300 Below has been in business since 1966, doing primarily cryogenic tempering of car parts, tooling, sporting goods, gun barrels, and the like. Next week, 300 Below will be introducing its new firearms cleaning and lubrication products, all of which are available in a kit called the “Tactical Triad.” TTAG received early notification of this pending product release and, even better, some of the goods to check out. Naturally, I had a couple dirty firearms and a filthy suppressor just itching to be cleaned . . .
The headline product here is PRISTINE cleaning solution. It’s billed as a non-toxic, non-flammable, non-caustic, non-etching, residue-free, reusable, environmentally-friendly, biodegradable solution that removes carbon deposits, greases, and oils, as well as copper fouling when given time to soak. It ships as a concentrated liquid that you cut with water — 10 parts water to 1 part PRISTINE.
Making up the remainder of the Tactical Triad kit are two spray bottles of Slip Mist lubricant — one to stay at home with the kit and one to toss in your range/field/bug-out bag — and five Pure Scrub pads.
Everything comes in a water-tight plastic ammo-type can which can be used as a cleaning bucket, if desired, for soaking your parts in PRISTINE. 300 Below has partnered with Macon Resources and each kit is assembled by a developmentally disabled worker. The Tactical Triad is 100% made in the USA.
Your kit may also include bonus items like 6″ cotton-tipped cleaning swaps, a 300 Below gun cleaning mat, a coupon for cryogenic treatment for your gun barrels, ziplock bag(s), and/or paper towels. I suppose these have to be bonus items, because if they were part of the kit then that “Triad” thing goes out the window.
Your Triad+ also comes with a user manual/brochure, and I have to say that I found it to be really thorough and awesome. When I sat down with the open box I was about to call up 300 Below to have them walk me through what I was looking at and how it’s supposed to be used. Well… no need. Sorry to go photo crazy, but there’s so much info in the pages of the manual that if you’re interested in this stuff it should answer any questions I don’t cover here. Click any photos in this post for full size:
In fact, there’s really so much in there that I’m going to check off the press release box and jump right to the review.
I’ve been shooting almost exclusively with a suppressor for a while now, and it shows. My CZ SP-01 had thick carbon deposits on it. It was getting to the point where the buildup was slowing the action down as the gun struggled a little to go back into battery, what with a fairly tight barrel hood fitment and such. My Remington 597 had seen about 500 rounds without being cleaned or lubed, and a couple hundred of those were with the suppressor on it. Its guide rods were also really nasty, and there was some serious carbon buildup happening on the bolt face and the breech face.
About six weeks ago I cleaned the baffles and outer tube of my suppressor. Still, I’ve shot a lot since then and I have a dirty can. As you can see, the booster piston is particularly carbon-fouled and this stuff is burned on like a direct impingement bolt tail. Just getting it out of the booster body was difficult due to how much burned-on carbon had already built up in there.
Since I haven’t yet invested in an ultrasonic tank, I decided to test the other two recommended methods of using PRISTINE. I mixed up a 1:10 solution and put some in a spray bottle and some in a glass water pitcher (which we just won’t mention to the wife). Actually, speaking (albeit in parenthesis) of the wife, the first thing I noticed about PRISTINE was something that she did not — the smell. Or, really, the complete lack thereof.
No smell, no fumes, no irritation. It may as well have been diluted, unscented castile soap. The MSDS shows it’s about as harmful as soap, too. I really enjoyed working with this stuff. My go-to for the past couple of years has been WeaponShield products, which, with their light clove scent, I also think are very pleasant to be around. Compared to the PRISTINE, though, it is a bit more irritating and the wife relegates my use of it to my basement office. Anything stronger like Hoppe’s or Ballistol or Q20 happens outside.
Despite how gentle this stuff is to your person, it works. I tossed the suppressor parts in that pitcher and let them soak while I cleaned the other guns. A few spritzes from the spray bottle on and in my SP-01 barrel and the carbon wiped away. It was down to clean metal quickly and with minimal manual labor. The feed ramp was back to its shiny polish after only a couple of rubs from a PRISTINE-dampened square of Pure Scrub. I was expecting more work from the inside of the slide as well, but it really just wiped clean. The guide rods, bolt body, and receiver of the Remmi 597 cleaned right up with a spray and a wipe, while the breech face took two quick spray & scrub cycles. It was nasty with built up carbon that was hammered into the face by the bolt.
What really surprised me in cleaning the 597 was how quickly the bore shined up. I used the spray bottle to actually spray solution into the chamber and down the barrel while I was cleaning the breech face. Maybe three minutes later I ran a PRISTINE-sprayed patch down the barrel followed by two dry ones, and I’ll be darned if it wasn’t mirror clean and flawless.
Now back to the suppressor parts and they cleaned up nicely. Easier than the last couple of times, but the last couple of times it had gone more rounds so this isn’t exactly scientific. I can say, however, that the inside of the titanium outer tube is the cleanest it has been since new. The last two times I cleaned it I was not able to get as much of the carbon, leading, and copper fouling off of the walls. I used brake cleaner and most of the products I mentioned earlier, and a nice soak in 1:10 PRISTINE solution worked a touch better for me. In fact, I didn’t realize there actually was copper fouling in the baffles and tube until I noticed the solution in the pitcher getting a pronounced blue hue to it. I’m fairly certain it was dissolving copper.
This tube still isn’t an easy part to clean, as it requires plenty of scrubbing to get everything loose. The baffles wiped up surprisingly well. The booster piston spent a couple of hours soaking in a shot glass of undiluted PRISTINE, but the carbon was too tough and burned on to be scrubbed off with a bore patch or piece of Pure Scrub. However, with the help of a bore brush (which I also use inside of the suppressor tube) it is now certainly the cleanest it has been since new.
The spring is clean, the baffles are clean, the mounts are clean. The piston slid back into the booster body like it did when it was new, but hasn’t since it was new.
I still find it shocking that something so pleasant to work with was actually effective. Very effective. I really dig the ability to toss parts into a bucket of solution and come back later to wipe carbon away! That’s hard to do with most products on the market, but diluting 10:1 makes this feasible. Economical as well, since the solution can be used repeatedly (well… we don’t yet know pricing, but if it’s in line with other cleaning products then using this multiple times is an obvious bonus). I am going to continue using PRISTINE for the time being. I haven’t yet found a reason not to. It probably does great in an ultrasonic tank, and hopefully I’ll finally pull the trigger on one and test this out eventually.
Again, totally pleasant to work with. Not sure what it is, exactly, but it’s made from materials that are “grown” in the U.S. and it is not petroleum based. It’s definitely slippery. A very small amount offered excellent coverage and the actions of my guns felt great. The ability to spray very tiny amounts from the bottle onto a patch was nice, although I was surprised initially by the consistency. Calling it “Mist” had me worried that it was going to be extremely thin and water-like, but it isn’t. Here you can see a blob of it on my tactical hockey puck.
As I did this cleaning and lubing only two days ago, I haven’t yet been able to put Slip Mist to the test. The 597 ran 150 rounds without a cycling failure in 20-degree, snowy weather but that isn’t an exception. I’m afraid you’ll have to conduct your own four-ball wear testing, but I can promise an eventual follow-up after I have a few hundred rounds through my CZ without subsequent cleaning. I know how that gun behaves when lubed with various CLPs, oils, and greases, from Gunslick to Lubriplate. It does feel nice, though, and it made for a nice sheen.
Sweet. It’s like a loofah-like pad. Like the back of a sponge or gentle Scotch Brite pad. Easily cut to the size and shape you want. Spray it (and/or your parts) with a cleaning solution, and scrub and wipe away. Although it won’t scratch, it still has lots of texture and is an effective scrubber. It holds up pretty darn well, and it’s strong. I was able to grab a strip on both ends and pull it back and forth, while also pulling or pushing it down onto suppressor baffles and inside areas of the CZ Kadet Adapter.
It doesn’t really absorb dirtiness like a patch, so I either rinsed parts off after scrubbing the carbon fouling and old oils loose, or wiped it up with a paper towel. The Pure Scrub pads are stiff enough to get into places that you can’t really get a patch, while squishy enough to press into slide rails and such. Folding it over I was able to jam it into accessory rails and corners and effectively scrub even without getting a finger or tool into those places. I like these pads.
I didn’t realize that drymate printed custom cleaning pads, but it looks like 300 Below had some made up. These things are great. I was spraying Pure Scrub pads and spraying gun parts, taking dripping parts out of the pitcher of solution, and generally making more of a mess than usual. When it came time to rolling up the mat, I found the table to be totally clean and dry underneath. Completely. These mats can be hosed off, vacuumed, or even put in the washing machine (don’t tell the wife).
The water tight ammo can is cool. I may just use it as a ready-to-go and sealable PRISTINE dunk tank and organize the cleaning products elsewhere. It is nice to receive everything all organized and inside of its own case, though.
Exclusive of price, since that is an unknown to me, I’m digging the PRISTINE and the Pure Scrub pads a lot. I’d like to try the Italian Gun Grease carbon solvent that Nick reviewed a little while ago and put it up head-to-head, each product taking half of the same part for a proper comparo. For the really burned on stuff, PRISTINE may be a bit gentle if you aren’t willing to let the parts soak for a while. It’s so dang nice to be around, too.
Too early to make a judgement on the Slip Mist beyond that it’s also nice to work with. No smell or irritation from it at all, it’s nice and slick and applies well. We’ll see how the moving parts of my CZ look and feel after a few hundred rounds.
Gotta like that it’s 100% made in the U.S., all in a nice, neat kit. I’ve tried to move away from toxic cleaners (some of the most common gun cleaning solvents are legit neurotoxins) and lubricants, and these 300 Below products might be the furthest I’ve gotten in that direction.
For both of you that have made it this far through this novel, let me know if there’s a specific follow-up test(s) you’d like to see these things subjected to in the future.