AllOutdoor Review: Shooter Series Ultrasonic Gun Cleaner – Infante S6
One thing in the firearm industry that I feel is misunderstood and incorrectly utilized would be that of ultrasonic cleaners. If you are not familiar with ultrasonic technology and how it relates to gun cleaning, allow me to elaborate. Ultrasonic cleaners are typically tubs that use ultrasonic frequencies to produce vibration and agitation in a solution. By doing this in relation to gun parts in said solution the carbon, lead, dirt, etc flake off. For a long time, I had only heard of people using ultrasonic cleaners that were made for purposes other than gun cleaning. Most originally were made to clean jewelry or brass for reloading. Recently I got in touch with the folks over at Infante Ultrasonics in hope of reviewing their S6 Ultrasonic Cleaner. This company prides itself on making an ultrasonic cleaner by gun-loving folks for gun-loving folks. They were kind enough to give me the opportunity to check out the Infante S6 Ultrasonic Cleaner so let’s jump right into it.
Specifications: Infante S6 Ultrasonic Cleaner
As I mentioned above this company takes great care in what they do. I spoke with Greg Infante himself about the Infante Ultrasonics line and he sounded like a very passionate individual. He explained to me that having spent around 40 years in the firearm business that ultrasonic cleaners were never really marketed for guns and gun cleaning and if they were they were industrial and potentially dangerous. He wanted to fill that gap in the market by designing an ultrasonic cleaner that is fine-tuned for cleaning firearms and their accessories while being non-hazardous and easy to use. As he put it to me it was designed by a “gun guy”. After getting a chance to work with the Infante S6 I definitely agree but let us run down the specifications of the Infante S6 first!
- Inside Tank Dimensions: 12″L x 6″W x 6″D
- Tank Fluid Capacity: Single 1.5-gallon tank (6L)
- Power Requirements: 120V 10 amp plug
- Material: High-grade stainless steel for better corrosion resistance
- Controls: Separate heat and ultrasonic
- Covered by the Infante Performance Guarantee
- Units are insulated with sound dampening material for noise reduction
- Convenient carry handles for easy transportation
- Discounted pricing available for law enforcement, military, and federal firearm licensees
Note: Be careful of cleaning black nitride and anodized finishes. The ultrasonics tend to lend odd-looking swirls on parts if left in for too long. This is no fault of the machines by any means and is attributed to how the finishes work at a molecular level. Here is an excerpt straight from the manual that better explains this occurrence:
“Gun frame finish partially removed by acidic hand sweat, may experience additional finish removal. For anodized, painted, powder coated, antique or special finished parts, use a 2-3 minute cleaning time. Some Black Nitride coated parts that do not conform to SAE AMS2753C may show cosmetic blemishes after ultrasonic cleaning. H&M Blacknitride+ treated parts as used by several firearm OEM’s are not affected by the process when used properly. TruGlo or fiber optic fights should not be cleaned in the ultrasonic tank. Be careful cleaning clear coated parts used by some lower cost .22 pistols, some coating may be removed.”
The Infante S6 is the base level portion of the Shooter Series of Infante Ultrasonic Cleaners. The Shooter Series of cleaners are “High-end ultrasonic gun cleaners for the avid shooter and gunsmith.” whereas its counterparts in the Pro Series are marketed to bigger operations “Heavy-duty industrial ultrasonic gun cleaners for military, law enforcement & commercial use”. The MSRP of the Infante S6 sits at a hefty $730.00 but considering what you get it for sure seems understandable. The Infante S6 comes with the ultrasonic cleaner tank itself, 1 Qt. of Sonic Tonic, 1 Gallon of Sonic Lube, 2 Wire mesh suspension baskets with drain position handles, 1 Lube pan, and 2 Tank lid covers. The S6 has a dial for a duration of ultrasonic waves and also a dial for the heat of the solution in the tank.
“Built to be the most compact, powerful and budget friendly ultrasonic gun cleaning system for its size, the S6 is sure to impress. This system was designed to clean & lubricate two full size autoloaders, up to a 6” revolver, various firearm parts & accessories such as bolt-carrier assemblies,silencers, cartridge cases, & reloading dies and much more!”
First Look: Infante S6 Ultrasonic Cleaner
The Infante S6 was shipped to me in a large Infante cardboard box and upon opening it was obvious that this was all right with the world. Everything was organized and packaged well and the owner’s manual was right on top to remind you to make sure to read before you start going at it. I highly recommend that you read through the manual to prevent any sort of damage to the machine, your firearms, or yourself. The extra Lube Pan was wrapped in plastic and everything cushioned with styrofoam so nothing could easily get damaged. All the metal was very nicely polished and protected. The Sonic Tonic and Sonic Lube were packaged really nicely as well in such a way to prevent them from damages or ruptures.
The first look at the setup as a whole was mildly overwhelming in a way that you know the stuff is spendy and of quality materials. There was almost an air of “be gentle” with everything. Nothing feels cheap or fragile by any means but it all comes out of the box looking like 100% which I found to be really reassuring. I was prepared to put this machine through the gauntlet for everyone and it will take a few articles to properly articulate my thoughts but first impressions were very good! Just to get an idea of the size of the tank I have Springfield Mil-Spec Defender in the cleaning tank for some scale but honestly, the picture does not quite do it justice. It looks and feels pretty spacious.
Ultrasonic Cleaning: Infante S6 Ultrasonic Cleaner
The process of using the Infante S6 is something I plan to cover in its own article but just to make a brief note, it goes as follows: regular tap water is put into the initial tank and filled until the water line sits about a quarter of an inch below the fill line on the tank. From there, 9 ounces of Sonic Tonic is added to the water. Water can/will be added here and there if used for long durations or multiple times since the water in the tank evaporates. The Sonic Tonic should not be used on its own and must be diluted with water for proper results. After the mixture is in place the ultrasonics can be turned on for around five minutes to release any trapped air and the heat can be turned on to around 50-55 degrees Celsius (123° – 131°F). From there you are ready to rock and roll!
For cleaning, I want to mention that the S6 and all of Infante’s other Ultrasonic Cleaners are greatly complimented by some form or another of compressed air. I have an air compressor and hose with a fine nozzle to blow out any debris and excess solution if need be and honestly, it would have taken much longer if I did not have that. If you work with compressed air it is HIGHLY recommended that safety glasses are worn. The ultrasonic cleaning solution may cause some mild skin irritation in its undiluted form but since you are working with firearms that have lead and carbon deposits it is also recommended thank you wear some form of hand protection like rubber gloves.
One big misunderstanding with ultrasonic cleaners is that they are some sort of magic box that gun parts go into and come out shiny and like new. This is not quite the case. Yes, there are examples of parts being cleaned very well in a short time but this is usually due to factors like the gun was very recently used, the dirt or grime was not hardened or fixed, or the parts had already been cleaned once before recently. Ultrasonic cleaners are a tool to make life easier not something to do a whole job for you. They are made to be used in short bursts and in tandem with you yourself taking care of the finer details in between. Since I decided to christen the Infante S6 with a Smith & Wesson M&P22 Compact and Dead Air Mask Suppressor I took in the consideration of their finishes and how long I should have them in solution cycles.
I placed the field stripped 22 pistol and disassembled suppressor in the “cleaner basket” as I call it (I later labeled the baskets and tray tops to prevent cross-contamination). With the tank properly degassed and heated I submerged the basket (make sure to tilt at an angle to get rid of trapped air) and watched the magic happen before my eyes. This was actually the first time I saw an ultrasonic cleaner do its thing in person and it is actually pretty cool. It is hard to describe but dirty parts seemingly have the grime dusting off of them without even moving. On closer inspection, they kind of are moving and vibrating with the ultrasonic waves.
After the first initial and hesitant three-minute cycle, I examined all my parts which were conveniently drained with the tray above the cleaner. I saw no signs of any finish changes so I decided that I would be comfortable with further cycles at around five minutes (this is the recommended cycle time). The reason for the short bursts in an ultrasonic cleaner as it was described to me is basically the ultrasonic waves do most of their work in the first five minutes and thereafter they cant penetrate past what they have loosened up without some form of agitation. This is where the little break comes in. In between cleaning cycles simply go at any dirt, fouling, lead, carbon, etc with a nylon or bronze brush to scrub off the loosened layer of gunk and to properly prepare the next layer to be loosened. I only had to do two cycles with the 22 pistol and the second was just to make sure I got everything. Otherwise, the suppressor was four whole cycles and was extremely pleasant to clean in comparison to when I would manually clean it without ultrasonics. More on cleaning the suppressor and a black powder revolver in a separate future article!
The remaining steps before the lube process would be to dry off all parts and remove any excess cleaner within said parts. This is made very easy with the aid of compressed air but can be achieved with a can-do attitude and rag for drying. Still, it is recommended to wear proper PPE such as eye protection and gloves.
Sonic Lubing: Infante S6 Ultrasonic Cleaner
This portion of the process I was sort of weary of. Not because I saw anything overtly wrong with it but because it comes off looking sort of like a needless add-on or gimmick. I am very happy to say that this is not the case and this was something I actually was very impressed with. The way this works is the separate “pan” or tank that comes with the S6 is intended to be filled with undiluted Sonic Lube which is a lubricant and protectant. This tank is then placed on top of the sonic cleaner with welded supports preventing it from fully falling into the initial tank. This ideally places the lube tank’s bottom just on the sonic cleaner solution line where ultrasonic waves can be transferred from one tank to the other.
The same parts can be placed in a separate basket for the lube process (be sure not to interchange the baskets). Upon submerging and using the ultrasonic waves for a few minutes every part held within the lube tank becomes properly lubed and protected. The excess can be easily wiped off or blown away with compressed air. This skipped/changes the whole process of wiping down everything after cleaning and made it extremely easy on me.
Final Thoughts: Infante S6 Ultrasonic Cleaner
If I did not make it clear enough this machine and others out there are the quality of life improvements. They are not end-all beat all magic machines that give you a brand new gun after an hour in a tank. They are short burst cycle machines that are like an extra set of capable hands. The price point may be slightly overwhelming but a product like this, as easy to use as it is, is not for average joe cleaning a gun after a hunting trip. This is for an avid sportsman, gun tinkerer, or gunsmith. As someone who personally does this sort of thing as a living and went to school for gunsmithing this is an absolute improvement over doing everything by hand and on my lonesome. Having this on my bench felt like someone else was in the trenches with me scrubbing away.
That being said the Infante S6 has my seal of approval and my utmost appreciation goes out to Greg Infante for stepping up and making a product for all of us gun guys and gals out there. An ultrasonic cleaner is an excellent change of pace and it genuinely makes the whole cleaning process a breeze. It did not do all the work for me but it sure made it a heck of a lot easier. I am extremely impressed and excited to further dive down the Infante Ultrasonics rabbit hole with everyone. Stay tuned!
In closing, I want to say thank you to Greg Infante and Infante Ultrasonics for allowing AllOutdoor and myself the opportunity to try out their Infante S6 Model That is greatly appreciated. Also, we would like to know what all of you guys and gals think? Do you believe that this Ultrasonic Cleaner is worth spending your money on? Would you use this in your shop? Would this be your go-to cleaning method? Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.