Any way to completely remove copper from bore?

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Mar 22, 2008
I've tried most of the Remington products (i.e. RemOil, 40-x Bore Cleaner, and Reming Brite Bore) but not one of them seems to work. Every time I pull out my XR and look down the bore, it looks like brown material (rust-like before I put light to it). Once I put light to it (put a Q-Tip down the barrel) I notice it is just copper fouling.

Any way to remove this? Will Break Free work?

Could this be damaging if I leave it be and do not remove it?


There's been articles on Electrolysis type setups that might be the answer for you. I built one for my M44. Its basically a brass rod that goes down the barrel with a plug at the breech. You fill the barrel with a mixture of water/ammonia and vinegar then connect a low voltate < 4 or 5 volts DC and let her cook.

After about 30 minutes I disconnected it all and dumped the mixture. The rod came out Green, which is a pretty good indication of copper coming out.

I repeated the process several times, with diminishing results. My next step was to use some J&B compound (there's two, one grey coarse, and one red not so coarse) I spun this very slowly on a jag and that produced a nice clean barrel on an antique.

Your results may vary as the saying goes.

There are designated copper solvents which work fairly well. The Butch's Bore Shine is a really good all around solvent, and the Sweets 7.62 is also very good at removing copper fouling.

I haven't tried the electrolysis mentioned by Franco, but Outers used to sell (maybe still does sell) the Foul Out 2 which worked on that principle.

Good luck with your issue. Before investing a lot in an Foul Out, I think I'd see how happy I can be with the copper solvents first.

The process described above is probably the ultimate. But it is a hard-core approach.

If you want to stick to conventional chemical cleaning, I recommend Tipton's Truly Remarkable.

This stuff is extremely nasty. It works very well though. I doubt there is better.
I use Sweet's 7.62 Solvent for barrels with bad metal fouling.

However, if the rifle shoots accurately, don't get all wrapped up in removing every last speck of copper. You're more like to do damage to the bore than get it spotless.
Make you own copper remover,works as well as any bought product,click on the copper remover link,the ammonia itself want hurt the bore,it's not cleaning it all out and it attracting water later that causes the problem. I run a wet patch down my bore several time let it sit for about five minutes,then push a tight wet solvent patch down then clean as normal . Just make sure you don't use copper or brass brushes and jigs these metals are attacked by the ammonia,stainless steel or nylon when using ammonia.
Gunslick foaming bore cleaner, Sweets, Barnes CR-10. Use a dedicated copper remover and you'll get all the copper you need to out of the bore. If there is anything left after using these products, it will not have any negative impact on accuracy. The electrolysis systems work well but are not necessary IMO.

THe easiest product I've ever used is the Gunslick foaming bore cleaner. It will produce patchs that are solid navy blue color and you're not scrubbing, patching, and brushing the &%! out of the bore.
I used to use a couple bottles of Sweet's a year, but once I started using Wipe-Out, my Sweet's bottle sits on the shelf. Wipe-Out will remove stuff Sweet's won't touch, and I used to think my rifles were clean after Sweet's stopped coming out blue. Nope.

I can easily see the difference in various solvent results with my borescope, and about all I use anymore is Wipe-out if I have time to let it soak. The other big advantage is that bores don't get rodded & brushed to death like they did with old school solvents. If I'm in a hurry, Montana Extreme will get about 90% of it.
I completely cleaned a surplus 30-06 FN mauser in an effort to make it shoot a little tighter. Went from 2.5" grouping to 20' grouping and then I put a bore scope in and found out just how much deterrioration all that fouling had been covering up. I am a little more judicious in my defouling efforts now.
Over the years I used Gold Medallion (light abrasive), Sweet's 7.62 (ammonia) and finally I got a hold of Breakfree Foaming Bore Cleaner and Butch's Bore Shine.

Breakfree is my new favorite. I like the foam as it completely attaches to the barrel surfaces and appears to do a fine job. Butch's is good too, but not quite as good as Breakfree IMO.
The foams as mentioned are great and do work. I use Wipe Out, but Outers and Forests bore foam are very similar.

The trick is to fill the bore with foam then let it set and work. I leave it over night, and normally the bore is clean of copper by then. The stuff won`t harm the bore like amonia based cleaners can, and is odorless to boot. WipeOut leaves a rust preventive film in the bore but, I use a oily patch after to insure the bore is protected.

You might find the foams leave a trace of carbon fouling. I don`t think they are as good as some solvents for removing it, and normally follow it with Buches, AFTER dry patching, followed by a oily patch then one more dry patch to be sure the old solvent has been removed. The foams will remove carbon but, I feel Butches, Hoppes BR, or an abrasive such as Rem Clean, or JB will do it faster.
Almost anything is better than the Remington products. I've been having good luck with the KG products, I think KG12. But I only worry about cleaning copper out when my accuracy drops off, I'm not shooting benchrest. An overwhelming fear of copper is a relatively new thing, inspired by the internet.
I gotten a few used guns that were pretty fouled, Barnes seems to work best so far.

On new barrels, I clean with de natured alcohol, then swab the bore with Bore Butter for black powder rifles.

Then during the break in (old school, 1 clean, 2 clean, 3, 4, etc) the barrel seems to clean a little easier and better as it progresses.
I've used the Foul-Out, which literally removes every molecule of copper. I used it on three different rifles, each of which shot poorly afterwards, until properly copper fouled again.

I've since found that the abrasives work perfectly, keeping the copper levels down without disturbing accuracy.

Well, I ran down some Hoppes 9 bore cleaner (Love the smell) and it picked up a lot of what the Brite Bore and RemOil seemed to miss. The patches came out with a navy bluish color (copper?) and some black residue.
I use a mild abrasive with a bronze brush. The idea is not to remove all the copper, but just smooth it up so it doesn't foul as bad. I only do this when accuracy falls off.
I've used the Foul-Out, which literally removes every molecule of copper. I used it on three different rifles, each of which shot poorly afterwards, until properly copper fouled again.
LOL, yeah, be careful what you wish for . . .

This is a recurring theme with factory barrels, in which the bore is rough and full of tool marks. I bought a Remington .308 VS that shot mediocre groups until I cleaned it, than accuracy went to hell and it took about 25-30 rounds to get back to mediocre. My Rem LTR .308 is rough too, but shoots well and is about the same clean or dirty.

Custom rifles with a top quality barrel are much less sensitive to cleaning, and also tend to foul less to begin with. I have a Broughton & a Schneider that barely copper foul at all, and even after a 150 round match the patches are barely colored from jacket material, only carbon.
Copper fouling and accuracy: Of course, factory barrels can benefit from hand lapping when brand new. In the absence of hand lapping a brand new barrel, you might consider the break-in procedure recommended by Ed Brown Custom Rifles and other custom manufacturers. The procedure won't make a match barrel out of a factory production barrel, but it will insure that the factory production barrel shoots as well as it is capable.

On the other hand, tens of thousands of rifle owners will tell you that break-in is hogwash. They are entitled to their opinions. It's your rifle, caring for it is your own personal choice.

On the subject of copper removal: Barnes CR-10 is an excellent $8 alternative to the electrical means. Butch's and Outers and others make good copper removers, but Barnes performs particularly well IF you read the directions and follow them. If you don't follow the directions, you might as well swab with plain Hoppe's No. 9 powder solvent and hope for the best.
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