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Old January 4, 2019, 11:07 AM   #1
ChasHam
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Cleaning Ruger 10/22

I usually clean my center fire rifles after every use-- but am not sure what to do with a 10/22.

How often do most folks clean this or other semi-auto rimfires?
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Old January 4, 2019, 11:18 AM   #2
pblanc
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I typically clean my Ruger 10/22s after every couple hundred rounds or so, or before I store it if I know it is not going to be used for a long time. Although 22LR does tend to be a bit dirty, I have found this to be sufficient.

This question was recently asked of 10/22 owners on a Ruger forum. The answers ranged all the way from "every time I shoot it, even if it was only a few shots" to "never, unless it starts to malfunction". There were some owners who claimed that they had owned a Ruger 10/22 for many years and never cleaned it.
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Old January 4, 2019, 11:35 AM   #3
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Listen to the gun

Quote:
How often do most folks clean this or other semi-auto rimfires?
This is a question that is often asked and if you do a historical search in here, you will a lot of differing views. I have to agree that folks have a tendency to over clean and some folks never clean. Over cleaning can cause you some problems…..

I'm in the camp that does not over clean. I routinely state that you need to listen to the piece and it will tell you when it needs cleaning. …..

To date, all my 10/22's are clean. If I have a light shooting session, the most I do is run a loose wet swab from breech to muzzle. If I have a lengthy shooting session, I give it a little tighter breech to muzzle cleaning and inspect the inside receiver with the bolt locked open. I might let it go or put a few drops of oil. This will be judgement call on your part. I once did a target hammer upgrade on a Target 10/22 and it was dirty and cruddy. Asked my buddy if he had ever cleaned it and he said; never. ….
I had to do a complete teardown on this one, even though it still shot great and the bore was still pretty good. …..

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Old January 4, 2019, 01:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
The answers ranged all the way from "every time I shoot it, even if it was only a few shots" to "never, unless it starts to malfunction". There were some owners who claimed that they had owned a Ruger 10/22 for many years and never cleaned it.
While I wasn't one of the guys referred to above, I am one of the guys who is in the "about never" camp. However, there is cleaning, and then there is cleaning.

Can you damage a gun by overcleaning? Abso-frackin-lutely!

If you do something wrong, use the "wrong" equipment, do it carelessly, etc. Run a steel rod down the muzzle like you are pumping the handle of a water pump, odds are good you are going to damage the crown at some point. Constantly taking apart and putting back together guns not designed for that, things get worn prematurely. Modern military firearms (1890s on up, and excluding revolvers) are designed with the understanding that the military troops will take them apart and put them back together all the time, and under less than perfect conditions, often without the proper tools, and sometimes without the proper skills.

Commercial sporting firearms are often not made with that in mind, and over-frequent disassembly can cause problems.

We live in an era where our ammo is (generally) no longer corrosive, so cleaning after shooting is not the necessity it once was. (it still is, if you shoot corrosive ammo, though)

.22RF barrels often behave differently than centerfire barrels. Almost exactly the opposite. With a centerfire barrel, we clean the bore to restore accuracy. Often we clean it before accuracy falls off, so that it doesn't.
A .22RF barrel can often LOSE accuracy when cleaned. Clean a good shooting but dirty .22RF barrel and often groups get bigger!!! And they usually stay that way until enough shots have been fired to dirty up the barrel again. Some call it "seasoning", it is an often observed fact that it may take a couple hundred rounds though a cleaned .22RF barrel before the accuracy returns to what it was before the cleaning.

SO, there is that to think about, for the bore. Next is the rest of the gun...
As an experiment, I let my 10/22 go for 10 years without cleaning it in detail. I didn't keep a round count, the rifle wasn't fired a lot, but did get several thousand rounds a year. I did not clean the barrel at all, and I did not take the gun apart in any way. I did wipe clean what could be reached with the action locked open.

The rifle never malfunctioned in any way during that entire time. Accuracy never changed. Then, after 10 years, I did do a full takedown and clean (other than the bore). The entire inside of the action was coated with powder residue, 1/4" to 3/8" thick!! Except where the bolt moved, there it was thinner.. Incredibly filthy, but the gun still ran flawlessly.

Your rifle may behave differently, I'm not saying all of them will be the same as mine, but I think most will be about like mine, if treated the way I treated mine. So, I'm in the "don't clean it until you need it" camp for the 10/22.

other guns will need a different level of care. Wipe out the action, keeping the barrel breech and boltface clean, the gun will run fine for an amazing amount of time without any other cleaning. Clean the bore if you think it needs it, I rarely do, but that's just me, and I'm lazy. your barrel might shoot as well after cleaning as it did before, mine usually don't....My .22s are plinkers, and small game guns, not match rifles, and I don't shoot match quality ammo, so I don't worry about getting the nth degree of accuracy possible.

Now, if the gun gets soaking wet, dropped in a puddle, etc, then a detail strip and clean is called for. Otherwise, I don't think your 10/22 needs detailed cleaning until/unless it starts failing.

Just my experience, and opinion, and worth every penny you paid for it!
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Old January 4, 2019, 01:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Can you damage a gun by overcleaning? Abso-frackin-lutely!
It's good to see I'm not the only one that believes that. Guy's that shoot Precision Pistol (Bulseye Pistol) only clean their guns when they start to malfunction, or before a big match. Repeated stripping and reassembly causes more wear to a gun than shooting it dirty.
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Old January 4, 2019, 01:44 PM   #6
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I clean firearms regularly after a typical firing session. For reasons not explainable, I have cleaned my 10/22 once. That was last year just for the heck of it. Purchased new in the late 80s / early 90s, I have fired thousands and thousands of rounds through it of several brands. I've had one failure to feed and that's it. It still functions flawlessly and is still very accurate. When I cleaned it last year, I was very surprised at how dirty it wasn't. Took it all the way down and it just didn't rise to the level of "nasty".
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Old January 4, 2019, 05:53 PM   #7
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Most RF bores will foul or season in about 5-10 shots, and the usual accuracy for that gun returns. ARA competitiors clean between each card, then shoot 5-10 foulers before starting their "bulls". There are exceptions to this, but there are exceptions to most things in life.
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Old January 4, 2019, 07:00 PM   #8
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Interesting, thanks.

I think I've been over-cleaning-- but I'm going to back off.
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Old January 4, 2019, 07:36 PM   #9
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I enjoy cleaning, inspecting and pointing out problems

While we are on this subject and not to hi-jack this thread, I would add that I have found some folks that hate cleaning their firearms. They just don't like the process or perhaps, will not bother to learn. I thoroughly enjoy cleaning my firearms and others as well. I clean firearms for a small number of hunting groups. I have gotten great deals on M/L's that folks have not cleaned. I show the seller the condition of the bore and can pretty well tell what can be saved from what belongs on the wall. I have dealers claim that an M\L and modern rifle has never been shot. I don't argue with them, just show them the bore and action. …..

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Old January 5, 2019, 07:42 AM   #10
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"How often do most folks clean this or other semi-auto rimfires?"

When it begins to choke or accuracy is noticeably impaired.
I'm shooting a "newish" 22 bolt action that is showing it's best accuracy EVER after having at least 300 rounds down the bore since the previous cleaning. My "bragging rights" 22 pistol doesn't start showing it's stuff until 50-75 rounds after cleaning.
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Old January 5, 2019, 10:17 AM   #11
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I'm of the camp of cleaning after each use. Please note, however, that the degree of cleaning after each use is very basic - run a wet patch down the barrrel followed by a dry patch. Then, I clean the bolt and receiver area without disassembly - wherever I can reach with a patch and cotton swab. My 10/22 is 1988 vintage, and the bolt has never been removed.

This has been my routine for decades.

Of course, this thread confirms that cleaning is highly individualized, and everyone has their own method/routine...

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Old January 5, 2019, 10:41 AM   #12
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My 10/22 accuracy goes to crap after a good cleaning, and takes about a 100 rounds or so before the barrel gets dirty enough to tighten up the groups again. So, mine now get an occasional cleaning with a bore snake, and I clean the trigger assy and bolt "as needed", which is usually once a year or after a couple thousand rounds.
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Old January 5, 2019, 10:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
While we are on this subject and not to hi-jack this thread, I would add that I have found some folks that hate cleaning their firearms. They just don't like the process or perhaps, will not bother to learn. I thoroughly enjoy cleaning my firearms and others as well.
When I was a youngster, I loved cleaning my guns. Of course, at that time in my life, I loved washing and waxing my car too! Times have changed for me. Though I always wipe down any firearm I've used with a silicon-impregnated cloth or some such before putting them away, I've learned that a thorough cleaning is not necessary after every shoot. I clean them now only when they need cleaning.
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Old January 5, 2019, 11:00 PM   #14
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Rimfires get cleaned when I can see accuracy decreasing, when they start feeling sluggish or malfunctioning, or when I get bored.
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Old January 6, 2019, 09:05 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pblanc View Post
I typically clean my Ruger 10/22s after every couple hundred rounds or so, or before I store it if I know it is not going to be used for a long time. Although 22LR does tend to be a bit dirty, I have found this to be sufficient.

This question was recently asked of 10/22 owners on a Ruger forum. The answers ranged all the way from "every time I shoot it, even if it was only a few shots" to "never, unless it starts to malfunction". There were some owners who claimed that they had owned a Ruger 10/22 for many years and never cleaned it.
Apparently, I'm "That Guy." I got a 10/22 when I was about 12. For the first 35+ years that I owned it, it got an occasional bore cleaning, and a quick brush/scrub of whatever I could reach without taking it apart, but I didn't actually disassemble the thing until about a year ago. And I fed it every kind of crap ammo known to man, though I have to admit that there were probably 15 years in there where I didn't shoot very much.. It wasn't until it started misbehaving, jamming and failing to eject properly, that I actually took it apart. It's back to running like a champ, and I figure I'll give it another proper cleaning in about 2055.
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Old January 6, 2019, 09:59 AM   #16
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How can repeated field stripping/detailed cleaning degrade accuracy by causing wear? Off the cuff, it sounds to me like this is saying repeated field stripping is wearing tolerances between fitted metal parts, wearing metal away, and makes the gun loose. I'm not buying it.

Why would any gun, cleaned properly, even 1,000 times a day for a month suffer metal wear from even detailed stripping and cleaning loose accuracy? Firing a projectile backed by an explosive agent causing a controlled explosion will cause much more wear than a human taking a slide off, removing a bolt, or swinging a cylinder out.

I'd like to the use any military rifle as an example being they are field stripped tens of thousands of times during their life cycle, but they are also built to a better standard that a 10/22. Regardless, I refuse to believe modern metallurgy and manufacturing processes would allow for degraded performance because of over cleaning. This is the gist I am getting from a few posts here.

I am not one who over cleans unless I've been in rain or had been dropped in mud. I will detail clean a gun every few years just because I enjoy it, but I see no harm in guys who are OCD about it either. I don't propose I am the smartest guy here (I'm not), but allusions to wearing tolerances from over cleaning?? I'm gonna need data on that one.
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Old January 6, 2019, 10:01 AM   #17
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Use clean ammo. My choice is cci standard velociity.
I'll clean mine when it fails.
It's been a few years now.
I'll get back to ya.
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Old January 6, 2019, 01:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
How can repeated field stripping/detailed cleaning degrade accuracy by causing wear?
Generally speaking, it's not so much that following approved procedures is a problem. It becomes a problem when people do something wrong, or take it to an extreme.

For example, some common firearms feature friction fit pins that go into a polymer frame. Those pins, in the case of this particular firearm, should not be removed unless the firearm is detail stripped and that shouldn't happen on any sort of a frequent basis. But some people feel the need to break the gun down all the way every time they clean it. Friction fit pins, especially ones going through soft material shouldn't be removed unless it is absolutely required and even then, pains should be taken to use a proper punch that can't widen the holes in the soft material and to be careful. Roll pins should, technically speaking, be replaced each time they are removed.

Finally, cleaning a bore brings the potential for damage to the bore, particularly in firearms that need to be cleaned from the muzzle. You mentioned military guns. I've owned one that had 2 inches of rifling that was gone on the muzzle end. I'm about 99% certain that happened from cleaning, not from shooting since the rest of the rifling was sharp and shiny. And that was a centerfire. Rimfire bores can often be softer steel and therefore more easily damaged.

IF a person does everything right and follows manufacturer instructions then cleaning/field stripping shouldn't really be a problem, even if it's done a lot. But that 'IF' can be a big one...
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Old January 6, 2019, 02:39 PM   #19
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I’ll usually swab the bore with a solvent soaked patch without dissassembling after every shooting session. I’ll only take the rifle completely apart if it feels sluggish and/or is malfunctioning. The main reason I don’t take them apart unless necessary is because the torque on the action screw affects accuracy and POI, so I usually have to slightly re-zero the rifle after reassembly, even though I use a torque wrench to maintain a consistent torque on the screw.
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Old January 6, 2019, 05:34 PM   #20
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The only thing I can add to this discussion is to consider how important the firearm is to you and it’s ability to function at a moments notice . If it’s your only firearm and you intend to use it for food , self-defense and the like . I’d recommend keeping it clean and not waiting till it starts failing to clean it . I have so many 10/22s I’m not even sure how many I have ( at least 4 ) and they don’t get cleaned very often but then again I don’t need them to function immediately at a moments notice , I have other firearms for that .
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Old January 6, 2019, 06:55 PM   #21
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I bought my 10/22 in 1987. I don’t know quite how many thousands of rounds it has fired, but I know how many times the bore has been cleaned: none.

The action has been cleaned every few hundred rounds, as required when it started to get a bit draggy.

I have never cleaned the bore of a rimfire rifle. Maybe someday if the accuracy starts to degrade, but 35 years of rimfire experience tells me it isn’t needed.
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Old January 6, 2019, 07:37 PM   #22
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I have gone with the less is better for .22 (center fire rifles a whole different story)

I also got a specific 22 ball rod and a .17 jag so that its not a tight aggressive clean.
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Old January 6, 2019, 08:44 PM   #23
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This thread reminded me of a used SS 10/22 I bought a few years ago . Thing looked brand new , super clean inside and out with the stock not having one mark on it , I thought "who ever owned this never even shot it" cuss it looked so good . $180 SOLD I'll take it . First time out , could not get through one 10rd mag with out it jamming in some way .

It was suggested to me to replace the extractor and I thought I have several thousand rounds on at least one of my others and never needed a new extractor and this thing is basically brand new . It "shouldn't" need a new extractor but I checked anyway .

New on the left , what was in the bolt when I bought it




Now All's I can think is holy crap that 10/22 had more rounds through it then all my others put together haha . Shoots and cycles great now . Still a good buy .
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Old January 7, 2019, 08:37 AM   #24
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Quote:
How can repeated field stripping/detailed cleaning degrade accuracy by causing wear? Off the cuff, it sounds to me like this is saying repeated field stripping is wearing tolerances between fitted metal parts, wearing metal away, and makes the gun loose. I'm not buying it.

Why would any gun, cleaned properly, even 1,000 times a day for a month suffer metal wear from even detailed stripping and cleaning loose accuracy? Firing a projectile backed by an explosive agent causing a controlled explosion will cause much more wear than a human taking a slide off, removing a bolt, or swinging a cylinder out.
The question presented is about cleaning the 10/22. 10/22s don't field strip. They can be disassembled, a process that involves backing a screw out of an aluminium receiver. Removing the barrel from the receiver involves additional wear of the receiver. Some people bore a whole in the back of the receiver to allow cleaning with a rod from the breach. 10/22s are a neat design that invite tinkering and creativity, but safe, easy and thorough cleaning weren't an obvious design priority.

Further, as some others have noted, 22lr barrels can be quite soft. I've a Volquartsen pistol with a tensioned stainless barrel that came with a warning that putting a brush down the barrel would void the warranty. I have always assumed the warning was issued for good reason.

I put many thousands of rounds through a 10/22 with a stainless barrel without cleaning most of the barrel. Its middling accuracy didn't deteriorate, but I did encounter failures to feed for which the solution was to clean just the chamber. A 22lr works like a spit wad in a straw. The waxy or greasy coating sits between the lead bullet and the barrel steel. Aside from a carbon ring, the chamber can collect blown back sand and accumulate wax.

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Old January 7, 2019, 09:27 AM   #25
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Never clean till it starts to malfunction and not the bore then unless accuracy falls off. I've got a Marlin model 60 that hasn't been cleaned in over 10 years. I bought a new model 60 six years ago, it hasn't had it's first cleaning yet and won't for a long time to come.
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