Cleaning from the muzzle


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HDSG06
March 19, 2010, 01:23 AM
I have seen on this site people talking about cleaning from the muzzle and it cousing damage to the crown.Will someone explain this to me, what it does to your rifle and how it hurt's accuracy

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Silent Sam
March 19, 2010, 01:32 AM
Short answer - you can score or nick the crown by improper cleaning. This can cause the gas to exit the barrel in a non uniform fashion which affects the base of the bullet as it exits kicking the bullet axis away from the bore axis. You are essentially inducing the bullet to 'wobble'.

HDSG06
March 19, 2010, 01:51 AM
Thank's Sam just proves your never to old to learn

Travlin
March 19, 2010, 01:57 AM
That was a good explanation. Now please tell me how a brass or aluminum jag and cleaning rod can "score or nick the crown" of a barrel made of hardened steel? Seems to me that softer metal is unlikely to damage harder metal.

black_powder_Rob
March 19, 2010, 01:59 AM
I think I am with Travlin on this one.

hadmanysons
March 19, 2010, 02:02 AM
I think I am with Travlin on this one.

Agreed. This has never made sense to me either, but I followed it anyway out fear of severe retribution :)

BHP FAN
March 19, 2010, 02:03 AM
Some guns have to be cleaned from the muzzle end [unless you have a Boresnake] but that's O.K.,because nowadays they have muzzle guides and alloy cleaning rods. In the day of the G.I. steel rods, I'm guessing it was a bad thing.

Silent Sam
March 19, 2010, 02:19 AM
Are you asking me to prove that a crown can be damaged by improper cleaning? You can put whatever you want down your barrel from either end. Doesn't matter to me.

The more important part is the negative impact on accuracy a damaged crown can cause. Doesn't matter how you damage it.

Travlin
March 19, 2010, 02:50 AM
Sam

I'm not asking you to prove anything. You gave a good answer to the OP. I just wondered if anyone knew the answer to my question.

I know crowns can be damaged and the effect is exactly as you described. I suppose that using an old jointed GI steel cleaning rod could do this, though the barrel steel should still be much harder. Maybe the leverage from holding a steel rod or jag at an angle would cause damage.

It seems to me that if you use brass or aluminum, and take moderate care to hold the rod straight, then there is no danger in harming the crown.

RedAlert
March 19, 2010, 03:14 AM
I think the damage was much greater when people used steel cleaning rods. Such kits are readily available in the surplus market.

nathan
March 19, 2010, 03:20 AM
Since the Garand is to be cleaned from the muzzle end, that is one that bothers me. I have to be extra careful when i doing it or else it will nick the crown.
Those mini 14s and M 14s all have the same Garand style receivers so be extra careful.

jcwit
March 19, 2010, 06:35 AM
I'll answer a question with a question.

Why did the muzzle of a muzzleloading rifle wear out when loading and cleaning with a wooden rod? Why are M-1 Carbines and M-1 Garands and M-14's gauged at the muzzle?

How can a softer metal wear a harder metal? Same way air wears out sprayer tips.

BTW Barrel steel usually isn't hardened except in pistols.

briansmithwins
March 19, 2010, 10:19 AM
Barrel steel isn't all that hard, they go more for toughness.

I've seen a pistol with a worn crown, an ex-police P6. The pistol had horrible groups (12”+ at 25 yards) that tightened up after my smith recrowned it.

I've also seen pictures of grooves worn in crowns by cord pull-thrus. Grit in the cord and constant friction against one spot wears the steel away.

If you have to clean from the muzzle, use a pull thru (like the Otis) or a guide. BSW

CajunBass
March 19, 2010, 10:25 AM
It's a cleaning rod. Not a plunger. If you grab it and run it up and down willy-nilly you MIGHT damage the barrel. If however, you take your time, work carefully, wipe the crud off the rod once in a while, I don't see any way a cleaning rod is going to damage a rifle (or pistol) barrel.

Vern Humphrey
March 19, 2010, 10:31 AM
Now please tell me how a brass or aluminum jag and cleaning rod can "score or nick the crown" of a barrel made of hardened steel?
Mostly by picking up grit and abrading the barrel. Using hard steel is actually better, since embedded grit is less likely.

I have seen muzzle loaders lose accuracy, and when gauged, it turned out the muzzle had been worn -- by a wooden rod.

I have seen many military rifles with worn muzzles. In fact, in some counties it was the practice to drill out the muzzle when a rifle got worn and re-establish a new crown farther down the bore. You often see such rifles for sale with a note explaining what was done.

Maverick223
March 19, 2010, 01:24 PM
How can a softer metal wear a harder metal? Same way air wears out sprayer tips.Air doesn't wear out spray tips...abrasive particulates do. Same is true WRT crown damage when cleaning from the muzzle. In fact aluminum (the softest common material used for cleaning utensils) is harsher than steel because it tends to pick up and retain more abrasive particles in the connections of a multi-pc. rod. I prefer a Tipton CF cleaning rod, but the cheap single pc. (Outers?) steel rods sold at WW for about $5.00 aren't bad either if they are long enough (about 24" IIRC). Furthermore I would not clean from the muzzle on a rifle that doesn't require it, and even then a flexible cleaning system such as the Otis cable is a better choice IMO. BoreSnakes are great for a light cleaning (particularly in the field), but utterly useless for really cleaning a bore.

:)

mljdeckard
March 19, 2010, 01:31 PM
You can ding the crown with the rod going in either direction.

I think it's much more fundamental. There is fouling in the bore. You want to get the fouling out of the gun. If you clean from the muzzle, you are just pushing it back into the chamber and action, giving yourself more to clean.

jimmyraythomason
March 19, 2010, 01:41 PM
There is fouling in the bore. You want to get the fouling out of the gun. If you clean from the muzzle, you are just pushing it back into the chamber and action, giving yourself more to clean. This just makes good sense. I was taught to clean from the breach whenever possible so that's how I do it and don't waste any time wondering why.

dmazur
March 20, 2010, 02:04 AM
Since the Garand is to be cleaned from the muzzle end, that is one that bothers me. I have to be extra careful when i doing it or else it will nick the crown.

Here's a cheap solution -

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=965198

I used one of these and it worked pretty well. The cleaning rod scuffs against the brass protector instead of the crown area. The knurled surface helps you keep it in place with one hand while the other runs the rod.

(After I installed a Smith muzzle brake, I realized the brass protector wouldn't fit. Also, I realized the muzzle brake was doing the same thing...keeping the cleaning rod from hitting the crown.)

Cosmoline
March 20, 2010, 03:49 AM
I think it's much more fundamental. There is fouling in the bore. You want to get the fouling out of the gun. If you clean from the muzzle, you are just pushing it back into the chamber and action, giving yourself more to clean.

I believe this is the correct answer. Any theoretical issues with damaging crowns can be resolved with a simple guide. Most rods come with them standard now. The real problem is shoving crud into the nooks and crannies of the chamber and receiver where it's tough to get at.

Also, I prefer to clean from the receiver end at the range because it avoids the problem of handling the weapon.

jr_roosa
March 20, 2010, 03:58 AM
If you clean from the muzzle, you are just pushing it back into the chamber and action, giving yourself more to clean.

The way to avoid this is to take your brush/patch holder, place it in the chamber, insert the rod and screw it in, then pull it out of the muzzle. Unscrew and repeat.

Also if you use a muzzle protector that keeps the rod centered, you can't really mess up the crown.

That's how I clean my Garand. Works great.

-J.

Art Eatman
March 20, 2010, 10:31 AM
I doubt that any one cleaning from the muzzle end will harm the crown. But, repeated rubbing against the edge of the end of the bore will indeed, over time, wear it a little bit--and off-center.

I've seen this mostly on ancient Model 94s which had been well-used (to phrase it gently) and the edges of the muzzle were indeed visibly worn.

Ever since somebody came up with the idea of the brass cone to guide the cleaning rod, I've made a point of having and using them.

Whether a cleaning rod is aluminum, steel or teflon-coated steel, I always wipe down the rod before and after every use.

FWIW: I've put some 4,000 round of '06 through my pet rifle. Odds are, I've rarely shot more than five or ten rounds at a time, with some amount of cleaning after each session and using a steel cleaning rod. So, guesstimation, maybe 400 cleanings over a thirty-some-year period? The rifle still shoots sub-MOA.

courtgreene
March 21, 2010, 12:23 AM
jr roosa you are a genius, i never would have dreamed of that but it makes so much sense. thanks

SwampWolf
March 21, 2010, 04:47 PM
It's a cleaning rod. Not a plunger. If you grab it and run it up and down willy-nilly you MIGHT damage the barrel. If however, you take your time, work carefully, wipe the crud off the rod once in a while, I don't see any way a cleaning rod is going to damage a rifle (or pistol) barrel.

I agree completely. If you exercise reasonable caution, you will not damage the crown of a barrel, no matter what material the cleaning rod is made of, by cleaning from the muzzle. If you foolishly use the rod like a Roto-Rooter, you will likely damage the crown over time. There are some action types (the Remington Models 760 and 742; most Winchester lever-actions; certainly the Savage Model 99 and most revolvers-Dan Wessons excepted, come to mind) where you have no choice but to clean from the muzzle. And you don't need a "muzzle guide" (helpful as they might be) to accomplish a barrel cleaning from the muzzle without damaging the crown. Just be judicious with the rod, keep it off the crown using your fingers as a "guide" and all will be well.

All that said, it makes good sense to clean from the breech whenever possible.

Orlando
March 21, 2010, 05:03 PM
While you do not want to knick the inside edge of the crown the muzzle is not a delicate piece of metal like many believe.

There was a test run on the Garand by the GCA a few years ago.
The object of this test was to clean a barrel by stroking a conventional , segmented 3 piece steel GI cleaning rod in and out of the muzzle end being as abusive as they could. Remember the purpose of this test was to ERODE the muzzle. They started with a barrel that gauged exactly a 2 and wondered how many strokes it would require to deteriorate the muzzle to a reading of 3 on the gauge.
One stroke consisted of running the rod, with a patch on it, thru to the chamber and then pulling it out again. We were very careful during this test sequence to bear FIRMLY on the wall of the muzzle for the entire stroke. Strokes were done in lots of 50 , and care was given during each lot of 50 to go "all around the clock" so that wear would be as uniform as possible.
In our opinion the useful life of a M1 barrel is approximatly 6,000 rds. Our experience has shown that after 6,000 rds a reasonable marksman will detect poorer scores on his target. The "cone of dispersion'
opens up noticeably beyond 6,000 rds. due to muzzle wear and throat erosion.
Now lets look at some data. So far we have aggressivly stroked this barrel 35,000 times and are approxamatly 71.5 % of the distance from 2.0 to 3.0 on our gauge. If we project this out it will take approx. 50,000 strokes to degrade the muzzle by one graduation, and this is being as abusive as we can with a segmented steel rod.
If we assume that a rifle is cleaned every 50rds (average of practice and match shootings) then 6000 rds would equal 1,440 cleaning strokes under my cleaning procedure. This is just 3% of the distance from the 2.0 to 3.0 on our gauge!
It seems reasonable to us that if we used a one piece , coate dcleaning rod as oppsoed to a segmented, steelone, that we could "conservatively" double the number of strokes required to degrade the muzzle by 1 graduation on the gauge. If that is true we could clean a rifle after every rd fired and not come close to degrading the muzzle by one graduation over the useful life of the barrel.
We believe that the reasonable conclusion drawn from this test is that cleaning an M1 rifle from the muzzle with a 1 piece coated rod and using a small amount of care will have minimal effect on the muzzle erosion as measured with a conventional gauge


Pretty interesting article, how would you have liked to have been the poor guy that had to run a rod down the barrel 35,000 times!
I think the Garand barrel is alot tougher than we give credit. I'm not saying that everyone throw away their coated cleaning rods and start using a three piece steel rod.
I do believe that muzzle and throat erosion is from rapid firing of the rifle more than bad cleaning habits

Art Eatman
March 21, 2010, 05:14 PM
All well and good, Orlando, but it takes very little to make the difference between winning a competition match and being an observer as trophies are being handed out.

"Don't be sloppy and careless" keeps would-be problems from ever being problems...

Little stuff can make a difference. Mauri Rose told me that they took Arkansas stones to the edges of the teeth of the transmission gears in his Indy car. Kinda hard to argue with a winner...

Orlando
March 21, 2010, 05:25 PM
Hey I agree, I would never use a 3 piece steel rod on a rifle barrel and its only smart to use some care when cleaning especially if you have a match rifle.
I'm just saying that in my opinion MW is more from firing than cleaning.
Didnt mean to hyjack this post, I just thought some might find the reults from the test interesting

Art Eatman
March 21, 2010, 05:45 PM
I earlier mentioned old 94s being worn at the muzzle. It was not uncommon to use some old pull-through piece of twine, with sand and crud impregnated into it from use, oil and "laying around". I guess when you see these old guns with not much finish left on them, they haven't exactly been treated gently.

"Rode hard and put away wet?"
"Naw, rode hard and left out in the rain."

paducahrider
March 22, 2010, 10:41 AM
Howdy!
Orlando,
Thanks for proving that the process of cleaning from the muzzle does cause increased muzzle bore wear. The wear you describe, though passed off as not severe, still has the capability of causing problems with accuracy.
I disagree with some who claim the main problem of muzzle end cleaning is the chance of damaging the crown.
I believe the most damage is done in the first few inches(maybe even fractions of an inch)of the muzzle bore.
When a bullet is traveling down a tight bore, then enters a worn section of bore/rifling, it will be able to "cock" in the bore and, in effect, be traveling somewhat sideways. This, coupled with increased blowby from combustion gases exiting around the bullet unevenly, cause inaccuracy.
Pushing on a cleaning rod will ALWAYS cause it to bend and bear on the sides of its confinement, just as a handsaw bends as you push it through wood. In both cases, this causes a wider gap to be cut/worn through the material.
Pulling the cleaning impliment through the bore tends allow a straighter application of force, thus creating less sideways force and less chance for aggravated and uneven wear, just as a Japanese type "pull saw" can be made thinner and cut a thinner kerf with less application of force.
This "saw to cleaning rod" analagy is more applicable than some will wish to admit, but the reasoning is accurate.
In WWII, my Dad cleaned his military arms by pulling patches, swabs and brushes through the bore, from the muzzle, with a string(I still have it!!). Many military rifles were issued with a chain for cleaning the bore in the same manner.
Thanks for your time.

LemmyCaution
March 22, 2010, 01:24 PM
How can an aluminum rod damage a steel barrel?

Because aluminum gains its corrosion resistance through surface oxidation. The inner material is soft aluminum. The fine fine outside surface is aluminum oxide, which some of you may know is used as an abrasive blasting medium. It's much harder than most steels. The thin layer of aluminum oxide keeps the inner material protected from atmospheric oxygen and other corrosives, which is why it oxidizes more slowly than most types of steel.

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