Pros: Cleans and protects firearms.
Cons: It is a chemical solution.
Scientist theorize that certain smells can trigger memories and recollections. They are currently testing this thesis on laboratory rats. There is no need for them to do further testing on animals, all the have to do is waft an open bottle of Hoppes no. 9 under my nose and the strong odor will trigger many fond memories of my adolescence and adulthood. I can remember the first encounter I had with the solvent, it was many years ago and at first whiff I found it slightly repulsive and repugnant. Although my father did not hunt, he enjoyed target and sport shooting and collected firearms. I was extremely jealous and envious of my older brother who was allowed to shoot the guns with my father before I was. At 9 years old I was still very small and not yet ready to carry the responsibilities that came with using a firearm, contrary to my belief. But my brother was of age and mature enough, and under my fathers close supervision and instruction, was able to shoot the guns. If sibling rivalry were a battle of survival, I would have been wiped off of the face of the earth and proclaimed extinct after he was permitted this privilege.
My father taught us from day one of the importance of safety and caution while handling firearms. Before my brothers inaugural shooting lesson, my father gave him a lesson on how to clean the guns. I watched all the while teeming with envy as he set the cleaning items on the table and explained their purposes. Out of the old wooden box came a pack of rags, a ram rod, a wire brush, an oil rag, a tin of oil, and a brown glass bottle with a yellow label, Hoppes no. 9. He removed the bolt from that old model 514 Remington .22 caliber and sent the ram rod and wire brush down the bore. Then came the cloth patch and my first encounter with Hoppes no. 9. He held a couple of the patches over the opening of the bottle after removing the cap and gave the bottle a quick flip over and back. The patches turned from a snow white to an amber copper color with saturation. Then he sent one of the patches down the barrel and out the muzzle. It came out the same color and he said, Good to go. We learned at that age how to clean the guns before we got the chance to shoot them. My father has always been religious at keeping the firearms clean and in perfectly working order. The patches came out a different color when they cleaned the gun after my brothers initial rite of passage into the shooting world.
I also remember the days of getting home after being at a friends house or playing youth soccer and smelling the strong aroma of Hoppes no. 9 as it permeated through the house. This would set me off as I knew they just finished shooting and cleaning the guns and I was excluded again. In retrospect, I guess my first memories of Hoppes no. 9 were only sentimental by means of laughing at my eagerness to participate. My early envy and jealousy were abrogated when I finally got my shot. Following the same path my brother took into the world of firearms, I too got to use Hoppes no. 9 and hundreds of fond memories arise when I catch a whiff of the solvent. Whether it be reminiscent of cleaning the rifle after a successful hunt, or after shooting clay pigeons, target shooting, or just taking care of the guns, by catching a scent, I think good thoughts.
• • • • • • • • What is it?: • • • • • • • •
Hoppes no. 9 is a solvent intended for removing powder, lead, metal fouling, and rust from firearms. It has become the standard in gun cleaning solvents for the past 100 years. I grew up using it to clean all of our sporting and hunting firearms so I assume that just about everyone and anyone who has ever cleaned a gun knows what it is and is familiar with it. In my mind, it is the only gun cleaning solvent. I have tried a couple of other brands only out of curiosity and they cannot compare. I have become accustomed to the smell and functionality of Hoppes no. 9. The others solvents I tried have a different smell, color, thickness, and cutting power. Just being different from the one I grew up with is enough to garner all three strikes against but they also garner the other two outs by not working as fast and thorough as Hoppes no. 9. I try to follow the old farmers rule of, if it aint broke, dont fix it, so I really have no reason to use anything other than Hoppes, it works!
• • • • • • • • When I Use it: • • • • • • • •
I use Hoppes no. 9 solvent just about every time after firing one of my guns. It has become habit for me to clean them before they go into the locked safe at the end of the day. I periodically use it on the guns which I do not fire as often just to give them a fresh cleaning from time to time. I use it on every gun I own from pistols, rifles, to shotguns.
• • • • • • • • How I Use it: • • • • • • • •
When cleaning a gun I start from the inside and work my way out. This is kind of like painting a house, you start at the top and work your way down so you do not have to re-do any areas that get tainted from drips, dirt, etc. If the barrel is removable like it is on my Remington model 1100's, I remove the barrel. If the bolt is removable like it is on my Winchester model 70's, Remington 700's, Ruger 77's and other bolts, I remove the bolt. This makes the cleaning process much easier. I start in the breech area or action of the firearm. I use small patches and Q-Tips dipped in Hoppes no. 9 to soak and clean the action of powder and lead deposits. I finish with the action by wiping them with clean patches and Q-Tips after the solvent has broken down the dirty deposits. Cleaning the action and chamber ensures that the firearm works correctly and flawlessly.
After cleaning the breech, action, chamber area, I move to the barrel. Whenever possible, I clean in the same direction the bullet travels. This helps to more thoroughly clean the barrel and rifling, and it pushes any dirt, powder deposits, lead, or debris away from the firearm instead of into it. Using a ram-rod made to fit the caliber or gauge I am cleaning, I attach a wire brush also designed for the specific size of the bore. I like to dip the wire brush into the Hoppes no. 9 before sending it down, I think this expedites the cleaning process. A lot of people dont wet the brush first, but I prefer to. I push the brush down and back a couple of times before switching over to a solvent soaked patch. The first one I send through comes out the dirtiest and collects the lions share of the grime. I replace the cloth or patch with another one soaked in the solvent and repeat the process until they come out about the same color as they go in. Then I switch over to a clean patch or cloth and repeat the process until they come out clean and have collected all of the unwanted substances. I use bore snakes from time to time and wet them with the solvent before passing them through the bore.
With the action, chamber, and inside of the barrel cleaned, I clean any other metal parts on the firearm with Hoppes no. 9, and re-assemble the gun. The next step I take is to wipe down the entire gun, especially the metal, with a rag made wet by Hoppes no. 9. I pay special attention to fingerprints and any areas that do not shine. Fingerprints contain oil which will rust the metal or remove protective bluing from a firearm. After wiping all of the fingerprints off, I handle the firearm by the wood or grip only when transporting it into storage. The Hoppes no. 9 contains a certain amount of protective oil but I like to put a finishing coat on the firearm with RemOil, either by aerosal, wipes, or my own oil rags. A small or thin coat will suffice in ensuring protection while being stored. Applying too much will collect dust and dirt and should be avoided.
• • • • • • • • Why Use Hoppes no. 9? • • • • • • • •
The main reason I use it is to protect my firearms. Some of them are collectors items and are highly valuable, some of them are for self protection, and some of them are for more practical purposes such as hunting and shooting. Regardless of what I use them for, they all must work and function flawlessly and be in the best possible shape. I can make sure of these things by keeping them clean and in working order with Hoppes no. 9.
It Fights Moisture: Moisture is one of the worst problems gun owners face. Moisture and metal goes together like bulls and china shops. If not kept in check, the moisture will rust the gun, impede the action, and pit the metal. Not only do I want to keep my guns in great working order, but I also want them to look good. Rust eats away at the metal, first ruining the bluing, then attacking the metal. When a gun gets rust, it loses value and functionality. Not only does Hoppes no. 9 fight to keep rust off my guns, but a thin coat before storage will also prevent any rust from forming.
Prevents powder and metal fouling: Every time you fire a round from a gun it leaves a powder and metal deposit behind. Different loads leave behind different amounts of lead and powder and some are more corrosive and dirtier than others. Fire a gun one time and it can be cleaned with evidence of the deposits a round leaves behind. Fire a gun numerous times before cleaning and you will see just how messy they are. This is especially evident after shooting several rounds at clay pigeons or sporting clays. If the powder and lead deposits go unattended to, they will adversely affect the accuracy of the firearm. Most centerfire rifle bullets have a copper jacket around the lead bullet. When fired, copper fragments are left behind in the rifling of the barrel. The next shot gets small fragment slices and cuts on the bullet which affect the accuracy of the given round. The next does as well until the barrel is cleaned. Spent powder will build up and affect accuracy as well and I even had a nasty lead build up one time in one of my Browning Buckmark .22's.
• • • • • • • • Whats in a Name: • • • • • • • •
The number nine in the name Hoppes no 9, stands for the nine secret ingredients in this solvent. The company is required by law to list the active ingredients to transport this substance. Under their Material Safety Data Sheet I uncovered 6 of the ingredients and their percentage of the complete substance.
30-40 Ethyl Alcohol
Less than 10 Xylene
Less than 10 Amyl Acetate
Less than 10 Ammonium Hydrochloride
Less than 10 Citronella
• • • • • • • • Hoppes History: • • • • • • • •
The company was founded in 1903 by Frank A. Hoppe. He had interests of sports, chemistry and miliatary. The sports interest included target shooting and hunting. He studied chemistry in school which later led to the development of his company. Before forming the company however he served in the Army at age 19 during the Spanish-American War. Ammunition took a vast change around the turn of the twentieth century. Black powder was replaced with smokeless powder. The newer ammunition was extremely corrosive to firearms. Cleaning a gun became more difficult and inspired Hoppe to develop his famous no. 9 solvent. The potion was a huge success. Since its introduction nearly 100 years ago little has changed from the original formula. It is said that nine different chemicals or components make up the solvent, hence the name Hoppes no. 9. Frank Hoppe served in the Pennsylvania National Guard as a Captain, was posthumously elected to the Sporting Goods Hall of Fame, and founded a company that is still in business toady.
In 2001 the company was sold to Michaels of Oregon. The company was moved from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, to Meridian, Ohio. They now operate under the name of Bushnell Outdoor Accessories in Overland Park, Kansas.
• • • • • • • • Other uses: • • • • • • • •
Even though I primarily use Hoppes no. 9 for gun care and cleaning, I have occasionaly used it on other items. I have cleaned several knives and tools with it and it works equally effective on any metal item.
• • • • • • • • Oops: • • • • • • • •
Before I clean any gun, and especially a long gun, I put either a large throw rag or newspapers on the floor. When a ram-rod protrudes from the barrel, it splatters the solution and grime all over the place. I also put a rag over my lap or table to catch any splatter or spills. This stuff is incredibly hard to remove from clothing and it leaves a stain behind which can only be removed by dry cleaning. Make sure you are wearing the proper clothing when using this solvent. You can also wear rubber gloves. It has contacted my skin several times over the years without any irritation or discomfort. I simply wash it off with soap and water and the scent disappears after a short spell. Keep it away from sparks and flames as it is flammable.
• • • • • • • • The sweet smell: • • • • • • • •
I love the smell of Hoppes no. 9. I have been known to purposely leave the cap off so the smell can permeate through the house. I even wanted to make it into an aftershave or perfume but I figured I would probably only attract other guys so I decided against it. Its probably a good thing most females do not like the smell because if they wore just a little bit of it they would become irresistible, I have often wondered if there is a correlation between Hoppes no. 9 and Love Potion no. 9?
• • • • • • • • Price and Availability: • • • • • • • •
This is very easy to find and is a popular item. It can be found just about everywhere that guns or ammunition is sold. I have purchased it from Wal-Mart, Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas, and over the internet. The larger pint containers are selling for around $12 per bottle.
♠ © smallmouth 2008
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