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 Beginner's Guide to Cleaning Cartridges

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Cerwyn
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PostSubject: Beginner's Guide to Cleaning Cartridges   Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:18 pm

Cleaning and Preparing Fired Cartridges

Arguably the biggest and most labourious chore we'll come accross, cleaning cartridges after firing has to be it!
The fact is though, that if your cartridges aren't cleaned properly and cared for, your model gun will not work properly.
This is a 9mm Marushin MP40/UZI cartridge after being fired once. If all th black soot and deposits aren't cleaned off imemediately the cartridge will corrode quickly and will not function properly.

There are a few different methods you can use, but I find this method the easiest and the least work so ....
Tools for the job are:
UltraSonic Cleaner


Polishing Machine


Step 1.
Dismantle your cartridges and discard the fired cap.
Remove any loose dirt and soot with a mascara brush

Step 2.
Place all the cartridge components into the UltraSonic Cleaner, then fill the basket with hot water and a little washing up liquid


Switch the Cleaner on and let it run. My machine runs in 3 minute bursts so I found that 3, 4 or so bursts plenty to get most of the dirt off.
You'll be surprised how dirty the cartridges are!

Sometimes it's worth changing the water and letting them run again
Step 3.
Pour the cartridges out through a kitchen sieve so you don't lose the internals down the plug hole... (Yes, I have lost a few parts before today)
Step 4.
Dry the cartridges on some kitchen roll or a towel. If you're in a hurry, blow dry them with a hairdryer
Step 5.
Place all the cartridge components into the Polishing Machine. Mine was designed to take 300 real brass cartridge cases so I have been putting anything up to 100 complete cartridges into it.


The polisher vibrates and tumbles the cartridges through a medium of crushed and treated walnut husks. Leave the machine on for a couple of hours while you get on with something more interesting.
Step 6.
Pour the contents of the polisher into a collender or similar and sieve the polishing compound out.

All the components will be highly polished and gleaming. I've found that rubber O rings used on MGC cartridges are undamaged by the polisher. If used every time, minor nicks and dents on Cartridge Rims are smoothed away but it obviously won't deal with more serious damage.
If you're storing them, a light spray of silicone oil won't go amiss.
Cerwyn


Last edited by Cerwyn on Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Cerwyn
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PostSubject: Re: Beginner's Guide to Cleaning Cartridges   Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:20 pm

Post by Madmike

Thanks for this, mate!

I have the same ultarsonic cleaner and I am happy with it.

I don't have the polisher but your rounds look like new, despite the use! Is it good? How much does it cost? My carts are quite clean, but they have gotten dull now. Maybe I should get me such a tumbler ...
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Cerwyn
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PostSubject: Re: Beginner's Guide to Cleaning Cartridges   Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:21 pm

Hiya MadMike,

Thank you

The tumbler cost about 70 Sterling, (about 110 Euros?) including the Polishing Medium.
I find it absolutely brilliant at polishing and it does renew old cartridges after 2 or 3 "goes" depending how tarnished they are.

Most Gun Smiths sell them, I bought mine locally.E-Bay lists them sometimes but shipping costs are high as it's relatively heavy.

Cerwyn
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PostSubject: Re: Beginner's Guide to Cleaning Cartridges   Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:21 pm

Post by Claymore

great info mate i must get the tumbler been meaning to get one for ages they are advertised in gunmart for about 58 wuth media so must pick one up, in fact i will order one tomorrow seeing as how clean your rounds come out.
keep these instructions on cleaning and loading coming as i really do think that the way the rounds are loaded and cleaned has a dramatic effect on the performance of the modelgun
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PostSubject: Re: Beginner's Guide to Cleaning Cartridges   Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:22 pm

Post by kickback

Very informative Cerwyn,a great thread,must pick up a polisher too now....more money .


Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Beginner's Guide to Cleaning Cartridges   Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:23 pm

Thank you Claymore and you too Kickback

I know you won't be dissapointed with the Tumble Polisher, it really is a Godsend.

There's nothing stopping you putting metal detonator chambers and pins in too of course

Just make sure that as silicone and lithium grease tends to leave "wet" sooty deposits it's worth scraping as much out as you can first with the mascara brush (or similar) before UltraSonic washing and then polishing.

I forgot to mention the medium is re-usable over and over again. I've had my polisher for 18 months or so and the medium's still great.

I do hope this thread, including the Beginner's Guide to Loading will be beneficial to those newcomers to the hobby. I don't pretend to know everything (far from it) and don't want to appear like I'm trying to teach Grandma to suck eggs either!

I'm hoping that some of the real experts like you lads will add on hints and tips so we can get our modelguns firing properly

I am starting a Field Strip sequence next, what are your thoughts on something like that?
Remember the video you did for me on how to strip the MP40 Claymore? I am thinking of one like that but as a series of still photos.

Maybe it could be as informative to other newcomers as I found your help mate!

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PostSubject: Re: Beginner's Guide to Cleaning Cartridges   Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:30 am

I was wondering how those with more than *cough* 9 cartridges managed the cleaning. I was hoping to find a miracle
solvent to clean mine. Even nitro solvent bore cleaner won't dissolve it. Neither will acetone.

I've been putting mine in a plastic bottle, spraying wd40 and something called Kroil, which is a penetrating oil, and is supposed to dissolve carbon deposits too.

You meantioned you had a failure on one or your PFC's recently Cerwyn, do you think from the polisher, the threads may be getting worn down? If so, you could still polish them screwed together.
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Cerwyn
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PostSubject: Re: Beginner's Guide to Cleaning Cartridges   Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:18 am

The polishing medium is, I believe, made from ground up walnut husks apparently and isn't really abrasive.
It only needed a little metal polish (Brasso) adding to it when I first used it.

It is quite possible the threads might be starting to wear a little by now as they've been through the polisher more times than I can remember Exclamation I think I've had the polisher about 3 years by now.

I've got over 100 of Marushin's MP40/UZI cartridges and fire most of them each session. This is the one and only cartridge I've had that's blown apart i.e. the end cap blew off the threads so I'd guess it's a rogue cartridge rather than overall wear'n'tear.
If the rest of them start popping their ends off I'll start blaming the polisher Exclamation

One big advantage of polishing dismantled cartridges is that the insides get polished too. They won't come out gleaming like the outsides but it's vital that the bore's as smooth and clean as possible to let the cap or piston slide freely in there.
Polishing them screwed together wouldn't let all that walnut husk in there.

Cleaning cartridges is a slow laborious job but a least the polisher can be switched on and left to get on with it for 2-3 hours while you go and do something else Very Happy


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