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Old November 22, 2013, 09:31 PM   #1
Ridgerunner665
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Some thoughts on barrel cleaning

I clean the copper out of mine once per year...no more, no less...I use only Hoppes #9 Benchrest Solvent...no brushes, no harsh cleaners...just Hoppes and patches...it usually takes 2-4 overnight soaks to get it clean.

After each range session...a wet patch (CLP), a dry patch (tight), another wet patch...and put it in the safe.

I'm no expert on anything, but I have been shooting rifles since childhood...got my first one at the ripe old age of 9, that was 32 years ago.

My first "high powered" rifle was a Marlin 30-30, got it when I was 11...I used Jim Carmichael's book (The Book of the Rifle) to learn how to sight in the scope, I had never owned a scope before this...the initial sight in went smooth enough...I shot it for a year or so before the accuracy went south, then I cleaned it with Hoppes #9...I had read about how rifles often need a few rounds to settle down after cleaning, and that Marlin was no exception...it was all over the paper for 22 rounds after that cleaning, then it settled down and went right back to where it had always been shooting.

Next up was a 25-06...Remington 700 BDL...with the same scope that was on the 30-30, a Bausch & Lomb 3-9x40 Banner...sighted in, shot it for a year or so, and it was very much a tack driver...until one day it wasn't...time for a cleaning...again, Hoppes and patches...after cleaning it was all over the paper for over 30 rounds...then it settled right back into shooting the tiny little groups it had always shot.

Now....30 years later...there have been a couple hundred rifles, and every one of them shot better with a fouled bore than they did with a clean one....

So...I just don't understand the concept of deep cleaning after every range session...

How do you ever really know where the bore settles down at?

How do you afford all the ammo to get it sorted out every range session?

And lastly...have you ever tried shooting it for a few hundred rounds between cleanings?

You just might find that its more accurate than you ever thought it was...

Last edited by Ridgerunner665; November 22, 2013 at 09:43 PM.
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Old November 22, 2013, 10:27 PM   #2
4runnerman
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While what you post is very well possible and I do not doubt you. I have only 9 rifles. I clean every 30 to 50 rounds now. 2 of these rifles are F Class and FTR Class. In matches I go with a very clean barrel. I find it takes me usually 3 of my 5 fouler shots for my rifles to settle in. 30 rounds seems like a lot.

I think the amount of shots it takes for barrels to settle in is in direct relation to the quality of the barrel you have.

My rifles start to head south after about 100 rounds to 150 rounds.
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Old November 22, 2013, 10:37 PM   #3
Ridgerunner665
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Agreed...30 is a lot...most take 20 or less...but a few have taken 30+ to settle back down after cleaning.
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Old November 22, 2013, 10:42 PM   #4
4runnerman
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Very well could be. I only have 2 rifles that are not heavy barrel rifles. A 223 and 243. Not sure if matters,but all my rifles are Savage.
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Old November 22, 2013, 10:44 PM   #5
Ridgerunner665
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My 30-06 takes 10-15 shots to settle down...but once it gets there....it'll go 300 rounds without deep cleaning, and shoot little tiny groups the whole way.

The point of this thread was for those weekend warriors that head to the range, fire 20-30 rounds, then go home and deep clean the bore...every time.

Those barrels are not getting the chance to settle in...IMO.
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Old November 22, 2013, 11:04 PM   #6
4runnerman
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That could very well be. I shoot every weekend also. I have never tried it. Maybe I should test it once on one of my other rifles.
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Old November 23, 2013, 05:42 AM   #7
jmr40
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I do about the same and try to avoid cleaning the barrel unless it really needs it. Many shooters were military, or had parents with military experience who have had the concept of keeping every part of a rifle perfectly clean drilled into their heads.

The needs of a hunter and soldier are far different. When I leave the house to deer hunt I know I won't be firing over 3-4 shots that day. Probably 1 or less and I never carry more than 8-10 rounds on me. Often just what is in the magazine. If my barrel is fouled 2-3 more shots isn't going to hurt a thing.

A soldier on the other hand could become involved in a situation where he is unable to clean his rifle for several days and hundreds, of not thousands of rounds later. Probably best to start with one as clean as possible.
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Old November 23, 2013, 09:11 AM   #8
603Country
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This is an interesting topic (to us gun geeks anyway), and my once-held firm opinions on barrel cleaning have changed in the last couple of years. I once was a Hoppe's cleaner, which isn't deep cleaning no matter how long or hard you work at it. Then it was Butch's Boreshine and others. Then, to really get that old bore clean, I went to Boretech Eliminator. That finally was the deep cleaner that I wanted. And I found that the rifle (rifles) shot a bit worse with no copper in the bore at all. So now I'm back to not removing all the copper, but cleaning regularly with something like Butch's Boreshine. Of course, there's no one-size-fits-all, and different rifles foul differently. My Swift can foul up pretty fast (20 rounds), and it has a custom barrel. My Ruger 223 doesn't foul up badly at all, and I just keep shooting it. Same with the new 260 with the Brux barrel.

Bottom line is that I used to think that I wanted to remove all the copper. Now my thinking is to leave the copper, or at least some, in the bore.
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Old November 23, 2013, 10:21 AM   #9
Bart B.
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In my experience, the rougher the barrel's bore and groove surfaces are, the more rounds need be fired before the tall micro hills and mountains scrape off enough bullet jacket to fill the valleys between them so no more's removed from subsequent bullets. Too much scraping off of the jacket tends to unbalance bullets; they don't shoot too accurate.

Barrel smooth or rough amouts are typically measured in "microinches;" millionths of an inch heights of those tiny hills and mountains. Most match grade barrel makers don't want to get less than about 8 or 10 microinch finish as any smoother causes too much friction of the bullet jacket and more jacket is rubbed off. A 10 to 15 microinch finish seems about best for least amount of bullet jacket scraping as well as excellent accuracy. And they typically shoot the first bullet to the same point of aim as a dozen or more fired afterwords.

A match grade barrel maker told me of a law suit filed against Shooter's Choice shortly after Shooter's Choice bore cleaner came out. Someone used it on their favorite rifle and the rifle's accuracy suddenly went south; way south. That person filed suit against Shooter's Choice. So, Shooter's Choice, in company with the barrel maker, proved that his old barrel had not been cleaned all that well over the years and Shooter's Choice bore cleaner "cleaned" the barrel of all the built up fouling uncovering the pitted surfaces in the first few inches of the bore that was otherwise perfect as made by the barrel maker. The case got tossed out of court.

Best way to observe this is watching the leade of a .22 rimfire match barrel erode away. Erosion starts at the bottom, or 6-o'clock position. Powder and primer residue settle there. Bullets push it down the barrel and until it's embedded in the soft lead bullet then it microscopically scrapes away barrel steel. As more rounds are fired, that area at 6-o'clock starts getting darker and wider than the rest of the leade area. That dark part moves up on each side about one "hour" for every 10,000 rounds fired. There's more rough area that holds the fouling as erosion increases. After 30,000 to 40,000 rounds (depending on the match ammo used), that dark ring works is now up at about the 9 and 3 (or 10 and 2) o-clock points and accuracy has degraded from 1/4" at 50 yards to about 3/8" or from 5/8 MOA at 100 yards to 1 MOA, it's time to rebarrel. Or set the barrel back two inches; that's often as good as buying a new one.
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Last edited by Bart B.; November 23, 2013 at 11:28 AM.
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Old November 23, 2013, 09:45 PM   #10
reynolds357
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How I clean a rifle depends on the quality of the barrel. I have several rifles that would be completely copper fouled by 30 rounds.
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Old November 24, 2013, 08:41 AM   #11
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I only deep clean my rifles after the groups start to open up. As of right now i have 400 rounds down my 700 .308 with out a so called cleaning. I do however run a boresnake through one time befor the range session starts and once at the end of the session. I agree that alot of it depends on the quality of the barrel and quality of the ammo. I know one guy who is a 1000 yard record holder who had a rifle that went 650 rounds without a clean. he said it only took 2 passes with a solvent patch and 2 dry patches to get it back to sub moa
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