Myth Busting - "Real World" Factory Stock Dirty vs Clean 22LR barrel accuracy

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by LiveLife, Nov 19, 2021.

  1. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    "You never clean a 22LR rifle"

    Remember this thread? - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/you-never-clean-a-22-rifle.894731/page-2#post-12052173

    I have done several "myth busting" threads for Handloading & Reloading category of THR over the years with certain degree of success (List of myth busting threads in the linked post) - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/myth-busting.876700/page-2#post-11678818

    "Since there are many ... variables, some myth busting can be more difficult as these other variables must be reduced or eliminated first. So to conduct effective myth busting (And believable by THR peanut gallery), you would have to prove how you isolated the variable you are myth busting or confirming."
    I have wanted to do this myth busting of dirty vs clean 22LR barrel accuracy for some time but since barrel accuracy involves shooting variables (Construction of hard machine rest was put on hold due to cataract/glaucoma/technical issues ... Thankfully, cataract surgery with Vivity IOL implants went well), scoped 50 yard range tests were done on Lead Sled Solo stabilized with a roll of blue painter's tape.

    [​IMG]

    Factory Trigger Break-In - And since I am using factory stock 10/22 and T/CR22 with factory triggers (which BTW went from 7.5 lbs to 4.5 lbs for 10/22 after 3000 rounds and 6 lbs to 4 lbs for T/CR22 after 1000 rounds), I am hoping to correlate 10 shot groups captured with various ammunition from 10/22 and T/CR22 "real world ..." threads to determine whether accuracy improved or not between dirty vs clean barrel by comparing "relative" group size variations.

    In preparation for this myth busting, new 10/22 and T/CR22 barrels were intentionally not cleaned since out of the box (Not brushed with copper bore brush) and barrels were only mopped with Hoppes #9 and dry patched every 1000 rounds (Chamber and muzzle crown were cleaned as necessary along with magazines).

    Test Rifles - Here are 10/22 Collector #3 and T/CR22 used for testing (10/22 was free-floated with hard plastic shim under V block and back of receiver better stabilized with a strip of electrical tape. KSA 16.5" bull barrel will be installed on T/CR22 for the upcoming "Accurizing 22LR on the cheap" thread)

    [​IMG]

    10/22 baseline 10 shot groups from Range Test #10 with 3500 round count - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/real-world-plinking-25-yard-22lr-ammo-comparison-with-hot-barrel-ruger-10-22-collector-3-break-in.859106/page-3#post-12110978

    T/CR22 baseline 10 shot groups from Range Test #4 with 1500 round count - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/thompson-center-t-cr22-real-world-25-50-yard-22lr-ammo-comparison-break-in.864241/#post-12110986

    Cleaning of barrels - Both barrels were mopped with Hoppes #9 until dripping wet, soaked with ends plugged for 10 minutes and mopped again then soaked again for 10 more minutes before brushed twice with copper bore brush at end of cable (Brushed from chamber to muzzle) and dry patched with Viva paper towel (Keeping the "real world" theme). Even after 3500 rounds, 10/22 bore was fairly clean and shiny before the cleaning and not much came out of the barrel and dry patch was clean after several passes. After 1500 rounds, T/CR22 barrel was even cleaner and dry patch was clean after two passes.

    Rest of 10/22 and T/CR22 (along with magazines) were cleaned with Hoppes #9 and oiled with full synthetic motor oil as part of 1000 round routine cleaning.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2021
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  2. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Range Report 10/22 Groups - Weather forecast projected a week of showers so under threat of 35%-60% chance of rain with occasional rain drops, I rushed to my shooting spot today. Due to anticipated rain, instead of testing various brand/weight used for "dirty barrel" baseline groups, I decided to shoot some Aguila 40 gr CPRN groups which consistently produced smaller groups for both 10/22 and T/CR22 throughout 3500/1500 round testing (with hope of testing different ammunition before it started raining).

    Here's 10/22 "dirty barrel" Aguila 40 gr CPRN 50 yard groups - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/real-world-plinking-25-yard-22lr-ammo-comparison-with-hot-barrel-ruger-10-22-collector-3-break-in.859106/page-3#post-12110978

    [​IMG]

    10/22 "dirty barrel" Federal 525 round 36 gr CPHP (Look at Blue Box #1 and #2 groups)

    [​IMG]

    And 10/22 "clean barrel" Aguila 50 yard groups - (A) for Aguila Prime

    [​IMG]

    I did four more Aguila groups along with Federal 525 round blue box 36 gr CPHP

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 19, 2021
  3. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Last edited: Nov 19, 2021
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  4. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Range Report Continued - While rain had stopped but dark clouds were looming, I quickly shot more groups. Since I forgot to bring the ammo can with CCI SV/Blazer boxes, I decided to shoot Aguila Pistol Match with lead RN.

    [​IMG]

    Figuring clean barrels were definitely well "seasoned" by now, I wanted to shoot some Aguila for verification groups but shortly afterwards, rain drops were falling on my head so today's range session came to an end.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Summary/Comments - Range test results after barrel cleaning were mostly expected with some surprises.
    • My 10/22 definitely does not like Federal bulk blue box and dislikes bulk red box from Walmart even more (If you think 550 round red box is same as 525 round blue box, think again).
    • After 3500 rounds without cleaning the 10/22 barrel, Federal bulk 525 round blue box showed trend of decreasing group size but 550 round red box didn't show as much reduction in group size.
    • 10/22 produced consistent group size with Aguila smaller than "dirty barrel" groups initially after barrel cleaning with reduction of group size with increasing round count.
    • T/CR22 produced decreasing group size trend with most ammunition tested during the 1500 round break-in while producing smaller group size than 10/22.
    • T/CR22 produced more consistent smaller groups with both Federal bulk 525 round blue and 550 round red boxes than 10/22 during 1500 round break-in.
    • After cleaning, T/CR22 barrels produced larger Aguila and Federal bulk blue box groups but showed decreasing group size trend with Aguila as the round count increased/barrel "seasoned".
    So, just keep cleaning your 22LR chamber and muzzle crown and keep that bore brush away from the barrel. :D And if you have a 10/22, you can clean the barrel to see if the group size decreases with ammunition you are using.

    I am curious how well 10/22 will shoot other ammunition previously tested so I may repeat range test after the rain. (I know, at some point, cleaned barrel will again become "dirty")

    NOTE: Of course, these results are from my firearms with no indication of leading of barrel. If you experience leading of your barrel, your experience may vary.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2021
  6. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    "Test of the Effect on Accuracy of Cleaning the Bore of the Caliber .22 Rimfire Rifle" Report No. DPS-1191, Development and Proof Services, Aberdeen Proving Ground, February 1964.

    ABSTRACT
    The bore of a small-bore training or match rifle may be worn or damaged because of excessive or improper cleaning. This test was conducted to investigate the effect on accuracy of cleaning the bore of the caliber .22 rimfire rifle. A total of 3800 rounds was fired in four match rifles at a range of 100 yards on an indoor range using a machine rest. Conditions were kept as nearly constant as possible, except for barrel temperature and bore surface condition. It was found that the first shot fired from a rifle which was not fired for some time, and infrequently the second shot, was out of the normal group, and that, excluding the first group, the difference in group size before and after cleaning was not significant. It is concluded that cleaning the bore of the caliber .22 rimfire rifle does not improve its accuracy under normal conditions. It is recommended that unless the caliber .22 rimfire rifle has been exposed to adverse weather conditions, the bore be cleaned infrequently, and that the cause of the first shot impacting out of the normal group be investigated further.
     
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  7. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Yes, that was my premise going into this "myth busting" thread along with my sentiment that follows Schuemann Barrels to not overly clean or not clean barrels - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/you-never-clean-a-22-rifle.894731/page-2#post-12052173

    While I had access to several used 10/22s and my 10/22 Take Down with around 6000 rounds shot through, barrels of these were already cleaned several times and thought would not represent "uncleaned" barrel from factory.

    So when I purchased new 10/22 and T/CR22 to illustrate factory barrel rifling and trigger wear during break in of shooting several thousand rounds and how accuracy may be affected, I decided to do "dirty vs clean" barrel testing as well and intentionally did not brush the bore rather just mopped with Hopppes #9 and dry patched.

    But while doing Range Test #11 update for 10/22 and Range Test #5 update for T/CR22, what I did notice after cleaning the barrel (Which consisted of 20 minute soak with Hoppes #9 and copper bore brushed twice) was that I did see 1/2" down to sub 1/2" 5 shot initial clusters that opened up with subsequent rounds.

    Having shot over 27,000 rounds of same brand/weight ammunition and particularly over 5000 rounds out of new 10/22 and T/CR22 while documenting/tracking 10 shot group size patterning, as cleaned barrels started to get seasoned/fouled, I noticed "smaller" average core group clustering before subsequent rounds opened up the group size. Not being a precision shooter with optimal trigger control (Heck, what can you expect with factory stock triggers anyways? ;)), I used to blame these "flyers" to trigger jerking but more and more, I am thinking barrel whip/harmonics may also be the cause especially when I see vertical/diagonal stringing and flyers.

    As I am able to shoot more between rain/showers during winter rain season (We get 80"-100" annual rain fall), we may glean more from holes on targets. I am also planning to install KSA 16'5" bull barrel and if these "flyers/stringing" stop, then I would get my confirmation but if they continue, it could be the shooter or ammunition velocity related bullet drop.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2021
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  8. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Crickets?

    I figured there would be more interest in confirming or busting this myth.

    Personally, I would have brushed the 10/22 bore long before 3500 rounds ... The only reason why I went so long was precisely because of this thread. And the post-cleaning groups (to me) are still inconclusive needing further testing.

    Definitely rethinking barrel cleaning after the results.
     
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  9. Aim1

    Aim1 Member

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    Very interesting.


    Thank you for putting all the work in.
     
  10. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I thought so too with more range testing to follow when rain stops.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
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  11. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I would be interested in a similar test using a built benchrest rifle, probably a quality one piece mechanical rest, and one batch of ammo of the same lot number that the rifle is known to perform well with. I would prefer the testing be done in an indoor facility.
     
  12. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Me too ... Perhaps another THR member with such resources can undertake this myth further.

    I am.

    Dirty barrel and clean barrel groups are shot with same batch/lot of ammo with accuracy/groups well documented in respective "real world ..." threads with 3500/1500 round counts.

    In the meantime ... In the "real world" ... I have on hand factory stock 10/22 and T/CR22 with 3500/1500 round count dirty barrels to do what I can to start working on this myth.

    Besides, I am doing this for those shooters who plink with factory stock 22LR rifles.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2021
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  13. John Joseph

    John Joseph Member

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    Target shooters I knew wouldn't clean their barrels until the groups started opening up. Then was the time to break out the Patch Worm
     
  14. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    When i took my Remington pump out i just got. It was squeaky clean. It wasn't grouping well at 1st. I kept shooting it though. After 60 rounds the groups tightened up. I was shooting the Winchester 555 round bulk ammo.
     
  15. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I have shot .22 benchrest for a good while. Dirty or clean is always debated. One thing that I have found that will ruin accuracy of even the best BR gun is a carbon ring being formed in front of the chamber. It takes a good amount of scrubbing that area if you let the build up get too bad.
     
  16. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I agree and why I documented and monitored 10 shot groups during 3500/1500 round testing.

    What's interesting is that depending on the ammunition, group size continued to decrease for some while group size remained same/larger with some others.

    So decision to clean the barrels at 3500/1500 round count was essentially arbitrary. I could have continued the tracking of 10 shot groups further towards 4000/2000 round count but I have other projects pending such as accurizing on the cheap with bull barrel so I decided to clean the barrel to do "clean barrel" testing.
     
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  17. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Yes, while the bore was not "cleaned", chamber and muzzle crown were inspected regularly and cleaned as necessary along with the magazine.
     
  18. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    While I plan my next range trip between rain/showers, I am trying to process and understand the group size trends.

    I think repeated and further testing with other ammunition used for "dirty barrel" groups may shed additional light on the myth as well.

    One thing I have noted earlier in the thread is the "break in" of trigger improving group size consistency.

    10/22 went from 7.5 lbs to 4.5 lbs and T/CR22 from over 6 lbs to slightly under 4 lbs and I do believe trigger break-in will help with group size consistency.
     
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  19. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    My benchrest guns have Jewell BR triggers that have been adjusted to under 2 ounces. Even with them, it's possible to pull off a shot.
     
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  20. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    If you already have a rest you can remove human error in trigger pull, from the equation.



     
  21. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    Yes my 10/22 the trigger is improving.
     
  22. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    Maybe I'll try this with my CZ455, my built up Shaw/Kidd 10-22 and my ancient (1928) M52. No idea on the history of the Winchester but the other two have been shot some but are unbrushed. I did do a from the breech J-B preclean prior to firing first rounds.
     
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  23. I6turbo

    I6turbo Member

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    That's a heck of a test, LiveLife. Thanks for going to the trouble of posting it.

    IME, a good trigger is essential to consistently shooting one's best groups. I've found that taking triggers from about 3 pounds down to a few ounces sometimes cuts my groups by 25% or even more. (I'm talking about rimfire guns capable of .2" - .4" groups at 50 yards.) If the trigger is such that you can make the gun fire exactly when you want it to, almost as if you only have to THINK "fire," it makes a big difference. This light of a trigger isn't feasible on some guns (hunting guns, some plinking guns, etc.) unless you have a set trigger option such as the CZ Single Set Trigger that allows you to have a regular, heavier trigger for those times when a super-light trigger isn't a good idea, and also a set mode that allows for the super-light trigger.
     
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  24. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Yes, I agree.

    And for that reason, I am considering "Kidd Trigger Job Kit" for the "22LR accurizing on the cheap" pending thread in addition to the bull barrel - https://www.kiddinnovativedesign.com/KIDD-Trigger-Job-Kit-with-Hammer-Sear-Disconnect-and-Trigger-blade_p_116.html

    My intent with ongoing 10/22 and T/CR22 "break in" threads was to show accuracy trend as rifling and trigger parts "broke in and experienced wear" of factory stock rifles for those THR members who were curious how non-modified rifles would shoot different ammunition.

    My takeaway from 3500+ round testing is while 10/22 factory trigger went from 7.5 lbs down to 4.5 lbs after break-in, it may have been better to replace the trigger out of the box instead of spending the ammunition money to "naturally" break in by shooting thousands of rounds of ammunition and still end up with trigger that needs replacement.

    And as you posted, even at 4.5 lbs, trigger feel and release is not as consistent as less than 4 lb T/CR22 trigger. If Kidd "trigger job kit" is significantly better in reducing flyers that are from shooter trigger push/pull, at current price of ammunition, it may be more cost effective solution to shrink group size.

    But I will hold off ordering the Kidd "trigger job kit" (I also considered testing the BX trigger) until I test the KSA 16.5" bull barrel as if flyers are caused by barrel whip/harmonics, then even after trigger replacement, one would still end up having to replace the barrel.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
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  25. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    So if one had to replace both barrel and trigger (and perhaps stock), instead of buying a $350 10/22, you would be buying a $700-$900+ rifle at which point, there are other rifle options.

    I bought the T/CR22 to test this notion and while various parts were better than 10/22 in terms of material (all metal receiver) and function (built in scope rail, bolt handle, Magpul stock, etc.), modest improvement of accuracy (say 1.5"+ at 50 yards for 10/22 vs sub 1" for T/CR22) could make one consider whether spending more money to justify over bull barrel/trigger replacement for 10/22.

    And simply free-floating 10/22 barrel with hard plastic shim under V block and taping rear of receiver with electrical tape reducing group size down to 1"+ with certain ammunition may be more than "good enough" for some shooters.

    But this thread is about dirty vs clean barrel accuracy and sun is shining so I may hop out to do some shooting to see how well "seasoned" barrel after cleaning will shoot.
     
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