Recipe for Ed's Red

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Recipe for Ed's Red

Post by wh12725 » Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:04 pm

I copied the recipe verbatim for those interested in mixing some 'home brew'. I personally have not tried this stuff..but others on this board have and all results I have seen are positive. THE OBVIOUS: Use care!

CONTENTS: Ed's Red Bore Cleaner (Ed Harris)

1 part Dexron II, IIe or III ATF, GM Spec. D-20265 or later.

1 part Kerosene - deodorized, K1

1 part Aliphatic Mineral Spirits, Fed. Spec. TT-T-2981F, CAS #64741-49-9, or substitute "Stoddard Solvent", CAS #8052-41-3, or equivalent, (aka "Varsol")

1 part Acetone, CAS #67-64-1.

(Optional up to 1 lb. of Lanolin, Anhydrous, USP per gallon, OK to substitute Lanolin, Modified, Topical Lubricant, from the drug store)


Mix outdoors, in good ventilation. Use a clean 1 gallon metal, chemical-resistant, heavy gage PET or PVC plastic container. NFPA approved plastic gasoline storage containers are also OK. Do NOT use HDPE, which is breathable because the acetone will evaporate. The

acetone in ER will attack HDPE in about 6 months, making a heck of a mess!

Add the ATF first. Use the empty container to measure the other components, so that it is thoroughly rinsed. If you incorporate the lanolin into the mixture, melt this carefully in a double boiler, taking precautions against fire. Pour the melted lanolin it into a larger container, rinsing the lanolin container with the bore cleaner mix, and stirring until it is all dissolved.

I recommend diverting a small quantity, up to 4 ozs. per quart of the 50-50 ATF/kerosene mix for use as an "ER-compatible" gun oil. This can be done without impairing the effectiveness of the mix.


1. Open the firearm action and ensure the bore is clear. Cleaning is most effective when done while the barrel is still warm to the touch from firing. Saturate a cotton patch with bore cleaner, wrap or impale on jag and push it through the bore from breech to muzzle. The patch should be a snug fit. Let the first patch fall off and do not pull it back into the bore.

2. Wet a second patch, and similarly start it into the bore from the breech, this time scrubbing from the throat area forward in 4-5" strokes and gradually advancing until the patch emerges out the muzzle. Waiting approximately 1 minute to let the bore cleaner soak will improve its action.

3. For pitted, heavily carbon-fouled "rattle battle" guns, leaded revolvers or neglected bores a bronze brush wet with bore cleaner may be used to remove stubborn deposits. This is unnecessary for smooth, target-grade barrels in routine use.

4. Use a final wet patch pushed straight through the bore to flush out loosened residue dissolved by Ed's Red. Let the patch fall off the jag without pulling it back into the bore. If you are finished firing, leaving the bore wet will protect it from rust for up to 30 days. If the lanolin is incorporated into the mixture, it will protect the firearm from rust for up to two years. For longer term storage I recommend use of Lee Liquid Alox as a Cosmoline substitute. "ER" will readily remove hardened Alox or Cosmoline.

5. Wipe spilled Ed's Red from exterior surfaces before storing the gun. While Ed's Red is harmless to blue and nickel finishes, the acetone it contains is harmful to most wood finishes).

6. Before firing again, push two dry patches through the bore and dry the chamber, using a patch wrapped around a suitably sized brush or jag. First shot point of impact usually will not be disturbed by Ed's Red if the bore is cleaned as described.

7. I have determined to my satisfaction that when Ed's Red is used exclusively and thoroughly, that hot water cleaning is unnecessary after use of Pyrodex or military chlorate primers. However, if bores are not wiped between shots and shots and are heavily caked from black powder fouling, hot water cleaning is recommended first to break up heavy fouling deposits. Water cleaning should be followed by a thorough flush with Ed's Red to prevent after-rusting which could result from residual moisture. It is ALWAYS good practice to clean TWICE, TWO DAYS APART whenever using chlorate primed ammunition, just to make sure you get all the residue out.




1. Flammable mixture. Keep away from heat, sparks or flame.

2. FIRST AID, If swallowed DO NOT induce vomiting, call physician immediately. In case of eye contact immediately flush thoroughly with water and call a physician. For skin contact wash thoroughly.

3. Use with adequate ventilation. Avoid breathing vapors or spray mist. It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling. Reports have associated repeated and prolonged occupational overexposure to solvents with permanent brain and nervous system damage. If using in closed armory vaults lacking forced air ventilation wear respiratory protection meeting NIOSH TC23C or equivalent. Keep container tightly closed when not in use.

This "Recipe" is placed in the public domain, and may be freely distributed provided that it is done so in its entirely with all instructions and safety warnings included herein, and that proper attribution is given to the author.


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Re: Recipe for Ed's Red

Post by Dollar Bill » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:50 am

I've been using Ed's Red for some time now. Using the formula with lanolin, barrels just seem to get smoother and smoother with no need to oil barrels afterwards for corrosion protection. The more you use it, the less fouling seems to build up. Plus, it's inexpensive and I don't forsee running out for, well, a long, long time.
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Re: Recipe for Ed's Red

Post by The Virginian » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:53 pm

$ Bill: I could not agree more and Ed's Red literally takes care of 98% of my gun cleaning, lubricating and preservation needs at a fraction of the cost of the commercial cleaners. I can't recommend it more! Some variations help the formula, add some Kroil and or Marvel Mystery Oil for even better penetrationg qualities and Turprentine to help clean leading even better. Leading is virtually eliminated when using Ed's Red with bronze wool or chore-boy copper scouring pad strands wrapped around an old bronze bore brush. I too find Ed's Red effective in keeping crud from building up the more I use it. Some have added upper cylinder cleaner to deal with copper fouling but I have not tried it. Mostly, I find occasionally I may have to use a commercial copper solvent when I shoot lots of jacketed bullets, but even then, once I have seasoned the bore with Ed's Red it is very infrequently needed as the copper can't get as much of a hold.
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