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This is the first post in a multi-part review of the Breakthrough natural firearm cleaning products.  My first exposure to this product line was at SHOT 2015 and I was impressed with the company focus on green cleaning products.  My wife has extreme chemical sensitivity, so I must be constantly wary of any cleaning products used in our one-bedroom apartment.

In addition to take-home samples, Breakthrough mailed me a 2 oz. spray bottle of their ‘military grade’ solvent and a tube of grease. This review covers my experience with the solvent.

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I currently use FireClean for cleaning and Rand CLP for lube in all my pistols.  I use FireClean for cleaning and a synthetic grease for my AR.  Although FireClean is supposed to be odor-free, there have been a couple occasions where my wife complained that ‘I had been cleaning’ when she walked in the door from work.  So, I always clean firearms with the patio sliding door open and turn on the inside air purifiers after finishing.  Yes, that really sucks during the winter.

Needless to say, I was hopeful that Breakthrough might be as effective as FireClean without any possibility of disturbing my wife.  The latter formed the basis for my first series of tests.

First, I tested reaction on myself.  I sprayed a liberal amount of product on both hands, and then rubbed them as if washing my hands.  After thirty minutes of sitting on the patio, I experienced no reaction whatsoever.  I washed my hands and went on through the remainder of the day’s activity with no reactions and no mention of any cleaning product from my wife.

The next evening, I sprayed some Breakthough on an old t-shirt and left it on top of a table in my office area.  This table is less than five feet from where my wife relaxes on the sofa.  She made no mention of any odor in the apartment the entire evening.

So, Breakthrough passes the ‘green’ test with flying colors.

There are a few other reviews online that reached the concluding that Breakthrough is a ‘good’ cleaning product.  My goal was to see how well Breakthrough compares to FireClean in order to determine if it could replace that product partially or entirely in my firearms maintenance regimen.

In my mind, the best test – and one that has not been done online – is baked-on revolver grime.  It took quite a while for me to get out to the tactical range with all the bad winter weather and rain, but I recently ran 50 rounds of .44 mag through my short-barrel Smith 629 in CQB drills.  Then, I left the revolver in the range bag to sit for a couple days before cleaning.

Here are a couple pics of the front end of the cylinder and the forcing cone.

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From past experience, I knew this would be a tough cleaning test, but FireClean blew through a similar test with more rounds through my Ruger SRH.  So, it want to replace the best, you need to beat the best 🙂

First, I sprayed the revolver down with the Breakthrough and let it sit outside for two hours.

rev2Then, I began the cleaning process.  After multiple passes with Breakthrough and a wire brush, this was the best I could achieve.

rev3

Next, I applied FireClean and the brush, then waited a couple minutes and did a second pass with FireClean.

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That’s more like it!

Onto the rest of the revolver!  I had also soaked the barrel and forcing cone with Breakthrough.  I ran wet and dry patches through until two dry ones came out perfectly clean.  Then, I ran patches with a few drops of FireClean on them to see if anything was left behind.  Here are the first three patches.

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In summary, I spent several more minutes cleaning the entire revolver with FireClean before I was satisfied.

One the one hand, this is a stress test that is likely not to be encountered by the majority of potential users of this product.  On the other hand, Breakthrough is billed as a ‘military grade’ solvent.  If that’s true, then you would have to state that FireClean is an ‘above military-grade solvent.’

I do believe that Breakthrough is an adequate cleaning product for most firearms under normal use cases.  It is an exceptional product in terms of being friendly to the environment and to those with extreme sensitivity to cleaning products.  It is for this reason that the Breakthrough spray is now in my range bag.  My intended use is for preliminary cleaning immediately after a long practice session.  I have no worries about lingering cleaning residue or odor issues from applying a product to a firearm that is inside my vehicle on a long drive home.

I will probably post a second review later in the year after using the product on my AR-10.  I’ll have to re-zero the ACOG for warm weather some time in May or June and have several ammo tests queued up for the summer.

I hope you found this review helpful.

– Diligencia, Vis, Celeritas

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