What brush cleaner: barrel break-in?


October 13, 2013, 03:37 PM
I'm at 14 rounds of cleaning after each shot on my first new rifle barrel, and it is taking about 60 patches to get clean, even now. At the start of the process I use a nylon brush, which I wipe off with a clean towel when finished. Since it takes so many blasted times to get the lands and grooves clean, could it be I'm reintroducing dirt by using a brush that's not been solvent cleaned? If so, what would be the best brush cleaner for this application? 1-1-1 Tricloroethane (Brake Clean), Simple Green, Fast Orange, something else???

Thank you!

(Note: Here's my process & chemicals used: 1) nylon bristle brush with Remington 40-X bore cleaner, 6 pull-through passes 2) Remington squeegee to pull out the crud (with some Rem Oil for lubricity) 3) Rem Oil patch or two 4) Bore Tech Eliminator Bore Cleaner, 50+ patches on a jag and ball bearing handled rod 5) Bore Tech Gun Oil on a patch or two. Some dry patches are run through here and there along the way.)

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October 13, 2013, 04:14 PM
I was under the impression that barrel break in was something started by a company simply so they could sell more barrels. There should be no reason to have to break in a barrel because after the cut the groves they run a lead slug through the barrel several times to take the burrs off and polish the surface. If anything a barrel break in would simply remove a few layers of the rifling which I really dont think is something you would want (I could be wrong tho)

October 13, 2013, 04:46 PM
Well, I appreciate that. It seems like about a 50/50 split between people who think a barrel break in is a good idea vs. those who think its a time waster.

However I made my decision and I'm gonna go through with 20 rounds of this process. After 50 patches and they are still coming out with little black marks, it's a little frustrating. So I'm looking for anything in the process that I can improve, for a better result.

Therefore if anyone can recommend a great brush cleaner (or other cleaning related advice) I'd be grateful.


October 13, 2013, 04:48 PM
By the way, the barrel in question is a new .30-06 in stainless.

October 13, 2013, 06:43 PM
If I suspected that a dirty brush was making the patches dirty I'd first try a brand new brush and see it that made a difference before trying ways to clean a used brush. Brushes are cheap compared to barrels.

October 13, 2013, 09:10 PM
You're way over doing it and way over thinking it.
If you have a quality barrel and it's taking 60 patches you're doing something seriously wrong.

The whole "secret" to bore cleaning is to give the bore solvent time to work. It's the solvent that does almost all the copper removal and it just needs soak time to allow the chemical action to work.

Use a bronze bore brush and a good bore solvent.
Run the brush soaked with solvent through 4 or 5 times.
Run one or two soaked patches through.
Wait 15 minutes or so and run another wet patch. If you see major green or blue stains just let soak a little longer.

Run a dry patch or two and shoot again.

You might be better off using a really aggressive copper solvent like Sweet's 7.62. Sweet's will take much less soak time to remove the copper fouling.
READ THE BOTTLE LABEL for safe soak times and exact procedure.

Note that you can get a false indication of copper fouling from a brass cleaning rod tip. This is something you can tell from real bore fouling by the much lesser staining of a patch. Don't confuse one for the other.

Note also that if you run a dry patch through a dry bore you'll get some dark staining on the patch. That's metal stains from the friction, not fouling. Again, don't confuse one for the other.

Forget the oil and squeegee business and stick to the intent: Removing copper fouling.

If you need to clean off a bore brush, just about anything will work. Hot water and kitchen cleaner, paint thinner, etc.

October 13, 2013, 09:16 PM
+1 on using brake cleaner to clean the brushes. By the way, read the label on the brake cleaner and try to find 49 state formula or labeled non flammable. The California formula is what most big retailers are going to so they don't have to buy two formulas. The non flammable contains a chlorinated solvent, not 1,1,1 trichloroethane these days, but still a better cleaner than the other stuff.
If you are having that much trouble getting clean patches, try another solvent. I have had good luck with Sweets, 7.62, and Patch Out.

October 13, 2013, 11:17 PM
Go onto Midway USA, order a bottle of "Witches Brew" bore cleaner. Use some Shooter's Choice bore cleaner, then the WB on a patch. Read the directions on the WB bottle, run it through the bore, I then run a bronze brush through the bore 8 or 10 times, then a dry patch, you'll be amazed at the crap that comes out on the patch! Maybe re-do the process again, it should be better than new ! Then lightly run a slightly oiled patch through the bore, good to go.

October 13, 2013, 11:44 PM
Thanks everyone. This being my first barrel break-in it's learn as you go. I have not let the liquid soak for more than a few minutes, so I'll jack that up to 15 and get a fresh brush for good measure.

Actually the green stuff comes clean in 10 patches or so (copper fouling?), it's the black that lingers on and on. This was news to me, thanks: Note also that if you run a dry patch through a dry bore you'll get some dark staining on the patch. That's metal stains from the friction, not fouling. Again, don't confuse one for the other.

I'll do another round this week and report back! This time I'll take pics and post them.

October 21, 2013, 08:02 PM
Do these patches indicate more cleaning is needed? They were pushed through dry after this process was done:
1. nylon brush, Bore Tech Bore cleaner, 12 passes, 1 direction
2. heavy soaked patches, same cleaner, 3 patches, 1 direction
3. allow barrel to soak for 15 minutes
4. dry patches pushed through barrel one direction, 6 patches in order as shown in the picture
5. a 7th & 8th patch were pushed through, lightly gun oiled, and looked no different than the last few shown in the picture

All of the copper fouling seems to be gone, there is no green color left on dry patches 3 - 6. But there is still black on the patch, and per my past experience there will be, in diminishing amounts even after 40 more patches.

Does all of the black need to be gone before I fire my next round in the break-in process? Thanks!


October 21, 2013, 08:19 PM
I'd be happy with those patches if it was my gun. In fact, I'd be happy with the second one.

October 21, 2013, 08:48 PM
No offence intended hoploDad, but you are way overcleaning this barrel.

I agree with owen: by the look of your second patch you're done and probably cleaner than most.

There are many reasons why a surgically clean barrel is a bad idea:

- One of these is that some powder and copper fouling helps most rifles shoot at their full potential. You will know it is time to clean when your group accuracy falls off, which can take many hundreds of rounds.

- A rifle bore with fouling in it will not rust, provided the rifle was not used in the rain & stored wet or in a damp place. If you think water or condensation might be an issue, run a few dry patches through the bore, then a lightly oiled one, finishing with a dry patch or dry swab.

- A rifle bore that is over-cleaned is at risk of damage caused by improper cleaning rod use. The process of cleaning can put wear on the throat, the rifling and the crown.

- Patches and solvent are expensive, and the work gets boring real fast.

October 21, 2013, 11:08 PM
Guys, no offense taken, in fact the reason the question was posted is that I was getting frustrated with the whole process. The number of hours spent on this was considerable. By now I prolly could've learned Spanish or cured the common cold instead. It's not even a high dollar rifle, but it's the first new one I've ever owned.

If these patches are considered "clean" then I am thrilled.

Yes, no kidding - all that cleaning stuff costs big bucks and I've been through a good bit of it. I'm at 15 shots of the 20 shot process. The last 5 rounds will be much faster with this info. After that a good cleaning every few outings or once a season will be more like it.

Thank you.

October 21, 2013, 11:15 PM
I have never went through the 'break-in' process with any new rifle barrel in the last 50+ years.

And I have, or still have several that will shoot well under 1 MOA anywhere, anytime with hand-loads developed for them.

As long as copper fouling doesn't clog up the bore?

Choot'm Lizibet! Choot'm!!

But clean them when you get done each time.


October 28, 2013, 09:28 PM
If you identified Madge the manicurist as the speaker of that title line, you are both correct and shall we say, not a spring chicken. :D

Thanks for the tips, all. A longer soak after several initial brushings made the job go much faster. I may have this gun ready for deer season after all. Your help is appreciated.

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