If you haven’t heard of a solvent trap, a quick Google search will give you plenty of results on what many people believe they are, and few results on what survivalists and preppers need them for. These traps help make gun cleaning easier. They can also help the owner of the gun save money and they are good for the environment.
Yet, it is likely that the first few search engine results you see will not provide you with that information. That’s because many organizations such as the ATF consider these useful tools illegal.
How can something used to clean a gun be illegal? If you use it for purposes that it’s not intended for, such as a suppressor.
The Practical Uses for a Solvent Trap
Solvent trap kits are available from gun and gun accessory suppliers. They are tubes with end caps that help catch the solvent poured through the gun barrel when it’s cleaned. Gun owners can reuse the solvent to save money, and be environmentally conscious at the same time. You can purchase the kits for a solvent trap with titanium, carbon steel or aluminum barrels. The tube fits on the muzzle end of the barrel and the end cap helps to catch the solvent.
This can help gun owners who choose to live off the grid prevent multiple trips to town just to ensure that their gun is clean all the time. And it also eliminates the need for any gun owner to throw out solvent that they could reuse.
Homemade Solvent Traps are Popular with Survivalists
As simple as a solvent trap kit is, it’s no wonder why there are many people creating their own with materials they have lying around their homes.
While there are many professionally-made solvent traps that you can purchase online or at an outdoors specialty store, many people choose to make their own.
An alternative to using a store-bought solvent trap would be the Maglite solvent trap. Anyone who is familiar with the TV show The Walking Dead may have seen the characters use what seems to be the tube of a Maglite Flashlight used as a gun suppressor. During the zombie apocalypse, the need for an effective silencer is crucial to survival. So, the characters use the supplies they have on hand to create their own.
Of course, The Walking Dead is only a TV show and just because it worked on TV doesn’t mean it will work in real life situations, or does it? The truth is, a Maglite tube could be made into a gun suppressor, and, the same items can also be used as a makeshift solvent trap that is both legitimate and legal for containing harmful solvents used for gun cleaning.
What You Need to Create a Homemade Solvent Trap
There are several tools and resources used to create an effective homemade solvent trap. Two things that are essential to creating a solvent trap are, a can or tube-shaped expansion chamber, and a threaded adapter to connect the tube to the gun barrel.
You can use any type of strong and durable tube including a fuel filter or flashlight tube, although Maglite seems to be the most popular choice since there are adapter parts available as well as replacement parts for the actual flashlight.
The difficult part of creating your own solvent trap is making sure your threads match for your gun barrel and the tube you have chosen. There are both D and C cell Maglite flashlights available. Therefore, you should make sure you purchase the right adapter piece. You can also choose to build your own adapter if you have the tools available and the skills to do so.
Once you have the right adapter on hand, it’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together.
Items You Will Need:
- A Maglite flashlight (preferably an old or broken one since they aren’t the least expensive flashlights around)
- An Adapter (you can purchase an end cap adapter kit for either a D or C cell Maglite online. Or you can make your own
- A solvent trap freeze plug (to catch the solvent)
These are available online or you can also buy a freeze plug forming tool. Once you have the items you need, you will be ready to create your own solvent trap. It’s recommended that you only use the completed item as a solvent trap and do not attempt to create your own gun suppressor unless you are willing to face severe injury or serious jail time. Only those who have met all ATF requirements for creating a suppressor out of a handmade solvent trap should do so.
How to Create a Solvent Trap Freeze Plug Using a Forming Tool
You can purchase a forming tool from various online retailers. To use the tool, you will need to have gun oil on hand. Without it, you could damage all the individual pieces and that would alter the overall performance of the forming tool. You will also need additional tools to form the freeze plugs such as a drill bit (3/16) and a bench vise or press.
The first thing to do is fasten a freeze plug to the female tool. Be sure that the collar attaches to the polishing tool. Place a drop of oil inside the plug and coat the inside. Place the freeze plug on the top where the female side of the cone is located.
Place a small drop of oil inside the sleeve, then slide it down over the freeze plug until the bottom is completely on the ¼ inch lip
Using an anvil, slide the cone down into the sleeve, then using a vice, press down on the anvil until it will not go any further. Remember that when pressing freeze plugs for a solvent trap, the anvil will not line up with the top of the sleeve when pressed.
Remove the freeze plug form tool. You should be able to slide it off the die if you used enough oil. Drill a hole into the center, and polish it for a perfect fit. You can use various grits of sandpaper until the plug slides into the tube snugly.
The ATF considers a gun suppressor made from a flashlight tube to be illegal and therefore we do not advise anyone to use these instructions to create their own Maglite suppressor. However, the creation and use of a homemade solvent trap is completely legal and useful for those who want an alternate way to catch and dispose of the harmful solvents used in gun cleaning solutions.