View Full Version : To Clean, or not to clean - a .22LR Rifle Bore

November 21, 2010, 05:44 PM

Other than shooting with friends (who own firearms), and military experience...my wife and I are new shooters.....we have been learning with our first rifle - a Marlin 981TS .22LR (a really beautiful and accurate rifle, in our opinion).

My manual says "with normal use it is not necessary to clean the bore of your rifle"......however we have received lots of conflicting advice from various people on this.

We try to get out and shoot about once a week and average about 200 rounds on an outing.

The bolt and chamber do get pretty dirty - and I work them carefully with a degreaser on a rag and a light lube every few weeks....but have left the bore alone.

Just wondering if any of you had any thoughts on the care of our rifle, and if we seem to be doing proper maintanence.


November 21, 2010, 07:10 PM
If you notice the accuracy start to drop off then you can clean the bore. If you're shooting about 200 rounds per range trip I definitely wouldn't clean the bore more often than every 5 trips.

If you're not seeing any accuracy drop off then clean the working parts as needed to insure proper function and don't worry about the bore.

November 21, 2010, 07:24 PM
Thank you JohnKSa...that makes perfect (logical) sense...I plan on sticking by what you said there...I am guessing the reason you don't really clean a .22bore that often is that the small cartridge doesn't foul too badly (or are they a bit more delicate in regard to rifling than larger calibers?).

Anyway ... thanks again, the advice is much appreciated.

November 21, 2010, 10:31 PM

They just don't seem to foul much. Even when I do clean a .22LR bore, it takes almost no effort to get it looking like new and I'm left with the impression that I just wasted my time.

And, as you say, rimfire barrels can be softer than a typical centerfire barrel and therefore more easily damaged by aggressive cleaning.

Shane Tuttle
November 21, 2010, 10:57 PM
I use a boresnake dipped in Hoppe's only around the brush area and make a few passes at best. My goal is to get the powder residue and crud in general out and that's it. I don't believe in cleaning a .22 barrel to be mirror bright. I personally think it reduces accracy and serves no measurable purpose.

November 21, 2010, 11:49 PM
Thank you also Tuttle8...I had been considering a boresnake instead of rod for this rifle...they seem very handy for the type of mild cleaning you had described.
Many thanks!

MD Redneck
December 1, 2010, 11:01 PM
I noticed an accuracy drop in my Stevens that I use for dropping tree rats and other critters in the back yard, but I also have only shot Aquila Colibri's through it, they dont have powder, just that strange Eley primer mixture to push the bullet about 325 fps out the end of the barrel, and I am thinking that due to the low speed of the bullet I was getting more lead fouling, after about 500 rounds and noticing I was no longer dropping the tree rats I decided to just run the bore brush through and noticed a decent amount of lead dust? when I pulled the brush through............ after about 5 times no more dust appeared and I decided to try it out again, and now it back to putting 12 rounds in the same hole @ 35 yds, pretty good standing with no rest and iron sights.

My 597 however is a pain to disassemble for complete cleaning but as it is an autoloader is a lil bit more picky when it comes to how often it needs to be cleaned, it is also kinda snobbish about ammo after a few hundred rounds as well, the only time I cleaned the barrel on it was after I started getting casings that would not eject after firing.

December 2, 2010, 07:27 AM
When using a bore snake , pull out straight , not at a angle as that can funnel the crown of your rifle.
Just like rubbing side of a cleaning rod on the muzzle.

December 4, 2010, 08:52 PM
I'd echo pretty much everything that's already been said here, but with two additions...

- Not all 22 ammo is the same. Some will work better in your gun than others. Some are more "dirty" than others. Find one that works for your gun and stick with it. (I'm a big fan of CCI 22 ammo, but your mileage may vary.)

- Depending on which ammo you choose, you may find yourself cleaning the receiver parts -- feed ramp, bolt face, extractor and so on -- more often than the barrel. Fouling in those areas may not affect accuracy, but they definitely can affect function. (And I absolutely hate clearing jams.)

Finally, I'm always thrilled to see a new member of the shooting sports fraternity. It sounds like you've made a great start. Welcome to a lifetime of fun!