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Copper remover not necessary?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by brentn, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. brentn

    brentn Well-Known Member

    Was reading this blurb on the armalite website

    No safe copper remover formulation has yet been identified, but government tests reveal that copper removal provides no advantage in a standard military arm. It may serve a useful purpose in cleaning the bore of a rifle meant for extremely precise fire, such as a sniper rifle.

    So if you have a standard rifle, nothing fancy, it apparently will not affect accurracy?

    Honestly if I had a non-match firearm I'd rather preserve the barrel then clean it unnecessarily with copper remover.
  2. Kurac

    Kurac Well-Known Member

    I hear all these warnings about copper remover harming barrels so I did a little experiment last time I had the Sweets 7.62 out.

    I cleaned a carbon steel knife blade of oil an scrubbed a section with steel wool. Next I put a drop of the sweets and left it for a few days. After wiping the residue from the drop away, you could never tell it was there.

    My conculsion, there may be some damage but it has to be microscopic because I couldn't see any. If you only leave the copper remover in the barrel for 10 or 15 minutes, I don't see what harm it will do.
  3. imr4895

    imr4895 New Member

    Standard Military Arms Have Chrome Lined Barrels/bores Right? Copper Doesn't Build Up In Those. (possibly Cause It's So Hard And Smooth) Sniper Rifles Use Steel Or Stainless Steel Barrels Which Accumulates Copper Build Up from the tools used to rifle the barrels. We Never Used Copper Remover In The Marines To Clean M-16'S Just Clp Or The Civilian Version Break Free. Those Barrels Were Much Easier To Clean Compared To My Ar's . They Use Chrome Lined For Barrels Longer Barrel Life. Our standard rifle isn't the same as the gov's standard rifle, our barrels would be more like the snipers which will get copper fouled over time. something like 200 rounds or so, they say, whoever they are. of course our standard barrel would probably have more blemishes in it which would accumulate more copper build up sooner. I copper clean once a year for good measure like around christmas when i have some free time.
  4. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    I cleaned my AR with bore foam the other night- usually the stuff turns blue from all of the copper it removes from other rifles, it didn't on my AR- just black carbon residue came out of the barrel. I now tend to believe that copper does not build up in chromed barrels.
  5. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    From the Armalite website:
    Recommendations: Employ ATF as a small arms cleaning agent, and follow with 20 weight synthetic motor oil as a lubricant. Until a commonly available alternate copper solvent is identified, employ a commonly available commercial copper solvent such as Hoppe’s Number 9 on firearms intended for a high degree of accuracy.

    The 'copper removal' agent mentioned int he first post was in the same tech bulletin as the above statement under the heading of 'Alternate cleaning and lubrication materials.'

    What they are talking about is materials other than commercially available solvents and protectants.
  6. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    I would simply follow this tech bulletin on their site, I agree with it entirely:



    Considerable confusion surrounds the proper technique for cleaning ArmaLite® AR-10® and M15™ rifles. Numerous materials and tools are available for the task. Done right, cleaning will assure long and reliable service. Done poorly, cleaning will damage a rifle and shorten its life.

    Some of the worst cleaning practices are found among those expected to know best how to maintain rifles: the military. Military procedures are too often focused not on cleaning properly, but on cleaning totally. It’s hard to make a judgement call that a rifle is cleaned and preserved well enough for dependable service. It’s easier to say that there isn’t a speck of dirt remaining on the rifle.

    The fact is that Soldiers and Marines tend to vastly over-clean their rifles, despite official guidance that "white glove" clean isn’t proper. Armorers are held responsible for the improperly cleaned rifles found in their arms rooms. Under these conditions, they can be expected to demand extreme cleanliness. The power to reject the efforts of his superiors appeals to the tyrant residing in the heart of most armorers.

    The Soldier or Marine who is held to impeccable parade ground standards invents shortcuts that damage rifles: cleaning rifles in the shower, using improper cleaning agents like Lime Away, using a horrible variety of homemade scrapers, or disassembling the rifles farther than authorized or needed.

    Unfortunately, the military example is too often taken into civilian life, and is followed by owners who should know better.

    With this in mind we submit that the rifle should be disassembled and cleaned in accordance with ArmaLite’s manual, with the following considerations:

    SAFETY FIRST: Remove the magazine, then withdraw the charging handle to the rear and inspect the chamber to assure that no cartridge remains in the chamber.


    RBC (Rifle Bore Cleaner) or a suitable commercial product like Hoppe’s number 9.


    Cleaning patches of correct caliber

    Bore brush of correct caliber

    Cleaning rod or pull-through

    LSA (Lubricant, Semifluid, Automatic Weapons) or suitable substitute such as Bore Cote.



    The most important cleaning materials are bore cleaning solvent, a good supply of rags, and a suitable lubricant. Almost all of the important fouling in the rifle can be quickly wiped from the parts. Q-tips, pipe cleaners, and brushes are useful.

    Some time ago, the military switched to CLP (Cleaner, Lubricant, and Preservative) as a do-all small arms maintenance product. That’s nice for logisticians, who now need only provide a single product. CLP is commercially sold under the brand name Break Free ®.

    Unfortunately, CLP is a compromise product, and does nothing especially well. Some of the most experienced of the government’s small arms engineers have concluded that the old combination of RBC (Rifle Bore Cleaner) and LSA (Lubricant, Semifluid, Automatic Weapons) is the best combination of materials for ArmaLite® family arms. We agree with the RBC/LSA combination as a starting point, with other later products judiciously used if available.

    Never use more than one bore cleaner during cleaning. Many will work well if used alone, but some will react adversely when used in combination, and can damage the barrel.

    COMBAT CLEAN: GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOVERNMENT WORK The first priority of rifle maintenance to protect it until time is available for detail cleaning, and to assure reliable function if the rifle is needed soon. Sometimes there just isn’t time to perform detail cleaning immediately after firing.

    If time doesn’t allow a thorough cleaning, then wipe the rifle clear of obvious dirt, sand, or other contaminants and lubricate it inside and out. Wipe the carrier with an oily cloth or patch to get the worst of the fouling off it. Pull the bolt to its forward position in the carrier and place a drop of lubricant in each of the vent holes of the carrier (the two vertically placed holes in the dished cut). Use a cleaning brush to sweep the fouling and traces of brass from the extractor hook and bolt face. Run an oily patch through the bore (especially a bare, unchromed, bore). Wipe out the fowling in the upper receiver with the oily rag or patch. Lubricate the carrier group normally, and reassemble the rifle. Wipe down exposed surfaces with a slightly oily cloth or patch.

    This procedure should protect the rifle until it can be detail-cleaned. It should assure that the rifle is capable of immediate use in emergency. If cleaned in this manner every 250 shots or so, an ArmaLite® rifle can be fired for well over 1000 rounds without detail cleaning.

    DETAIL CLEANING: Detail cleaning is performed to thoroughly clean the rifle for long-term storage. It prevents rust or other deterioration of the rifle, and reliable function when needed. It requires more time than hasty cleaning.

    After assuring that the rifle is unloaded, disassemble it according to instructions in the manual.

    Upper Receiver and Barrel Group: Clean the barrel using a brush soaked in a high quality solvent. It’s useful to clean from the breech using a rod guide, especially with match rifles. If you’re careful, it’s not generally necessary to remove the brush from the rod when the brush exits the bore: it can be pulled back though the breech. Leave the solvent soaking the bore while you clean the other parts.

    Use a brush to clean the teeth of the Barrel Extension, and a Q-tip to remove all the fouling possible at the breech. Run a dry patch or two through the barrel from the breech, and then oil the bore with a soaked patch to protect it.

    Contrary to common instructions, it isn’t necessary to push patches through the bore until the last one comes out clean. Expect some slight fouling to continue to leach from the pores of the barrel, and learn to accept it. It isn’t harmful.

    Remove the handguards to clean the barrel. Protect the barrel with a light coat of oil.

    Clean the inside of the upper receiver with the rag and Q-tips, with particular attention to the area around the gas tube and the charging handle track. Brush dirt from the rear sight assembly, and lubricate it slightly. Clean and lubricate the ejection port cover and forward assist (if any).

    Bolt Carrier Group: Disassemble the Bolt Carrier Group completely. Soak the parts in cleaning solvent if possible. Wipe all parts with a rag to remove most of the dirt. Use a brush to loosen and remove tougher fouling. Wipe out the chromed cavity in the front of the Carrier. Don’t use scrapers or any other hard tool to clean the hard fouling at the bottom of the cavity: normal gas flows from firing keep the fouling under control. Clean the gas path in the carrier key with a solvent-soaked pipe cleaner.

    Use the pipe cleaner to clean and lube the whole length of the Firing Pin channel in the bolt. Use a brush or Q-tip to clean the extractor pocket. Brush the Extractor clean; don’t remove the Extractor Spring or the plug within the spring. Inspect the bolt to assure that the gas rings are serviceable. Make sure that the gaps in the rings (if any) are not lined up, or operating gasses may be lost through the opening.

    Clean the firing pin, firing pin retainer, and cam pin with a brush and solvent soaked patch.

    Reassemble. Lubricate the cam pin and its pathway in the carrier. Lubricate the carrier group, with particular attention to heard wearing or shiny spots like the cam pin and the raised bearing ribs beside the carrier key and the lower front of the carrier.

    Charging handle: Wipe clean. Lubricate the latch. Before inserting in the rifle, lubricate the sides of the charging handle, especially the two tabs on the sides near the tip.

    Lower Receiver: Occasionally remove the Buffer and Buffer Spring to clean and lubricate them, and clean and lubricate the inside of the tube they ride in.

    Use compressed air and Q-tips to clean the trigger group. Use compressed air to blow the trigger pocket clean. Lubricate.

    Lubricate the Bolt and Magazine Catches and exercise them to remove dirt and excess lubricant.

    Magazine: The magazine should seldom be disassembled for cleaning. It’s easier to keep it clean than to get it clean. Keep it off the ground. If it must be disassembled, insert a bullet tip or other tool into the hole of the floorplate and pry the tabs up as little as possible to allow the floorplate to be pushed to the rear and off the magazine. Using too much force will bend the floorplate. Work the magazine spring out of the magazine by "walking" it out with side to side movements. To avoid damaging the spring, don’t simply pull it out. The follower is attached to the spring, but must be tilted to remove it from the magazine box. Clean all parts. Lubricate the spring lightly. Don’t lubricate the magazine box or follower; the lubricant will catch and hold sand and other fouling. Reassemble.

    SUMMARY: More rifles are damaged by improper cleaning than by actual use. It’s far better to do just a minimal job of lubricating a rifle to prevent rust or other damage than to damage it by over zealous cleaning.

    Copyright © 1999 ArmaLite, Inc®.
  7. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    Don't use CLP because it isn't very good at anything but do use the combination of rifle bore cleaner and lubricant small arms.
    Man I hate to tell Mark but CLP is basically rifle bore cleaner and lubricant small arms mixed together with some teflon tossed in to increase lubricity.

    I have been personally using products from the M-Pro 7 line including their copper cleaner.
    All work better than anything else I have ever tried.

    I tend to agree with what else Armalite is suggesting even though I do remove copper fouling from rifles on a regular basis and chrome lining does not prevent copper fouling it just makes what copper fouling that does occur that much harder to effectively remove.
    Even so chrome lined barrels were never intended to provide gilt edge accuracy and it probably isn't all that neccessary to remove copper fouling from such a barrel bore.
  8. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    CLP has its place, but IMHO its way overrated for civillian use. If I had to choose between sleeping and cleaning a rifle, I might use CLP. If I had to carry my rifle cleaning materials everywhere I go, I might use CLP to simplify things. Since I don't have those restrictions on my personal life, I'l take the time to use better solvents, lubes, and protectants because I have that luxury:cool:
  9. BsChoy

    BsChoy Well-Known Member

    I find clp to be best used as a carbon remover and rust preventative. I was using it soley for stuff but went back to sweets and hoppes #9 (love that smell). But clp is my preferred lube.
  10. Horsemany

    Horsemany Well-Known Member

    CLP outstanding rust protection

    I just wanted to add one thing. To say CLP is a compromise and doesn't do any one thing well is incorrect. I have run 5 corrosion tests of my own. I have varied the methods and metals. I have a hard time making CLP rust. I end the tests when most of the samples become so rusty they all look alike. In all of these tests the CLP sample is still rust free. I have tested the aerosol and non-aerosol versions with similar results. The only other products that I have tested with as good of results are Eezox and Corrosion-x. I won't name the other preservatives or oils which didn't fair as well, but if you think you will find something better for rust protection good luck trying. I am in no way affiliated with Break-Free and I'm not saying it's the cat's P.J's, but let's seperate fact from fiction.
  11. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    I have found the exact opposite in my tests.

    Breakfree works well on guns that don't readily corrode, like military style rifles, but the only blued gun that I ever had rust on me was treated with Breakfree. To each his own though.

    Edit:I'll admit that the only version that I have used ofBreakfree is the aerosol version,
  12. Kimber1911_06238

    Kimber1911_06238 Well-Known Member

    sounds like they recommend a little #9.....sounds good to me

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