Skip to comments.A Clean Barrel
Posted on 10/30/2009 8:24:14 PM PDT by Retain Mike
Many obsessive riflemen know a lot of things about the insides of their barrels. They know they must break-in barrels and that any bore only slightly smudged by the passage of bullets will shoot less accurately compared with a barrel as clean as Aunt Josies kitchen floor.
First, lets examine proper barrel break-in. According to just about everybody, this is accomplished by firing one shot, cleaning the barrel of all powder and copper fouling, firing another shot, cleaning, etc. Advice on how long to continue this tedious routine varies from 10 to 30 rounds. The procedure supposedly smooths the bore, making it much more accurate and less prone to jacket fouling. Some even claim that a barrel that isnt broken-in properly will be ruined forever, unable to produce the half-inch groups necessary for the slaying of white-tailed deer.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanrifleman.org ...
Yea, this sounds like a newby goofball pontificating about something he knows nothing about.....
More gun barrels have been ruined by obsessive cleaning than by neglect.
That was an interesting article. Looking forward to reading some of the letters.
When I hear the extremes that some people go to when cleaning their barrels, it kind of makes me cringe.
You bet. Especially military barrels that have been cleaned with steel cleaning rods.
I clean all my guns with hot lead.
The most accurate of the Europeanrifles which could be bought cheaply recently has been the Swiss K31 straight pull.
I have tried the Firelapping product on a Bone Stock Springfield M1A, the Standard Model.
It had about 100 rounds thru it and still would only group around 5-6 Inches.
To be fair, I was not shooting Match ammo, It was for Break In.
After the FireLapping and a thorough cleaning with Kroil and some Dry patches, It shot more like 2-3 Inch groups.
Still not using Match ammo.
Next Range trip it will be Gold Medal Match.
For cleaning, I am lazy. I would prefer to just give it a patch with Kroil and then dry Patch it before next use.
all of the benchrest shooters i know practiced modest barrel break in regimens. first ten shots were fired individually, the barrel was allowed to cool, and then given a quick cleaning between each shot. then a few five shot groups were fired at slow pace, then ten shot groups up to 100 total rounds. considering the groups these guys used to shoot, i’ll listen. personally, i take ten individual shots, let the barrel cool and wipe it for each shot, then move to ten round groups up to fifty shots. i can’t shoot anything like as well as those guys.
Over a discussion of Dewey rods which I own, I told a guy that using a military steel rod was foolish since the rubbing on the sides would ruin the barrel.
He claimed it was impossible since barrels are “just as hard as a ball bearing”.
That’s when the conversation stopped.
Ah yes the barrel analistas surface again. I also have several old military rifles. One in particular is an Argentinian Mauser. Had a tight spot in the middle of the barrel. Put a light coat of some gunsmiths magic on several bullets and fired them. Gun now shoots better than many modern rifles. It is over 100 years old.
He needs a half inch group to kill a white tail? Just how small are the deer where he comes from?
Thinking he forgot his /S.
“Thats when the conversation stopped.”
Yep. No sense arguing with fools. Having machined MANY custom barrels, I can tell you that barrels are just another steel alloy.
Was at my knife shop a few minutes ago an saw this man with a Evil Roy shooting school hat on an asked him if he was indeed the “real” Evil Roy of SASS fame an he was.....Gene P hisself !
Got to talk guns with him an such for a few as he was visiting family here !!
Good man......traded hats with him an invited him to my range to shoot next time he is in the area !!
I didn’t ask how they tap the barrel for a scope mount. I just found out a gun barrels RC rating is around 40. A knife is around 60.
Jim Carmichael “the Rifle”, the best rifle book out there.
Just my humble opinion.
I've taken to using those cloth barrel cleaners that have the wire brush built in. Just drop the jag down the bore, apply some Break Free to the bristles, and pull it through.
There's no chance of damaging the rifling or the crown using them.
They fold up nice and tight so they fit into a cleaning kit, too.
Try buying one recently?
they are up between three and four hundred.
I was amazed at the accuracy of mine (which
I purchased a couple years ago for $139),
till I examined the trigger mechanism
this is probably the best set up I have
It’s what I will be hunting with this year.
If you get a chance pull one of the Swiss
bullets, it is a thing of beauty.
Very cool! ...and you got a hat! :-)
Yeah he was a nice guy an talked for about a half hour. He runs a shooting school in durango colorado called evil roy shooting school.
As to barrel break in I will shoot three rounds, clean with sweets 7.62 an patch till clean an dry.
Run a patch down with militec1 on it an shoot 3 more rounds an repeat that process. About a dozen times. That process is for my new rifles / barrels.
If I have an old gun an the bore looks good I will have the barrel set back a few thousandths an a new crown cut an the chamber “recut” after extensive cleaning.
One I did this to was a old smle enfield I converted to 7.62x54R an it is very accurate.
One thing I do is clean the firearm every 24 hours times 3 days as the pores in the metal will put carbon black back on the patch for at least three cleanings after shooting in my experience.
Stay safe !!!!
Yea, this sounds like a newby goofball pontificating about something he knows nothing about.....
This is my cleaning routine based on Experience. parallels John stuff.
40,000 rounds shooting prairie dogs 1/2 inch gorups at 200
There has been much discussion over the subject of cleaning firearms. For those of you who still think you must clean your firearms (especially a rifle) after each and every range session, or after some prescribed round count, then I urge you to please read the excellent article titled “A Clean Barrel” on page 66 of the November issue of the American Rifleman, by John Barsnsess.
I agree with John on many points. The Black powder era is indeed long gone. We have been shooting smokeless powder for well over a century now. There is no reason to fear that your barrel will rust away if you don’t clean it. Many new shooters who come into the league are under the assumption that they must clean their firearms after every range session. Nothing is further from the truth than this misconception.
Rifles: My Savage match rifle, chambered in .308 Winchester goes a full shooting season before I clean it. That’s approximately 600+ rounds of Federal Gold Medal match ammunition fired through the bore. The Savage will routinely shoot its best scores between 300 and 450 rounds.
In 1994, I attended the FBI’s Sniper/Observer School. I used a Springfield Armory Super-Match M1-A rifle and never cleaned it once during the 5-day course. We shot well over 400 rounds during the class and on the final day, I shot a perfect qualification score and placed second overall in the FBIs shooting drills.
When I do decide to clean the Savage, I brush the bore several times with a plastic bore brush to loosen any powder fouling. Next, I’ll push a wet patch through the bore followed by a few dry patches to wipe most of the fouling out. Finally, I use this wonderful product called Outer’s Bore Foam. The Bore Foam was created to remove the dreaded copper fouling. I spray the foam in from the breech end until it comes out of the muzzle. I let the foam sit in the bore overnight. The next day Ill push the foam out with a couple more clean patches. At this point, I’m totally done cleaning the bore. What’s that old Hippie saying? Better Living Through Chemistry.
Im also not in the habit of running a slew of patches through a bore until they come out squeaky clean because I’ve personally never seen that happen. There will always be some discoloration left on a patch. Anyway, I’m going to foul up the barrel again fairly soon so I don’t sweat it too much. If you can run a dry patch through a clean rifle bore that comes out without a speck of discoloration on it then you’re definitely a better man than I am.
Barrel Break-in: As far as the barrel Break-in procedure goes. I’ve done the barrel break-in procedure on a few rifles and I’ve also shot a lot of them right out of the box. I never found any appreciable difference in accuracy to ever waste my time with that process again. Now that may raise the hackles on some of you die-hard riflemen out there but that’s the plain and simple unadulterated facts of life. If you want to do it, have at it!
A lot of riflemen I know are still futzing around breaking-in their rifles. They are still tweaking this or tweaking that. Three F-class seasons have come and gone and some of them have yet to fire a single round down range. Let’s face it folks, this isn’t a NASA mission. We arent sending men to Mars here! I believe the best advice I can give someone like this is to clamp on their scope, bore-sight their rig, and go out to the range and shoot the damned thing already! We can work out the particulars on the firing line. A few minor scope adjustments and an Allen key and you’ll be zeroed for 300 yards in no time flat.
Pistols: The handguns I use in competition also shoot much better when theyre dirty than when theyre clean. My custom built PPC revolver, my 2 ½ Model 19 revolver, and my Model 52-2 target pistol all go a full season between cleanings. That’s approximately 1,000 rounds per revolver and about 500 rounds for the Model 52-2. Granted, I’ll run a Bore Snake through them once in a while, and wipe off the feed ramp, but I’m not dissembling them during the shooting season unless I absolutely have to.
My Glock 34 pistol has gone through a couple seasons of Three-gun matches and an STTG pistol course or two without being cleaned and that amounts to roughly 2,000 rounds, give or take a hundred. My AR-15 has also fired several thousand rounds between cleanings without a hitch. John Krupa of Spartan Tactical Training Group couldn’t believe that my AR-15 still worked after he inspected it.
Over the years, I’ve known several shooters who have done a lot of damage to their firearms by some silly, over-zealous cleaning ritual than by shooting them. I’ve seen the Crowns on several Smith & Wesson revolvers totally ruined by Nimrods who wanted to thoroughly clean their revolvers. Beware of the Aluminum cleaning rod. Use a Brass rod when cleaning a firearm or better yet, purchase a Graphite or Carbon Fiber cleaning rod if possible. The one-piece models are best. There are no sections to unscrew during use. If you’re cleaning a bolt action rifle you should definitely be utilizing a cleaning rod guide while scrubbing your bore.
Now, I’m nowhere near the best shooter in the league. There are several members who are far better than I, but I do feel my level of ability speaks for itself. I didn’t get to where I am today by constantly cleaning my guns. I got here by sending thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of rounds downrange. I’m sure if asked most of our top shooters don’t scrub their guns after every range session either.
If you like to clean guns often then God bless you. You can then come to my home and clean mine if you’d like? I absolutely detest cleaning guns! It’s too much like work. It stinks, it’s messy, and it’s time consuming. I feel my time is much better spent sending a lot of rounds down range, thus trying to become a better shooter than by constantly cleaning my guns.
One Word of Clarification: These are NOT duty guns we’re talking about here. Duty and Self-defense pistols a completely different animal unto themselves. Duty and Self-defense weapons should always be thoroughly cleaned and inspected after each and every use. Your life or the life of a friend or loved one may depend on it.
Now these are just my humble opinions. Take it or leave it.
Great post....I have expensive sod poodle an leg match guns that are cleaned as if they will be used in surgery yet my 3 gun tools are for most part cleaned quarterly ....
My CHL rigs are also cleaned an test fired and carried after a magazine is fired thru em.
Stay Safe !!!
Kroil is something I have not used yet. I have cleaned guns with simple green an pinesol when in active duty ......good thread.
I “will” snag some on my trip to town Sunday !!!
Heck I even use marvel mystery oil at times.
I do run a bore snake through them before I fire them just to make sure there are no little metal nasties left over from manufacture.
I love those bore snakes. Absolutely no chance of marring up the bore OR the crown with those. After a few hundred rounds I will give them a good scrub to remove the copper fouling. But I NEVER use a metal rod of any kind any more.
A friend of mine did acquire a couple extra of those slick new mil-spec rifle cleaning kits. They're like a plastic coated metal bore snake so it won't scuff up the rifling.
I use that for my AR pretty much exclusively now.
I've found that the repeated disassembly/reassembly process will do more damage over time that the honest range wear will.
My National Match M1A doesn't get disassembled more than annually due to the glass bed job.
Now none of this would apply if I were living in the field. Then I'd be cleaning the service weapons at least daily and more often if conditions required it.
But if I were living in the field I'd most likely be humping an AK variant and a 1911 both of which tolerate field conditions extremely well.
Best to you both.
I mostly do shotguns, but I can see how a rifle barrel needs to be broken in. The last one I got had big spiral scratches in it from end to end, it took me forever to get them out.
My rifles do shoot better after a few rounds through them, and getting cleaned after each outing. But that is probably more improvement on my part than on the rifle's. I guess it is "broke in" when I can hit what I'm aiming at.
EVERYTHING about that rifle including the ammo it uses was meant to mess German minds. The bullets mike at about 302 or thereabouts other than for the little band which seals the bore and mikes 308; the idea was to outrange German guns by two or three hundred yards.
That means that when you go to load ammo with normal American hunting bullets, the book is worthless. The total length of cartridge number the books will give is for the Swiss military bullet; anything else needs to be seated back to the first point at which the bolt closes over it easily and the difference is about a whole quarer of an inch. Normal hunting bullets will shoot quite accurately if loaded that way.
Yeah....... I think folks here are confusing “cleaning” with breaking in a NEW barrel on a rifle......two different critters IMO.
I believe in “breaking in a new barrel” as well as cleaning firearms after each use. Just my habit as career military.
I remember my Uncle telling me of the cold in the Korean war that disabled some weapons they were issued and the Garand was not one of them.....I think the M1A would be my first choice over an AK for all weather, urban or open terrain etc ........it was in Grenada, Panama and Desert Storm as it is now in my retirement. The AK is my house gun as I paid maybe 200$ for it back in the 80’s and I wouldn’t trade all the cash in canookistan for it as they are solid reliable performers. I just like the accuracy and reliability of the M1A as well as it’s ability to reach out for the long stop shot !
Trick or treat !...........Off to the door bells !
Sure to be some interesting discussion....
I’m here to learn ........:o)
Never to old to learn new stuff !
By Ed Harris Rev. 12-27-94
Three years ago I mixed my first “Ed’s Red” and I still think the “recipe” is a great idea. If you have never tried it, or maybe lost the recipe, I urge you save this and mix your own. My followers on the FIREARMS Echo think it’s the best thing since smokeless powder! Therefore, I’ll summarize the story again for the passing parade that didn’t get it the first time...
I originally did this because I used a lot of rifle bore cleaner and was deterred by the high price of commercial products. I knew there was no technical reason why you could not mix an effective bore cleaner using common hardware store ingredients which would be inexpensive, effective, and provide reasonable corrosion protection and adequate lubrication.
The “recipe” is based on proven principles and incorporates two polar and two nonpolar ingredients. It is adapted from a formula in Hatcher’s Notebook, Frankford Arsenal Cleaner No.18, but substituting equivalent modern materials. I had the help of an organic chemist in doing this and we knew there would be no “surprises” The original Hatcher recipe called for equal parts of acetone, turpentine, Pratts Astral Oil and sperm oil, and optionally 200 grams of lanolin added per liter.
Pratts Astral oil was nothing more than acid free, deodorized kerosene. We use K-1 kerosene of the type normally sold for indoor space heaters. An inexpensive, effective substitute for sperm oil is Dexron (II, IIe or III) automatic transmission fluid. Prior to about 1950 that most ATF’s were sperm oil based, but during WWII a synthetic was developed for use in precision instruments. With the great demand for automatic transmission autos after WWII, sperm oil was no longer practical to produce ATF in the quantity demanded, so the synthetic material became the basis for the Dexron fluids we know today. The additives in ATFs which include organometallic antioxidants and surfactants, make it highly suitable for our intended purpose.
Hatcher’s original formula used gum spirits of turpentine, but turpentine is expensive and highly flammable. Cheaper and safer is aliphatic mineral spirits, which is a petroleum based “safety solvent” used for thinning oil based paints and as automotive parts cleaner. It is commonly sold under the names “odorless mineral spirits,” “Stoddard Solvent” or “Varsol”.
There isn’t anything in Ed’s Red which will chemically remove copper fouling, but it does a better job on carbon residue than anything out there. Several users have told me, that with exclusive use of “ER” does reduce the buildup of copper fouling, because it removes old impacted fouling which is left by other cleaners, reducing the adhesion of abraded metal to the surface, and leaving a cleaner surface which reduces subsequent fouling. It appears that “ER” will actually remove metal fouling it if you let it “soak” so the surfactants will do the job, though you may have to be patient.
The lanolin is optional. The cleaner works quite well without it. Incorporating the lanolin makes the cleaner easier on the hands, and provides better residual lubrication and corrosion protection if you use the cleaner as a protectant for long term storage. If you want to minimize cost, you can leave the lanolin out and save about $8 per gallon. Mix some yourself. I know it will work as well for you as it does for me.
CONTENTS: Ed’s Red Bore Cleaner
1 part Dexron II, IIe or III ATF, GM Spec. D-20265 or later.
1 part Kerosene - deodorized, K1
1 part Aliphatic Mineral Spirits, Fed. Spec. TT-T-2981F, CAS #64741-49-9, or substitute “Stoddard Solvent”, CAS #8052-41-3, or equivalent, (aka “Varsol”)
1 part Acetone, CAS #67-64-1.
(Optional up to 1 lb. of Lanolin, Anhydrous, USP per gallon, OK to substitute Lanolin, Modified, Topical Lubricant, from the drug store)
Mix outdoors, in good ventilation. Use a clean 1 gallon metal, chemical-resistant, heavy gage PET or PVC plastic container. NFPA approved plastic gasoline storage containers are also OK. Do NOT use HDPE, which is breathable because the acetone will evaporate. The acetone in ER will attack HDPE in about 6 months, making a heck of a mess!
Add the ATF first. Use the empty container to measure the other components, so that it is thoroughly rinsed. If you incorporate the lanolin into the mixture, melt this carefully in a double boiler, taking precautions against fire. Pour the melted lanolin it into a larger container, rinsing the lanolin container with the bore cleaner mix, and stirring until it is all dissolved.
I recommend diverting a small quantity, up to 4 ozs. per quart of the 50-50 ATF/kerosene mix for use as an “ER-compatible” gun oil. This can be done without impairing the effectiveness of the mix.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING
Ed’s Red Bore Cleaner:
1. Open the firearm action and ensure the bore is clear. Cleaning is most effective when done while the barrel is still warm to the touch from firing. Saturate a cotton patch with bore cleaner, wrap or impale on jag and push it through the bore from breech to muzzle. The patch should be a snug fit. Let the first patch fall off and do not pull it back into the bore.
2. Wet a second patch, and similarly start it into the bore from the breech, this time scrubbing from the throat area forward in 4-5” strokes and gradually advancing until the patch emerges out the muzzle. Waiting approximately 1 minute to let the bore cleaner soak will improve its action.
3. For pitted, heavily carbon-fouled “rattle battle” guns, leaded revolvers or neglected bores a bronze brush wet with bore cleaner may be used to remove stubborn deposits. This is unnecessary for smooth, target-grade barrels in routine use.
4. Use a final wet patch pushed straight through the bore to flush out loosened residue dissolved by Ed’s Red. Let the patch fall off the jag without pulling it back into the bore. If you are finished firing, leaving the bore wet will protect it from rust for up to 30 days. If the lanolin is incorporated into the mixture, it will protect the firearm from rust for up to two years. For longer term storage I recommend use of Lee Liquid Alox as a Cosmolene substitute. “ER” will readily remove hardened Alox or Cosmolene.
5. Wipe spilled Ed’s Red from exterior surfaces before storing the gun. While Ed’s Red is harmless to blue and nickel finishes, the acetone it contains is harmful to most wood finishes).
6. Before firing again, push two dry patches through the bore and dry the chamber, using a patch wrapped around a suitably sized brush or jag. First shot point of impact usually will not be disturbed by Ed’s Red if the bore is cleaned as described.
7. I have determined to my satisfaction that when Ed’s Red is used exclusively and thoroughly, that hot water cleaning is unnecessary after use of Pyrodex or military chlorate primers. However, if bores are not wiped between shots and shots and are heavily caked from black powder fouling, hot water cleaning is recommended first to break up heavy fouling deposits. Water cleaning should be followed by a thorough flush with Ed’s Red to prevent after-rusting which could result from residual moisture. It is ALWAYS good practice to clean TWICE, TWO DAYS APART whenever using chlorate primed ammunition, just to make sure you get all the residue out.
LABEL AND OBLIGATORY SAFETY WARNINGS:
RIFLE BORE CLEANER
HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED.
KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN
1.Flammable mixture. Keep away from heat, sparks or flame.
2.FIRST AID, If swallowed DO NOT induce vomiting, call physician immediately. In case of eye contact immediately flush thoroughly with water and call a physician. For skin contact wash thoroughly.
3.Use with adequate ventilation. Avoid breathing vapors or spray mist. It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labelling. Reports have associated repeated and prolonged occupational overexposure to solvents with permanent brain and nervous system damage. If using in closed armory vaults lacking forced air ventilation wear respiratory protection meeting NIOSH TC23C or equivalent. Keep container tightly closed when not in use.
This “Recipe” is placed in the public domain, and may be freely distributed provided that it is done so in its entirely with all instructions and safety warnings included herein, and that proper attribution is given to the author.
In Home Mix We Trust, Regards, Ed
No doubt about that. Mine's a no kidding 800 yard rifle. Ain't nothing in a half mile circle going to be alive if I decide otherwise.
But it's big, it's heavy, and it's unwieldy in close quarters. So in my SHTF scenario, at least in my area, I think it'll be the AK over the M1A. Or perhaps I put the AK in Mrs. L's hands and back her up with the M1A......best of both worlds so to speak.
That’s a good woman that will take point .....:o)
Is that the new bbl on the old 243 ?
Bump, for good advice and later reading