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Cleaning A Gas Cylinder

2417 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  DNS
I clean my rifles after each use, barrel/bolt/chamber etc., but I never cleaned the gas cylinder. Sooo, embarassed as I am, after 20+ years I finally took my gas cylinder apart for cleaning. The rifle has always functioned perfectly, it still gets <2MOA regardless of the loads, but the cylinder was grundgy. I used alcohol only to clean it, and various plastic bore brushes, mops and brass brushes to get into everything. I could only get a "K" sized drill bit into the cylinder to clean it out. From what I read here it should take an "O" size? A lot of black came off of the various parts, but I gave it a final rub down with alcohol, let it dry and reassembled it. Gas plug gets 10-15 ft-lbs of torque, right?

I'm wondering, is there a better cleaner for this purpose than alcohol? I like using it because it's cheap, obviously dries quickly and leaves a grease-free environment in the cylinder. Also wondering what are the official/proper bit sizes needed for complete gas cylinder cleaning?
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I use Hoppe's 9 bore solvent but any bore cleaner works. I've also used carburetor and fuel injection intake cleaners as well for hard to remove deposits, NEVER use any abrasives or metal scrapers on the gas piston. "O" size drill is for cleaning out the gas plug, "P" and #15 size drills for the piston.
 

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If you do not the drills to cut thru the heavy carbon build up in the piston, here is an option. Boil the piston and gas plug then dunk them in icy water. Cycle the parts between the boiling water and iced water. After 4 or 5 cycles you can use just any solvent and the carbon will just run out. Carbon and steel being dissimilar metals will expand and contract at a different rate, thus the carbon will break away from the steel. I've used this cleaning the bolt carrier in the black gun.
 

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You don't need to be prissy on the gas cylinder. It's a working part of the gun like anything else. I mean you don't want to leave any residue of anything on the piston and you want to wipe it clean, but that's easy enough to do. Use what gets it clean (I like Hoppes too).

But I've learned that despite the TONS of carbon that sits around in the cylinder plug and such, it's not going to make any. And plugs are super cheap. At some point you figure how much is your time worth compared to a ~$12 part. If you bought a new one every 2 years, you'd save the cost of tools, solvents, patches, and your own time, and have a sparkling clean piece. Just an idear.
 

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You don't need to be prissy on the gas cylinder. It's a working part of the gun like anything else. I mean you don't want to leave any residue of anything on the piston and you want to wipe it clean, but that's easy enough to do. Use what gets it clean (I like Hoppes too).

But I've learned that despite the TONS of carbon that sits around in the cylinder plug and such, it's not going to make any. And plugs are super cheap. At some point you figure how much is your time worth compared to a ~$12 part. If you bought a new one every 2 years, you'd save the cost of tools, solvents, patches, and your own time, and have a sparkling clean piece. Just an idear.
That makes sense to me!

I have yet to take a part and clean my system, at 450 rounds now. One more range day then I will but I have been waiting for some cleaning drill to be avail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bit Sizes

"O" size drill is for cleaning out the gas plug, "P" and #15 size drills for the piston.
#15 bit was waaay too big for the small hole in the cylinder. There is no carbon in the hole and a #27 fit just fine. I got a $3 can of brake cleaner and scrubbed out the plug and cylinder again. Nice and clean now. It will be a few weeks before I can see if the cleaning makes any difference in the accuracy. Considering there is now a slightly larger volume for the gas to expand into something ought to change.
 

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I have a pre-ban norinco I could never get the gas cylinder plug out. Just bought the wrench and cleaned it for the first time. Must have several cases of ammo through it and it never has jamed. Just goes to show how long it can go without a proper cleaning.
 
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