Bore Cleaning Basics
Other than the correct size for each caliber, it is important to keep brushes clean. Do not leave them to roll around the bottom of your cleaning box. Cheap plastic containers are ideal for storage. Use a separate container for each calibre.
All cleaning gear is stored in a singular box.
Cleaning jags are also calibre specific and are used to insert patches into the bore; there are multiple types available, of which I will mention two.
Patches, brushes and jags have to be the correct size.
The Parker Hale type uses a wrap around patch whilst the Dewey style allows multiple choices. You may pierce the patch through the centre or wrap it around similar to the Parker Hale type. The Dewey type is a bit more flexible, however it is a matter of personal opinion. Like the brushes, keep the jags clean and store them in the same brush container.
Perhaps the most important item in the whole cleaning process is the cleaning patch. Similar to the brushes and jags, there is a correct size for each calibre. The patch may be used with fluid as an initial swab through the bore. Thereafter, a series of patches will be used to remove the fluid and accumulated waste. It is important that the patch be of the correct size. If not, it may be either too loose or too tight. Neither situation is acceptable for efficient cleaning.
Once again, there are multiple choices, but it appears that cotton cloth is the most widely used, purchase in bulk so that you always have an adequate supply. The one inviolate rule with patches is that a dirty patch should NEVER be pulled back into the bore. Once again, patches, like brushes, are cheap.
There are a multitude of bore cleaning fluids available and there appear to be more on the market each year. If you are not sure what to use, ask your friends which are their preferred fluids, and more importantly why do they use them.
Although solvent makers suggest that their particular fluid will remove both copper and carbon, perhaps a faster method is to use different fluids to achieve the desired result, particularly if time is a consideration. Some fluids, especially those designed to remove copper, require a considerable amount of time to be effective.
The author does not claim to have used all of the cleaning fluids available or even a large percentage of them: I have yet to use any single solvent that will remove both carbon and copper in a short time period.
If we fire either a single, or more likely multiple shots, the last item left in the barrel is the primer and powder residue from the last shot. I suggest that we need to eliminate as much as possible of this carbon first. Underneath this top layer there will be several other layers of carbon intermixed with a layer or layers of copper from the exiting bullet(s).
Other than the specific bore cleaning fluids, there are others that I suggest have an application in the bore cleaning process, even though designed for other uses. There are two automotive fluids that are suitable to attack carbon. Brake Clean is used to remove carbon from automotive brake systems. In a similar manner, carburetor cleaner is used to externally clean around carburetors.
Hoppes #9 and Brake Clean are author's preferred solvents.
My personal bore cleaning process starts with two pierced patches run through the bore after spraying with Brake Clean, both patches are pushed through the bore and allowed to fall off when the rod is withdrawn.
Bore cleaning is not always carried out in pristine conditions!
The same applies to at least two dry patches that follow; this will remove some of the carbon. You could achieve the same result using Hoppes #9. The choice is personal. If the second dry patch contains evidence of black, use at least another two.
First patch through the bore with Brake Clean.
The correct size bore brush is now loaded with Hoppes #9, and the bore stroked several times to dislodge further carbon. Remember to clean the rod after each application through the bore. To clean the bore brush, hold it vertical and spray with Brake Clean. If time is not a consideration, leave the brushed barrel sit for about ten minutes and then patch dry. It may take up to four or five patches. Whilst the above two processes should have dislodged most of the carbon, there are now two further distinct processes to attack the copper.
Hoppes #9 is an effective copper remover that has two limitations. The first is that it requires oxygen. The second is time. If you wish to use Hoppes #9 to remove copper, saturate a clean patch and push it slowly through the bore.
Green on the cleaning patch indicates there is still copper in the bore (Hoppes #9)
Allow it to sit for at least twenty four hours and patch it dry. Repeat as necessary until the patches come out clean without any green streaks. It is a very slow process. If you are in a competition, time is of importance and you cannot wait for #9 to work.
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