Thanks to the folks from SLIP 2000, it now takes longer to get you gun dirty than it does to clean it.
SPS Marketing has developed a new carbon cutter designed for use with firearms. An environmentally friendly product, it is non-flammable, non-hazardous and is biodegradable. It is actually a water based product rather than petroleum based like some others and is part of a complete system available from SPS that includes a cleaner/degreaser and gun lubricant.
When I was provided with the opportunity to test the SLIP 2000 Carbon Cutter, I could not help but to feel a pang of guilt. As Greg Connor, President of SPS Marketing, gave me the sales pitch and explained how this carbon cutter would out perform anything I have used in the past, all I could think of was my personal M16 Carbine and its lack of regular maintenance. Greg told me all I had to do was soak the parts for a few minutes and the carbon would just wipe away. “Oh, yeah!” I thought. “He has never seen my M16.”
This particular rifle was manufactured for the purpose of being a test platform for various types of buffers, trigger systems, gas systems, upper receivers, etc. It was just on the tail end of an ammo endurance test where I ran several thousand rounds of 5.56x45mm ammunition through it. The test was conducted over a long period and the gun was never cleaned. Some of this testing was while using a sound suppressor so it was actually a little dirtier than it normally should have been. Though the rifle functioned flawlessly throughout the testing, it was now getting to be the time for a serious cleaning. The action was actually becoming “gummy” and needed every ounce of the buffer spring to close the bolt.
The bolt and carrier were at the point where they were almost stuck together with carbon. Under close inspection, it looked as though the bolt was actually growing the stuff. The gas rings were acting as one piece. The upper receiver was also well coated above the gas tube around the area of the bolt carrier key. The carrier cam pin and the rear of the bolt were encrusted with a hard coating of carbon buildup and looked like something that should have been chipped or chiseled off.
I opened the 16oz bottle of Carbon Cutter and removed the wire hangers provided with the system. Using the hangers, I dropped the bolt, bolt carrier, cam pin and firing pin into the solution and looked at my watch. I worked on another project for 20 minutes or so, and then removed the parts from the jar. Upon wiping them with a dry cloth, I was extremely impressed with the amount of carbon that really was easily wiping off; just like Greg said it would.
The lower receiver was disassembled and it, along with the upper receiver was sprayed with a generous portion of the SLIP 2000 725 Gun Cleaner & Degreaser. The receivers and their internal parts were allowed to soak for a short time and cleaned in the same manner. All the grease, dirt and carbon was then wiped away and soon the entire rifle was completely cleaned and ready for oiling with the SLIP 2000 Gun Lube and reassembled.
One thing you must be aware of is that SLIP 2000 Carbon Cutter is a water-based product and will completely remove any oil protection from the parts you are cleaning. This means you must oil and lubricate every part you clean because it will be extremely susceptible to rust if left unprotected. Treating and oiling the firearm and its parts with the SLIP 2000 Gun Lube after using the Carbon Cutter will also cut down on time in the next cleaning.
SPS is marketing a few accessories for their cleaning system that can make your cleaning experience a little easier and possibly more effective. A parts washer is available for use with the 725 Gun Cleaner and Degreaser. It is shipped with a bulk container of concentrate that allows you to mix 4 to 5 gallons of 725 Cleaner/ Degreaser and resembles a small automotive parts washer. You can also purchase a soak tank for use with the Carbon Cutter. The soak tank includes a submersible parts tray. This tank holds 1 gallon of Carbon Cutter and will accommodate parts up to 12 inches in length.
Having owned variants of the M16 and AR-15 for a number of years, I have had ample opportunity to clean these same carbon encrusted parts many times. The removal of this much carbon in the past has required cleaning solvents along with lots of scrubbing with a small wire brush necessitating a lot of time. As nasty as my demo gun was, the Carbon Cutter worked exactly as it was advertised. I have never used a carbon cutter that was as fast and effective as the SLIP 2000 Carbon Cutter and I will definitely be making it standard equipment in my supply locker.
Text and Photos by Jeff W. Zimba