How to clean powder burn/stain from barrel

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George Dickel

Dec 30, 2002
The barrel on my 1911 looks to be chrome plated, too shiny for stainless but maybe it is. The barrel exterior has powder burn on it and I've tried some mild abrasive mag wheel cleaner and have got some of it off. Is there something else I can use that will remove the discoloring?
If your barrel is truly chrome, I wouldn't try this. I have a Taurus Tracker in 357 Magnum that is matte stainless steel and I found a post years ago on another site. I use a scotch bright pad dipped in Hoppe's #9 solvent to remove the powder burning from the front of the cylinder. It works great, but ONLY on stainless steel. It will remove bluing and I'm sure it would damage chrome plating.
This is what I use on my Ruger Single 7 and SP101 revolvers. Not sure if they still sell this today.

Hard chrome should wear like iron so I wouldn’t be too concerned about it damaging from cleaning. My recommendation would be to find a carbon specific cleaner to remove the fouling and read carefully any post treatment steps necessary. I still use Sweets for those hard luck rifles I sometimes adopt and I’ve yet to damage one despite dire warnings. If you prefer something safer try T/C Number 13, works great on muzzleloaders.
When you say "barrel exterior," do you mean the crown of the muzzle? Be aware there is probably no part of a barrel or frame or slide that is more easily damaged by aggressive cleaning than the crown. My sincere advice would be to let it be. You're more likely to harm the gun chasing a sterile-clean crown than if you just gave up cleaning entirely.
A picture would help us figure out exactly what you mean, but in the absence I’ll suggest Flitz and an old sock as an applicator.

I use it to take the rings off of my revolver cylinders when I choose to go fancy and it works every time.

Stay safe.
Here are pictures as requested. After I looked at the barrel more closely it is stainless not chrome plated. You can see where the barrel was shiny at one time, the center part of the barrel where the lugs are was originally a dark color. You can see the barrel through the lightening slots and the black stain shows. I like shiny things!


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It looks like you guys are right but for some reason I was sure I remembered it being shiny stainless. Maybe my old memory was remembering another barrel I had. The Carbon Killer will be put to good use on some revolvers I have where I haven't been able to get all the carbon off.
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