View Full Version : How clean should a barrel really be?

September 18, 2010, 08:30 PM
How clean does a rifle barrel need to be now that we no longer use corrosive primers?? Is a simple patch swab good enough? Why scrub it spotless only to turn around and have to fire fouling shots?

During my military days our M-16 barrels had to be spotless mirror shiny or the Armour would send you back to the clean table. Armors were fearful they would have to clean the whole weapon.

Keeping the upper and lower receiver as well as the bolt clean was clearly very important. But trying to scrub out copper from the rifling?/

I now believe we did more damage to the crowns trying to clean the barrels than any amount of fouling we were removed would have harmed them.

September 18, 2010, 10:34 PM
Being consisent is the key to a good shooting rifle. If you want a rifle to shoot the same every shot, the barrel must be in the same condition for every shot. That could go either way. Sparkling clean for every shot, or somewhat fouled for every shot. I only scrub my rifle barrels when the accuracy falls off, other than that, a patch with some Hoppe's #9 is all it gets. When I do scrub them, I find that it takes 10 to 20 shots before it settles back down. But you have to remember that fouling draws in moisture, so if your barrel is fouled, you must store it in a dry spot to keep the barrel from rusting.

September 18, 2010, 10:55 PM
We scrub the bore to eliminate copper fouling. If it builds up, it fills up the pores and accuracy suffers.

We start by using a POWDER solvent to break down fouling. That's the easy part.

Then we patch that out (alchohol is good) and go to a stronger COPPER solvent . Then we make sure we get that out of the bore after it's done it's work (patches come out blue or green) keep it up until patches start coming out relativly clean. I don't worry about perfect. Then dry patch it and run an alchohol patch thru.

I do that because an old bench rest shooter and good rifle builder told me not to mix the diffrerent solvents, and the alchohol solves that problem.

Dry patch it out and put a little powder solvent (Hoppes is great) on a patch and run it thru--- followed by a single dry patch that will still leave enough to protect it.

Not letting the copper to build in the firest place is the easiest way to do it. When it's clean, we may foul the bore because the first shot from a clean barrel can print out of the group a little bit. Not something I'd worry about in my deer rifle. I'd fire a 3 or 5 shot group that includes the fouling shot and adjust sights for the center.

September 18, 2010, 10:57 PM

September 19, 2010, 02:25 AM
For most of my rifles I stop when I get only minor coloring on the patches. One rifle doesn't like to be clean so I don't clean it, just run a dry brush and patch down it now and then. I prefer "reasonably clean" but I've learned it's not what I like, it's what the rifle likes.