spiking with a little methanol. I might even add a little water.

Basically, ER is just a bunch of mineral spirts, oil and a polar (water soluble) solvent. I think the MEK will be easier on finishes (not looked into yet) and methanol and water will help disolve salts. I also added a little bees wax, but it doesn't solve well. Next time I'll probably skip it.


June 06, 2005, 16:00
Originally posted by Badger2Tony

In my next batch of ER, I'm think of substituting methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) for acetone and spiking with a little methanol. I might even add a little water.

Basically, ER is just a bunch of mineral spirts, oil and a polar (water soluble) solvent. I think the MEK will be easier on finishes (not looked into yet) and methanol and water will help disolve salts. I also added a little bees wax, but it doesn't solve well. Next time I'll probably skip it.


Hello, Tony -

In my experience, MEK is more 'active' than Acetone, to the point of being the major active solvent in a lot of paint strippers sold today... also very good at rendering fat/dissolving oils, why it dries the hands so readily - does the same thing to oil in finishes... also evaporates while you watch ;-)

I use MEK to clean metal before epoxying parts - works fine to get me to bare metal. Perhaps in the concentration you're talking about - no problem?

Good luck, let us know how it goes.

All the best,

June 15, 2005, 14:47
I can't imagine MEK being more active than acetone, but honestly have never used MEK for anything except a laboratory standard (drops at a time). I guess I'll have to buy some and try it. I'd use the nice safe amyl acetates Hoppes does, but there is no cheap, easy way to get it.

I'll let people no when I mix up a batch, probably this winter.


June 15, 2005, 16:31
Just so y'all know, lanolin is the main ingredient in cosmoline.


June 16, 2005, 07:51
What's the easiest way to get lanoin? I've never seen it in a store. I suppose I could locate cosmolene and use that.


June 18, 2005, 18:08
Originally posted by AliYahu
Just so y'all know, lanolin is the main ingredient in cosmoline.




Lanolin comes from sheeps wool. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanolin

Cosmoline is less refined petroleum jelly. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Cosmoline


Enquiring Minds
June 24, 2005, 03:50
Originally posted by Badger2Tony
What's the easiest way to get lanoin? I've never seen it in a store.

I've bought tubes/tubs of pure lanolin in boating/marine supply stores. It's the ultimate "white" grease for sailboat fittings that you're actually going to handle, and it won't degrade/dissolve the lines that run through those fittings. i.e. it's GOOD for your hands, waterproofs them, and stays lubricious even in 33degF water... must be why sheep (and sheepdogs) make so much of it... lol. Should be pure enough for bore cleaner.

The wikipedia link from khays lists several pharmaceutical sources of lanolin that are pure enough to eat... should the need arise.

Enquiring Minds
June 24, 2005, 03:57
Or you can get some from the granola crowd:


If Tandy Leather Stores still exist, they might carry pure lanolin. Being an animal oil, it's highly compatible with leather.