Cleaning a stainless steel barrel


December 26, 2009, 12:25 AM
I have a Midway stainless steel barrel on a rifle I bought last summer. The muzzle end is, well, dirty looking. I don't recall that it was that way when I bought it. It might just be dirt, that has accumulated in oil left from my hands.

Well, I just took it out to the garage and ran a Hoppes #9 saturated paper towel up and down the barrel for several minutes. Looks like it got some of the tarnish/rust/dirt, but not all of it. Mostly the paper towel turned orangish, so I'm thinking it was primarily a light coating of rust. (I just love it when stainless steel isn't stainless. Not.)

Any suggestions on how to clean it up completely and keep it clean?

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December 26, 2009, 12:33 AM
Use the Flitz polishing paste. Works great on stainless. Try checking on police supply stores . They have them all the time.

December 26, 2009, 01:01 AM
"...light coating of rust..." Not likely. SS takes a very long time to corrode. Does depend on the alloy.

December 26, 2009, 08:54 AM
Stainless steel is "stain resistant" not rust proof. Some stainless steel will rust in time if not properly cared for

Uncle Mike
December 26, 2009, 09:07 AM
Hit that barrel with some dedicated 'copper' remover, like sweet 7.62.
Most likely some copper fouling....
It could be light surface rust...there are several methods of removal, all requiring some knowledge of use.
The paste compounds, Flitz, JB bore paste, finishing compound and so on can do more harm than good if not used correctly. Especially in the throat/lead area and at the muzzle.

try the copper solvent, and just shoot it.

If you do use the 'compounds', start from the breech end and push through towards the muzzle in one motion, do not scrub back and forth.

December 26, 2009, 03:14 PM
I've been to benchrest matches and watched how the competitors clean their barrels. It's quite an education as they are the most particular and exacting rifle experts on the planet. The accuracy they get from their rifles is amazing, and they do it group after group in all conditions. Most of them I learned clean after every group and then do a heavy duty bore cleaning at the end of the day with a compound like JD or Iosso. Most use Iosso on a nylon brush, or impregnate a Tyvex or flannel patch with JB. Their techinque is to take very short back and forth strokes, mostly in the first few inches ahead of the throat. Also rotating the rod. Naturally, they use a fitted rod guide when doing this. Watching those guys, and some of the shooting girls, will teach you more in half a day than a lifetime of reading about it.

December 26, 2009, 03:31 PM
Do not reverse brushes in the bore. The short back and forth strokes are with patches. A nice casual cleaning between groups, and a really good cleaning at the end of the day, or weekend, depending on the barrel, and personal preference.

This is what I did, which is similar to what the majority did:

Using a bore guide and one piece rods, take one rod with a jag and push a couple of patches through using something like Butches or Shooters Choice. Let the patch drop off the end without returning through the bore with the rod. It will do it by its self. Bring the rod back out and wipe it down with a rag each time. Spray the rod and jag clean with carb cleaner etc & wipe down. Let the bore soak a couple minutes or so. Take the other one piece rod and run a brush completely though without reversing it in the bore. Bring it back through and wipe the rod clean. Do this a few times, depending on how many shots you fired. Wipe it with the rag every time and spray it and the brush clean after the last pass. Then take your clean rod with the jag and push a patch or two through saturated with your solvent. Let the patch drop and spray & wipe the rod afterwards. Let the barrel soak a couple minutes or so. Then patch with a wet patch, followed by 2 or 3 dry patches. If you use oil, oil, but it will only take longer for the rifle to settle down. Use a bore mop on a short rod and clean the chamber.

Some folks used JB all the time, but most only used it to get a real dirty bore clean.

December 26, 2009, 05:21 PM
It might just be dirt, that has accumulated in oil left from my hands.

Are you asking about rust or fouling on the outside of the barrel? If so Flitz is excellent as is a brass bristle brush with some oil. Don't over do it or you'll have a shinier spot there than the rest of the barrel.

If we are talking bore cleaning Flitz on a patch works well there too. I don't recommend it every time you clean the bore but it will take out light rust. My Krieger barreled 6ppc gets Flitz occasionally. It works like JB compound but faster and better IME.

December 27, 2009, 01:43 PM
It might just be dirt, that has accumulated in oil left from my hands.
Are you asking about rust or fouling on the outside of the barrel?

Yes. The dirt/rust/discoloration is on the outside of the barrel. Starts about an inch from the end of the barrel and is heaviest in the next five to six inches. About where I grab the barrel when pulling it out.

It was obvious to me, but then, I wrote it. I didn't think about anyone reading it as being on the inside of the barrel.

December 27, 2009, 08:11 PM
If no cleaner works try some 0000 steel wool. I know it may not sound right to use steel wool on a gun surface but it is indeed used when rebluing firearms and is soft enough to not hurt the surface. I have used it myself. I've also used it to get paint off of a windshield and it works well there also without damaging the glass. Try it. I've also used it on rough spots on wooden gun stocks especially when I've mistakenly gotten solvent on the stock. I wiped it off with a paper towel, let it dry a little and smoothed it over with the wool. Luckily it had not gone all the way through to the wood.
Bottom line is that it worked.

Uncle Mike
December 27, 2009, 08:35 PM
Well....Sounded like to me he was talking the inside of the barrel!
Try some Flitz, rubbing compound or as sig220 said, hit it LIGHTLY with 4 ought steel wool or grey scotch-brite pad.

I would ever so lightly get after it with rubbing compound or Flitz...if the metal is pitted, you wont be able to get the rust out of the pits without abrasive blasting, but find a gunsmith or whoever and 'glass bead' the entire barrel and receiver.
A smith should not charge more than $50 at the very most, to blast it.

I have used a brass wire brush in a electric drill also.

December 27, 2009, 09:08 PM
its the natural oils in your hands. these oils attract dirt like nothing else. the best thing ive ever found for getting rid of this is "simple green" on SS. take a plastic scrub pad and go to it lightly. toss on some gun oil, clp, atf or whatever your pleasure may be after.

December 27, 2009, 10:08 PM
Is the barrel polished or bead blasted?

December 27, 2009, 10:16 PM

First one I found on a search...There are others. I was too lazy to dig them up (sorry). They are magical! Forget all that other stuff. Just don't use on blued or otherwise finished guns. They will remove the finish!

Just wanted to add some info. I came across this product (actually one of its competitors) when I wanted to remove the carbon fouling from the cylinder face of my stainless SP101. I had tried a few other conventional methods beforehand, with zero success. Then I went to the LGS and the owner introduced me to these cloths. They wiped away the carbon fouling with absolute ease. I was dumbfounded and sold. Try them out. You won't be disappointed. I would just recommend using nitrile gloves with them (as I do for all my cleaning).

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