How do you clean rifle barrels...


July 3, 2006, 11:11 PM
...without damaging the crown with the cleaning rod? I just got a nice .223 bull barrel rifle, and want to clean the barrel without damaging the crown. The cleaning rod is practically the same size as the bore, and with a 26" barrel I don't see how I can get it in and out without the rod rubbing the crown. Is there an easier way to do this? (I've been told that the cleaning rod can slowly damage the crown of the barrel if it makes contact)...

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Chuck Dye
July 3, 2006, 11:19 PM
Take a look at ProShot ( for bore guides and one-piece rods. Use the bore guide and clean from the breech end.

Will Learn
July 3, 2006, 11:36 PM
I've had good luck with Dewey nylon coated rods and also Otis kits aren't half bad. You can use a bore guide along with the Dewey.

July 3, 2006, 11:50 PM
I push the rod through, breech-end first of course, and when the brush comes out the muzzle I stop, unscrew it, and pull the rod out. It never even comes near the crown.

Then when I'm patching through, once the patch has come out the muzzle, I either replace it, or if it's still relatively clean, pull it on through; the patch holder is plastic, and again the rod never contacts the crown.

It's not hard with a little vigilance to avoid metal-on-metal contact.

July 3, 2006, 11:53 PM
The bore guides are indeed useful, I use them on my pistols. I'll definitely get some for my rifles too. I'll also look at the nylon Dewey rod.

July 4, 2006, 12:17 AM
I use Rifle Bore Cleaner and a 'Bore-Snake'

After watching the Marine Corps Damage weapons for several years by over cleaning, I have come to understand that just because a weapon has a bit of carbon, brass or lead residue, doesn't mean it is dirty

July 4, 2006, 01:30 AM
Foaming bore cleaner and a jag with need to scrub just apply wait 15 minutes push a couple patches through and repeat until white patches come out.

July 4, 2006, 10:12 AM
If you really want to treat that barrel like it's gold, read through this excellent article on how some of the top benchrest shooters take to these chores - my regime is based directly on these recommendations:

My simple answer to your question would be:

- Get either a Dewey coated rod or a Tipton Carbon Fiber rod.
- Get a custom made Lucas Bore Guide ( made to perfectly fit your action as well as the cleaning rod you choose.
- Use only quality, proven cleaning products along with quality nylon brushes - skip the bronze brushes. Let the chemical products do their job - there's no reason to rip the crap out of your barrel with bronze brushes. Again, refer to the article above, and read it over and over. Then run through the other technical articles on that site, as well as all the archived blog pages - you will gain a ton of understanding.
- Brush in one direction only - breech to muzzle - unscrew patch holder/brush/jag and pull rod back through, then do it again...

If using a Tipton Carbon Fiber rod, only push it out the muzzle far enough that you can unscrew the item from the end - you do not want to allow the actual carbon fiber rod to touch the crown area - the end of the Tipton rod has a two inch brass header, so this should not be a problem. Carbon fiber is quite abrasive so you have to be careful of this fact - but it's so rigid in the bore (does not flex easily, and if it does it springs back to it's perfect, exact original state - nothing else does this as well).

Ol` Joe
July 5, 2006, 12:08 PM
Foaming bore cleaner and a jag with need to scrub just apply wait 15 minutes push a couple patches through and repeat until white patches come out

Ditto this!
I give my rifles a shot of Wipe Out and leave until morning (it`s safe, and recommended, to leave over nite) then run a dry patch through to remove. I repete if it appears needed but normally isn`t. I follow with a couple oiled / dry patches to remove the cleaner and any loose carbon and call it good. This keeps any possible damage to the bore from a rod to the minimum and the foaming cleaners have no smell and remove copper like nothing else. I have tried Sweets, Shooters Choice Copper cutter,Butches (still do for carbon and still use a bit of Remingtons abrasive cleaner in leaded handgun bores. None compete with the foams for ease of use, no fumes, and won`t cause damage.

July 5, 2006, 12:31 PM
Considering there wasn't bore guides 20 years ago it makes me wonder if all this crown damage is actually happening or is all marketing hype. Unless you've all moved to tungsten carbide cleaning rods, why would even expect a lighter metal rod or brush to actually damage the hard steel of a barrel?

the naked prophet
July 5, 2006, 02:28 PM
A brass cleaning rod will absolutely not harm the barrel. Neither will aluminum. This is why you don't see ceramic, steel, or other hard metal cleaning rods. You just can't scratch steel with brass or aluminum (the two materials from which I've seen cleaning rods made).

Your bore brushes are (probably) made with bronze - which is harder than both brass and aluminum. They don't damage the barrel (if they did, do you think anybody would use them?) and unless you're shoving steel or sand down the barrel of your gun for some reason, you have nothing to worry about.

July 6, 2006, 12:06 AM
Aluminum oxide will do bad things to your barrel. Don't use an aluminum rod.

Also, if you use a _good_ carbon cutter, like Meredith's stuff, the Tipton carbon fiber rods definitely won't hold up...

I own...

Pro-Shot (2) Bearings are acting iffy
Dewey (4) They're just fine
Bore Tech (2) Impulse purchase - coating is coming off one after two matches
Tipton (2) End came off of one, handle came off the other

July 6, 2006, 09:00 AM
And aluminum rods and coated rods can get grit embedded in them and act like sandpaper.

There are very hard, highly polished stainless steel rods being sold to avoid this problem.


July 6, 2006, 09:26 AM
Also, if you use a _good_ carbon cutter, like Meredith's stuff, the Tipton carbon fiber rods definitely won't hold up...

I'm gonna' have to ask for proof/evidence on this one - are you saying carbon cutting cleaning solutions made for guns is disintegrating a Carbon Fiber rod, or in some fashion damaging the rod? Never once before now have I heard of or seen such an issue. Got an article or two from a reliable source you could point us to that can verify this? Guess I must be using 'bad' carbon cutting solutions like Hoppe's Elite/M-pro 7, Montana Extreme, Wipe Out, etc., because none of these top of the line products have affected my Carbon Fiber rod adversely in any fashion.

As far as the brass tips coming off, that happened to a couple Tipton rods early on - as I understand Tipton corrected that problem some time ago. As far as the handle 'coming off', they're supposed to, as they unscrew apart allowing access to the bearings within the handle - just tighten it down a bit.

July 6, 2006, 11:09 AM
I wonder if one of the Otis cleaning kits ( would fill the bill. The nylon coated cable is skinnier than a cleaning rod. It ought to work well with a bore guide.

July 6, 2006, 02:50 PM
works great, but a little expensive (although cheaper than a new barrel).

July 6, 2006, 07:05 PM
270Win said'use plastic" tip. That would have to be a slotted patch holder.

Switch to a brass jag and let it push the patch thru and you will remove MUCH more crud than a patch in a slotted tip.

July 6, 2006, 07:32 PM
I am probably the only person on the planet not wildly enthused about the Otis system (got one, given to me). Among other things the plastic coating can embed "stuff" and, at least in theory, drag against the lands at the muzzle. Plus I don't have enough patience to carefully fold the patches as per the instructions...

I *do* pull solvent and oily patches through with a piece of weed-whacker line, but I wipe the line first and guide it with my fingers so nothing touches the muzzle. It doesn't take that much force to pull these as opposed to brushes and tight patches so I can do that easily.

The Dewey coated rods are nice, especially with a patch-wrap jag, but I religiously wipe the rod each time before it goes in.

For some things I use the old jointed GI M16 rod but with a bore guide.

Barrels are expensive and good ones are a joy--I try to treat mine right.

July 6, 2006, 07:35 PM
BTW it is not uncommon to find CMP M1 Garands with the lands toward the muzzle "wallowed out" from jointed steel rods pumped back and forth to get the barrel really, really clean for that weekend pass.

So what you ended up with was a very clean barrel that would no longer shoot accurately.

July 6, 2006, 10:03 PM
foam cleaner, let it do all the work, then just use patches. me likey!

July 6, 2006, 11:51 PM
IMO, despite all the fancy guides, etc., the best way is to do it carefully from the breach end with a good, jointless rod. Up to you if you remove the brush for the return trip (I don't). My rifles stil shoot as well after the 50th cleaning as they did after the second.

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