How often do you clean your .22lr bore?


March 23, 2010, 11:27 AM
Just wondering what the consensus is...ive heard people say that cleaning them too often will lead to excessive wear. But on the other hand I dont want any leading to start to build up.

What do you guys think?

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March 23, 2010, 11:31 AM
With standard velocity round and wax coating I've never experienced leading. I've not shot enough HV to notice any leading.

I clean when extraction (dirty chamber) becomes difficult. With a .22LR there's not going to be any barrel wear from the bullets - not in tens of thousands of rounds. So the only barrel and muzzle crown wear will come from cleaning.

Although you might get some throat erosion.


General Geoff
March 23, 2010, 11:34 AM
maybe every couple thousand rounds, I'll run a bore snake through.

March 23, 2010, 11:39 AM
Not very often. I'll ran an oiled patch only to prevent rust. That's about it.

March 23, 2010, 11:44 AM
You're supposed to clean them???????

When I was a kid, I'd hate to think how many thousands of rounds went down the go-go pipe of my 10/22. I don't think it ever got cleaned.


March 23, 2010, 12:01 PM
I use a bore guide and clean up after matches and plinking.

I am new at the small bore game and really wonder if I should be cleaning .22LR match barrels at all.

But as an active Highpower shooter, I have these complusive cleaning urges. :evil:

March 23, 2010, 12:13 PM
I clean mine after every outing. I shoot from 50 to around 300 rounds through a gun depending on how many guns I took with me.

I have a new to me ruger 77/22. I shot around 450rds and noticed the accuracy was getting bad. When I pushed a brush past the chamber there was quite a bit of build up. A coulple of solvent patches and a few brush strokes and it was clean back to shooting good groups.

Most peolple overclean their guns after they neglect them. I think thats where the idea that cleaning them damages them. Don't let them get too dirty or sit too long and they clean up fast. Thats the biggest advantage to a bore snake. Its so fast and simple it gets used.

March 23, 2010, 12:22 PM
..."clean"? A .22? :confused::uhoh:

I bought my accutrigger'd Savage .22 MKII used and still haven't cleaned it once. Still runs like a champ. Best $150 spent.

March 23, 2010, 12:27 PM
Whenever I take down my Marlin 60 for it's ~200 round cleaning, I run a boresnake through the barrel once. That's about all.

March 23, 2010, 12:57 PM
Whenever I can't stand not having cleaned it for so long, not that it really needs it.

March 23, 2010, 01:23 PM
I boresnake my .22's after every outing. Three passes. I shoot fixed-breech guns, so little more is usually necessary, though I'll wipe down everything I can reach and occasionally pull the bolt. If I shot every day I would clean less, but it could be a month or more between outings.

When I was competing in smallbore we'd clean at the end of the season only, before putting the gear away for the year. Otherwise we didn't even wipe down the guns (climate-controlled safe).


March 23, 2010, 01:45 PM
I have never had lead build up in a properly rifled .22 LR rifle barrel. I have seen lead build up in a Ruger Mark II pistol. I cleaned it out and then used some JB paste to polish the bore to eliminate its recurrence.

As far as cleaning goes, I like to clean my .22 rifle bores when I switch ammo types as there is some weird interaction between differing brands bullet lube or if the rifle has been out in the rain. I prefer to use standard velocity loads that are not copper washed. Cleaning a .22 bore is limited to the three passes of a bore snake wet with a bit of Breakfree CLP. Other than that, I just wipe down the exterior.

With modern .22 ammo, bore cleaning is really not necessary.

March 23, 2010, 01:56 PM
When accuracy drops off or it starts jamming.

March 23, 2010, 02:42 PM
I clean every gun I shoot, regardless of caliber, the day of or within a couple days of shooting. Just the way I was brought up coupled with OCD. With one exception, shotgun during hunting season, I clean it when needed especially after rain or snow, then one real good cleaning at the end of the season.

March 23, 2010, 02:47 PM
When accuracy drops off or it starts jamming.

This... and so far, I've never had to clean it. I might run the boresnake down it one of these days though. Just for the heck of it.:D

March 23, 2010, 02:55 PM
Boresnake about every half a brick. Nothing crazy just 1-3 pulls through. It is more to clean out the chamber. These are all "over the counter .22's" not match chambers.

March 23, 2010, 03:08 PM
Every time I shoot any firearm it gets cleaned. It doesnt require alot of cleaning if you do it that way.

Carl N. Brown
March 23, 2010, 04:03 PM
Once a year whether they need it or not. :)

Actually, a .22 bore gets "seasoned" by the lube just as a muzzleloader barrel or a wok or iron skillet. Cleaning down to bare metal can (marginally) affect accuracy usually badly, it will take a few rounds to re-season the bore. Changing brands or styles of bullets will require a break-in period too for best accuracy. I clean mine only if there appears to be extraction problems of the chamber or leading of the barrel.

A lot of folks never clean their .22 barrels, a trend that started when smokeless powder totally replaced the Les-smoke partial black powder loads in the 1930s.

March 23, 2010, 04:40 PM
I don't think I've ever cleaned the barrel of my 22's.

I wipe down the outside of my rifles every time they come in and out of the safe. I don't clean the barrels of hunting rifles during hunting season unless they have gotten wet. I want repeatable accuracy and I've found the first shot out of a newly cleaned barrel rarely shoots to the exact same POI as a slightly fouled barrel. This can make a difference on longer shots.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 23, 2010, 05:32 PM
Clean a .22 bore, ha ha. You should take your comedy show on the road. :D

March 23, 2010, 06:28 PM
Never. FWIW, Marlin's owner's manuals for their .22s say that the bore should never need cleaning unless it gets crudded up.

ol' scratch
March 23, 2010, 06:43 PM
Taken from the Marlin Owners Manual, "Since modern ammunition burns very cleanly, with normal use it is not necessary to clean the bore of your rifle."

They go on to recommend if it gets wet, clean the bore. I follow the manufacturer's recommendation.

March 23, 2010, 06:49 PM
I pull a bore snake through every 500-1000 rounds. I give the barrel a full cleaning when I am too bored, its nasty out, and I want to get a rifle or two out. The semi autos are cleaned sooner, though for reliability.

The last I checked, the top benchrest shooters are cleaning every 50-100 rounds as they see the guilt edge accuracy fall off in that period. They are spending $15-$20 for a box of ammo as well. I'm sure the peak accuracy of my rifles has fallen off far before I clean, but the ammo I use is cheap enough that I can't tell the difference either way(at least after a few foulers).

dagger dog
March 23, 2010, 07:08 PM
Ya shoot it ya clean it!

March 23, 2010, 07:11 PM
Once a year...

March 23, 2010, 08:49 PM
About every 200 - 300 rounds. Wipe down every time. Give the action a little shot every other time.

March 23, 2010, 09:01 PM
After every time I shoot it.

Dr T
March 24, 2010, 10:09 PM
It depends. My general guideline is the efficiency of case extraction:

Marlin 39 TDS: When the ejection becomes sticky.

Ruger Mk I, II, III: About every 300 rounds or the first time it jams, which ever comes first.

Ruger Single 6, SP101, and S&W 617: When the fouling on the front of the cylinder begins to offend my sensibities.

Ruger 10/22's: I don't think I have ever cleaned one of mine.

Depending on how energetic I am (and how much time I have), cleaning will range from a Boresnake and aerosol cleaner to a rod-brush-patch job.

After reading all of the posts so far, it looks like the ejector and chamber need cleaning more than the bore.

March 24, 2010, 10:14 PM
I clean the barrels every few years. Some have never been cleaned. I do clean around the chamber and if things get sticky, I'll give it a very thorough cleaning inside.

If I plan to sell one, I'll give it a good cleaning. Otherwise, generally when they need it which isn't often. My TC gets cleaned around the chamber after every trip out shooting, and sometimes during. I'll take solvent and a needed supplies with me in my vehicle, just in case. It has ejection problems if it gets very dirty. But I've never cleaned the barrel in the last two or three years and it gets shot more than most.

March 25, 2010, 12:18 PM
I live on the Oregon coast so the Humidity and the salt air is really bad . I end up cleaning all of mine or a good oiling at least every 3 months . and i always clean them after hunting/plinking.

Carl N. Brown
March 25, 2010, 12:35 PM
On .22s, I clean the actions maybe five or ten times as often as I clean the bores. (Cleaning the action does include a last wipe of the firing chamber with a clean dry q-tip.)

March 25, 2010, 01:44 PM
If the gun is going to sit for awhile, I'll clean (i.e. run a boresnake through it) and oil it. Otherwise, boresnake every 2K rounds or so? Action gets cleaned when it starts malfunctioning on ammo that normally works well.


Ignition Override
March 25, 2010, 03:24 PM
Strange coincidence.
Some powder near the chamber blocks most of the view down the bore after about fifty rounds of the LR. And this follows the cleaning with two tiny patches (Hoppe's #9) after each session.

With this 40s Savage, there must be a cloud of carbon which accumulates somewhere just past the chamber.
It looks like a black, nebulous, feathery shape which blocks most of the light.

Does this dark obscuration form quickly in other guns? Maybe there is too much oil left in there (?).

Bear 45/70
March 25, 2010, 04:23 PM
I was of the "whenever there is an issue (failure to extract FTF, etc)" so even with a match barrel it was every several thousand rounds. Last year bought a Bore-snake for the 22's and now I just run it thru the bore after each session. Cheap and easy and it means the bore does not sit around with a dirty bore.

March 25, 2010, 04:38 PM
I had to clean my first Contender .22LR match barrel every 10 to 15 rounds. The chamber was so tight that it would no longer close. That was a handgun. My Ruger 10/22HB I had to clean at minimum every 50 rounds because the chamber was so tight. Cleaning involved spraying out, then running a cloth through. It really was more of a wipe-down. With my other .22LRs, I clean if accuracy begins to fade.


March 25, 2010, 08:47 PM
I'll run a bore snake through it with light oil after shooting and only clean the bore with rod and solvents after it has issues shooting.

Al LaVodka
March 25, 2010, 10:55 PM
OMG! Where am I!? I never heard of such a thing -- not cleaning your gun 'cause its a .22? I really am in shock. If I knew I wasn't cleaning the gun as soon as I got home I'd at least run a damp patch thru the bore. Eventually I switched to a Bore-Snake which made it much easier, but, some here still don't clean them often if at all. Wow.

March 25, 2010, 11:53 PM
i know it's a 22lr thread, but i'm gonna throw my comments in. I own a savage 17hmr BTVS and it's rare for me to actually scrub the bore. I'll run a patch or 2 through it just to prevent rust.. Accuracy seems to drop if i scrub clean it with a nylon/phosphor brush..

i think overall, rimfire rifles like a slightly dirty bore..

March 26, 2010, 12:49 AM
Many year ago, I read an article in Precision Shooting about .22 ammo production in an Eley plant. They tested ammo lots for accuracy with barreled actions mounted to a bench. The barrels were only cleaned after several 100,000 rounds because cleaning would throw off the consistency.

On the other hand, I once shot some cheap bulk ammo that would leave streaks of lead in the barrel of my target pistol.

I guess it depends on what ammo you are shooting. Eley ammo has a heavy wax lube that will gunk up your magazine, but not the bore.

Ignition Override
March 26, 2010, 01:17 AM
And so lots of carbon build-up does not inhibit the twist given by the rifling?

March 26, 2010, 01:32 AM
My Marlin Microgroove barrel leads up after a brick of cheap federals...and accuracy goes to hades fast.
It's a pain in the @ to clean all that lead out, too.

March 26, 2010, 02:01 AM
I can see that with a microgrove marlin. Guess there is always a exception to a rule. They may shoot fine but seemed to be a total pain in the rear from what I have seen on leading up. Marlin uses that as a big advertizing point or used to but now that microgrove is a dirty work they probably dont.

March 26, 2010, 03:43 AM
I have and shoot a number of 22s.

My view is that if you have no issue and there has been no exposure to bad weather conditions, leave it alone till 5000 rounds or so.

That has worked well for me.

A lot of 22 issues are due to crown damage from overzealous and perhaps unnecessary cleaning.

Chris taylor
March 26, 2010, 06:09 AM
I only clean my 10/22 every 1000rnds or so... Only problem -EVER- was the trigger got gritty and wouldnt release after being pulled. A quick spray of cheap aerosol oil and a rag scrubdown and she was good to go!

March 26, 2010, 10:19 AM
I run a patch thru after each outing . I don't use the brush very often.

March 26, 2010, 10:20 AM
Bore snake it every time.

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