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Of Barrels and their Cleaning
Discussions related to Guns and Firearms
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Handloader
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 10:49 pm    Post subject: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

No two barrels are alike. With today's instruments it is possible to find some that are dimensionally identical and then the same gunsmith chambers them to the same specs on the same rifle and they shoot differently. Often, as hunters and shooters we discuss lots of issues and try to come up with effective responses and ideas, but, the best we can do is to define guidelines and generalizations.

Cleaning barrels, breaking in barrels, fouling shots, POI changes for instance can be fodder for those that wish to engage the challenges of learning or defining the "best" or the "proper" techniques. Let me address the issue of barrel cleaning for example.

In our formative years we probably learned from our esteemed elders that barrels should be thoroughly cleaned after every shooting session or hunt. That's what I learned and that's what I did. IMO lots of barrels in our great nation have probably been prematurely ruined because many have been taught the same way. Then, at some point, the salient issue comes to the forefront -- why do we need to clean a barrel? Afterall, we have advanced in the technology of powders, primers, barrel chemistry and manufacturing processes.

My approach is to clean a barrel (keep in mind I live in a low humidity climate) if there is a deterioration in accuracy or if the barrel has been exposed to things like dust, mud, or moisture. What I have found out is that some of my rifles need powder and copper fouling reduced far more frequently than others. My 220 Swift needs cleaning every 120 rounds and only takes a few patches to restore accuracy, but, I have a 25-06 that requires cleaning (copper fouling) every 25 rounds. I have a match grade 22 rimfire that goes around 2,000 rounds before groups increase above .250" @ 50yds (it keeps winning matches and has over 18,000 rounds down the tube).

So, aside from which cleaning rods and which cleaning solutions, how often do you clean your barrels and, more importantly, why?

No two barrels are alike.
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515034s10ring
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 9:41 am    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

How often: about every five or so shots (depending on rifle) and pistol (depending on what i'm doing with it....competition or leisure) about every few mags to a thousand rounds (i base my accuracy off clean barrels).

Why: because with rifle (if i'm in a precision shooting enviroment) i can't have the "occasional flyer" that could happen at any given moment and before i'm ready to shoot (outside), i always have a muzzle-cap on and replace it after im done. Here is where i limit and clean every 5 shots though because the change of 'SUB-MOA' going 'SUB closer to and at MOA' is where i don't want to be and that happens "if" i don't clean it. In "controlled" .22 pistol i get away with three 5rd mags and i run a patch through, but in competition with 9mm and 40 S&W i don't have the chance to break, clean, and shoot again so i go usually the duration of the event, which is roughly 1000+ rounds.

Although, if you were shooting with barrel "add-ons" like a suppressor, flash hider, or break/compensator, your cleaning habbits would in fact change because to use them to their full potential, they have to be clean.

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Al_Sohlstrom
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

Hi

Just a personal opinion here, but hear me out:

The worst thing you can run down the barrel of your weapon is an ALUMINUM CLEANING ROD!

Some folks say that it's because Aluminum is soft and that it picks up grit, so you're Ok if you clean the cleaning rod.

I say it's because aluminum is HARD and it IS grit! No amount of cleaning of the rod will remove the grit. All of the rod that you can see IS the grit!

Aluminum is a rediculously soft, mooshy metal, but as soon as it hits air, a thin shell of aluminum oxide forms, which is hard as the DICKENS. SO hard, in fact, that it's used as an ABRASIVE! This soft, mooshey insides with the thin, hard as... well... hard as rubies and sapphires (aluminum oxide is corundum: what rubies and sapphires are made of) is what makes aluminum so rigid.

Brass or carbon fiber are much better. Steel and stainless steel are Ok, but need a lot of cleaning. Coated rods just a gimmick to get you to need replacements rods more often, as far as I'm concerned.

Me: I've got a boresnake for field cleaning (used dry and replaced when needed), and carbon fiber rods with plastic jags and patch pullers at home. If I were to go in for long-range competition (I'm mostly just interested in trying to beat myself, not others), you couldn't PAY me enough not to take along my carbon fiber rods.

Okokok - puting away the soap box, now. If your opinion is different, I'd love to hear it.

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515034s10ring
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

I have heard all but good things about carbon fiber rods as well (ALL of my friends use them), but since i've been using Dewey rods without failure, carbon will have to wait until one gives in. Wink

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 5:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

Al...The only real problem with Aluminum rods is if they scrape the inside of your rifle or pistol barrel and that smear of aluminum is left in there. Aluminum oxide will, in deed, form in the barrel and could aide in the corrosion of the barrel. However, if you insure that the barrel is well oiled and that the last swipe of the rod is on the way out with the oiled patch the last to touch the inside of the barrel, no problem. One other thing...If aluminum was or is so bad. Why is it still used for most cleaning rods? I have been using aluminum cleaning rods on my firearms for the last 50 years and have had no problem with corrosion in my barrels. In fact my cleaning kit that I bought for my .30-30 Winchester is still in service. That was when I was 18. As you can guess I'm almost 63. That thirty-thirty will still shot into a 3" dot at 100 yards bench rested (It still shoots better then me).
I have thought about going to brass rods, but only for more rigitity...I hate rods that flex...Don't you? Very Happy

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shrpshtrjoe
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 5:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

Howdy. I use mostly aluminum 1 piece rods but i use a bore guide as well so the rod doesn't touch the barrel, as far as how often i clean mostly after each shooting session, if i'm going hunting with gun soon i will fire a fouling shot through it after a good cleaning.

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 5:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

Oh yeah...Forgot that part of the string. I clean my firearms after every run to the range. If I am using the firearm for hunting I will shoot 3 fouling shots and not clean it until season is over. I use the exceptable standard barrel breakin procedure on new barrels.

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DEMOCRACY Two wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for lunch...
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DallanC
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 7:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

I am totally hooked on Dewery ball bearing handled rods. They are rubber coated down the length with fiberglass inside. The ball bearing handle lets the rod spin easily as it rotates with the riflings.

I have one that does .22-.25, another for .270-.30 and a final one in tiny .17 for my 17hmr. Really nice quality rods that I highly recommend, the only downside is you have to buy an adaptor to fit "normal" jags and brushes (or you can use the dewery jags directly).


-DallanC
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Al_Sohlstrom
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

Hi
Bushmaster wrote:
.... One other thing...If aluminum was or is so bad. Why is it still used for most cleaning rods?....
Lol - low cost, convienence, low weight/portability. I'd hate to try to carry my carbon-fiber rods out in the field, hunting.

Long hunts are pretty much out for me, now, but if I were going out to a camp for a week, humping in all my food, drink, shelter and clothing, I'd be pretty tempted to carry a break-down aluminum rod in a bend-proof rigid PVC pipe-case. Every ounce of cleaning rod I'm NOT carrying is one more ounce of water I AM carrying.

shrpshtrjoe: Thanks for the mention of bore guides. I just got mine in the mail. I'd thought of it more along the lines of keeping crud out of the action and magazine and not so much about keeping the sapphire off of the lands. More reading brought up the use of rubber and plastic "O" rings positioned along the rod as a means of keeping the lands aluminum-oxide-free, too.

Thanks, both of you, for the alternative point-of-view, though. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not right all the time... or even MOST of the time... but I still believe that using non-aluminum cleaning rods would have saved a lot of firearms from early graves.

P.S. I'm buying all-new, and I found the Tipton rods at a good price.

The ball-bearing mounted handles spin freely, and they're solid, rigid, and return to true if they ARE bent. They're also female-threaded for standard jags and patch pullers. The Deweys were definately in the running, though. The deal-breaker was the fact that all the Deweys I found were male-threaded and needed an adapter for standard jags and such.

More parts, for me, is more stuff fo LOSE.

I really wish I'd been able to find stuff locally to examine before I made my purchases. One of the drawbacks of living in a college town, I guess: I gain and opera and a symphomy orchestra but lose gunshops.

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

Only one problem with that new rod Al...(Prince of princess Evil Devil ). some of the patches that I run (I use old cotton "T" shirts cut to size) would be rather hard to push down a barrel not to mention pull them out again. No pushing or rulling grip on the handle. It's straight. I would need one that has a "T" handle...

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waumo
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

Normally I clean after every outing. I often shoot 50-100 rnds per rifle in an outing.

In the Remington Sendero 300 Win Mag, I usually shoot no more than 50 rounds in an outing. Strangely this rifle is the most forgiving of clean/dirty barrel of any I have. I can shoot it dirty and it groups about 0.5 MOA for 5 shot groups. Same right after it is cleaned, even without a fouling shot. No other rifle I have acts this way. The bore should have been "shot out" long ago, but it just keeps working.

220 Swift Remington 700 VS is about the "most sensitive" rifle I have. It needs to be clean and just the right load to shoot. I clean it about every 20 rounds.

I had a Savage 308 12BVSS that was the least sensitive to load/clean/bullet/powder/anything - it wouldn't shoot a decent group no matter what... Confused

And I mostly use Dewey SS cleaning rods, always with a bore guide and wipe the rod clean often.
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Handloader
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

DallanC wrote:
I am totally hooked on Dewery ball bearing handled rods. . . . . the only downside is you have to buy an adaptor to fit "normal" jags and brushes (or you can use the dewery jags directly).
-DallanC

We sell Dewey and ProShot cleaning rods. All the Dewey rifle rods come with the jag and adaptor supplied.
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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 10:58 am    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

Beings as how we are on the subject of cleaning firearms...Does anyone have a cleaning agent that will remove the fired powder stains from nickle plated revolver cylinders (the external face) without damaging the Nickle plating??

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DEMOCRACY Two wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for lunch...
LIBERTY A well armed sheep contesting the outcome of the vote...
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515034s10ring
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:12 am    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

Bushmaster, have you tried Shooters Choice with a nylon brush?
I use and with great results on all of my plated and non-plated revolvers.

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: Of Barrels and their Cleaning Reply with quote

Not tried Shooters Choice...I have used Hoppy's Benchrest Copper solvent and a bronze brush with no results. This is not a buildup of gunk. It's actually a stain ring on the face of the cylinder where the bullet jumps the gap to the barrel...

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DEMOCRACY Two wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for lunch...
LIBERTY A well armed sheep contesting the outcome of the vote...
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