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Armor/AFV: Modern Armor
Modern armor in general.
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Cleaning Tank Gun Barrels
BootsDMS
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 06:59 AM UTC
Chaps,

'Need a bit of advice here: I've just completed a build of the French ARL 44 from Amusing Hobby. As an aside I have to recommend this kit - an easy enough build with hardly any problems, and it's certainly a different looking vehicle.

Anyway, to ring the changes (on my display bases) I thought I'd depict a vehicle at the end of a day on the ranges with the crew cleaning the gun barrel. I plan on modifying the Miniart German Tank Crew at Work figures which shows them cleaning out the gun barrel. Now, I understand that this was accomplished by a stout brush on the end of a series of rods, but, was there say, any requirement for some sort of cleaning agent to assist the process? In other words, seeing as I plan on depicting this event circa 1949, would there have been a bucket or container of some sort of solvent etc? Rags?

Any comments gratefully received; I appreciate that today's methods may not transmute back to immediate post war but any informed comment - even speculation - might be helpful.

Thanks.

Brian
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 07:16 AM UTC
On M109A6 Paladins, we used a liberal amount of CLP (Cleaner, Lubricant, Protectant).

White CLP jug below.


Jug of CLP sitting on top of the muzzle break.
Bravo1102
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 07:45 AM UTC
A round or square metal can of gun lubricant could have been used.

Before CLP came in jugs it came in a metal can like the square can turpentine came in. There'd be rags, bore brush, metal can of cleaner and even sometimes a bucket hanging on the end of the barrel to catch the oil so it could be reused.

There were different standard procedures for cleaning the bore depending on time and unit. Some wanted it left with a light coat of oil, others wanted it dry with no oil residue.

When running the brush someone would be in the vehicle to catch it inside so the staff could be more easily removed and to wipe the breach down from inside.
Johnnych01
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 08:29 AM UTC
What we would do on our Chieftain or Chally 120's would be as usual cleaning, drop the breach block to its stops, lower the barrel then good dry scrub of the barrel with the bore brush, then wrap that in some rag with gun oil around that then change brushes and with clean rag around that, pull it through until it was oil free ( gunner would stay in turret to make sure rag was secured tight around brush ). When firing in BATUS or Hohne we would clean it daily if possible after firing but when in barracks it would be once a month as they normally stay pretty clean ... John
trickymissfit
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 09:36 AM UTC
Gino's picture of that 109 brought back memories! But not cleaning the barrel, but that way too heavy bore vac!!
Seriously; on a howitzer, we cleaned the bore once and never again. That was with a new barrel only. We used a fifty, fifty mixture of gasoline and diesel fuel. That was only to remove the cosmoline from the bore. There is a reason why as well that you do this. There is a difference in impact between a clean and fouled bore. The breech was cleaned daily, and sometimes twice a day! Never saw tankers clean barrels as well.
Gary
Kevlar06
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 10:52 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Gino's picture of that 109 brought back memories! But not cleaning the barrel, but that way too heavy bore vac!!
Seriously; on a howitzer, we cleaned the bore once and never again. That was with a new barrel only. We used a fifty, fifty mixture of gasoline and diesel fuel. That was only to remove the cosmoline from the bore. There is a reason why as well that you do this. There is a difference in impact between a clean and fouled bore. The breech was cleaned daily, and sometimes twice a day! Never saw tankers clean barrels as well.
Gary



We cleaned them, both for M-60A1s and M551s, usually at the end of a tank gunnery. As Gino said above, with CLP, which in those days came in 1 and 5 gallon cans. There were two types of cleaning tools-- a solid rubber pad, which was used in conjunction with a rag to apply CLP in the barrel, and a stiff brush, used to knock down any barrel debris first. There was also a rammer used for dislodging any round stuck in the breech end (happened occasionally on the Sheridan). Depending on the vehicle, these items were screwed onto the end of a set of aluminum poles that broke down into 4 or 5 sections, and screwed together. I believe during WWII, most cleaning "rods" were wood with brass screw ends. Occasionally, we couldn't get CLP in quantity so plain old 10-W-30 oil would be used lightly on a rag after a thorough brushing out. The barrel was then capped with a plug for travel or storage.
VR, Russ
KurtLaughlin
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 01:45 PM UTC
CLP hadn't been invented in 1949 so the French probably followed American practice and scrubbed the bore with rifle bore cleaner (CR) after firing and for two consecutive days, then dried the bore and applied preservative lubricating oil (PL special). At that time they may have still be using American-supplied fluids in WW II vintage cans.

KL
trickymissfit
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 05:48 PM UTC

Quoted Text

CLP hadn't been invented in 1949 so the French probably followed American practice and scrubbed the bore with rifle bore cleaner (CR) after firing and for two consecutive days, then dried the bore and applied preservative lubricating oil (PL special). At that time they may have still be using American-supplied fluids in WW II vintage cans.

KL



There was two types of cosmoline used on barrels. One was the common brown color, and one was white. Nothing much would cut the latter except strait gasoline. Remember the barrel bored are cleaned in the field, and not in the rear. So you use whatever you find. I have no idea what CLP is, and even rifle bore cleaner was hoarded. In RVN that would have been LSA.
As I said we cleaned the barrel once, and never touched it again. You picked up the difference when registering the new barrel.
Glt
afvaficionado
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 07:24 PM UTC
My father mentioned cleaning the barrel of the M41 Walker Bulldog, he reckoned the worst was having to clean after firing blank rounds - they had a wax component that coated the barrel on firing, requiring hot water flushing. Presumably oiled/lubed afterwards?

Mal
Tank1812
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 10:08 PM UTC

Quoted Text

My father mentioned cleaning the barrel of the M41 Walker Bulldog, he reckoned the worst was having to clean after firing blank rounds - they had a wax component that coated the barrel on firing, requiring hot water flushing. Presumably oiled/lubed afterwards?

Mal



Everyone hates firing blanks but the newbies and that is because he hasnít had to clean the guns afterwards yet. We would off load as much ammo as possible to them.
marc780
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 10:08 PM UTC
I would love to be the CLP salesman to the Army, I'd make a small fortune! Holy cow, i thought cleaning an AR took a lot of solvent. How much CLP would you use for one cleaning of the tank barrel, a gallon or two?
Bravo1102
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 10:56 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I would love to be the CLP salesman to the Army, I'd make a small fortune! Holy cow, i thought cleaning an AR took a lot of solvent. How much CLP would you use for one cleaning of the tank barrel, a gallon or two?


That's why you have the bucket. Pour the CLP over the bore brush.

Insert, scrub and turn as you go up.

By the way, heavy carbon deposits can be handled with hot water as was said above. But the barrel has to be wiped dry to avoid rust. That's when you thread rags through the bell and put it on the hammer staff and swab out the barrel.

Less is more. You don't want it running out the barrel when swabbing, nor do you want the guy at the dropped breach to catch a flood.

I always used to volunteer for swabbing duty. It was either that or breachblock and I didn't like breachblock.
BootsDMS
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 11:28 PM UTC
Wow - thanks to all. All responses have been very useful indeed.

It sounds like if I have a bucket, with a few rags draped over the rim, a container of solvent/specialist fluid, and possibly even a Jerrican around I'll be pretty much on the mark.

Luckily, the Miniart figure kit comes with a bucket, and if I scratch another container or utilise something from yet another Miniart set "Oil & Petrol Cans" I should be able to pin this down.

Many thanks again to all.

Brian

griffontech
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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 11:51 PM UTC
CLP: Cleaner, Lubricant, Protectant.

Still standard issue for rifle and MG cleaning, in the Canadian Forces at least.
There are better products available on the civilian market for gun cleaning, and these usually come in 2 parts: cleaner, and lubricant.

The CLP is just a good overall product.
18Bravo
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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 01:50 AM UTC

Quoted Text

CLP: Cleaner, Lubricant, Protectant.

Still standard issue for rifle and MG cleaning, in the Canadian Forces at least.
There are better products available on the civilian market for gun cleaning, and these usually come in 2 parts: cleaner, and lubricant.

The CLP is just a good overall product.



I run Mobil 1 synthetic on my weapons, both military and civilian.

As for the big stuff, I've cleaned M102's, M119's, M198's, and M109 series. Even an M101. Of course, there's always a story when it comes to the military:

The 160th FA in Paul's Valley had an M101 they used for change of command and other ceremonies. Once, for a change of command they fired a blank, and it shot burning rags out onto the field. They'd been left soaking in the barrel. The wives were out on the field helping stomp out little fires just like at a polo match filling in divots.
Lesson - always check the bore.
Now I truly don't remember what we used on the one oh deuces in Oklahoma, but I'd assume it was CLP. I do know that we poured plain old Quaker State oil down the barrel before firing a few times. It does nothing for the tube life, but it sure makes a spectacular fireball.
griffontech
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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 06:04 AM UTC
I've never had to clean any of the big stuff.
Wish I had

I just figured that some egg-head somewhere who developed CLP (or other specific gun cleaners) formulated the stuff to specifically tackle gun cleaning. I never saw a need to stray away from gun cleaners into engine oils, or other petroleum products.
But hey, if it works for you and keeps the brass ejecting, awesome!
joepanzer
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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 07:46 AM UTC
We had a platoon sergeant in Ft Riley, KS that made up clean our M-240's with Easy-Off Oven cleaner.

We had to get the weapons re-blued and the Platoon Sgt had to look for another job.
18Bravo
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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 10:38 AM UTC
Far be it from me to question the Army's choice for lube. They are after all the ones who told us we had to use the 3M brand ear plugs.
That said, Mobil 1 has proven itself to me as a lube in hot climes. It also doesn't smoke up when it gets hot, burning your eyes. Of course that's usually a result of leaving the weapon too wet - tt only takes seven drops of lube to properly lube an M4.
panamadan
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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 11:42 AM UTC
Well, since we are talking about lubing here; I had a 1SG that told us to dose our POS M85s in 10 weight oil (used in the M60s transmission if I remember correctly).
It worked! Hot oil would fly when the '85 heated up however.
Dan
TopSmith
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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 02:33 PM UTC
If 1949 is the era then there probably would not be the ecological concerns and a bucket to catch drippage might not be used.
Scarred
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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 03:08 PM UTC
When the Army started using Break-Free to clean and lube weapons it was better than the old green cans of cleaner/lube we'd been using. But in Yakima it didn't work too well because it gummed up with the dust/ash that was still flying around. You didn't want a "wet" weapon over there. I carried a can of WD-40 and a bottle of 91% IPA. The IPA broke up the break-free/ash and the WD-40 got rid of it. Then a wipe with IPA to get rid of the oily build up. Yakima destroyed small arms and I can imagine what it did to tank guns and artillery.
Bergun
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - 04:15 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Well, since we are talking about lubing here; I had a 1SG that told us to dose our POS M85s in 10 weight oil (used in the M60s transmission if I remember correctly). It worked! Hot oil would fly when the '85 heated up however.
Dan



Back in the early/mid 80s when I was on tanks, M60A1 and M60A3, we used 10 weight oil to punch the 105mm gun tubes, field clean the M85, M240, M3s and our M1911A1s... I'd simply use a period correct Jerry Can in the scene since back in the day, you used what was a common AND plentiful lubricant... Like engine oils to do the job.

On a side note, I served in 5 different Armor Battalions and two things tankers never had on hand was our issued black dress socks or white t-shirts... These items were often used to clean guns. This cause some serious stress during our rare dress greens or khaki "pay day" inspections. We had a guy go as far as "painting" the visible foot/ankle areas with black leather dye... Our First Sergeant was sharp and caught it since he knew nobody had the proper black socks and had everybody raise their pants legs during his inspection. Our First Sergeant made him stand in front of the Company formation and raised his pants legs to show the world his handy work. Everybody lost it, to include our stoned faced First Sergeant and Company Commander that day!! Hey Carson, if you're out there, hope all is well and thanks for the laugh!!
Bravo1102
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - 04:43 AM UTC

Quoted Text

If 1949 is the era then there probably would not be the ecological concerns and a bucket to catch drippage might not be used.


Drippage? We had it to make sure the bore brush didn't get dirt on it and so we could reuse the oil if need be.