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Fast Method for Removing Lead in Pistol Barrels

Category : Gunsmithing, Handguns, How-To

A Solution of 50% Hydrogen Peroxide and 50% Vinegar can be used to remove lead from barrels very quickly.

If you shoot a lot of pistol ammunition there is a good chance you will shoot cast lead bullets out of your gun at one time or another. Cast bullets can save you a lot of money. Unfortunately, when you use commercially cast bullets they can leave lead in your barrel that is hard to remove. This is a procedure to remove lead out of barrels that works very well.

A solution of 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% white vinegar reacts with lead and eats any lead  in your barrel within 2-3 minutes. It is important that you plug off one end of the barrel and fill the barrel up all the way with the solution. Only let it set in the barrel for 2-3 minutes and then dump it out and flush the barrel out with water. Follow this by a dry patch through the barrel followed by a brush with solvent on it. Patch out the excess solvent and you are done. You can repeat the process if there are stubborn deposits that won’t come out on the first try.

The solution used in this process can cause damage to your barrel if it is exposed for long periods of time; it can also damage blueing on chrome moly barrels. The remaining solution that comes out of the barrel does contain lead and is poisonous.

To plug off the barrel I use a case that has been fired out of the gun. This case had a split in it so it needed to be discarded anyway. A rubber cork that can be bought at almost any hardware store could also be used.

I use a large syringe to measure the proper amounts of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide into. In this case I just sucked up 20 ccs of peroxide and 20 ccs of vinegar. The syringe also makes it easy to put the solution in the barrel.

Here you can see the solution in the barrel. The bubbles are the solution reacting with the lead.

Here is the first patch after flushing the barrel with water.


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Comments (7)

the solution should be disposed of properly, NOT put down the sink drain

At 81+ I find it a constant pleasure to find out new things with respect to the firearms sports/interests. This is another reason why for many years I have always insisted that firearms interests in an of themselves can and do offer a good deal of knowledge one would (could) not otherwise be privy to.

Lead acetate is VERY toxic. Double up on gloves at a minimum and treat the after product as hazmat for disposal. More information is available by googling “suppressor dip.”

This is absolutely horrible advice to have posted without any safety warnings. This solution turns what is familiar as metallic lead, into Lead Acetate. It is HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY toxic, and can be absorbed through the skin. Exposure to lead acetate can cause neurological and other harmful damage to humans, even in small acute exposures.

The solution should not be put down the drain as this is not a material that most water companies can filter out, and if put into the environment can cause large amounts of damage from even small contamination amounts. Lead acetate is water soluble! It is highly irresponsible to do this, and should not be done unless wearing full sets of safety gear, with the results taken to a professional lab for disposal! Do not do this at home!

Just tried this solution.( vinegar/Hydrogen peroxide) It worked like it was Magic.
I have been shooting cast bullets for probably 40 yrs.
This is the easiest, cheapest and fastest solution I have discovered. thanks. keep shootin.

Sudoshakes thanks, Where would one find a professional lab?

the guy making all the dramatic warnings needs to calm down. first scrub the barrel with a good barrel cleaner, such as Barnes CT-10. then rinse with water. dry it. then plug, fill with the vinegar/hydrogen peroxide solution. the amount of lead acetate is SO SMALL that it won’t hurt anyone or anything. of course wear rubber gloves. LEAD if found in most municipal water supplies in minute levels – it’s not going to destroy the environment- that’s where it came from to begin with !! you tree huggers need to take a valium.

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