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Old March 25, 2013, 03:41 PM   #21
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Join Date: July 26, 2005
Location: The Bluegrass
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Please note, that this post is about the use of jacketed bullets, only.

It's not that I think frequent cleaning with bronze brushes will quickly wear out a handgun barrel, it's just that it is unnecessary.

I'll also point to an interesting read about differences in opinions of precision rifle shooters at The editor surveyed some of the top shooters and some of the barrel makers (their comments are in the article). The editor concluded, in part:
If you read through the many perspectives above, a few themes come through. First, the short-range Benchrest guys are doing a LOT of brushing, while many of the winning 600- and 1000-yard shooters are cleaning fairly infrequently, and are NOT using bronze brushes. It also appears that most barrel-makers still advocate frequent cleaning with bronze brushes. However, I’m not sure most barrel-makers have actually studied the effect of brushing on barrel life in a scientific fashion, nor have they really explored the potential benefits of brushless cleaning alternatives.

Now, many top “point-blank” group shooters toss their barrels after 500-700 rounds, and in some cases, as little as 300 rounds. It may be that to obtain benchrest competitive accuracy, i.e. a barrel capable of shooting “zero” groups, you have to clean often and brush aggressively. However, many of the 100-200 yard score shooters, whose 30BR guns can shoot in the low ones (when tested for group) are finding that cleaning less often (and less aggressively) has NOT reduced their scores. Furthermore, these 30BR shooters are getting thousands of rounds of accurate life from their barrels. Is a 30BR THAT different from a 6PPC? Or is the short life of PPC barrels attributable, at least in part, to over-cleaning?
Now, there's a big difference in bullets traveling at handgun velocities and those traveling at rifle velocities. It would make sense to me, though, that the effects of frequent cleaning with bronze brushes is simply exaggerated at rifle velocities and that the life of a handgun barrel would be shortened to some degree by frequent cleaning with bronze brushes. It is also logical to assume that the bristles of the brush would take at least some molecules off the inside bore of the barrel. How much would this shorten barrel life in a handgun? I don't have a clue. Maybe it's the difference in 50,000 rounds and 55,000 rounds. Maybe more, maybe less. Again, I don't know.

By the same logic, frequent cleaning of handguns with bronze brushes might result in a theoretical increase in accuracy. Most of us can't get the full potential out of our handguns so I can't see that this theoretical increased accuracy would be of any real benefit to us.

So, back to my original premise -- when shooting jacketed bullets, it's not necessary to frequently clean with bronze/brass brushes. Save it for when that patch with the solvent comes out green/blue, indicating some copper fouling. Less time cleaning and more time for something else.
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