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How to avoid over cleaning

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by walking arsenal, Feb 6, 2005.

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  1. walking arsenal

    walking arsenal Member

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    In another thread a fellow mentioned that over cleaning a rifle can erode the bore more than shooting it.

    I'd heard this before but never really thought about it much until now.

    So i figured a good discussion on how to avoid over cleaning would help bring into the light how to avoid it from happenning.

    A good refresher for some people and maybe a helpful thread for our newer members.

    Now I'll admit that it's possible i have a psychological problem when it comes to cleaning my guns.

    Even if it's just been a couple of rounds through them i find myself stripping them down and scrubbing every little part.

    the problem for me is that when i start cleaning i never know were to stop.

    do i just do the barrel? if i only shoot 50 rounds should i even bother cleaning? After how many rounds should i clean? and so and so on.

    everyone has there own cleaning regime, what are some suggestions to avoid over cleaning a gun?

    what are some little hints and tips to cleaning?
     
  2. Dionysusigma

    Dionysusigma Member

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    After a range trip, I use different criteria on different guns.

    Marlin 60: Entire inside of receiver is scrubbed clean. Action is scrubbed, esp. the feedramp. Bolt is scrubbed until completely clean (firing pin must rattle around freely). Action is then doused in solvent, and airblasted about 15minutes later to remove grit. Bore/chamber has solvent sprayed into it, and excess fluid is drained onto a cloth before being airblasted. 1/2" x 1" patch is tied to a bit of thread/floss/fishing line, and pulled through barrel from chamber to crown if more than 700 rounds have been fired that day.

    SAR-1: None, unless over 700 rounds have been fired. Then it's field stripped, with the bolt face scrubbed (until firing pin rattles freely), gas piston wiped down, extractor cavity cleaned/air-blasted. Barrel is scrubbed and wiped with patches. (FWIW, I use Wolf in it almost exclusively...)

    Swede Mauser: Bore/barrel is sprayed with solvent, then airblasted clean & dry. If over 160 rounds have been fired, I run apatch through to ensure everything is clean. Bolt face never gets dirty, nor anything else. :)

    Vektor SP-2: Barrel is wiped down with patches, and slide rails are lightly oiled. Only 131 rounds have ever been fired from it to begin with, so it hasn't really had a chance to get grimy.

    Nice music and the occasional good movie helps too. :)
     
  3. Heysoos

    Heysoos Member

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    wondering myself...

    I've been reading over on the MKII forum about how over-cleaning wears out the Ruger .22's faster than shooting them, and usually I clean them meticulously after a range session, but have slacked a bit after reading all those posts. I still clean my HD pistol crystal clear after a range session, but if the MKII only gets a couple hundred rounds, I don't mind lettin it sit for a rainy day. Maybe I'll change that if I hear differently here.
     
  4. spacemanspiff

    spacemanspiff Senior Member

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    for me, it all subjective. the mausers get cleaned meticulously because i dont want the corrosive salts to eat away my bore. i've got a lot of elbow grease invested to make sure my mausers are in the best condition possible, for as much as i shoot them.

    the AR gets cleaned after each range trip simply because thats my newest gun and i really want to keep her looking good.

    when i had my .22's i'd only clean them sporadically. the marlin papoose was more picky about being kept clean since the action wouldnt always close if it had a lot of residue in the reciever.
    the walther p22 also liked more tlc or it'd get all gritty and whatnot.
    the ruger mk2 though couldnt care less if it was clean or not. i'd only clean it out just because i was bored, or wanted to see what shape the springs and pins were in.
    other handguns, get cleaned whenever i feel like it. i'll run a boresnake through and wipe off the feed ramp and make sure the outside is free of dirt/carbon, but i dont get too anal about it.
     
  5. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    Spiff ya aint cleaned that Kimber yet, dont lie

    WildiknowAlaska
     
  6. spacemanspiff

    spacemanspiff Senior Member

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    i'll clean my kimber when you clean your mousegun. :neener:
     
  7. USP45usp

    USP45usp member

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    For some, guns are like their toys that they wish to keep sparkling and pretty, especially when we present them to gain favor with our friends.

    I have found that .22's actually get tighter on the target if they aren't cleaned, I don't know why and I'm not going to argue the point, but mine seems to do better dirty then cleaned. Marlin single shot .22 and Buckmark .22.

    As for the others, the AR needs cleaned each and every time that it comes home from the range. The 30-40 could care less how clean or dirty it was. The handguns, they don't care it seems either. I clean my Kimber every month because it it my carry piece.

    I've found that if you aren't using corrisive ammo, the guns really don't care when and if you clean them. They still seem to work and hit accuratally, with exceptions on the AR.

    Wayne
     
  8. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    Aint gonna clean it, when It gets dirty get a new one :)

    WildhowsthatAlaska
     
  9. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    Single best way to prevent damage/excess wear to firearms by overcleaning:
    Don't use metalic brushes or abrasive materials often.

    I clean all my guns after all range trips or hunting trips.

    For handguns:
    -clean bore w/ Hoppe's Benchrest or foaming copper solvent
    -put patches through using tight fitting plug on the end of a rod until the bore is clean
    -wipe everything clean with a rag and Breakfree CLP or Hoppe's if it has a lot of residue on it
    -lube w/ Breakfree

    For my Tikka T3 308:
    -clean bore same as above
    -wipe dirt off bolt and action
    -relube bolt/action with a little Tetra grease

    For my Ruger 10/22:
    -don't clean the bore unless I'm not gonna shoot it for a while. If I clean it then I use an Otis pull through cable w/ patches. I don't clean the bore every time because it takes a lot of rounds before the gun shoots normally.
    -wipe the breechface and chamber clean with breakfree (chamber is cleaned with a patch over a nylon brush)
    -always wipe inside the reciever and bolt clean w/ Breakfree

    For my Mossy 500 12ga:
    -brush the bore with a bronze bore brush and Hoppe's. This is the only gun I normally use a brush in because it doesn't have rifling that can wear away. The only thing that will happen with lots of cleaning is the machining marks in the bore will go away :)
    -wipe the bolt, inside the action, and action bars with Breakfree

    When most people tell you that cleaninig wears a gun out they are refering to the use of metalic brushes. Even though things like bronze are softer than the barrel's steel it will eventually wear away the surfaces.
    No harm can be done with just cotton and oil/solvent.
     
  10. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Handguns get cleaned when they look dirty.

    .22s get oiled.

    Blastin' rifles get cleaned ever so often.

    ACCURATE rifles get cleaned ever 15-20 rounds. 3 soaked patches of Butch's Bore Shine, 10-15 strokes of a benchrest bronze brush, with Butch's liberally applied, 3 soaked patches of BBS, two dry patches.

    I can load 20 rounds to benchrest standards using a single stage press, and clean a rifle, in 23 minutes.

    READ THIS!!!!

    The things that tear up rifle bores...

    If you own one of those wally world jointed aluminum cleaning rods, give to someone who you don't like. It'll eat your bore.

    Get a one-piece pro-shot or dewey rod, and a BORE GUIDE. Keep everything running straight and true.
     
  11. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

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    I run a patch of Hoppes elite through, allow it to sit for 5 minutes, brush 5 or six strokes, put about 3 or patches through followed by a patch coated with FP-10.

    Bronze brushes will not harm your bore.


    All of the harm comes at the 2 ends of the barrel- a cheap rod scraping against the throat end, then having a brass jag pushed out the muzzle of the barrel and pulled back through, dragging against the crown before it straightens out. Both will wear the most critical spots on the barrel.

    That being said, I never clean .22s.
    I only clean centerfires if they are going to be stored for a long time or the accuracy is starting to degrade or I shot corrosive ammo or black powder through it. If its because of corrosive ammo, I clean with a few water soaked patches before I even leave the range and it gets a thorough cleaning as soon as I get home.

    I've purposely shot corrosive ammo through a rifle and let it stand for several days to see how long it took to rust- it took about 4 days before orange fuzzies started to show up, but I'm sure that pitting began long before rust was visible.

    My dad gave me a Rifle that I know he bought new, and hadn't cleaned in at least 25 years. I gave it a thorough cleaning, and it had very minor pitting in an area about 4" long in the middle of the barrel, not sure if this was due to powder residue attracting moisture, but the damage was very minimal for the veruy long time it was stored that way.
     
  12. TheEgg

    TheEgg Member

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    On another thread the other day, I invented the '15 minute rule', which states simply that if you spend more than 15 minutes cleaning a firearm, you are overcleaning.

    BTW, where did I get 15 minutes? Just plucked it out of the air. :D

    But I think that the concept is valid (for you it might be 10 minutes, for someone else 20).
     
  13. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    After use I'll run a patch coated with Breakfree down the bore. I'll take another patch with some Breakfree on it and wipe down the bolt/cylinder/whatever and I'm done. I doubt I'm over cleaning.
     
  14. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    The main reason for cleaning IMO is to remove the buildup of carbon fouling in the chamber, on the breechface, under the extractor, and in the trigger and its workings. Other than that, I find no reason to shove a cleaning rod down the bore all the time. More firearms are worn out and damaged by obsessive cleaning than by shooting.
     
  15. Ankeny

    Ankeny Member

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    Speaking of rifles only, peak accuracy is generally achieved if the bore is clean and free of carbon fouling and copper fouling. I clean mine in a fashion similar to what bogie posted, but I clean every 10-15 rounds instead of every 20 when possible. I use Butch's and good old Number 9, a quality coated rod, quality patches that are absolutely clean (if I drop a patch I toss it) and I use a nylon brush. Every hundred rounds or so I'll let the bore soak overnight and then again the next day with Hoppe's. When the copper fouling gets bad enough I use good old JB Bore Cleaner.

    On my competition handguns like my Baer, if I shoot lead I scrub the bore with the worst imaginable item, a stainless brush wrapped with extra coarse stainless steel wool. Only a total idiot would use that combination, but I rebarrel so often it doesn't matter. Everything gets scrubbed after each trip with liberal amounts of Hoppe's, sprayed with brake cleaner, blown dry with an air compressor, then lubed liberally with synthetic motor oil. Handguns are tools, keep them clean and well lubed. I rebuild every my Open gun every 30,000 - 50,000 rounds. A standard 1911 can go a lot longer.
     
  16. Zackmeister

    Zackmeister Member

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    I tend to clean my guns immediately after I shoot. I am probably a little overzealous about it as it usually takes over an hour. Maybe I should stretch out it between cleanings a little.
     
  17. 45R

    45R Member

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    I usually dont worry about cleaning the guts of my guns until I have about 500 rounds into them. I will however run a wet patch through the barrel to keep it happy. :)
     
  18. Mauserguy

    Mauserguy Member

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    Immediately after shooting, I always run a patch soaked in gun oil through the bore. I also wipe down the bolt face with a very oily rag. I then drive home and several hours later clean the gun. I have found that the heavy layer of oil loosens all of the crud and I only have to run a Hoppes soaked patch through the bore two or three times.

    I started this routine thinking that the gun oil would keep the oxygen away from the steel, but I now do it because it facilitates my later cleaning efforts.

    Also, I second the comments about those awful jointed cleaning rods. They should be banished from your gun gear forever. The plastic rods are cheap and soft.
    Mauserguy
     
  19. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Oh yeah - never use a stainless brush unless (1) you plan to rebarrel often, or (2) you're an ubertactical ultrablack rifle high speed low drag shoe-wearin', plate tapin' studmuffin of a ninja sniper... Cuz accuracy don't matter.
     
  20. artherd

    artherd member

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    Once in a while I run a dry boresnake down my rifles.

    Semi autos get taken down and piston/impingiment cleaned and action lubed after every 1k or so. I get 80% of the ???? out, lube with CLP, and back together she goes.

    I think I might clean my Glock 34 again someday. Hasn't needed it in about 3k rounds (though I've broken down and put a drop of oil on the slide rails once :)
     
  21. sturmruger

    sturmruger Member

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    I am not afraid to admit that I don't clean my guns all that much. In one of the gunsmithing classes I took the very knowledgable teacher told us that many guns are worn out from over cleaning. He said that if we do want to clean our guns relegiously we should buy the fancy bore rods that keep the rod from touching the rifling. None of the pistols I own seem to care if they are clean or dirty so I just let them go.
     
  22. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Member

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    All get wiped down each time I handle them.

    I have a couple Ruger .22 autos that get hosed out with Gunscrubber and then relubed when they get filthy enough to start having reliability problems. I never clean the bores.

    Savage Model 99 gets the bore cleaned at the end of deer season each year.

    The AR's get stripped and the carrier group wiped clean every 500 rounds or so. The bore gets cleaned when accuracy starts to fall off. The gas tube never gets touched.

    Centerfire pistols get stripped and cleaned every 500 rounds or so.

    Carry guns get stripped, wiped free of lint, and relubed weekly.
     
  23. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Member

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    I clean any gun after I shoot it. Whether or not I use a bronze brush depends on what I was shooting.

    I clean my rifle by using multiple wet patches with some sort of copper removing cleaner. After several wet patches, I take a few passes with a bore brush, then several wet patches. I let it soak for a minute or two between each patch while I clean the bolt or other guns. I follow with a dry patch, then some more wet ones. When I stop getting any greenish blue color on the patches, I run a couple dry ones through, then follow with an oiled patch, then a couple dry patches to remove the excess.

    For my handguns, I do pretty much the same, but use the brush more, especially if I'm shooting lead. I field strip my handguns everytime I clean them. If I have time to clean the barrel, I have time to clean the rest of the gun. Like Joe, I clean my CCW piece weekly or so just to make sure there's no crud in the action.

    I use a coated Dewey rod and a boreguide for my rifle. I use an uncoated steel road and a guide for my handguns. I use brass patch jags and bronze brushes.

    Chris
     
  24. halvey

    halvey Member

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    Handguns:
    If I shoot them regularly, they get cleaned when they don't work anymore. Besides a little CR10 or simply wiping the feedramp, they don't need to be cleaned very often.

    If I had a handgun that was more for nostalgia that I only shoot every so often, then I'd clean it more.

    Shotguns: I make sure the bores are sparkling. But with a shotgun, this isn't hard to do. I've seen too many nice shotguns ruined by rusty bores.

    Rifles: I try not to use the brush a whole lot. Someone mentioned using oil. I noticed after I clean my rifle, when it's "clean" after running an oily soaked patch through, I pick up a whole lot more dirt. So I clean with CR10 soaked patches only, then run an oily rag down the bore.

    I had an benchrest shooter, probably in his late 50's and with around 100+ rifles tell me he used the same procedure I do, but instead of oil, he'd run an isopropal alcohol soaked rag down the bore. So the bore would be dry. It seems it'd be a magnet for moisture that way, but I suppose if he cleaned his rifles that way then they'd go in the safe, he'd be ok.
     
  25. 30Cal

    30Cal Member

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    I clean my .22LR actions but never the bores.

    Pistols I patch and brush, lightly oil and put them away--a 15 minute exercise. For rifles, I patch and brush, then I let solvent do the dirty work--I use regular hoppes and patch it once in the morning and once at night until they stop coming out green/blue. I've got one old leveraction rifle that never comes clean, so I just mop it out real quick and hang it up.

    I use one piece coated cleaning rods and bore guides (for rifles).

    Ty
     
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