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From: (Steven R Faber)
Subject: Re: Uncle Kirk's one-penny Foul-Out
Organization: AT&T

#From article <>, by (Kirk Hays):
# The thread has died down, but I'd like to regale everyone with my methods for
# making a "Foul-Out" device for a total cost of 1 cent.

Been doing similar experiments.  I was going to wait until I got
a method I was confident in before posting, but never got to that

# knock loose any bubbles, and hook up the transformer.  I used this
# method on a WWII vintage M1903A3 barrel that has extensive copper
# fouling, and it cleaned up in less than a half hour, leaving a heavy
# copper coating on the electrode.

I used your same method with straight clear ammonia with a welding rod for
the center electrode, on a similar M1903A3 rifle.  I had previously cleaned
it extensively with common bore cleaners, but it still had some copper streaks
in it, so I did the electolytic thing with 1.5V.  It drew about 100 ma for
a minute or so and tapered off to about 4 ma after a couple minutes
when I removed the current.  It was clean.   This is a fast method.
I was also a little concerned about doing this using straight ammonia since
the electrochemical series seems to favor dissolving iron in a basic
solution.  The ammonia based chemical cleaners warn not to leave it in
the bore for more than 10 minutes.  Then the post on the foul out said
the solution used ammonium acetate.

Next I made some ammonium acetate by mixing white distilled vinegar
with the ammonia until neutral (by pH paper, or smell works pretty
well).  I ran some current through it with copper electrodes to get
copper in solution to keep down the initial voltage.
I thought this time I would keep the voltage very low, similar to the
data presented on the Foul-Out ( around 300 mv).  I figured
the low voltage was used to prevent the possibility of oxygen or iron
oxide  being formed at the anode (barrel).
I experimented with a clean nail and a nail with copper rubbed on it,
and determined that there was no reaction under 0.7 volts for the clean
When I used this solution on my gun after it was fouled again, the
current was initially only around 10 ma, and dropped to below 1 ma.
After a couple hours the current was a couple hundred microamps.
Then I disconnected the apparatus and found the copper streak was still
there, but the bore took on a more whitish appearance.
I almost think the straight ammonia method is preferable.

# 2.  For lead, lead acetate solution is the number.  Ammonia doesn't work
#     for lead.  With lead cleaning, watch for "bridging", when the
#     deposited lead touches the bore.

I also tried the lead method.  I made ammonium acetate as above (I diluted
it about 50% with water since it is quite saturated)  and
passed current through the solution using a lead screw anchor as the
positive electrode to form lead acetate.  When lead was deposited
steadily on the other electrode, I figured it was ready to use.
I noticed the tendency for bridging to occur.  I remembered that gelatin
is used to get uniform plating with electrolytes, so I added some Knox
gelatin and warmed the solution.  I now had a thick brownish solution
that would plate out a nice uniform layer of lead with no bridging.
I found, however, that the current would decrease rapidly as the lead
was depleted around the negative electrode and the gelatin kept the ions
from migrating well enough to keep the reaction going as desired.
In conclusion I would not recommend the method with the gelatin.

I then tried the initial solution without the gelatin in my slightly
leaded .45 barrel.  The voltages were kept fairly low- around .7 volts,
and the current was only a couple ma.  After a couple hours, the current
settled at a very low value and I terminated it.
The bore still had lead at the chamber end, and there was no visible
lead removal.  The bore lost its dark color, and was now very whitish
like all the oxide layer was etched off.
I haven't shot the gun yet, but I would not recommend this method of
cleaning yet.  I'm going to keep using my bamboo skewer stick
to scrape out the little bit of lead build up.


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