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Old August 26, 2013, 07:53 PM   #1
flintlock.50
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My .22 LR doesn't like a clean barrel

This weekend I gave my Remington 581 barrel a thorough cleaning. For the first time in years, the patches actually came out totally clean. Boy was that a mistake. This Sunday, my first three shots made an impressive 4 inch group at 50 yds! That's right, FOUR inches, not ZERO POINT FOUR.

As I continued to shoot the groups tightened up, and after about 150 shots I shot a thumbnail sized 5-shot group with some CCI Velocitor ammo.

Is this kind of behavior typical of .22 rimfire barrels? I recall seeing similar behavior last year after giving the barrel a quick cleaning, but only AFTER this weekend's experience. Had I remembered, I definitely would NOT have cleaned the barrel so thoroughly.
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Old August 26, 2013, 08:49 PM   #2
Art Eatman
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Yeah, typical. Dunno that all of them need 150 rounds, but many a .22 user rarely does much cleaning of the barrel. Maybe run a slightly-oily patch through, is about all.
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Old August 26, 2013, 09:21 PM   #3
RaySendero
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I don't clean 22LR barrels until accuracy drops off!

I do clean the rest of the rifle and dry brush the chamber.
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Old August 27, 2013, 04:01 AM   #4
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Typical. The wax coating on the bullets will coat the bore and keep the bullet fit tight and the bore lubed. I hardly ever clean the bore on my 22s.
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Old August 27, 2013, 07:21 AM   #5
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Good info guys. I have 2 Marlins set up for Appleseed and was wondering if I should clean them after sighting in. I think I will leave them alone and just clean the actions.
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Old August 27, 2013, 07:34 AM   #6
Louca
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Flinklock,

Just curious if your bore is truly clean AND DRY. If you pull patches through with a cleaner on them, say a CLP, you are leaving a film of the CLP behind. Then the bore has to be wiped by bullets at the next shooting session.

Fairly serious .22 LR shooters I have heard of simply pull a DRY patch through the bore until clean, every couple of hundred rounds. Maybe try that and see if you get better results.

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Old August 27, 2013, 07:54 AM   #7
Magnum Wheel Man
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BADD...

you will find that you shoot enough at an Appleseed shoot, that you'll either want to start with a clean barrel, or clean at the end of day one...

at least that was my experience...
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Old August 27, 2013, 08:08 AM   #8
baddarryl
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Quote:
BADD...

you will find that you shoot enough at an Appleseed shoot, that you'll either want to start with a clean barrel, or clean at the end of day one...

at least that was my experience...
The one I have set up as my primary has only about 50 rounds through it and is dead accurate. My back up has a few hundred since cleaning. I may clean that one. Thanks for the tip.
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Old August 27, 2013, 08:34 AM   #9
pete2
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Be gentle with that .22 bbl. when cleaning it. I now use a patch worm on my pistols and I'm gonna get one for my rifles. Accuracy will sometimes drop off for a few round from just switching brands of ammo. I cleaned a K22 one time and thought I'd ruined it. It took a box or 2 of ammo to come in.
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Old August 27, 2013, 08:56 AM   #10
baddarryl
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PETE2:

What is a patch worm? Like a bore snake?
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Old August 27, 2013, 09:21 AM   #11
dahermit
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Quote:
What is a patch worm? Like a bore snake?
Or like a jag? Gosh, things would be so much better if we were all English-speakers here.
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Old August 27, 2013, 09:48 AM   #12
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Any barrel will shoot better fouled. Even my centerfires are only cleaned when accuracy drops off. It takes 10-12 rounds through them before accuracy returns to normal. It takes 200 or so before it starts to degrade to the point where they need to be cleaned.

I cannot remember the last time I cleaned a 22 barrel other than to wipe out water after being caught out in rain. The action, ejector, etc., and all other parts are cleaned often to ensure reilable functioning.
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Old August 27, 2013, 11:27 AM   #13
flintlock.50
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Louca,

Barrel was both clean and dry. I had used a CLP after cleaning, but pushed two dry patches through the barrel the night before shooting.
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Old August 27, 2013, 11:38 AM   #14
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Folks believing .22 rimfire rifles don't need frequent cleaning might up-chuck their breakfast if they watched top ranked smallbore competitiors clean their match rifles after every 50 shots winning matches and setting records doing so.

Yes, a squeaky clean .22 rimfire barrel needs a few rounds (2 to 4) through it before best accuracy happens. Those lead bullets totally fill the grooves when they first start being fired, but it's the wax off the bullets that tends to coat the bore such that less lead's wiped off subsequent bullets fired so they shoot straight.

Any good centerfire barrel will shoot at its best accuracy level starting out clean. After a few shots, there's enough fouling in it to increase peak pressure and muzzle velocity a tiny bit. That's when bullets start to strike 1/8th to 1/4 MOA higher.
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Old August 27, 2013, 10:11 PM   #15
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Lol, I've NEVER cleaned the bore on my 581. I was thinking about doing it, but after reading flintlock.50s post I think I'll just leave it alone.
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Old August 28, 2013, 07:30 AM   #16
Bart B.
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22 rim fire ammo makers clean their test barrels frequently so the ammo shoots most accurate.

I've shot two Remington (one a match barrel), one each of Browning and Winchester and two Anschutz match barrels (wore out one). Every one shot most accurate when cleaned at least every 100 rounds. Each did need a few shots to "condition" their bores.
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Old August 28, 2013, 09:18 AM   #17
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If your barrel needs to foul to get best accuracy and stabilize the group, let it foul.

I have talked to many rimfire shooters about the frequency and the need to clean their barrels. Responses are all over the map. There are rimfire benchrest shooters who seldom clean their barrels and win, and there are winning benchrest rimfire shooters who clean frequently. Based on the numbers, I think the edge for benchrest shooters goes to clean barrels.

When you get to small bore prone, many shooters have said that the barrel “tells you when it needs to be cleaned”. These guys shoot thousands of rounds and eventually see enough wild shots that they clean their barrels. Others clean after every match.

For the prone game, if dirty barrels are a source of inaccuracy, it is just about in the noise level. The greatest errors in prone competition are errors of wind, ammunition and shooter errors. I have seen a good number of low velocity shots even with Black Box Eley, and worse, with Standard Plus, and I have seen through the scope, rounds land in random locations away from where the crosshairs were when the trigger broke. Anyone who has competed at Perry has seen their bullets float away in a pick up, or a drop off. Pray your target is not between the pop up mounds as the winds there are chaotic.

Because I started as a highpower shooter I have the compulsive habit of cleaning my rifles after each match. But, I have been experimenting with not cleaning my Anschutz during a 3200, and can say, I can’t see any difference on paper at the end of a two day match.

At some point with semi automatic rimfires you have to clean the chamber and mechanism. These mechanisms are blowbacks and open up while there is still residual pressure in the barrel. The puff of gas that comes out has evaporated wax lube and unburnt gunpowder. There is wax lube on the case, as well as the bullet, the lube on the case breaks the friction between case and chamber, but as the lube condenses out of the gas vapor, it gums up the mechanism. Build up of crud creates breech friction, and breech friction in time will always defeat any semi automatic mechanism.
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