Gear Review: 300 Below Tactical Triad Cleaning Kit

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

PRISTINE:

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.

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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.

rifling

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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.

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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.

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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.

Slip Mist:

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.

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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.

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Pure Scrub:

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.

Bonus:

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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.

Conclusion:

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.

35 Responses to Gear Review: 300 Below Tactical Triad Cleaning Kit

  1. avatarBillC says:

    “a coupon for cryogenic treatment for your gun barrels”

    Maybe send off for this and do a report on it?

    • avatarJeremy S says:

      That’s a good idea. I have about ten .223/5.56 loads spanning the gamut of bullet weights that I intend to accuracy test through the TAVOR to find what it likes. This will be controlled, 100-yard groups. After those group size results are in, I’d definitely consider pulling the barrel, sending it off for cryo treat, and then repeating the process to see if there’s an actual difference in accuracy.

  2. avatarCharlesT says:

    The case looks identical to MTM Ammo Cans seen here:

    MTM Ammo Can

    I own a couple of them and they are decent cans, and fairly sturdy. However, water tight is not a word I would use to describe them. The latches pop open EXTREMELY easily.

  3. avatarLord Wulfgen says:

    I hereby propose that we as the gun community eject the word “tactical” from the English language, and replace it with the word “kitten”. This will force companies to stop labeling every damn new product as “tactical” in an attempt to appear bad ass.

    Who will buy “300 Below Kitten Triad Cleaning Kit”?

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Seconded. But we need to add the adjective “fluffy” before “kitten.”

      • avatarJake_in_AK says:

        Yeah… But if it works well enough, I’d shell out cash for a 300 below fluffy kitten triad cleaning kit.
        Then I’d let the wife put a hello kitty sticker on the box.
        It would at least match her AR then

    • avatardanthemann5 says:

      “Who will buy “300 Below Kitten Triad Cleaning Kit”?”

      Me. I don’t care what you call it if it works well. Also, kittens are wonderful.

    • avatarMatt in TN says:

      Look, if you can provide a cleaning solution that let’s me clean kittens without getting the claws I’ll buy it.

      • avatardanthemann5 says:

        Interesting… the kittens I got are the self-cleaning model.

        • avatarMatt in TN says:

          Mine were broken leading to increased fouling. I had them looked at by a certified vet and got everything fixed, but for a while I had to clean them more often.

  4. avatarJL says:

    Jeremy S, might I ask what route you took to get a threaded barrel for the SP-01?
    Thanks.

    • avatarJeffR says:

      . . . and the threaded barrel for the CZ Kadet adapter?

      • avatarJeremy S says:

        Tornado Technologies in Oregon did the work to extend the barrels with threading. Flawless job. Totally perfect. Maybe I should do a brief review of what they do…

        And, PS, the SP-01 (or any CZ75 really) and the Kadet Adapter make GREAT suppressor hosts. P-07/9 function great but are not as quiet. I think the lock time on the 75 series is longer and noise doesn’t ‘leak’ out of the election port as much.

        • avatarthedonn007 says:

          Thanks for the reply on this, I was going to ask the same question about your threaded barrels. I already had my kadet barrel threaded, but need to get my SP-01 barrel threaded. I also need to update my frame with some cajun gunworks parts like yours as well.

  5. avatarensitue says:

    Here is what I learned;
    If you fire your firearm repeatedly and forego cleaning over an extended period of time it will take a kick-ash Tactical Cleaning Kit In A Green Plastic Box to clean it.

  6. avatarPeterC says:

    This kit sounds like a must-have. If you’re looking into an ultra-sound unit, I can definitely recommend the Lyman Turbo Sonic 6000. I got one last year, and it is God’s gift to lazy gun owners. You can throw in a couple of 1911s, field-stripped and minus grips, and they come out spotless!

  7. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    In general, I am very much in favor of this new trend in gun cleaning products.

    1. Because lots of wives/girlfriends/etc don’t like the smell of Hoppe’s #9 – or other petroleum-based power/fouling solvents. My wife has been around me for decades, and she’s never been thrilled with the smell of Hoppes. Or diesel fuel. Or other light oils/solvents. She just doesn’t like them, they make her sneeze.

    When I started cleaning guns with some of these non-petroleum solvents, she’d start asking me “Hey, didn’t you say you have to clean so-n-so’s guns? You’d better get on that.”

    “I’m done.”

    “It doesn’t smell like you’ve been cleaning guns.”

    “That’s because I’m using something new – and not petroleum-based.”

    (Insert smiles and smoochies here).

    Suddenly my hobby & business became much more accepted in the house. Some people will never like petroleum-based solvent odors in the house. And when you’ve worked with these things as much as I have, they get into your skin, and getting the odor out of your skin can take an hour in the shower.

    2. You shouldn’t have these petroleum-based solvents on your skin for an extended time – or for many repeated exposures. Yea, you can use gloves, but in a gunsmithing shop, it is 100% inevitable that you WILL get oils and solvents on your skin at some point. Oils you can wipe off, and they usually have little odor in the first place. Linseed and tung oils I use on stocks are an exception – they’re probably a lot less bad for me that most of the other crap I’ve used, but their odor sticks with you for a day.

    The solvents will get through your skin into your bloodstream (bad), are known carcinogens (very bad) and will make your wife unhappy (even more bad than the first two combined).

    As for ultrasonic cleaning: Very useful cleaning tools, they are. But I would offer this one bit of advice, if people want to use them. Get some water-displacing oil in a tank or bucket. If you use a water-based solvent/cleaner on your guns in an ultrasonic, then after you’ve pulled the gun parts from the ultrasonic, dunk them in a tank of water-displacing light oil (Brownells sells a WDO, there’s LPS-2, which works nicely, WD-40 would also work and is more easily available) and let the parts become fully immersed, swishing them around. Pull the parts out and let them drain well. Get a wire basket of some sort in which you put everything to dunk into the WDO. That way, you can dunk all the parts at once, swish the whole basket around and then set the wire basket up over a pan of some sort to drain.

    Ultrasonic cleaners with water-based cleaning solutions will get into nooks and crevices that you cannot access, and get the gunk out. This is good.

    Water based cleaners in tight places, however, are difficult to get dry before corrosion might start. Water-displacing oil will get into these crevices and recesses, displace the water (the oil “wets” on the steel under the water) and help keep your guns from developing rust in tight places.

    BTW: Heated ultrasonic cleaners have an advantage over unheated ones.

    • avatarCharlesT says:

      Good to know.

    • avatarJeremy S says:

      Everyone should read the MSDS on Hoppes and other products to make a more informed choice. Some things you really, really do NOT want on your skin or in your lungs. Or down the drain, for that matter. Long term exposure to some of these chemicals, especially the solvents, causes real neurological damage.

      Thanks for the tips on ultrasonic cleaning! I’ve found some nice heated models on Amazon and may pull the trigger on one soon here.

  8. avatarPaul B says:

    The kit is $40 according to the site at tacticalrefill.com

    • avatarJeremy S says:

      Thanks, Paul. I didn’t see that on there a few days ago. When I’m back on a computer later today I’ll edit the review to include this info.

    • avatarJohn L. says:

      At least on a mobile phone, the site says it’s not ready yet; but to look for them on amazon and to check back after 1 March.

      I had no joy finding them on amazon. Anyone?

      • avatarJeremy S says:

        This whole post is ahead of the company’s press release about the product (coming March 1). It is not yet available for purchase, but will be hitting the market soon. The TacticalRefill website certainly isn’t in its final version either.

  9. avatar0351 says:

    It sounds great, though I’ll admit that I have an emotional attachment to the scent of good old Chicago… Anyway, I would be interested to see how it does on sap, paint or other vaguely adhesive substances that have been cooking on the barrel or receiver. Not exactly routine maintenance, but it has come up from time to time. Not with my current lady;I take good care of her.

  10. avatarWurzel Gummidge says:

    This Pristine stuff sounds like good ole fashion Spit Bath for blackpowder guns. There really is nothing new under the sun when it comes to cleaning.

    • avatarJeremy S says:

      Agreed that I have seen a lot of old technologies rebranded as something new and exciting. I do not know if that is exactly the case here or if it’s a minor or major modification of something that has been around. Certainly there HAVE been recent advancements in synthetic oils, in detergents, and in organic-based compounds. If nothing new was possible there would be a lot of chemists out of work and a lot of huge companies with much lower valuations.

      I cannot agree with the “everything that can be invented has been invented” attitude, as extremely smart, innovative, and well respected people have been saying that for centuries and are always (ALWAYS) proven wrong. From space travel to computers to physics and chemistry, to patents in general. It’s just not true. New things will continue to be created and that will include more effective, safer cleaning products of all sorts. Again though, I don’t know how much, if at all, this honestly applies to the products tested here.

  11. avatarpeirsonb says:

    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

    But does it let me use the whole bass without any fish waste?

    • avatarJeremy S says:

      Not sure about that, but it makes a damn fine martini*

      *don’t actually do this.

      • avatarpeirsonb says:

        You know, my first thought was to write back a snarky response about how I’m not an idiot. But before I could even finish thinking about how to word it my mind jumped to “I wonder what would get you first, the solution or the stuff now dissolved in it.”

        I swear, it’s a miracle I’m still alive…

        • avatarJeremy S says:

          LOL. It wasn’t actually directed at you, but as the comments are public it was just a general cautionary note in the very, very unlikely off chance that somebody actually took it seriously.

          To be totally candid, I don’t even think it would really hurt you. The MSDS says that ingestion may cause upset stomach and to fix it by drinking water to dilute. This is VERY different from a lot of the alternative gun cleaning products out there. Still, don’t drink it. If you just insist, for sh*t’s sake drink it clean and not after you’ve dissolved lead, various other gunpowder-related chemicals, copper, carbon, etc into it! hahaha

  12. avatarensitue says:

    In other words Citrus Based Cleaner w/soap added

    • avatarJeremy S says:

      I don’t think it’s citrus based due to having no citrus scent (or any scent at all, really) whatsoever. I think it’s a detergent of some sort but really have no clue beyond that.

  13. avatarD Perring says:

    I wanted to provide some clarification to those with questions as I am the formulator for the PRISTINE gun cleaning solution as well as provider of the SLIP MIST lubricant. The information surrounding the actual formulation is intellectual property of the Company 300 Below. What I can tell you, providing an environmentally sound water based product that is user friendly and out performs anything in the market place, just didn’t happen over night. The technology that we offer today is NEW, innovative and can never be compared to the “Me Too” cleaners currently sold. In the creation of our products, the sheer number of specific ingredients available is staggering. Formulating a gun cleaner that provides all the Features and Benefits of Pristine requires specific ingredient selection which will provide versatility and a wide spectrum of cleaning action specifically for gun cleaning issues. The thousands of combinations and ingredient choices present a list of variables and combinations that are astronomical when developing and evaluating a new product. Methodical testing, trial and error in development didn’t happen last night. 300 Below has a simple goal, we wanted to provide superior performance to you with all of our gun cleaning components combined with superior value to our customers. Just one example of VALUE is a single quart of Pristine gun cleaner will provide you over 2.5 gallons of reusable gun cleaner. There are many Companies that can sell you a product once…..we want to be your first and only choice continually…..

  14. avatarAriel M. says:

    I for one am looking forward to trying this product. I eat organic, I clean my house with chemical free and citrus free products. Why should I have to tolerate cleaning my guns with toxic chemicals. Why a product like this is only now reaching the market seems like a crime. I hope I’ll soon be treating my guns to a non-toxic clean.

  15. avatarCW McKittrick says:

    I have this cleaning kit, haven’t had a chance to see how good it works yet. As for 300 below’s cryogenic barrel treatment, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get the most from their rifle. I had the treatment done on my custom bench rest rifle. It has helped get better groups than before the treatment.

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