By Dave Henderson
Cleaning a firearm after a day afield is like washing dishes after a good meal – you know it needs to be done, but it’s certainly not something you look forward to.
Between trapshooting, hunting, load testing and occasional forays to sporting clays layouts, I generally manage to shoot more than 10,000 rounds a year. Not a week goes by that I don’t retreat to the dank, dark recesses of my shop to scrub the bore and action of one firearm or another.
Over the years, I’ve tried virtually every bore and action cleaner available in a continual quest for something that would clean efficiently, with less effort and with minimum risk to my health. There are plenty of good products available, and one of the more remarkable recent personal discoveries is an incredibly versatile product called Blue Wonder Gun Cleaner. While I’m the first to agree that the term “revolutionary” is often abused in reference to new products, I’m not sure that it doesn’t apply here. I’m impressed with the entire line of Novum Solutions’ Blue Wonder products, all of which were developed by chemist Will Thompson and brought to market by Houston entrepreneur Ken Gibbs.
Blue Wonder Gun Cleaner is chemically formulated to break the oxide molecules created by ignition, freeing the fouling so that it can be swabbed out. The product also permeates the metal and makes subsequent cleanings easier. I apply a liberal coat of the gel (it’s not blue but rather an opaque tan) to a phosphorus bronze bore brush and make several passes to coat the inside of the bore. Then let it set 10 to 15 minutes (less in lightly soiled bores) to allow the chemical reaction to run its course, then swab the bore with patches until clean ones emerge.
I’ve always been leery of products that claimed to dissolve both smokeless powder and blackpowder. The two propellants are vastly different in composition, and their fouling takes totally different forms. I’ve never found a cleaner that could remove both types of fouling, until now.
With Blue Wonder, I’ve cleaned Pyrodex, Triple-7 and blackpowder fouling from muzzleloaders while simultaneously cleaning shotgun or rifle bores, and the results were equally quick and clean. Blue Wonder totally displaces all solvents, so if the firearm is going to be stored for a while, it’s a good idea to lightly oil the bore.
It’s difficult to find a bore solvent that is equally effective on lead fouling and plastic, since they, too, have substantially different makeups. But Blue Wonder cleans shotshell and sabot residue as well and as quickly as anything I’ve ever tried.
Blue Wonder Gun Cleaner is not only functional for cleaning guns, but also removes surface rust. Heating the metal with a propane torch is recommended for removing heavy rust.
Novum claims that the product will also remove copper fouling left from bullet jackets and even moly fouling from coated bullets – probably the hardest-clinging agents you’ll ever introduce to a centerfire rifle bore. Again, I’ve found the claim to be true. Although it might take longer with Blue Wonder than it would with a specialty cleaner like Sweet’s or Shooter’s Choice Copper Remover, the process is far less critical and caustic. And you can’t damage the barrel steel with a misapplication of Blue Wonder like you can with ammonia-based cleaners. In fact, all chemicals in Blue Wonder have been individually tested as totally harmless to humans.
There are other uses of the cleaner, also. My shop is in the cellar of a 100-plus-year-old house, and there’s a constant dampness. Even though I run a dehumidifier regularly and keep silica bags updated in my key-lock gun safes, surface rust is a problem. But it disappears quickly when a coating of Blue Wonder Gun Cleaner is rubbed in with 0000 steel wool, then wiped dry with a cloth. Blue Wonder chemically destroys the oxide molecules in the rust and allows them to be wiped away.
I’ve even cleaned heavy rust from long-neglected guns by applying Blue Wonder to the surface and heating it with a propane torch, which opens the pores in the metal and allows the cleaner to soak in and displace the rust residue.
After removing rust, I used to spray the metal with a water-displacing protectant like Shooter’s Choice Rust Prevent. But lately I’ve been coating it with Blue Wonder’s newest product, Armadillo. The waxy product is a polymer protectant that can be used instead of oils or greases that can attract dirt, dust and debris. Armadillo won’t rub off or stain clothing, and provides a hard shell finish that effectively resists rust.
Just prior to writing this piece, I had an opportunity to use the company’s other product, Blue Wonder Gun Blue, on a couple of projects. I touched up the original blueing where it had been worn off a shotgun receiver, matching it perfectly, then blued an entire muzzleloader barrel that came to me in the white. The results were very impressive.
Like the other Blue Wonder products – and unlike other hot- or cold- blue processes – Blue Wonder Gun Blue is not caustic and is very easy to apply. The surface should be scrubbed thoroughly with an emery pad to clean and remove old blueing, then Blue Wonder Gun Cleaner should be swabbed on the surface. Next, the surface should be heated to 130 degrees (hot to the touch, but not hot enough to burn your skin) to allow the cleaner to permeate the metal. Wipe the surface clean and swab Gun Blue on the surface with a paper towel. If a deeper blue is sought, clean the surface again with Gun Cleaner and repeat the process. When the desired depth and color is reached, a coating of developer sets the tone.
The Blue Wonder line is proof that the adage “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” doesn’t always apply. (866) 486-2583/www.bluewonder.us
Reprinted from the October 2004 issue of Buckmasters GunHunter Magazine