Removing moly from bullets experiment

Discussion in 'Reloading Forum (All Calibers)' started by BOLTED, May 22, 2020.

  1. BOLTED

    BOLTED Silver $$ Contributor

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    I bought a whole bunch of truly beautiful naked and moly coated Chism 10X 30 cal 135's here some time ago, and have been shooting up the naked ones in my Rem 700 VSF 12 twist. They are crazy accurate for me in that rifle.

    Now my supply of naked is dwindling, so I need to remove the moly coating without damaging the teeny tiny open bullet tip from the rest of the lot. I don't want to use SS pins, and corn cob or walnut may clog the tip.
    My Idea is to to use a safe chemical in the ultrasonic cleaner to remove the moly coating, so I am testing a few things we used to clean dirty tarnished pennies with as kids, and whatever else I have laying around I think might work. That includes a couple cream type cleaners in case I have to do this by hand while watching more than couple long movies.

    My initial testing is letting them soak for not longer than 5 min in a small cup of product, and how much wiping with a clean rag that has that particular product on it for one minute takes to clean the moly off. Then a clean water rinse and paper towel dry.
    Paste compounds were hand rubbed on, wiped for one minute with product on the rag, and then wiped with a clean cloth to remove residue.

    Listing worst to best liquid, then paste:

    -Dish washing liquid (comparable to Dawn)/@80% warm water- good golly miss moly. nope
    -Hornady One Shot ultrasonic brass cleaner 40:1 diluted with water - barely removed any.
    -100% white vinegar- removed @75%, took lots of rubbing.
    -100% lemon juice concentrate (store bought) - pretty good, took some rubbing.
    -50% lemon juice/ 50% vinegar - pretty good, less time rubbing, most the moly came off.
    -50% lemon juice/ 50% warm water - better, dulls the copper a bit, most moly removed.
    -100% vinegar (@ 2 tablespoons)/ a few shakes of salt- some moly came off while soaking, wipes right off, hardly any rubbing. @95%-98% moly removed. Jacket is dull.

    -Dillon case cleaner- cleaned pretty good, got most moly off, shiny jacket, a bit of rubbing.
    -Mothers aluminum wheel polish- works great, and almost immediately, shiny copper when done. I would say @95% or more moly removed, minimal rubbing.
    -The rag gets black with dirtyness and tends to re-dirty the jacket when using the cream polishes. Ceaning a second time with the product and a clean rag works good to clean it up a bit more.

    I will leave them all on the counter for a few days to see if any have some kind of creepy green or black tarnish reaction, particularly at the open tip.

    Shinyness of the copper before the moly is unknown, but the naked version of these bullets are not really shiny, just coppery and unpolished. I consider shiny to be polished like a Berger VLD, and dull to be like a clean used penny, not etched. I do not know the moly coating process or product that was used to coat these.

    Acetone did next to nothing, and it is not worth the fumes, flammability or volatility of this product to be a practical or smart choice. It was mentioned in a post, so I tried it. NEVER use solvents in a ultrasonic cleaner!

    Does anyone know why, or if the salt and vinegar, or lemon water would be a bad thing to clean the bullets with? The Acidity of the vinegar is 5% undiluted, but not sure about the lemon juice. Would there be a reaction with any product between the lead and jacket? Should they be rinsed in a solution that would neutralize the acid more than just a well water rinse. Is electrolysis an issue?
    I figure someone out there may know some of these answers.

    I don't think I would even need to run them through the ultrasonic if I used the salt and vinegar, but maybe for the lemon water solution.
    If they didn't have open tips, I think the Mothers in corn cob would do quite well as a dry tumble, maybe I will try it on some cases instead of the Dillon product for polishing some brass.

    Has anyone had good luck with a particular solution in an ultrasonic for removing the moly?

    Has anyone tried any of these products for scrubbing the moly out of a barrel without causing damage? I know the salt solution could cause rusting issues with anything but good stainless, so a good rinse and oiling after would be a must.

    I don't mind constructive criticism, but constructive is the word. I'm trying to help others as well as myself. I did do some searching for answers in past posts here, so I did try to include some of those ideas. Go easy on the salt and vinegar for cleaning jokes, there may be some sensitive ears out there. ;)

    Thanks, looking forward to some feedback,

    Dave
     
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  2. Mike F H

    Mike F H

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  3. Walt Krafft

    Walt Krafft Gold $$ Contributor

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    I would save the time and trouble of cleaning them and just shoot them as is. In my experience moly really didn't help or hurt enough to bother with it. I too bought some bullets from a former shooter and some were molyed. I am not noticing any difference shooting them.
     
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  4. bsekf

    bsekf

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    I put them in the HF tumbler I use with SS pins. No pins just a little Dawn and warm water.
     
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  5. David Milisock

    David Milisock

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    I found that moly used SPARINGLY, prolonged my shot string accuracy in my high speed handloads, 3,500+ FPS. I am of the opinion that removing it from the bulletts is dubious at best. You may think you've washed it off but in my opinion it will still be there.

    I've shot tens of thousands of rounds and still use it. I believe it works best when used VERY, VERY lightly. When you think you have enough you probably have 5 times too much.
     
  6. M-61

    M-61 "Quis Separabit" Gold $$ Contributor

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    I bought moly coated bullets at a great price. I don't shoot moly but the price was very good so I did.
    In my vibrating 'tumbler' I used white rice as a media. It did an excellent job. Clogged nothing. When done the rice went in the garbage. Did not want to find out if mice liked it as much as corn media. Bullets came out spotless.
    BTW......before I used rice I used walnut media which some clogged the hollow point tip. For what ever reason there wasn't any difference in accuracy with the clogged hollow points vs unclogged ones. I am a short range bench shooter.
     
  7. BOLTED

    BOLTED Silver $$ Contributor

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    This is just a "for future reference" kind of a thing, and it's a fun science type thing to do on a crappy windy day outside. I am looking for a magic moly removal solution that can be done quickly with just household products.

    I may toss some others in the vibrating tumbler with white rice, since I have not tried rice before. After the tumble, I will see if I can open up a bullet to check if any rice powder has managed to get inside. I honestly don't know what the inside of a hand made bullet looks like, so it will be interesting.

    All bullets soaked and rubbed last night still look good this morning, no discoloration, patina or oxidation tarnish. I plan to toss some in the ultrasonic with one of the solutions that worked well. Maybe the salt and vinegar one first, I have more of that on hand than lemon juice.
     
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  8. 10XSHOOTER

    10XSHOOTER Gold $$ Contributor

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    Just shoot the moly, You're barrel will like you for it!
     
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  9. Rdlningcltchdmpr

    Rdlningcltchdmpr Gold $$ Contributor

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    Constructive- nothing hurts accuracy more than( imbalance) even a tiny bit of liquid inside the hollow point will ruin accuracy. 300,000 rpm! Getting any liquid out is very difficult.
     
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  10. BOLTED

    BOLTED Silver $$ Contributor

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    Thank you, I agree.

    I don't want anything in the tip, dry or wet. I still have naked to shoot, so these won't be needed for quite some time. Plenty of time to dry.

    I would also worry about the dissolved salt in the vinegar turning back into salt after the liquid evaporates. I do notice that the open tip is so small that it is extremely difficult to get liquid into the bullet, even when done on purpose. A wet tumble, or a bath in the ultrasound could possibly encourage the liquid to migrate into the tip.

    Can anyone tell my why going from moly to naked degrades accuracy. Any real proof in that pudding?
     
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  11. Toms

    Toms

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  12. Toms

    Toms

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    I used moly for a while when i shot sillhouette. I finally decided it was not worth the mess and the filth. When cleaning you will find copper layered between carbon and moly. After i stopped using it i removed is with go-joe grees cleaner for mecanics. Washed them with it and then dawn dish soap, then rinsed in hot water. Did a good job. Hope this helps.Toms.
     
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  13. Laurie

    Laurie

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    This topic has been covered more than a few times over the years in the AS Forum. Enter removing moly from bullets into the Search facility and you'll get 7 pages of results.

    (Moral - always do a search on the forum first as it covers just about every precision shooting and handloading topic under the sun. :) )

    Various ultrasonic and tumbling regimes / materials aside, two quick-use materials themes recur - the Iosso Case Cleaner kit and Barkeepers Friend household cleaner in water solutions. I think the latter contains small amounts of oxalic acid, and the former may too maybe. Note that one post in these threads is by someone who approached Berger Bullets for advice on this subject and was recommended to try the Iosso product.

    I have near on 1,000 6.5mm Lapua Silver Scenars that I want to de-moly and bought a can of Barkeepers Friend, but have yet to try it until I've used up my non-moly coated bullets - so can't comment personally.
     
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  14. riflewoman

    riflewoman Gold $$ Contributor

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    If you’re that worried about solution getting into the open tip, just stand them up in a fixture and place them in the solution up to about half the o give length, any moly remaining won’t touch the barrel steel.

    As far as solutions go, I would think that any solution that is mildly acidic would do. I’d experiment with Lemishine as it is a commercially pure form of citric acid. Get a set of pH papers and see what pH levels get you the best results. Then rinse them with ordinary tap water. Rub as necessary.
     
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  15. WyleWD

    WyleWD Silver $$ Contributor

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    Just shoot em up unless you have a bunch of time on your hands. In my experience they won't shoot the same.... and in my case they shot worse. JME. WD
     
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  16. BOLTED

    BOLTED Silver $$ Contributor

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    Yes LAURIE, I did do a past search, it says that in the original post. No, I have not searched on how to quote peoples posts, so this is where LAURIE is spot on. ;)

    UPDATE--

    I decided to go with the vinegar and salt in the ultrasound. I used:
    1 cup distilled white vinegar, 5% acidity
    3 cups (warm) distilled water
    1 tablespoon of salt
    1 cheap small Chicago Electric ultrasonic cleaner

    Wow! You could actually watch the moly start to fall off the bullets in the first ten seconds!
    I put in 5 bullets to start, and moved them around a bit with a wooden stir stick. The ultrasonic is definitely stronger in the center, and it took only one cycle of 180 seconds to remove the moly. I rinsed in warm well water after. The bullets came out clean and coppery. They dried with a bit of discoloration, and they were what I would consider dull in appearance.

    Dumping in a handful or so took more stirring and more time. The moly loosens very quickly on the bullets in the center. I think anyone with a more industrial cleaner would have a larger area of effect. Even with my little guy, I cleaned off about 200 bullets in about 10-15 minutes, including the rinse and dry.

    I did try using a holder of sorts. I used a CCI 22lr plastic bullet case, and put 25 coated bullets in upside down. They fit great, and as RIFLEWOMAN said, the small contact that far up the tip of the bullet would not be in contact with the barrel. It worked great as a holder that wouldn't allow the solution to enter the tip, but the moly seems to need a little brush or wipe while submerged to get it all off. Sitting static so close together in the cleaner didn't quite get them as clean as I wanted. That's why moving them around a bit with a stick helped. A cheap stiff small paint brush would work well for that.

    I finally just went back to cleaning in small batches of @30 or so, and that worked just fine for me. the water gets dirty pretty fast, so I changed it once, but I'm not convinced I needed to. Using the minimum depth of solution in the cleaner worked best, no need for much depth, other that how fast the the water gets dirty.

    NOTE: moly will dry and bond back on the bullet surface if you don't get it rinsed or wiped off while it is still wet with the vinegar solution.

    Until I actually shoot them side by side with the original naked version I won't know if this method caused any problems, but I don't think it has. I gave up on the worry of a little fluid entering the open tip, and I am drying them tip-down in the 22lr box with the tips contacting a paper towel to draw out any residual moisture. I'll store them in a warm and low humidity location to be sure evaporation is complete by the time I want to use them.

    SO, I have beaten this dead horse once more on this site, but for me, I have found a solution to my possibly not a problem. I am happy with my results, and it was fun. This method seems to be a quick and easy solution to removing the moly from a boatload of bullets without clogging the tips with dry media, or causing damage to the bullet by tumbling with stainless pins. Mission accomplished. I hope this post helps others here as well, even if it is seen as something NOT to try. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and to all those that chimed in!

    Cheers,

    Dave
     
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