Should I clean it?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by sappyg, Jan 30, 2014.

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  1. sappyg

    sappyg Member

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    I start threads about as often as I clean my barrels.
    My question: I haven't cleaned the bore of my 243 in 6 or 7 years. Maybe more. It may have 50 rounds through it from then till now. Maybe more. Accuracy is still good. This is a fairly accurate rifle.
    I have switched powders but basically nothing else has changed. It still hangs the bullets where I'm looking without a fuss. Should I clean it?
     
  2. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

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    Absolutely ! Modern powders aren't as bad as the old black powder rounds, but moisture will collect inside the barrel, causing rust, especially where you live ! I'd suggest getting some "Sweets" bore cleaner, a bronze brush, some caliber appropriate sized cotton patches, then get with the program. Some folks will tell you on this forum, they don't clean their .22 rifles, never have ! I'm not that way. When I come home from the range, first thing I do is clean my firearm, rifle or revolvers, never put them in the safe dirty! Not implying anything, some folks don't bother with keeping their firearms clean and functioning properly, I do, some might call me being anal about it, but the firearms are mine, my responsibility. Hope this helps, you asked and I honestly answered you. Good Luck.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I shoot it, I clean it.

    Worked for me for my whole life.

    rc
     
  4. hartcreek

    hartcreek member

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    Clean it. It is going to collect dust and rust and start pulling brass. You can use the conventional route or a bore snake but be sure and get it clean including the chamber.
     
  5. PJSprog

    PJSprog Member

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    Agree with all the above: clean it!

    I take out all my firearms, at least once a year, whether fired or not, and inspect them. Sometimes (admittedly, out of sheer boredom), I even clean them all.
     
  6. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    Never let the sun set on a dirty gun.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  7. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I am suprised how many people shoot a firearm then put it away without taking 10 minutes to clean the bore, inspect the gun for for damage or loose things, lube it, and then wipe it down.

    I was always taught to do these things, which is probably why the guns my grandfather hunted with as a kid in the 30's still look really nice in my safe today. IMHO, take care of your firearms, and they'll last two lifetimes or more.
     
  8. sansone

    sansone Member

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    carefully clean it, from the receiver end, don't pull the brush back through the crown (unscrew the brush) the muzzle crown is what you don't want to scratch
     
  9. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Yeah, clean it.
    I clean my guns several times a year. I don't clean after every outing (unless I'm shooting BP of course), but close. On deer rifles, I clean the bore after the season is over.
    When I go and sight in a couple of weeks before season ends, I leave it fouled for the season. Now, I'll still clean the action and chamber and make sure it is lubricated, but the bores only once a year.

    For handguns, when I clean, I clean the entire thing, bore included.

    Rimfires are different. I clean the actions as needed and the bore only when accuracy degrades.
     
  10. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    How you clean it is probably more important than whether you clean it. I read a really good article on rimfirecentral about cleaning. More guns are ruined by improper cleaning than by being dirty.

    Their words, not mine. And these are world class shooters. I am not.
     
  11. Vol46

    Vol46 Member

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    It is overdue for a thorough cleaning. I clean mine every time I shoot, but that's just me. With today's wonder solvents, cleaning a bore is so easy that there is no reason not to do so regularly.
    It sounds like you mainly hunt with yours & shoot only a few rounds a year. if so, I think at least a quick pass with a dry patch & a dry lube like Prolix at the start of each season and a thorough cleaning at the close of the season is reasonable. Yours has been neglected for a long time, so I would start with something like Wipe Out or Patch out, or Bore Tech Eliminator to remove the layered in copper. The aforementioned Sweets is an older product also good for copper. I would follow that with JB bore paste to get at carbon - you may have to do a couple of cycles if you have a lot of carbon & copper layers baked in after all these years. There are other good solvents, but these are what I use. Finish with several dry patches until they come out clean, then a light coat of CLP & you are good till next year.
    I have heard the line about more bores being ruined by improper cleaning than by neglect many times, but I have never seen one ruined by cleaning. I have seen several wrecked by rust & pitting. Use a bore guide, a good quality cleaning rod (not one of the cheap aluminum screw together ones from WallyWorld), properly sized jags, patches, & brushes, and you won't have any problems.
     
  12. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Except accuracy.
    Most don't not clean because they're lazy. They don't because if their gun is shooting good they don't want to screw with it.
    Many benchrest shooters only clean when accuracy starts to degrade.
     
  13. sappyg

    sappyg Member

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    This is pretty much where I'm coming from. Back when I use to clean (the bore) accuracy would always fall off until the bore was seasoned. So I figure if it ain't broke don't fix it.

    I've also noticed, in another rifle, that if I switch powder accuracy will suffer for the 1st 6-9 rounds and then come back. Could just be that rifle IDK.

    The thing that prompted this thread was that I cleaned (the bore) an AR after about 500 rounds (maybe more) of steel cased Bear and Tulammo mixed in with some reloads. Accuracy was never a problem but boy that sucker was nasty. No rust to speak of really but there was the usual jacket material with heavy powder fouling. Again, accuracy was fine.

    I'm also in the camp of not cleaning (the bore) of a 22lr. Unless it needs it. If there is obvious leading or accuracy issues then of coarse I'll clean it. Otherwise, I leave them alone.
     
  14. 3212

    3212 Member

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    My deer rifle requires about 5 shots after a cleaning to settle into a tight group.Then I shoot at least 6 more to be sure.This year I took 2 doe in October and a buck in December.Then I cleaned it.Been doing it this way for 22 years,same rifle.
     
  15. Vol46

    Vol46 Member

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    To each his own. Most of my rifles shoot pretty good out of a clean cold barrel, a few improve some after a couple of fouling shots. I have had a .22 and a semi auto .308 that I used to clean only at the end of hunting season, but it kind of drives me crazy to leave one dirty.
     
  16. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    Ummm...

    The question isn't whether or not you SHOULD clean your rifle (or any other gun), but HOW OFTEN you should clean it.

    There are quite a number of people out there (myself included) who belong to the "use it, clean it" club. There are also quite a number of people out there who clean their guns, but not on so rigorous a schedule as the "use it, clean it" club.

    And there are a few people out there who simply don't clean at all, unless something quits working right.


    Cleaning firearms should be routine maintenance, and how frequently it's performed should, at the very least, be based on maintaining the condition of one's firearms in an undamaged state.

    By "undamaged", I mean no signs of corrosion or other physical damage which can be attributed to poor cleaning and preservation.


    If you clean your guns only after every hunting season and you've never had a problem with rust, pitting, or function, then it's safe to assume your habits are not detrimental to your firearm.

    If, however, you start finding blemishes in the finish, permanent fingerprints in the metal parts, specks of rust, and whatnot, then I submit to you that your maintenance routine is somewhat lacking and your guns are starting to pay the price.


    Like changing the oil in one's car, it's a sure bet that changing it TOO frequently will not ever be a cause for mechanical concern with respect to the mechanical health of one's car.

    Likewise, not ever changing the oil in one's car is a sure ticket to early mechanical problems with one's car. It's not a matter of IF, it's a matter of HOW EARLY.

    The same applies to one's firearms...don't take proper care of them and eventually they will suffer for it.


    Clean your firearms as frequently or infrequently as you like...but DO clean them. Just take care to clean them often enough not to be the cause of damage to them in the long term.
     
  17. witchhunter

    witchhunter Member

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    Yup, shoot and clean. Store it with a clean bore, you will get no surprises.
     
  18. hovercat

    hovercat Member

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    What does the manual that came with the rifle say? It is a good idea to follow the manufacturer guidelines when maintaining a precision tool.
     
  19. sappyg

    sappyg Member

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    I don't know. The rifle is close to 20 years old and the first thing that goes in the trash is the box, the lock thing, and manual whatever. I do read through them before they go.
    It shoots as good today as it did on day one. It has been cleaned before. Matter of fact, I use to clean it every time it was used but now not so much. I'm not sure that it needs it now.
     
  20. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    And what, pray tell, makes you think it no longer needs it now? What has changed between than and now? Guns don't develop an immunity to corrosion and fouling over time, you know.

    If you say that experience and inspection has lead you to believe this, fine.
     
  21. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    This.

    Clean the powder residue out of it with a std. bore solvent, but do not use a copper remover. You haven't put enough rounds through it to build up enough copper to impair accuracy.

    The proof that a deep cleaning/copper removal is inadvisable is in your statement
    that "it still hangs the bullets where I am looking without a fuss".
     
  22. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    ^^^^

    Ummm...are you and Arkansas Paul saying that many benchrest shooters don't clean their expensive benchrest guns for 7 years, as well?
     
  23. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    No Chief. I am unfortunately not privileged to have benchresters among my acquaintances. ;)

    My comment was based on advice received from very experienced and skilled riflemen & competitors, which I then put to the test in my own rifles and found to be true. As a result, I only clean rifle bores when accuracy falls off.

    However, since it takes me a few years less than Arkansas Paul to put 50 rds through my rifles, they get cleaned more often. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  24. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    I've known a few such benchresters while in the navy, and while they do advocate not cleaning, the most definitely no not mean "don't clean your gun". What they mean is that once they have (for want of a better term here, as my memory sucks at time) is that they don't clean their gun after a "run in" to settle how the rifle shoots for a competition.

    However, AFTER a competition, they do, indeed, thoroughly clean and oil their guns before stowing them away. Next time they shoot, either ofor practice, working up new loads, or competition, they again do a run in.

    There's more to cleaning than just accuracy.

    The bottom line, as I said before, is still this: so long as your weapon does not suffer ill effects physically, such as corrosion or mechanical difficulty, then your cleaning habits are OK.
     
  25. twofifty

    twofifty Member

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    Totally agree with your earlier post where you essentially recommend to clean at such intervals that the firearm does not suffer harm...and that these intervals vary due to circumstances.

    I subscribe to a similar regime, for instance:
    - by wiping down the metal with an oily rag - after each use.
    - If the gun was used in the rain, the stock & action are separated, dried & oiled, bore patched & oil swabbed.
    - If the gun has gone through even one condensation cycle, break down, wipe down plus bore patch & oil swab.

    This has worked well for me. A few months ago I sold a 24 year old rifle to a buyer who could not believe his good fortune at the gun's condition (in & out).

    btw, I am just an amateur hunter & competitor.
     
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