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Old December 27, 2008, 11:25 AM   #1
pisces
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Carbon Fouling Furball

Hi,

I am having a problem with stubborn, very hard, carbon barrel fouling in a .17 Rem Fireball that I'm reloading using Hodgdon H322 and CCI primers.

I'm currently using bronze brushes with various solvents - with little success. There is no sign of copper fouling - just very hard carbon.

Any suggestions for a cleaner burning powder, or must I start using JB Compound ?
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Old December 27, 2008, 11:51 AM   #2
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Use Topduck's Gunzilla bore cleaner. Let a wet patch sit overnight. It turns carbon cake soft. For a really stubborn case you might need to plug the bore and fill it and let it sit overnight the first time, but everything brushes out fast afterward. The inventor told me his chemist told him that it breaks down carbon bonds exceptionally well. It is also a safe vegetable-based product. He said that when he was first testing his labels he left them outdoors at his home and the deer kept coming up and licking the bottles. It is designed not to leech oils from your skin. Very good gun cleaning product. It's only limitation is it does not attack metal fouling very hard.

My AR builds up a ring of carbon cake at the end of the neck portion of the chamber. No amount of brushing or even using abrasive bore compounds would remove it. One overnight wet with Gunzilla and the next day it brushed right out. I have a borescope, so I was able to see that this was genuinely so.

Slip2000 makes a product called Carbon Killer that should also work, but it won't be as safe a chemistry. Their gas piston and parts cleaner is a super agressive version that I tried for getting M1 Garand op-rod tips cleared of carbon cake, but it is so aggressive that after a half an hour or so it partly attacked the Parkerized finish. It is not to be used casually. I hadn't discovered Gunzilla yet at that point. Today I would just soak in Gunzilla. Ed's Red is also supposed to do some carbon dissolving, but I've not tried it on carbon cake. See my post in this thread to download the Ed's Red formula.
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Last edited by Unclenick; December 27, 2008 at 12:00 PM.
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Old December 27, 2008, 06:42 PM   #3
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Have you tried carb cleaner? I use the $1/can Walmart brand on my AR's. It works great. I plan to try GM Top Engine cleaner when I can stand to go to the dealer. I have read here that it does a good job of removing carbon. H-322 is my go to powder for my AR's, it does great with the 6.8.
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Old December 27, 2008, 06:49 PM   #4
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Don't know about the GM top valve cleaner, but if someone has tried it and it works, speak up! It's likely to be cheaper than the specialty items I mentioned. I know from my own experience that regular carb cleaner won't attack the carbon cake. I even had one of those gallon cans of Berryman Chemtool with a parts basket in it years ago. Super strong for cleaning carb parts, but it wouldn't touch gas cylinder carbon. The items I mentioned will.
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Old December 27, 2008, 07:47 PM   #5
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Just an opinion from a truck mechanic

There are different types of carbon, The stuff that builds up in an engine is not the same as builds up in a firearm.

that said, I would leave the automotive chemicals to automotive uses, carb cleaner is extremely hard on just about any type of plastic, and some types of paint, brake parts cleaner won't harm blue or stainless, but it plays hell on black aluminum, and is NOT made to disolve carbon.

NOTE: I do use brake cleaner to wash out the solvents and oil from a gun so I can start with new lubes, just take the plastic off first.

Just for example, the carbon on a diesel engine piston can be cleaned completely off with an anti-freeze soak for an hour or so, however it won't touch the carbon on a gasoline engine piston.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert by any means, BUT due to the fact that I work in the automotive/truck repair industry, and get these chemicals for "free", I have tried most if not all of them a time or two and know how they work, or don't in most cases.

YMMV
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Old December 27, 2008, 07:55 PM   #6
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Thanks for that input. I've always been disappointed by the gun cleaning methods that included carb cleaner. A number of the old "break-in" routines employed them. Always appeared to be humbug to me, and am glad to have you verify it. The only gun cleaner that includes an automotive product that I know is any good is Ed's Red, which uses automatic transmission fluid as a substitute for the sperm oil called for in a ancient pre-war gun cleaner formula.
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Old December 27, 2008, 08:08 PM   #7
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The cleaning solvent that I use is home made by me, Much like Ed's red, I use a 50/50 mix of mineral spirits and diesel fuel, you can add ammonia or transmission fluid to it, but I don't.

That mix is then patched thru the bore and brushed on every where else, let it soak for 15 minutes, then clean as usual, I can normally see the lumps of "Normal" carbon running out of the barrel, afterwards, check the bore for copper fouling and use a copper solvent to handle that part.

Note: If you read the ingredients on the "Hoppes #9" bottle, they include "mineral spirits, kerosene, and ammonia" as the active ingredients.
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Old December 27, 2008, 08:38 PM   #8
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I'm not sure how much of an issue it is,but I have chosen to stay away from the chlorinated solvents like trichlor as there is something about cracking stainless...And,all the rest of the brake and carb cleaners,while effective at degreasing,have substances like xylene and toulene etc,that are bad for you.
Silly things like liver cancer

A many powders as are available these days,I think it is unnecessary to accept a dirty one. I tried Accurate 2520 in 308 loads and my trusty Fn FAL ground to a halt with black,gritty fouling.Its OK,that helped me find Varget!
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Old December 27, 2008, 08:44 PM   #9
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Can you obtain Hogdon's Benchmark? It is one of their newer Extreme series,like Varget It may be worth a try.
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Old December 27, 2008, 10:14 PM   #10
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Hard powder fouling due to a powder change is what originally stopped up the Stoners and early AR15s. Too bad they did not have a good web site like this to fix their problems.
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Old December 28, 2008, 04:13 AM   #11
pisces
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What is strange about this hard carbon buil-up is that the rifle is a new Remington Model 7 CDL. Total shots fired = 10 (including 2 at the Proof House). Currently I'm developing a load, starting with 17.0 grains H322. After 2 rounds I gave the barrel about 5 passes with a bronze brush - but didn't repeat to check that all the carbon had been removed. I carried on and fired another 6 rounds before cleaning - but this time I double-checked to see whether the barrel was clean - it wasn't. I have now lost count of how many passes I've made and carbon is still appearing.


Edit: after much elbow grease the barrel is now finally clean. Could the carbon have been created from the initial firing at the Proof House if the barrel preservative had not been cleaned off ?

Last edited by pisces; December 28, 2008 at 05:24 AM.
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Old December 28, 2008, 01:30 PM   #12
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People who want to use top oil might want to look at this before buying it.


http://benchrest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46171


I would suggest that among other problems which can cause excessive fouling, tool marks or other rough spots in the barrel should be considered. If it is a new barrel this might be a cause that could be eliminated by lapping. Also if the problem is VERY severe, it could be hiding copper deposits. Often, those who complain about exessive carbon are not letting the cleaning sovent sit in the barrel long enough to do the job. This becomes something like a self perpetuating problem, as successive layers make the deposits harder to remove. We should also remember that powder burns differently under different pressures, which will vary with charge and bullet weight, which might suggest a change in the load would be helpful.

H322 was tested some years back along with several other popular powders, and found to be one of the cleanest. Those interested in the article which describes the test can find it in the November, 1987 issue of Precision Shooting, author/tester M.D. Edwards, or in the PS collection "Benchrest Primer" although the book contains more than just BR basics. Back issues of PS and books can be checked and ordered here:
http://www.precisionshooting.com/
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Old December 28, 2008, 05:58 PM   #13
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I once went to pick up an ordered "new" rifle. It came with carbon all over the boltface and a red ring of paint covering gas cutting on the bolt face. Some turkey had tried it out with overly hot NATO surplus before it got to me. So, anything's possible.
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Old December 28, 2008, 10:05 PM   #14
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Is bthe bore quite dry before you begin shooting? Is it possible the true source of the carbon is oil rather than powder?
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Old December 29, 2008, 04:24 AM   #15
pisces
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Unfortunately I do not have a borescope but just eyeballing the bore, before firing the first round, the bore lands looked smeary - with the edges of the lands not clean and sharp. So, methinks the problem was there before I opened the wrapping paper.

I have been leaving Forrest's Bore Foam in the bore overnight, dry patches and then patches with Hoppe's # 9, dry patches and finally one pull through with a Boresnake. So, no oil left in the bore before firing.

I finally got rid of the fouling by wearing out 3 new bronze brushes - using Redex Fuel Line Cleaner as the cleaning medium.
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Old December 29, 2008, 01:27 PM   #16
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Another question.Is this a stainless or Chrome Moly barrel?Nearly all CM barrels go through a hot salts black oxide process.Yes,the bore,too.
The bullets and this oxide do a certain amout of negotiating during the first 500 rounds or so.
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Old December 30, 2008, 03:24 AM   #17
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It's a bog standard Remington Model 7 CDL with a chrome-moly 20" barrel.
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Old December 30, 2008, 04:33 AM   #18
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Alright then,I'm sure there are folks with greater expertise who can give you much advise about what to do next,but I suspect you may be getting something other than pure powder fouling .You may have already stated this,but I think perhaps if you are keeping the copper fouling cleaned out,the powder fouling has also been removed.The bore was "blued"(Hot caustic black oxide)
Perhaps,so long as the metal fouling is kept to a minimum,ignore a little black on the patch.Shooting will burnish it over time.

Now,I invite more discussion from the benchrest folks!
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