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How often do you clean your 22 pistol?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by whatnickname, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    A bit of a warm fall day in Oklahoma today and, while I should have stayed home and done my “honey-dos”, I opted to head out to the gun club, as Sunday afternoons are usually pretty quiet out there. Had the Bullseye Pistol range all to myself so I opted to bench a couple of 22 pistols I’ve done some work on...a Ruger MKII 6&7/8” Target Model and a Browning Buckmark 5” stainless steel bull barrel and stainless slide. If memory serves the Browning was marketed as the Camper Model. The Ruger ran like a sewing machine. Just finished installing a Volquartsen hammer, trigger & sear. Both pistols shot CCI Standard Velocity ammo well under an inch at 25 yards. While the upgrade to the Ruger puts it several notches above the Browning IMO, the Browning is reliable and has a decent trigger. 250 rounds later and I’ve had an enjoyable afternoon. The down side, if there’s a down side at all, is that 22 ammo in blow-back actions is just plain dirty. I’m sure that both pistols would have run perfectly for several hundred more rounds but there’s a part of me that doesn’t like leaving all that crud and grime in a pistol to accumulate so I cleaned them as I always do at the end of a shooting session. As I was winding up I started to wonder what, if any, recommended cleaning intervals there are for 22 pistols? I’ve seen a few that were outright neglected to the point that the slides would barely cycle...pretty sure those were long overdue for a good scrubbing. Had a friend that was adamant that 22 pistols never require cleaning. Years and thousands of rounds later he ended up with a bulged barrel on a Smith & Wesson K22. May have gotten a squib load but he swore that was not the case. That kind of neglect had to be a contributing factor. So my questions are 1) How often do you clean your 22 pistols and why? 2) Can you clean one to death?
     
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  2. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Mine are also a Ruger "Mark" and a Browning Buck Mark.

    I find them both mildly annoying to field strip.

    If/when I take one to the range, I put maybe 50-100 rounds through it. After that I pretty much just swab out the chamber and barrel. I field strip them maybe once per year. They work fine. I clean my "real" handguns after every use (if it's more than 20 rounds or so). If a range-toy 22 pistol doesn't go "bang" sometime, it really doesn't matter.


     
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  3. LaneP

    LaneP Member

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    I use spray cleaners like Hornady One-Shot. After a range session I spray the pistol out and put it away. The stuff is great for a quick clean. Every thousand rounds or so I'll do a more thorough cleaning including patching the bore with solvent. One of my Ruger Mk III's has over 10k rounds through it like that and still functions and shoots great.
     
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  4. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Clean when there's a malfunction caused by dirt. If going to a competition, clean completely, fire a few to check function & zero before going.
     
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  5. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I don't clean a Ruger MK until it starts malfunctioning. Mine will run upwards of 1k rounds before that happens. I believe they do that well because I don't oil them. I believe oil causes the powder fouling to stick and cause the malfunctions. I lube the bolt with Hornady One Shot case lube which dries. Even after a malfunction or two, I usually don't do much other than pull the bolt and brush it and the back of the chamber. That and another shot of Hornady One shot usually gets them back running good.
     
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  6. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    My Gun Club used to have a Nov combined rifle and pistol match and November is a cold month. Most shooters would drag along a 22 lr and shoot that in the 900 point pistol match, and in timed fire and rapid fire there would be lots of alibi's. Myself included. I learned to remove all oil and I tested ammunition that would go through 90 rounds without gumming up the pistol. Copper coated W/W HP worked best in my Ruger MKII

    bxDt6im.jpg

    But, that made an impression on me, not only did I have to start with a clean gun, wax fouling accumulated during a match would stop a 22lr pistol. So, even in hot weather, I always clean my 22 lr's before locking them up in the safe. But recently, I think September, a real good pistol shooter next to me, at a 2700 Match, his 22lr conversion kit was failing to eject and caused him alibi's. Ruined his score, he had two malfunctions in one match, and that meant, he lost the rounds he could not get off on the second alibi. Turns out, he is one of those characters who do not clean their guns until the things malfunction. I did not ask, nor did I care to ask how many rounds it took to cause a jam, because I don't want a malfunction caused by a dirty weapon. I do not see any logic in driving an hour, hour and half, only to ruin my score with slovenly maintenance attitudes.

    Oiling 22lr rounds in moderate weather will solvate the wax and keep the gun running till it eventually clogs up. At some level of crud accumulation, the pistol will malfunction. And in my experience, the colder it is, the sooner that happens.
     
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  7. bdickens

    bdickens Member

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    After 7 1/2 years on active duty, I clean every firearm as soon as I get home from the range with it. It was drilled into me so hard, I can't sleep until I do.
     
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  8. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Mine went 10K rounds without a detail strip and clean. I just wiped down the bolt whenever I felt guilty.
     
  9. barnetmill

    barnetmill Member

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    The required intervals depend to some extent on the how much residue is left by your brand of ammo. Semi-auto .22 pistols are blow back resulting in a lot material getting deposited in the action. The slide face and chamber for sure needs to be cleaned and some simple spraying can do that. But every so often the pistols should be disassembled sufficiently to clean all springs, pins, recoil guides and the interior of the slide and firing pin, extractor, etc.
    Some people that used bolt action .22 rifle with the expensive eley etc loads tell me they never clean their rifles, but these are not the same as a .22 semiauto getting debris blown back into the action.
    Some people that I shoot with use model 41s; they will lubricate standard velocity loads from aguila to get reliable function when fired in the 41. They put a drop of lubricant on the top round of the 5 loaded rounds in the mag. One I know uses a mixture of transmission fluid and the hoppes 9 so I assume the gun gets somewhat cleaned from that solvent.
    I myself do not lube my ammo. It stresses the gun through increased recoil. His gun shows peening on the surfaces where the slide contacts the barrel. But he says his gun has more than 30,000 rounds though it. I use the Federal AutoMatch 22LR with a buffer to prevent battering. It has less recoil than typical high velocity but more than standard velocity. CCI standard velocity is said to function the S&W 41 reliably and once I use up my supply of the Federal I will start shooting the CCI standard velocity.
     
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  10. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    Every gun gets cleaned after shooting or after out in field even if not shot. Auto loaders get complete strip. Along with periodic light oiling of bore and anything that looks dry. Maintenance is paramount.
     
  11. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    The action gets cleaned after every range trip. The barrel gets cleaned whenever I first notice accuracy falling off. Same as with my .22 rifle
     
  12. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    I used to clean my rimfire pistols about every 500 rounds or so. Now I mostly clean them when I get bored and want something to do.

    When I was using copper wash/copper plated ammo in autopistols, I did notice that accuracy would fall off after awhile and the bore would need a good bit of attention, including copper solvents and bore brushes to get it clean again.

    Now that I'm shooting nearly exclusively lead rounds, I'm not really seeing accuracy decline and the barrel cleans up with just a patch or two when I do decide to give the bore some attention. I suppose in a rimfire pistol with a rough bore, more frequent and aggressive cleaning might still be necessary with the wax-coated lead rounds.

    I'm also shooting more rimfire revolvers than autopistols these days and the outside of a revolver tends to get dirty fast due to the cylinder gap. So while my cleaning with autopistols was almost non-existent between 500 round intervals; I almost always do a quick wipedown of the external surfaces after a range session to remove the GSR from the outside of the gun.
     
  13. Remy1858

    Remy1858 Member

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    Every 2-300 rounds but my Ruger MkIV is so easy to take down I figure why not and do it. A squirt or two of clip, some brushing and wiping, a bore snake down the middle and reassemble. Takes all of 5 minutes and the gun runs like a sewing machine. I even have some checkered wood grips coming for it.
     
  14. jar

    jar Member

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    Every time it's used and between changes in ammo brand or type.
     
  15. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    I almost always clean my 22s after a range trip, because i usually put quite a few rounds through them. I want them to be ready to go for the next trip.
     
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  16. johnmcl

    johnmcl Member

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    All of my rimfires get cleaned after each range trip. The barrels are cleaned from breach to crown, and I'm very sensitive to not introducing too much abrasion into a match barrel. Once can ruin a Volquartsen upper.
     
  17. whughett

    whughett Member

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    I had never heard of “oiling 22 Ammo” now here’s two references to it in one thread. It’s not an alien concept, as a black powder shooter greasing bullets and cleaning after every range session is a must.
    As for rim and center fire firearms I admit to a more lackadaisical approach. A, if they malfunction or B,If I’m feeling guilty about it. :)
     
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  18. LUCKYDAWG13

    LUCKYDAWG13 Member

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    I can get between 500 and 800 rounds out of my mk2 before I start getting FTF FTE jams then i disassemble clean it all i shoot is CCI standard or Balzer ammo
     
  19. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I have met those and they will shoot their Anschutz/Walther rifles and not clean the things "till the rifle tells them" to clean. During 6400's I typically clean every other day but I have no rationale other than a preference. Because of the dual extractors on the bolt faces of target rimfires, cases are positively pulled from the chamber and it takes a lot of dirt to gum up the action.

    iPQT7yD.jpg

    However, my BSA Martini Internationals are much more sensitive to a dirty chamber.

    VM6Kerp.jpg

    JVaeSZU.jpg

    The extractor/ejector is a spring tensioned steel flat. It snaps back catapulting the round out of the chamber. However it requires chamber friction for positive ejection. If the chamber is slick from wax the case barely extracts, and I have to fish the thing out of the loading port with a finger. I keep a worn 22lr chamber brush by me and regularly swab the chamber during a match so I can just shoot and not worry about whether the fired round has ejected.

    8zyvN8o.jpg

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    I broke a MKIII extractor, and the only source of supply for a replacement is DZ Arms. Your rifle is down till you find another extractor.

    I do lube 22lr when extraction gets sluggish. Oiling does something as ejection is more positive and that is very important in timed fire and rapid fire. As much as I want my M41's to last, they are consumable items, but I have not seen evidence of peening. I suspect your friend needs to change his recoil spring, few shooters do, and old recoil springs cause problems. They take a set and get weak with time

    LV7Wg0a.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
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  20. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    My Ruger MK1 got disassembled and cleaned about once a year when I used it (about weekly). Last year I switched to a S&W M&P, it gets the treatment every 500 round "brick", which is every 6 weeks or so. After each use, it gets some motor oil.
     
  21. barnetmill

    barnetmill Member

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    Slamfire: very good and informative information.
    I like the double extractors and the only thing missing is dual hit firing pin.
    Oiling if there is enough provides a film to prevent the brass from momentarily gripping the walls of the chamber during the maximum part of the pressure curve of firing. Back thrust or acceleration of the slide is increased.
    As I stated I prefer to use a slightly higher velocity round to do the same and I have a lot of it that federal ammo purchased during the ammo shortage. I still have a small cache of CCI standard velocity and that will be used next and then I shall see. The aguila ammo last I looked was selling for about 4 cents a round and maybe that with oiling will be next. The federal .22 does have failures to fire and if I were a better shot I might not use it.
    I use a buffer like the one below. If I replace the spring I will try to use a factory spring or equivalent. I need to find out what the replacement schedule is for the spring. At my age of 75 I am counting on my model 41 outlasting me.
    41bufferl.jpg
     
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  22. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    I clean the cylinders on my 617s after each session. The barrels get cleaned every couple of bricks.
    Rugers get cleaned when they start to malfunction which is generally in the 1500 to 2000 round range.
    My GSG/CWA guns get the breach cleaned and a lubed patch pulled through after each session and a complete cleaning after a couple of bricks.

    The Henry lever action gets a patch through the barrel on occasion and really cleaned about once a year (or so). It gets all the cheap ammo run through it.
    Bolt actions, Savage and CZ, get the breech and bolt cleaned after each use and occasionally a patch run down the barrel.

    Generally if there is a malfunction with any of my 22s the first thing I do is clean it. Even if it was just cleaned.
     
  23. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    When they get sluggish or it's obvious the grunge needs to be cleaned out, they're just range guns.
     
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  24. waterhouse

    waterhouse Member

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    At some point after several hundred or thousand rounds the action feels noticeably slower, at which point I take them apart and clean them.

    Almost all of them take a lot of shooting to get to that point, even suppressed, but the Trailside (not suppressed) gets finicky after only 300-500 rounds.
     
  25. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Great post, I will have to look into that recoil buffer for a M41.

    Oil does everything you say, and I think it does a bit more. I have been oiling my 45 ACP rounds for several years, not just a drop on the top round, but a drop on all rounds, just at the junction of bullet and case, or every other round, which provides three oiled cases out of five. What I have noticed is, not only is ejection more positive under cold conditions, (for the 45ACP) but that leading is reduced to non existant, and copper fouling is reduced to non existant. This is not true for my RIA GI 1911, that gun leaves heavy lead fouling in the throat regardless of what I do. But my Les Baer Wadcutter, very much reduced bullet fouling. At the end of the match I can just pass a patch through the barrel and the barrel is bright! Oil is blown up the tube, as well as back through the action, and I am of the opinion, that if someone wanted to run a longevity test, that having a lubricant blown up in front of the bullet would result in less throat wear and less barrel wear. If just makes sense as it reduces the engraving force required to swage the bullet to the bore.

    For 22lr's, the tone of the report is changed. Now I can't prove this either, but I also believe that an oily barrel reduces blow by and creates a better pressure seal. We do know from high speed cameras that gas is blown by the bullet and exists the barrel before the bullet leaves. I think a slight oil coating must provide a better gas seal and/as it reduces leading.

    You are doing good at 75. Keep up your cardio and stay active, and you might just yet wear out your M41!
     
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