View Full Version : copper fouling on new rifle?

January 30, 2011, 10:22 PM
Well, this rifle novice needs some advice!

Went to the range with my new 700 CDL 30-06 Saturday, and THOUGHT I was breaking it in correctly....

After each of the 1st 5 shots, then every 5 for the next 35 (for total of 40 shots), I ran a wet patch of Shooters Choice #7 followed by 1 pass with a brass brush, followed with 2-3 dry patches.

I cleaned it today using Hoppes #9, which removed the lead and powder fouling, then followed it with Shooters #7 for copper fouling-OH CRAP!

I wet the barrel with the SC #7, then used the brush for 10 strokes (using bore guide and removing the brush once pushed all the way through the barrell), then used a wet patch, which continued to come out blue.

Did this procedure AT LEAST 10 times, and every time I put the brush through, the next 2-3 wet patched come out blue!

What am I doing wrong?!!!!:mad:

January 30, 2011, 10:37 PM
Brushes are typically brass or bronze and therefore contain copper. Brushing leaves tiny brush fragments in the bore and that will result in blue/green patches when you use copper solvent.

Brush the bore and then put a few patches through to clean it out completely. Do your copper solvent and then patch it out again. Repeat the copper solvent step again but without brushing first. If it still comes out blue/green then you're still getting copper fouling out of the bore. If not, you were probably seeing brush residue on the patches before.

Getting copper fouling out of a bore can be really quick and simple if the bore is very smooth or might take a good bit of work if the bore is rough. It can take several applications to get it all out of there if there's a lot of fouling.

January 30, 2011, 10:51 PM
Thanks John!
I really wondered if that might have been what was happening, as I would get clean patches before re-introducing the brush-that "splains" it!
Do appreciate it!
BTW-I am in DFW area as well-ever go to Elm Fork?

January 30, 2011, 10:55 PM
Nope, that's one I haven't made it to yet. I hear it's pretty nice though. One of these days... :D

January 30, 2011, 10:57 PM
We're lucky to have numerous choices, but that one has become my favorite of the one's I've been too.

Thanks again and have fun:)

James K
January 30, 2011, 10:59 PM
Fouling from gilding metal is so thin that it has zero effect on accuracy; most information on the subject of metal fouling seems to be merely repeating hundred-year old advice regarding cupro-nickel fouling, which is about as relevant today as instructions on sweeping up after the horse-drawn street car.


February 1, 2011, 08:22 PM
Jim is right that gilding metal doesn't foul even remotely as badly as the old cupro-nickel nickel jackets did. For those, Howe describes removal of the copper to recover a rifle's accuracy was a regular money maker for the gunsmith.

That said, there are some bores that can foul very badly even with gilding metal. I know that because I owned one. It was on my first Garand. The old military barrel shot like a house on fire, running under an moa until it approached about round 40 of the 50 round National Match Course. In that course of fire you have 30 rounds through the gun before starting the 20 round slow fire prone stage; the stage that is the most demanding of precision. The first 10 rounds of slow fire from that rifle would be mostly X's and 10's. The second 10 rounds would include no more than two or three 10's or X's and a lot of 9's and 8's. The score card showed the group opening right up.

Afterward, it would require spending hours with Sweet's 7.62 to get the copper out. I would start the first patches in before dinner and would let each one rest a few minutes then repeat and repeat until about 10:30 at night, when they finally stopped turning blue. Then the next day it would do the same thing all over again.

Initially, I thought the slow fire accuracy loss might be due to heat building up, as only one minute is allowed for each shot. But the fouled barrel, if not cleared of copper, was not any good the next day, cold or warm (I only made that mistake once). Ultimately, I firelapped that barrel. By patch count, it then took about 1/6 the effort to clean. That solved the accuracy drop off problem, too.

So, let accuracy loss be your guide. If you don't see any accuracy loss for your kind of shooting, don't worry about it. How precise the shooting you are doing is will affect whether you notice any problem or not.

Be aware that some copper solvents work so fast they can turn a patch blue just from acting on a brass jag, let alone a bronze brush. Plastic jags prevent that and Bore Tech makes some alloy jags that don't react with copper cleaners.

James K
February 1, 2011, 09:13 PM
A friend who shot on the USMCR team at Perry for several years swore by Gleem toothpaste for cleaning out copper washing. I haven't see him for a while so I don't know what he uses now that Gleem is off the market. Toothpaste, of course, is a mild abrasive; I don't know if Gleem had any special ingredients for dealing with copper fouling.


February 2, 2011, 03:10 PM
I've got a home-brew basis for something equivalent. Go to your local garden center and pick up a bag of diatomaceous earth. 5 lbs of the white food grade stuff is just a few dollars there. I believe it's the same abrasive used in toothpaste. The garden centers sell it as an insecticide, as it scrapes the waxy coating off insects, allowing them to dehydrate. You can mix it with a little light mineral spirits and away you go. It polishes things up pretty nicely. Mix in some water miscible oil, like machine tool coolant, then you can mix in a little ammonia if you want more aggressive copper removal.

There's just no end to the fun we can have, once we put our minds to it.