View Full Version : Best way to clean copper from the barrel?

January 31, 2010, 03:50 PM
Ok, I've fired a bunch of hundred rounds through my Rem 700 and I'm starting to see copper streaks in the barrel. At what point should I become concerned? What's the best way to clean copper from the barrel?



January 31, 2010, 05:05 PM
Get some copper solvent and then go like this.

Wet patch.
sit 10 minutes
Dry patch
wet patch
dry patch
wet patch
dry patch
etc. until dry patches come out clean.

James R. Burke
January 31, 2010, 05:15 PM
You might want to use a brush if it is bad. I swiched to Butches bore shine and it works great. But there are alot of others that are just as good or maybe better. The important part is never ever leave it get that bad. Once it starts picking up copper it does so very fast. You need a set amount of shots, and then make it a point to clean the bore. On my hunting rifle mine is twenty at the max. Then I clean it real good, and oil it. Before I go hunting I take it out and shoot a few fouling shots thru it, and check it out then leave it till the end of season. Then a good cleaning, and oil it.

January 31, 2010, 05:20 PM
With that many rounds in between cleaning you probably have a bunch of copper in there. I recommend one of the foaming bore cleaners. You will probably need to brush and use a bunch of patches as well with that many rounds, but the foam will really speed up the process.

January 31, 2010, 05:25 PM
With that many rounds in between cleaning you probably have a bunch of copper in there. I recommend one of the foaming bore cleaners. You will probably need to brush and use a bunch of patches as well with that many rounds, but the foam will really speed up the process.

Seconded. I had the same problem with a used gun that had not been cleaned in a LONG time. I cleaned it a few times with patches and brush and it wasn't making a big difference. My shop recommended Gunslick Bore Foamer and it took two applications but it did a good job. The first patch you run through after the foamer is just "WOW" nasty. Make sure to read the instructions on the foamer though, some don't play nice with wood or synthetic stocks.

January 31, 2010, 06:10 PM
The best copper remover I've ever seen is KG-12. Look it up. It will actually dissolve the copper from a coin.

January 31, 2010, 06:57 PM
I use Sharp Shoot R Wipe-Out Brushless Foaming cleaner:


You quite literally do not need to use a brush, although it may speed things up a bit depending on how dirty your bore is. I cleaned up an old Lee Enfield where the bore literally looked like the terrain I'm sure it saw combat in. Brush needed only to help the chunks o' crud loosen up a little faster. Every other rifle I've used it in just took a couple of patches.

Literally you just plug both one end, spray, plug the other end and let is sit overnight. Repeat a few times for heavy copper fouling, but requires ZERO elbow grease.

January 31, 2010, 07:21 PM
Best way? Ask ten guys you will get twelve different answers. This is a good read though.


January 31, 2010, 07:36 PM
When I get a high round count and notice diminishing accuracy I first use a good blast of brake cleaner, then a long soak of Hoppes #9 to clear out remaining carbon residue and then I use Shooter's Choice Copper Solvent for about 5 minutes and clean out with a few patches until dry. Then I repeat that process again and it's usually very clean by then.

Unless you're noticing the overall precision of the gun diminishing, I would not bother. Several tests have been conducted and shown very good evidence that the precision and accuracy are not affected by medium round counts until you get closer to about a thousand fired since last cleaning.

January 31, 2010, 08:10 PM
Forrest foam. If it's good enough for the Finnish Army, it's good enough for me. Those Sako/Valmet AK:s don't come with hard chrome bores, you see.

www.milfoam.fi (http://www.milfoam.fi)

February 3, 2010, 03:27 AM
I've got to side w/ the foaming cleaner advice. I've spent a great deal of time using solvent, brushes and patches, and JB paste, w/ varying results but always much effort expended.

I went w/ a foamer, specifically listed to address copper fouling and was greatly impressed.

My Walmart Rem 700 ADL .270. which has always been a real pain, showing deteriorating accuracy within 30-40 rounds due to visible fouling, cleans up quick and easy with a 15 minute treatment, followed by an overnite.

I'd trade it away, but when clean it is a shooter, and has the knack of dropping the entire range of .270 bullet weights into the same general zero.

I was so impressed that first night that I cleaned half a dozen rifles, including a MUCH shot mini-30, and a M1 Garand 1950's re bbl. (you would not believe what came out of the mini)

February 3, 2010, 08:31 PM
I use only Barnes CR-10 on patches. No brushes.
I use a patch with Hoppe's #9 when I'm done, then light oil.

February 3, 2010, 10:40 PM
leave the copper in the barrel unless you are shooting a rimfire. army rangers just did a test on this recently and found more accuracy if left in barrel.

February 3, 2010, 10:43 PM
leave the copper in the barrel unless you are shooting a rimfire. army rangers just did a test on this recently and found more accuracy if left in barrel.

Proof of this?

February 3, 2010, 10:54 PM
please look up what the rangers did. i can not speak of how i know this. you should be able to find it on the internet if you look hard enough. but wait about 2-3 months for a better internet search.

February 3, 2010, 11:15 PM
Sooo...you don't have any proof.

February 3, 2010, 11:17 PM
i can not speak of how i know this


February 4, 2010, 08:37 AM
Butch's Bore Shine is the primo wondro.

February 4, 2010, 10:42 AM
Yeah, you don't ever want to clean a gun. They are way better dirty.;) Gotta love it.

February 4, 2010, 11:14 AM
i can not speak of how i know this.

If he told you, he'd have to kill you....:D

February 4, 2010, 11:22 AM
Doyle has it right. KG12 is the most aggressive copper remover on the market. It is water based and, unlike ammonia based copper removers, won't etch the barrel. It is something like 4,000% (not a typo people) more effective in dissolving copper than any other product on the market.

It is the only copper solvent we use, and we have tried them all. We use bronze brushes also when removing copper. The nylon brushes last longer, but aren't aggressive enough to get the job done fast.

February 4, 2010, 11:54 AM
If KG-12 is that aggressive, how long does a bronze brush last? One cleaning and they're done?

February 4, 2010, 12:05 PM
1). Sweet's 7.62
2). Remington's bore cleaner
3). Butch's bore shine
4). JB Paste, (use with a nylon brush)
5). The foams with wipeout left overnight
6). Break-free CLP

I used a 50-50 mix of shooter's choice and Kroil for years.

A regular cleaning with Kroil reduces this buildup.

I like the Bore cleaner from Remington for copper. (not ammonia based)

It's like Chevy, Ford, Dodge, and which one's better...

February 4, 2010, 12:40 PM
Bring me the most copper fouled barrel you have, and I guarantee in 15 minutes, and NO SCRUBBING, NO BRUSHING, I'll have it down to bare steel.

In fact, I'll read a newspaper while it is cleaning. I use an electronic cleaner I built with about $10 in parts from Radio Shack.

In half the time it takes for multiple applications of various copper cleaning agents, the scrubbing, the dry patch/wet patch routine, I can have a gun cleaned and put back in the safe. The ONLY downside to using the electronic cleaner is that there is no option for a "mild" cleaning. It's down to bare steel in minutes.

I found the plans on the internet. The electronic cleaner will remove carbon, lead, copper, priming compounds-EVERYTHING down to bare steel in 15 minutes. Won't harm the bore or crown like improper use of brushes & cleaning rods can. Since it uses batteries (2 C) I can carry it with me to the field should I find the need to clean while away on a hunting trip. Also it does not require the use of expensive, harsh chemicals that can damage the bore, the bluing, or the finish on the stock. You will still need a good cleaning rod & jag to apply a protective layer of oil to the bore after cleaning as it will be BARE STEEL when done and prone to rust.

To answer the OP's question, that is how I would rid the bore of copper. Further, as others have mentioned, don't go so long between cleanings!

Prior to using the electronic cleaner, I found that the KG-12 was the best cleaner for copper removal--IF you are willing to do the apply, let sit, scrub, dry patch, apply, let sit, etc; routine-then it works the best of any of the copper removing products I have tried. I started using the electronic cleaner shortly after buying the KG-12. The bottle I have is almost full. If you want it, PM me, pay for shipping, and it's yours. Otherwise, if you want to build yourself an electronic cleaner, look here:


February 5, 2010, 02:26 PM
What iceman is talking about is the fact that you don't want to actually remove all the copper from the barrel. If you truly clean down to the steel, it will actually lose some accuracy. But to say that "leaving copper in the barrel = accuracy" is completely wrong. Brand new barrels will never shoot perfectly at long ranges, out of the box. You need to break in the barrel, and during that process, copper will find itself into the microscopic grooves and pits in your barrel, and actually make it smoother. Then after that, you don't need to use copper solvent, you just need to clean the barrel with Hoppes 9 or something similar after every time you shoot. If you're cleaning every time you shoot, or at least weekly, then you will keep 99% of the copper out of your barrel, and the 1% that stays in will not ruin your accuracy.

But you're all right to think that shooting 1000 rounds without cleaning is not good for accuracy at all. But remember, every time you use strong copper solvents, you risk getting the barrel down to the steel again and clearing away all the copper that smooths out your barrel just that tiny bit. Then you need to break in your barrel again.

The strongest thing I'd use on relatively clean barrels is regular shooter's choice, and with my hunting rifle, just use hoppes 9 after each shooting. All of this is moot though unless you're expecting 1-2" groups at 500 yards. Cleaning a barrel in any way whether it's just enough or completely overboard is fine for most people. It's just the 1000 yard shooters that really have to worry about the exact condition of their barrels.

Lloyd Smale
February 6, 2010, 05:00 AM
bottom line is if you have a barrel that needs to be copper fouled to smoothen it or to make it shoot well you dont have a good barrel. You dont see bench rest shooters going to the range with copper fouled barrels and if you look at the recomendations of any company making match grade barrels you wont find a one of them that wants there barrels shot copper fouled. As a matter of fact they usually want you cleaning after every shot for the first few.

February 6, 2010, 08:57 AM
I recently experienced some very rough copper fouling from some 100 grain Hornady bullets in my .270 Win. I'd never seen it before. Gilding metal jackets will leave a trace, but this was very rough and in the first 6 inches from the chamber.

I noticed that primers were cratering on my normally hot 130 grain bullets and I couldn't believe the roughness when I looked down the bore. I've never seen anything like it in over 50 years of shooting!

It was very difficult to remove. I used everything I had and it took soaking and lots of brushing before it was gone. I used Butch's, Shooters Choice, Break-Free, and good old Hoppe's #9, but it took quite a while to get it smooth.

BTW: I agree that it's normally best to leave copper tracing in the bore and not to take it all the way to bare metal.

February 7, 2010, 04:16 AM
Lloyde Smale, that's not true. First, you definitely clean your rifle, and you will never see any copper fouling in a bench rest shooter's gun. Second, what you are referring to, in the first 70-100 rounds that go through a rifle, is what bench rest shooters refer to as "breaking in the barrel." Now if they were truly cleaning down to the metal after every time they shot, would breaking in the barrel have actually accomplished anything? They're not changing the chemical makeup inside the barrel, they're not enlarging it, they go out with 5 boxes of ammo, shoot it all up in 1 day, while cleaning every 5 or 10 shots. But they're not using heavy duty copper solvent for at least the latter half of the breakin, because they're not trying to remove everything, only just the excess copper. A broken in barrel doesn't always shoot more accurately, but sometimes it will, and all the time, it will not need as much cleaning. Almost any surface known to man has microscopic pits and grooves, so your statement that those don't exist in good barrels is wishful thinking.

Lloyd Smale
February 7, 2010, 07:58 AM
thats not what ive been told by bench rest shooters. Theyve told me they want all the copper out. The initial breakin is to smoothen (or lap the barrel) They shoot a few shots then clean right down to the steel and then repeat. the jacketed bullet passing through the bare bore helps to lap and inperfections. As a matter of fact jb bore paste was designed by benchrest shooter to insure all the fouling was out of there guns. A match barrel is so smooth that it allows very little copper build up to start with and if they wanted to leave some in they wouldnt be cleaning with anything other then hoppes to take out the powder fouling. Now if you are talking the typical deer rifle with a factory barrel there is enough inperfections in them that a bit of copper fouling might be benificial but the problem is for the most part copper is soft and sticky and once it starts fouling its tough to keep it for getting out of control.

February 7, 2010, 12:55 PM
You typically will stop using jb though after the first 20 or 30 shots, because you don't want to be cleaning it all that well. And yes the process does actually lap the barrel, but since it's impossible to actually have a perfectly smooth surface, you start using something like shooters choice for the latter half of the shots. But I'll agree that in match grade barrels, the difference is negligible, and I'm not even sure that it really means you don't have to clean as often. Hunting rifles definitely benefit from a breakin much more than match rifles, and of course nobody ever actually breaks them in.

February 7, 2010, 11:32 PM
1). Sweet's 7.62
2). Remington's bore cleaner
3). Butch's bore shine
4). JB Paste, (use with a nylon brush)
5). The foams with wipeout left overnight
6). Break-free CLPYou're forgetting Hoppe's Bench Rest Copper Solvent. It's what I've always used and works great.

February 8, 2010, 02:27 AM
The only things you really need are:

Hoppe's 9 (regular), a mild cleaner, good for general cleaning after every shooting session
Shooters Choice, a bit stronger, good for a good cleaning
Sweet's, pretty strong, can react with others and mess up your barrel so watch out
JB, the strongest, best used with a good brush, really only for neglected barrels

You really could pick any of the milder 3 and just use that, but it's good to have all of them. If you own 1 hunting rifle however, I'd just stick with Hoppe's 9 and shooters choice. They'll get the job done every time, as long as you clean after every shooting.

Lawyer Daggit
February 8, 2010, 06:39 AM
Get some nylon brushes though, so your copper brushes are not destroyed...