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Barrel cleaning; How and how often?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by rajb123, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. rajb123

    rajb123 member

    Dec 22, 2010
    When do you clean your gun barrel and how do yo do this? Are you avoiding brushes, strong chemicals ect?

    Lately, the thinking seems to be (1) no new barrel break-in procedures and (2) only light cleaning when necessary during the entire life of the gun; right?

    If you are specifically avoiding brushes and chemicals, which brushes and which chemicals are bad?
  2. Peakbagger46

    Peakbagger46 Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    I clean my rifle barrels (for my centerfire bolt guns) after everytime I shoot (20-50 rounds). I had been using Barnes CR-10 with a nylon bush. More recently I tried Butche's Bore Shine and got her clean with patches only.

    I do use bore guide and either a carbon fiber or bronze cleaning rod.

    I believe in a clean barrel without copper residue.
  3. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Senior Member

    Mar 10, 2010
    Kroil oil, saturated patch, bore guide breach end, and coated one piece cleaning rod. I’ll run several saturated patches thru the barrel with the breach slightly elevated in respect to the muzzle in a gun cradle. Leave it set over night and do the same process again on consecutive days. If the bore won’t clean up I’ll use a very slight amount of bore paste.

    My way works for me and your way maybe better then my way but I’m not about change my way this late in life.:what::D
  4. chas08

    chas08 Senior Member

    Feb 6, 2008
    South Central Texas
    Depends on the gun. For example, I have a Marlin 336 in .35 remington that seems to tighten the group as the barrel becomes fouled, at least to a point of around 10-12 shots. So for it, I'll clean it after every range session until hunting season comes along. Then I'll run 3-5 rounds down it to check zero and I won't clean it again till hunting season is over unless it gets rained on.

    On the other hand , I have a Reminton 700 7mm08 that loves a clean, cold barrel, and starts to open up as the barrel becomes more foul. So for it, I clean it after every range session, or weekend of hunting, regardless of how many rounds have been fired.

    I don't often use a copper solvent, maybe once a year if the gun needs it (I can see the copper build up at the muzzle). Mostly Hoppes Nitro Solvent and copper brushes and lots of patches on a propper fitting jag.

    Truth be known, probably more barrels are damaged by over zealous cleaning than the lack of it and shooting combined.
  5. christcorp

    christcorp Senior Member

    May 18, 2007
    Cheyenne, Wyoming
    I'd never get any shooting down with my AR's if I cleaned it every 20-50 rounds. I clean it after I'm done shooting that day. Roughly 200-300 rounds.

    For non-.223/5.56 weapons; like my hunting rifles; M1 Garand; and other center fire rifles; I don't shoot them often. I clean ALL weapons in March. (Pistols and Rifles). I then clean the non-.223/5.56 rifles after I use them each time. Which could be as little as 20 rounds, or as many as 100 rounds.

    I DON'T use a bore guide. I use Hoppe #9. I clean with a brush and then with patches. Very simple, very inexpensive, and very efficient. I don't use gimmick cleaners or lubes. When I'm done cleaning, I lube metal-to-metal parts with walmart auto-lithium grease. All moving metal parts that don't touch other metal parts, I spray some CLP or Remoil on them. (Whatever I have available). If I'm disassembling a weapon; "For Fun", I'll soak all removable metal parts in Mobil-1 synthetic oil. Then wipe down as I'm re-assembling.

    I've owned guns for 40 years. Some of them have been passed down 2 other generations. They've always been cleaned with a rod and brush and finished with patches. Never needed anything fancy. They all shoot great and will last generations more to come.
  6. Cop Bob

    Cop Bob Member

    Feb 15, 2011
    Deep in the Republic of TEXAS
    After each use it gets a wet patch, Hoppes #9, and if/when I see groups opening a bit, I go for the full round treatment with Sweets to purge the copper... usually about 100 rounds or so.. depends on the MV..

    My pistols, not so much,, break em down, bore snake, compressed air, light jit with a nylon brush and some Hoppes. touch of oil where it needs to go on reassembly.

    When I had a 500 round a week habit, my distinguished revolvers got cleaned every six months whether they needed it or not....
  7. RP88

    RP88 Senior Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    I use boresnakes with CLP, and do so every session.

    This is because I never know how long before I'll go shooting again, so I might as well clean it after each session.
  8. joed

    joed Senior Member

    Sep 17, 2009
    I use Duewy cleaning rods anymore and have gotten away from kits with multi piece rods. For my bolt rifles I wire brush first then use patches with Sweets to get the copper out. Usually 2 patches is all it takes.

    After the Sweets I finish with Outers to get the Sweets out. I'd bet I'm done in 5 minutes.
  9. rajb123

    rajb123 member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Why are brushes dangerous?
  10. Afy

    Afy Senior Member

    Dec 31, 2006
    I use a 1 piece coated cleaning rod, with a bore guide.

    Depending on how deep I want to clean, I will use patches, a brush and more patches.
    Typically I will go after carbon first with KG1. And brush with KG 1 or KG 2 . And then go after copper with KG12. I do every so often let the barrels soak with KG 12 for 12 hours or more.

    Would love to try mercury, but dont have access to any.
  11. NWCP

    NWCP Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Pacific NW
    I clean my barrels after each range session using a nylon bore brush with Break Free CLP. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. JMHO
  12. sansone

    sansone Senior Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    north florida USA
    I use a bore guide now EVERY time a rod goes through. I NEVER clean from the muzzle end. I bring a boresnake to the range and pull it through when the groups open-up (after about 15rds) .. when I get home the bore guide goes in and a patch with #9.. brief brushing.. (KG12 ONLY if I see copper in the lands)..
    last a patch with rem oil
  13. TonyAngel

    TonyAngel Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    This is a question that has had me stumped too. The rifle that I spend the most time with these days is my Krieger barreled Remington 700 in .308. I usually run 100 to 150 rounds through it per range session and have never seen a reduction in accuracy over the course of the range session. I did on one occassion, run over 250 rounds through it and still didn't see any degradation of accuracy. I have heard guys say that they don't clean until they see accuracy decrease, but I just don't feel right leaving my rifle dirty. After all, 150 rounds is more ammunition than many hunting rifles will see in a year or two.

    On the other hand, I've seen guys at benchrest matches clean their barrel after every string of fire.

    I guess the answer would be whatever works for you, as long as what you're doing doesn't result in any damage. When I clean my .308, I do use a bore guide and just clean with Slip 2000 EWL. It gets the crud out. Two wet patches followed by three dry and then lube. As far as copper goes, I haven't settled on a regimen yet. At first, I was using Butch's every range trip and realized that I wasn't getting any copper, so I stopped doing that. I then did it once a month and still didn't see any signification copper. Now I just use the Butch's once for every two 500 round boxes of Sierra bullets, whether it needs it or not.

    Like I said, I really think that this is one of those things that is better dictated by the needs of the particular firearm and that there is more than one proper way of doing it. The important thing to remember is not to use any chemicals that will hurt your bore if you accidentally leave it in too long. There are too many products out there than you can use that work without risking this. The second thing is not to go banging metal against your crown. All else is up in the air, I suppose.

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