I love to go shooting, doesn’t matter with who or what style of shooting its all fun to me, what I don’t love is the giant pain it was becoming to clean all the guns I took to the range. Over time I found myself only shooting guns that either I didn’t ever want to clean or that were easy to clean. One day at the local big box sporting goods store I found myself talking to the counter folks about my hatred of gun cleaning when one of the old timers there said “If you shoot at all you need to save yourself some time and get an ultrasonic cleaner”. Well I took that old timers advice and I can say that nearly two years later whenever it comes to gun cleaning I almost always try to use my ultrasonic cleaner if at all possible.
It dawned on me when I was having a conversation with some of our team while at SHOT Show 2017 that not all of them had discovered the time saving joys of ultrasonic cleaners. Those conversations is what spawned this article, and our look into the various brands and models of ultrasonic cleaners on the market today. Like everything else in life, sometimes the topic isn’t as clear cut and easy as you initially think it is, that is where we come into the picture to help out. In this article we will highlight some of the more popular models on the market, their specifications and their prices. So without further delay.
#1 Lyman Model 2500
This is the same model I have and I can say without a doubt it has never let me down. My only knock against it is that I wish it was bigger. It can easily handle a disassembled pistol or AR-15 bolt carrier. I first discovered this model when I was reloading ammo and it can fit several hundred 9mm cases in it without any issues. This model is the 2nd largest that Lyman makes with only the Lyman 6000 having a larger capacity. The unit retails for around $110.00-$130.00 depending on where you shop.
- 2.6 quart capacity
- Comes with plastic basket
- Digital count down timer
- Five different cleaning cycles
- Has fan to prevent thermal overload
- Price $110-$130
#2 RCBS Ultrasonic Cleaner (model 87055)
RCBS has been a leader in the reloading and firearms accessory world for a long time so it was only natural that their ultrasonic cleaner made our list. This unit can hold 3.2 quarts of cleaning solution and features a 100 watt ceramic heater for heating up the cleaning solution in no time at all. The RCBS ultrasonic cleaner also comes with a 1 year warranty and can be picked up on Amazon.Com for $118.99. It’s larger than the Lyman 2500 and costs nearly the same price.
- 3.2 quart capacity
- Ability to drain the unit
- Weighs 9.3 lbs
- Five preset temperatures
- Selectable run time from 1 minute to 30 minutes
- Price $118.99
#3 Hornady Sonic Cleaner 7 L
The Hornady Sonic Cleaner 7L is the largest and most expensive we have on the list but there is a good reason for that. The Hornady 7L has almost twice the capacity of most of the ones on our list. The unit has a stainless steel liner and features a digital timer and display that allows you to run the unit from 5 minutes all the way to 30 minutes. The timer can be adjusted in 1 minute intervals allowing you greater flexibility when cleaning different types of metals or removing levels of corrosion.
- 7 Liter capacity
- Highly adjustable timer
- Carry handles
- Drain and waste valve/hose assembly
- 1 year warranty
- Price $279-$320 on average
Buying an ultrasonic cleaner doesn’t remove the need for a shooter to clean or maintain their weapons, what it does is give us as gun owners another tool in our tool box. The benefits of using an ultrasonic cleaner in conjunction with a good degreaser or solvent will be apparent the first time you remove your weapon or parts from the cleaner. The combination of heat, solvent, and the vibrations of the cleaner will significantly loosen the built up of carbon, dust, grime and miscellaneous gunk from your components.
I’m sure there are people who will read this and somehow talk about how this is cheating, or how it doesn’t really work on their guns. These same people will tell me how they love spending hours at a time making their kitchen stink like Hoppe’s cleaning fluid and making everyone around them light headed with their toxic batch of solvents, well that’s not me. The bottom line in my line of thinking is that the world has advanced a lot in the last five decades but sometimes people’s thought processes have not. There are faster and more thorough ways to clean your weapons, and modern technology and modern solvents should be the cornerstone of that.
Well let’s hear it , what do you think about ultrasonic cleaners ? How many of you have or use an ultrasonic cleaner with regularity ? What size and models do you have ? and finally what solvents are you using with good effect in your cleaning tanks. We want to know.