View Full Version : Barrel cleaning of circa 1934 Century Arms .22

February 24, 2012, 12:31 AM
I have my grandfathers old "run out the line" Mossberg .22; meaning Mossberg sold the barrel to Century Arms with parts from a few different models circa 1934. It was probably purchased from Montgomery Wards. It is the rifle I learned to shoot with as a child. It is in decent shape, but it has not been cleaned properly. I suspect there is quite a bit of fouling in the barrel. As I'm just getting back into rifle shooting after many years, I will need to go out and get a decent cleaning kit. However...

I am wondering if you have any tips on the proper cleaning and reconditioning of the barrel. I would love to have it shooting as well as it did when I was a kid. (I could reliably shoot a bullfrog in the spine from 30-40 feet.)

Any guidance is appreciated.

Thank you in advance,

Willie Sutton
February 24, 2012, 09:26 AM
Go slow and easy.... gentle for the old lady.

Clean from the breech end for starters.

Old things sometimes work best, you could do a lot worse than the old standby Hoppes #9 as a bore solvent.

Buy a good rod, try to buy a one-piece one if you can as opposed to a multi piece.

Buy TWO bore brushes, and a bunch of .22 caliber patches.

Bore brush on the end, soak in Hoppes, and scrub a few passes.

Then use the bore brush to start pushing patches thru. The brush will place far better pressure on the patch than will a cleaning jag on the end of the rod. Keep at it until the patches come thru clean. Might take a bit.

The brush bristles will end up with bits of patch stuck to them... no worries. That's why you bought two brushes. Swap them out, re-scrub with Hoppes and the new brush, swap back to your pusher-brush, and repeat as required.

Unless the bore is rusted, this ought to give you a clean barrel.

IF the bore is rusted... <sigh>... there's not a lot you can do except clean it and then shoot it. Surprisingly enough, .22 bores with a bit of pitting still tend to shoot OK. Let's hope that's not the case though. The .22 rimfire was one of the first cartridges to be primed exclusively with non-corrosive primers, so there's a good chance that it's not rusted. Take a look.

.22 rimfire cartridges were/are lubricated with wax, which builds up all sorts of crud in actions. One of the most effective cleaners for this stuff is aerosol carburator cleaner. Remove the stock and blast the crap out of the action with a can or two of carb cleaner. Gentle toothbrush and blast... you'll get it clean.

Make sure to relubricate the thing gently... the carb cleaner will remove ALL lubricants from the action. There are any of a number of firearm lubricants available, none particularly better than any other for most practical purposes. A little goes a long way.

Then find a child that needs to be taught to shoot and pass down the knowlage.... if then they are deserving, pass down the rifle. One day perhaps this cycle will be repeated again.




February 25, 2012, 06:24 AM
Willie, thank you very much for the detailed instructions. I'm just getting back into shooting after many years away. I appreciate the refresher and new (to me) tips. I certainly did not know about the carb' cleaner and I'll need to pick up a decent one piece coated rod. All I have now is a multi-piece steel rod. I feel more confident now that I won't make matters worse. And I don't believe the barrel is rusted <whew>, but I'll find out soon enough.

Yes, I hope to pass on this rifle and the love of outdoors, hunting, and heritage. I plan on catching an Appleseed course soon. While relearning to shoot, I might as well do it right. All our kids are 700 miles away and grown. But I know a couple young men that might be interested in joining me at the course.

Thanks again,

Willie Sutton
February 25, 2012, 08:45 AM
My pleasure, and enjoy.

The best gift we can give is one where we are remembered long after we head west for the last time. The only gift that we give that can never be taken away from it's recipient is knowlage. Give it freely.



February 25, 2012, 10:29 PM
The only gift that we give that can never be taken away from its recipient is knowledge. Give it freely.

So very, very, true. I got to spend my afternoon today with a young man (17) doing chores, but teaching him some skills he wouldn't have the opportunity to learn at his home. Yet they were skills I believe a man should possess. I have already heard through the grapevine (mothers' talk you know) that he was busting with pride with what he learned and the trust I placed in him.

Boy did that make me feel good - The gift of giving can't be taken away either.

Driving home with my wife she commented about the work. I was pleased to be able to say that I was consciously and simply modeling what my grandfather and father did with me. Fond memories.