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 Post subject: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:08 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 4:13 pm
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I've read about lots of cleaning fluid options and wanted to get some opinions/advice. I usually use hoppes but have a sizable stock of denatured alcohol. Can I use this to clean barrel, chokes, action, etc? Any downside?


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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:25 am 
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Welcome aboard, my friend, first of all. Now, to your question.

The biggest downside is that it won't get your gun clean.

There are a lot of products designed specifically for breaking down and removing the unique combination of carbon, powder residue, and plastic wad buildup that constitutes the vast majority of the material that needs to be removed during cleaning. Everyone has a favorite, it seems, and everyone has an acceptable level of cleanliness.

For instance, I have had excellent results by wetting my bore with WD-40 and letting it soak for about 20 minutes before hitting it with a bronze brush and then WD-soaked patches. If there's a lot of plastic wad buildup, I might have to repeat the process a second time. But the bore comes out mirror-bright and fully rust protected.

If you search this board, you'll find a lot of similar regimens that probably work equally well.

Good luck, and enjoy your time on SGW.


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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:34 pm 
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What's denatured alcohol? I only know that protein can denature and loses their structure, thus function. Never heard of denatured alcohol.


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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:07 pm 
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From what I understand denatured alcohol is without additives. Rubbing alcohol is about 95% aviation gas. Keeps people from drinking it was what I was told. The denatured alcohol will not leave a residue upon evaporation, where as rubbing alcohol will. We used it a lot for cleaning up smoke and cooking grease residue in switch contacts on the old style tuners used in TV's and relays.


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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:19 pm 
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Rubbing alcohol is denatured alcohol. Grain alcohol is without anything added.

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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:45 pm 
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Grain alcohol, ethanol, ethyl alcohol is the yummy stuff we drink and pay taxes on.

Ethanol has many industrial uses, but the Fed doesn't want to sell it to industry without getting its taxes (ethyl alcohol is incredibly cheap stuff) so it adds noxious chemicals that make the alcohol undrinkable. These additives are called DENATURANTS Wood alcohol (methyl alcohol, methanol) used to be the most common.

These days many other denaturants are used, many boutique chemicals that do not interfere with the industrial requirements of the original ethanol.

Rubbing alcohol is another beast entirely. Rubbing alcohol is sickbed item that is used to rub down a patient - it cleans, feels nice, relaxes etc. However, if we used straight ethanol it would dry the patient's skin so rubbing alcohol is nothing much more than ethanol and some oils such as mineral oil.

Denaturing a protein is also a totally different thing - this refers to a change in the molecular configuration that can be induced chemically or by heat.

Bottoms up!

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 Post subject: Re: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:03 pm
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sherlockbonez wrote:
What's denatured alcohol? I only know that protein can denature and loses their structure, thus function. Never heard of denatured alcohol.


Denatured alcohol has something added to prevent people from drinking it. I may have this backwards, but I think methanol is added to ethanol (same stuff thats in whiskey) to denature it. Methanol can make you go blind among other things.


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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:05 pm 
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Location: Columbus Nebraska
Crow, pumpster and others are correct. Ethyl Alcohol is the same stuff you drink. It is produced by distillation of an alcoholic "beer." There are BATF regs on what you have to do with it. If it is for consumption it is left without anything added and can be mixed for drinking if treated as a food product. Companies usually make a very high alcohol product and mix with water to achieve the correct mix or make a low spirit directly. If you do not "denature" it then it is taxed as booze. If you do denature it then it is not taxed and used for industrial uses. The most common denaturant today is gasoline due to ethanol being used to fuel cars. It can be denatured with other ingredients that make it EXTREMELY harmful to drink.

Denatured Ethanolcan be a good cleaning product. DO NOT USE IT ON ORINGS! It will swell some orings and destroy them. Ethanol is a powerful solvent when it is 100% pure. Use it wisely and it should function just fine to clean your gun. Remember though that it is highly flammable and that you will want to make sure there is no residue left. This shouldn't be a problem because ethanol readily vaporizes at relatively low temp and should "disappear."

It almost sounds like I work for a company that makes the stuff. :shock: :wink:


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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:10 pm 
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Sherlockbonez,

Here's what wikipedia says about denatured alcohol. I know it's used as a solvent in many applications, including in automotive and motorcycle mechanics.

There are several grades of denatured alcohol, but the denaturants used are generally similar. The formulation for completely denatured alcohol, according to British regulations[2] is typical:

Completely denatured alcohol must be made in accordance with the following formulation: with every 90 parts by volume of alcohol mix 9.5 parts by volume of wood naphtha or a substitute for wood naphtha and 0.5 parts by volume of crude pyridine, and to the resulting mixture add mineral naphtha (petroleum oil) in the proportion of 3.75 litres to every 1000 litres of the mixture and synthetic organic dyestuff (methyl violet) in the proportion of 1.5 grammes to every 1000 litres of the mixture.


[edit] Uses
A common use is as a fuel for marine and ultra-light camping (backpacking) stoves. Its main advantages are its low cost, its ability to be extinguished by water, and its ability to be transported without special containers. However, safety concerns do arise from the near-colourless flame with which alcohol burns. In brightly-lit areas, an alcohol flame can be essentially invisible, creating a potential hazard wherein persons can be burned by contacting flames they cannot see.

One notable use is as a sanding aid, as the alcohol helps to more easily remove the excess dust that results from sanding wood, [3] because it does not open the wood grain the way that water would. Methylated spirits may also be used to kill mealybugs.[4]

Denatured alcohol is often also used for its solvent properties, for example to remove ink stains from upholstery or clothes.



Anyway, I've been told Hoppes is about 90% denatured alcohol so it made sense to me that denatured alcohol it might be good. Not sure that's true...but it's what others have said.

Appreciate the tip on o-rings mrsongs. My most often used gun is an A391 Trap model so no o-rings...but I also have an 11-87. The Remmy doesn't get the large number of rounds shot as the Beretta however. A previous gun club buddy always had denatured alcohol for a cleaning solvent and I know I used it on the Remmy a few times. Not sure if that shortened the life of the o-rings...but I would go through a few when I was shooting the 11-87 about 500 rounds a week for trap.

Anyway, I appreciate all the advice.


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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:19 pm 
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Historically speaking the most frequent additve to denature ethanol was methanol as it is very hard to separate them after they are mixed.

Rubbing alcohol can be a number of things but it is most often Isopropanol.

100% ethanol is not a good solvent or cleaning agent for firearms as it will pick up water in the air and leave it on the gun. 100% ethanol will become 95% EtOH and 5% H2O on exposure to the air.

My advice is stick with a good commercial solvent like Hoppe's #9 or Break Free CLP.

One other thing don't drink 100% EtOH. It is distilled with a little Benzene and it will give you a terrible headache as the water is out but the a trace of Benzene remains.

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 Post subject: Re: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:40 am 
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astomb wrote:
One other thing don't drink 100% EtOH. It is distilled with a little Benzene and it will give you a terrible headache as the water is out but the a trace of Benzene remains.


Do not drink 100% ethanol. Period. Regular distillation can give you only 95% alcohol (95% ethanol and 5% water) Such a mixture is called an azeotrope and has a single boiling point, so you can't do separation distillation.

To get "100%" ethanol, benzene (highly toxic) is added that the benzene, alcohol and remaining water form another azeotrope that can be distilled off, leaving behind "pure" ethanol. However, there are always a few molecules of benzene remaining. Benzene is very toxic to lover. Oddly enough, methanol itself in small quantities, is not toxic, but that's another topic.

Also, high concentrations of ethanol are very hygroscopic and will do serious dehydration damage to you as they go down!

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"Pumpster" is because of pumpkins, not pump guns.
It's SxS, DT splinter/English for me!
Shotguns speak in many voices and fortunate are those of us who hear more than one.
May God bless our Union.


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 Post subject: Re: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:55 am 
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Bonasa wrote:
The biggest downside is that it won't get your gun clean.

Exactly. I've used it in home restoration cleaning on woodwork but it will make a piss poor substitute for a good powder/lead/plastic/copper solvent.


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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:46 am 
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To complicate the discussion: What is isopropyl alcohol?

(I am not a chemist) :lol:

Jim

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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:36 pm 
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I know I was out of lighter fluid last week and wanted to start my charcoal BBQ. A little isopropyl alcohol lit it up nicely. (No big flare like gasoline would) Do not use gasoline to start charcoal it is dangerous. Depending on the price of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) I may start using it to light my charcoal. It worked very well.

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 Post subject: Re: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:07 pm 
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Jimbo63 wrote:
To complicate the discussion: What is isopropyl alcohol?

(I am not a chemist) :lol:

Jim

basics
Methanol is CH2OH (I think)
Ethanol is C2H5OH
Propynol is C4H11OH
Iso Propyl is C4H11OH but the molecules are arranged differently.

I may be off on my hydrogens.

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 Post subject: Re: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:07 pm 
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Jimbo63 wrote:
To complicate the discussion: What is isopropyl alcohol?

(I am not a chemist) :lol:

Jim

basics
Methanol is CH2OH (I think)
Ethanol is C2H5OH
Propynol is C4H11OH
Iso Propyl is C4H11OH but the molecules are arranged differently.

I may be off on my hydrogens.

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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:47 pm 
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If my memory serves me, you are off on the Carbons in Propanols it is 3 and Butanol is 4. the mnemoniic most, eskimos, piss, blue keeps it straight for me .... methane, ethane, propane, butane

It is no big deal as alcohols do not have a lot of use for gun cleaning.

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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:17 pm 
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I was doing that off the top of my head from a chemistry class 10 years ago.

I was thinking butanol was third. Oh well, I could google it,but that would make too much sense.

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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:35 pm 
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astomb is correct regarding the number of carbons. Isopropyl alcohol has 4. "Rubbing" alcohol can be either ethyl alcohol (ethanol) or isopropyl alcohol (2-methyl propanol). Both types of rubbing alcohols are commonly sold in drug stores as 70% solutions of alcohol and water. Ethyl alcohol is a more aggressive solvent than isopropyl alcohol, but both alcohols are definitely not good for cleaning metal gun parts.

Commercial ethanol is 95% ethanol, 5% water. Denatured alcohol is 95% ethanol, 5% water plus denaturant(s). "Absolute" ethanol is 100% ethanol and is more expensive to produce. It is very hygroscopic, and once the container is opened it immediately begins to absorb moisture from the air.


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 Post subject: re: denatured alcohol
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:47 pm 
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I've used 200 proof alcohol in the lab to clean grease off measurement tools. The label on the bottle said it was 99% water free. The reason we used it was to clean without creating corrosion and it left no residue behind.

I have no idea weather it would work on a plastic and gunpowder fouled shotgun. I assume that it wouldn't do any good because we kept it in a plastic bottle.

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