View Full Version : Powder ring in cylinders

August 29, 2006, 01:47 PM
I shoot 38's almost exclusively in my 357 SA's. The first time I tried to fire 357 rounds, they were very hard going into the cylinders because of the powder ring from shooting the shorter 38's. My question is... What is the best way to remove this? I was told a cylinder reamer. Is this correct? I don't want to cut or enlarge them just remove that fired-on powder ring. Normal cleaning doesn't seem to quite do the job. Thanks for any suggestions.

August 29, 2006, 04:04 PM
If you shoot lead bullets, those deposits contain lead. Soak them with a nitro solvent (like Hoppe's) and then go at them with a bronze brush. You may want to try a 10mm/.40 brush.

After the brush, swab them out with a wet patch and a couple of dry ones. The loop-style patch holder and large patches are good for this.

Do it again. And again.


And then, use 357 brass and download for lighter loads - so you won't have this issue again.

August 29, 2006, 06:45 PM
By far the easiest, fastest, and safest for the gun is to use bronze chamber brushes.

These are special over-sized, extra stiff bristle brushes made specifically for scrubbing chambers to remove buildup.
To use, just "screw" the brush into the chamber, then rotate it a turn or two.
Push the rest of the way through, then pull back out.
Unless the chamber is very badly fouled, one pass will clean all fouling out.

Several "watch-outs": First never use stainless steel chamber brushes. These can damage the chamber and are for gunsmith use ONLY, in chambers so badly neglected that you have nothing to loose.

Second, NEVER use a chamber brush in a bore, they're for chambers ONLY.

These bronze chamber brushes work better than using over-caliber bore brushes, and are safer for the gun than some other methods people will recommend.

T. O'Heir
August 30, 2006, 01:17 AM
"...38's almost exclusively..." Cast bullets? It's just cast bullet lube combined with powder residue. Powder residue if you're using jacketed bullets. No big deal. It's not that hard. Comes out with regular cleaning tools. You don't need a reamer of any kind. A regular brass .45 calibre brush will take it out after a short soak with regular solvent. Leave the solvent in for a half hour or so. Gives it time to work. Sometimes a scrape with a popsicle stick, cut to size, helps. I've used jeweller's screw drivers on cast bullet lube crud with no fuss. Very gently though. Or you can take the cylinder out and drop the whole thing into a small vat of regular solvent and leave it there for 24 hours. Then just clean the cylinders with regular slightly larger patches.
Go buy a yard or two of remnant flannelette from a discount fabric shop and cut it to size. Ask the women working there if you don't know what flannelette looks like. They're used to guys asking about fabric stuff. You'll get about 200 4' x 2' patches out of a yard of 45" wide flannelette. Far cheaper than the packages of patches from a gun shop.
Once you have it out, load .357 brass to .38 Spec. velocities and the whole problem goes away.
"...for gunsmith use ONLY..." Like gunsmithing screw drivers? SS brushes won't bother anything. They're just more expensive than brass or bronze brushes.

August 30, 2006, 03:24 AM
Actually, the SS brushes can scratch the steel. This can be a bad thing,,,,


August 30, 2006, 05:46 AM
Already said but not emphasized enough is the soaking part.

Slip 2000 makes soaking solution as do others. If you first make sure that whatever you use to soak won't hurt the finish of the gun, just leave it in overnight and the crap should come out with not much more than a patch.

I do use the brass brushes on occasion, but I like to avoid any kind of metal on metal cleaning if I can help it.

And smokjunkie, what I did to avoid that problem altogether was to add reloading to my list of hobbies. When I shot a LOT when I was younger, my .357 revolvers were my favorite range guns but I didn't feel like beating them up (or my wrist either) with magnum rounds and I also didn't want to create the same mess that you have.
So I just paged through my reloading manuals and found the lightest .357 loads I could so I ended up shooting .357 all the time, but the loads were light and were probably less of a bang than the typical .38 special you can buy over the counter. Another advantage is that since my range loads were so light, the brass lasted way longer and I was able to reuse it way longer than typical.


August 30, 2006, 05:54 AM
Look for a cloth at your local gun store called "Lead Away". Works like a charm.

September 1, 2006, 01:50 PM
Thanks for all the great comments & tips. Yes, re-loading is on my lists of MUST get into things in the near future. I do like the idea of lite-loading the 357's and they will work excellent in my Rossi 92 lever actionn as well.

James K
September 1, 2006, 02:22 PM
Well, don't use a reamer; you could accidentally chew up a chamber.

While you are checking Brownells, look for something called a Lewis Lead Remover. It will not only remove those rings, but also lead residue from the throats and the barrel. I don't know of any good substitute.


September 1, 2006, 09:05 PM
I have had good luck with chore boy copper cleaning pads. I take them apart, wrap a few strands around a bronze cleaning brush and it seems to do the job. I wet the cylinder with solvent and let it set for a while before doing this. Follow up with wet and dry patches until clean.

Dave Haven
September 2, 2006, 01:31 AM
While you are checking Brownells, look for something called a Lewis Lead Remover. It will not only remove those rings, but also lead residue from the throats and the barrel. I don't know of any good substitute.
+1 More effective than any solvent I've found.:)

September 2, 2006, 07:15 PM
Have tried the chore-boy routine but the rubber plug that the Lewis tool uses allows much better and more even pressure with the bronze screening. I now have the plugs for .38, .40/.41, .44 and .45. Honestly, I wouldn't do it any other way now. We were shooting several revolvers yesterday and I took it with use to clean the lead out before using jacketed bullets. My older son had never seen the tool used - he was amazed. BTW, there's an essentially identical tool marketed by Hoppe's.