View Full Version : Cleaning

March 25, 2013, 09:31 PM
Looks like i need a quick primer on rifle cleaning. I have two problem areas:

1. The grooves of the bore (the low parts under the lands). Using a borescope I can see these are not getting touched by the brush and/or swab. How do people get in there?

2. The locking lug area just behind the chamber. I have tried a "puffball" on a metal stick, which is OK, but not 100%. ANy other ideas?

March 26, 2013, 10:24 AM
How do people get in there?

People are usually too large to fit. What you need to do is become acquainted with some of the more modern cleaning solvents instead. The chemistry keeps advancing, and the best ones available are different from what they were just ten or fifteen years ago, and with proper use, will eliminate the need for a brush.

Begin by reading this article (http://www.boretech.com/docs/articles/precisionshooting_jan.pdf). It is already seven years old, and already too old to include some more recent developments, or some were so new at the time that the author probably missed them, so I'll get to those below.

The most important thing I can think of is to make you aware that carbon hardens with age. Even an hour makes a difference. The older it gets the harder it gets up to a point. As another board member pointed out, if you decap primers at the bench immediately after shooting, the carbon falls out. By the time you get them home, a lot stays behind. So, you really want to get some kind of carbon softening solvent in your bore at the range, before you pack the gun up.

These days, at the end of a shooting session and while the barrel is still a little warm, I pump spray a squirt or two of Boretech Eliminator into the breech end of the chamber and plug both ends and let take it home like that. By the time I get home, a patch wet with more Eliminator pretty much takes it out. A couple of such patches with five minutes inbetween for the stuff to work usually has the bore done.

The other product I take with me is a pump sprayer of Gunzilla CLP. That stuff is an excellent slow carbon solvent. I spray the bolt with it and let it work on the drive home, too. The main nuisance is protecting the gun case, and chamber plug and Neoprene muzzle stopper and a plastic grocery bag for the bolt have to come with. The bolt wipes clean when I get home.

Most carbon removers work by penetrating and getting between the carbon and metal. The surfactant ones actually help suspend the carbon. They work well, particularly KG Industrial's KG1 Carbon Remover and Boretech C4 Carbon Remover, and Boretech Eliminator has some of the carbon removing properties of C4, but is not as strong. Eliminator is general purpose in that it combines some carbon remover with copper solvent. Both KG1 and C4 are indefinitely reusable, where Eliminator's copper solvent gets consumed. But only a couple of products actually seem to actually break carbon bonds down. One is the the Slip2000 product mentioned in the article. Another is the Gunzilla CLP. Both can turn hard carbon into sludge with enough time to act.

The Slip2000 is the faster acting product. However, it can't be left too long on metal or it dries to a film that attracts moisture and can cause rust, as the instructions warn. It also slowly etches Parkerizing (guess how I know), so I use it mainly as a last resort and for extremely thick deposits on stainless steel, such as inside an M14 gas piston.

Gunzilla is funny stuff. It's a vegetable based solvent/oil. The main thing about this stuff that I like is that it keeps working on carbon, albeit slowly, and can be left indefinitely as it actually leaves a lubricating layer behind. I have had experience with a couple of examples of extremely hard, aged carbon which it has not only softened, but caused to fall off the steel. But it takes time. Overnight is a minimum for an old deposit. In one instance I had decades-old carbon glazed in a Springfield '03 barrel's pits. It was so impacted and burnished that it actually looked like an extension of the bore surface (except darker color). That required allowing the stuff to sit weeks, but in the end it all fell out along with rust in the bottoms of the pits, leaving the pits clean.

Copper solvent action is very good with Eliminator, but if you have need of something even more aggressive, KG12 has that and the most copper capacity. Wet patch a bore with it and fifteen minutes later the copper is likely to be gone. The only downside is KG12 turns orange brown as it acts, and not blue or some other color that makes the absence of copper easier to detect. So you may want to finish with Eliminator to see that the bore really is clean. Just be aware that Eliminator acts so fast it will be blue from the brass your jag is made from faster than you can push it through the bore. You need to use plastic jags or Boretech's special alloy Proof Positive line of jags to avoid the reaction.

The only thing not addressed well by the above products is lead. For that I use Wipe-Out's product called No-lead (http://www.sharpshootr.com/no-lead.htm). You patch it in and leave it for an hour. When you come back the lead has been turned into some kind of crusty black material that patches out.

So, here's what I would do in your shoes. Since you have old carbon, I would get some Gunzilla CLP. I would get it in the bore and in the lug recess. If you think the carbon has been there for months, let it sit a week, patch out, repeat if necessary.

For your receiver lugs, Sinclair makes a lug recess cleaning tool for the AR (http://www.sinclairintl.com/gun-cleaning/ar-15-cleaning/sinclair-ar-15-and-ar-10-lug-recess-tool-prod34907.aspx) receiver lugs that uses medical cotton sticks sort like the ones the dentist packs your mouth with and puts them through an eyelet so you can swab the lugs with them. This can be used in other bolt guns if you move it around and bias the cotton swab to the side. That swab can apply Gunzilla and wipe it off later. Once carbon has been softened, though, a blast with a solvent like Bore Scrubber will also remove the Gunzilla and the carbon with it.

Once you have the carbon out, you want to look at removing copper or lead deposits, depending what kind of bullets you've been shooting. If copper deposits are heavy, you may want to use KG12. I would remove all traces of Gunzilla first, as it's hydrocarbon, so a squirt of Bore Scrubber or carburetor cleaner (Autozone Carb+Choke Cleaner P/N A7000 is sometimes on sale and is the same as Berryman B12 but at a lower price, as near as I can tell). Either will remove hydrocarbons so the water-based KG12 or Eliminator can work best.

Finally, you can prevent some degree of carbon formation sticking to the bore by avoiding the usual hydrocarbons based gun oil. Slip 2000 makes a synthetic gun oil rated to 1250°F (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/779019/slip-2000-gun-oil-4-oz-liquid). Other synthetic oils are out there, and I've seen synthetic 2-cycle engine oil suggested, but its ignition point is lower than that, from what I can find on the web. Just be sure you're buying the highest temperature tolerance you can.

March 26, 2013, 11:22 AM
I myself was always told to clean after the range but I did not realize until recently, that according to most people on here DONT BRUSH after a normal 100rd range trip, unless you see copper or lead build up in the barrel. I didn't realize you just patch it and your gold.

Nick thanks for even more information, FEED THE BEAST!

March 26, 2013, 08:19 PM
Unclenick, have you examined the bores of your rifle with a borescope after your cleaning regimen? If you have and the grooves are clean, great. But if you haven't, you may be surprised if you get an opportunity to scope the bore.

All the products you mention are good, but each requires a patch be pushed through at the end to get out the softened gunk. My question was more about how to you get the patch to conform to the bottom of the grooves? (The lands in my barrel are clean enough to eat off of, so I think the products I use are doing the job, but the softened junk is not getting removed from the bottom of the grooves. I believe this is because patches just ride along the lands and only occasionally get down into the grooves.)

I'm wondering if there is any product out there that does a better job getting into the grooves. I should mention I don't use any sort of metal brush in the bore. I've tried plastic brushes, and they do a little, but they also are too pliable to really get deep.

March 26, 2013, 08:35 PM
I use the great products made by Bore-Tech that kill carbon and copper, and when the tight-fitting patches come out clean, I consider the bore to be clean. I haven't looked at the bores with a scope, so I don't know if there is any soft residue that the patches don't push out, but seeing clean patches is all I need to make me happy. If you are seeing something left in there that bothers you, you might want to give the new Remington Bore Squeegee a try. Their ad copy claims to get everything out.

March 27, 2013, 04:03 PM
Unclenick, have you examined the bores of your rifle with a borescope after your cleaning regimen? If you have and the grooves are clean, great. But if you haven't, you may be surprised if you get an opportunity to scope the bore.

Sure have. Just as in the article I linked to, a borescope was key to even knowing there was something that needed to be removed. The products I mentioned removed it. There would have been no other way to know about the Springfield '03 pit deposits, for example. They were mid-bore and had the shape of the lands and grooves. The only hint they weren't part of the steel was the darker coloring there.

That example is instructive because what actually happened was I knew about the discoloring but didn't realize at first that it was carbon. I had wet the bore with Gunzilla but was called away on business for what was actually 6 weeks. The gun sat with the barrel horizontal in a cleaning cradle that whole time. When I returned, I ran a dry patch down the bore that came out with black carbon and red rust smear all on one side of the patch. What had happened is the rust and carbon in the old pits, where were on the top side of the bore, had loosened and fallen to the bottom of the bore as loose particles, which the patch slid out easily. Only after that, and being alarmed by the appearance of the rust color did I go back in with the Hawkeye and find myself staring at a couple of shiny clean bottom pits in the steel where before there had been what looked like discolored steel and no pit.

I have since then set rusted steel small parts to soaking in Gunzilla and found that over several weeks the rust starts to accumulate on the bottom of the vial it's in. It not only weakens, but falls off. I can't say I've seen it turn something shiny clean like the bottom of that pit again, but it clearly flows a lot off via gravity when you give it enough time. What remains tends to rub off with a cloth.

All the products you mention are good, but each requires a patch be pushed through at the end to get out the softened gunk. My question was more about how to you get the patch to conform to the bottom of the grooves?…
…I'm wondering if there is any product out there that does a better job getting into the grooves. I should mention I don't use any sort of metal brush in the bore. I've tried plastic brushes, and they do a little, but they also are too pliable to really get deep.

Agree on the plastic brushes. They are well intentioned, but the bristles are coarser than the bronze wire in a conventional bore brush.

As to the patches, they need to be fairly tight and fairly wet. This causes them to push loose material in the corners of the lands ahead of them hydraulically. The key is to have the deposits in the inside corners softened and semi-fluid, which gets us back to using good cleaners and giving them time to work, and especially putting them in at the end of the range session.

Metal fouling is easier from the standpoint that the liquid will dissolve it in the inside corners. Carbon is just more trouble.

It helps if the bore lacks sharp toolmarks. You might try polishing it lightly with Iosso Bore Cleaner or with JB Bore compound. I use a metal brush that's about one size too small and wrap two patches around it for a tight fit. I work this back and forth in short strokes starting from the breech end that progress down the tube. I try to get the equivalent of twenty strokes and repeat with fresh patches a couple of times. The idea is the freshest abrasive is at the breech end where fouling is worst and the least effort is at the muzzle with its touchy crown. You will have about 60 strokes when you are done. See if that not only gets the bore cleaner initially but if it fouls less in the future.

You can also adopt the back and forth strokes with the other cleaners on wet patches to get the stretched patch fit. I haven't found that necessary, but each jag has one diameter, while patches you might buy for it come in different cloth weights, so it's not surprising they are not all equally tight.

March 28, 2013, 12:50 PM
Unclenick, do you have any experience or thoughts on Froglube? I purchased the cleaner and solvent but have not used it yet.

March 28, 2013, 01:53 PM
Yggorf, unless you are actually having accuracy problems don't get overly anal about super cleaning the bore. Contrary to what the military teaches new recruits - a clean barrel is not your friend. In fact, letting those microscopic pores get filled with gunk actually improves the accuracy. You only need to clean when your groups begin to spread.

March 29, 2013, 09:28 AM

There are mixed thoughts about it. What you describe has been called Carbon Tunnel Syndrome by Merrill Martin. He found some guns did not seem to shoot without it. .22 Rimfire, in particular.

The other extreme would be Howa's break in method. They want not only every trace of carbon out, but all traces of hydrocarbons as well for the first ten shots. They claim premature filling of a bore with carbon will bias the effects of heat toward walking and will prevent the metal from burning over the carbon-trapping pits to prevent them from becoming such deep carbon traps to begin with.

I think its a balance game. You want the bore smooth enough that it doesn't build copper fouling quickly. That same smoothness makes most carbon tend to clean off more easily. I had one barrel that could not get through the Service Rifle National Match Course (50 rounds) without the copper getting so thick that groups fell apart during the last 20 rounds, and the last 10 in particular, which is during slow fire prone at 600 yards, when you need good grouping most. It would then take the ammonia cleaners available at the time (Sweet's 7.62) hours to get it cleared for the next day's match. A fellow on another forum had and even worse barrel that could not get through twenty rounds without precision falling apart. So no "good" fouling could be brought about.

Anyway, if Yggorf is trying to get a barrel into shape, letting Gunzilla have a few weeks to penetrate and clear it would be a good thing to do initially. Especially if he is thinking of doing any firelapping to smooth out rough spots, since you don't then want the steel protected unduely. Post firelapping, if you've cleaned thoroughly along the way, you have fresh metal exposed at the surface. That's the time to try Howa's trick. Once complete, then the carbon tunnel experiment can be tried.


I keep hearing about Frog Lube here, mainly, but it's one I have yet to try. I still have shelves full of cleaners I've tried in the past, and haven't recently felt like evaluating a new one. I'll probably donate the others to our club. When I get used to the idea that's made room on the cleaner shelf, I may give Frog Lube a try.

March 29, 2013, 10:30 AM
Nick, you are absolutely right about the balance part. With Yggorf, he doesn't give us enough info to do a really good job of giving advise. We don't know if he is talking about a well-used barrel that needs attention, a brand new barrel that he want to just start using, or something in between. Or, is he just learning about gun cleaning in general? We need more info in order to give good advise - and even that will vary from person to person.