Honestly, I have never had a rifle that wore a carbon ring in the neck. Maybe I’m just lucky, or too damned stupid to realize a little black sphincter is choking the life out of my brass necks. Or it could be that the Eliminator removes enough carbon to eliminate this problem. On that note I will not discredit the fellows who have had this issue. I will admit I do on occasion in the shop use Iosso bore paste on some barrels, and the stuff works wonders on carbon. Give an AR-15 to a coyote hunter and a case of Russian ammo and I guarantee carbon pain. Iosso has a mild abrasive and should be used to an absolute minimum and ONLY if carbon fouling is you problem. That black stuff that came out on the FIRST Iosso covered patch may be carbon fouling. The black stuff on the SECOND Iosso covered patch is BARREL STEEL!
Don’t believe me? Take a patch and put any of the abrasive paste on them and rub the outside of your shiny stainless steel barrel. The patch will turn black! And the barrel will get shinier. The point is don’t overdo it. The best option would be an effective nonabrasive carbon cleaner.
So now is where I could go on about all the barrels with a mirror finish that copper foul like a five year old’s underwear during a bout of stomach flu, all because some fellow read that JB paste cleans copper, and if a little is good a lot is better. Trust me, a polished bore will collect more copper than one with the custom lapped finish as supplied by the barrel maker. Many abrasive pastes are like a self fulfilling prophecy: “I clean with XYZ Abrasive Paste because it is so effective at removing copper, and because I clean with XYZ Abrasive Paste I continue to have a copper fouling problem.”
I am currently running an experiment with a “bad fouling” barrel that was returned to my barrel maker. When discussing the bore scoped appearance of “JB tracks” with the maker, I suggested that I take the return to my shop, relap the barrel to create the structure necessary for a good finish, rechamber, cut and crown, and see how it runs. This, along with other test done, may finally put to rest the debate over abrasive bore cleaners.
Like the title says: Custom Barrel Care at 17X. Without a bore scope it is difficult for the average guy to determine the cleanliness and condition of his bore. I would not have learned or realized much of the advice in this article without one. One trick for determining the bores cleanliness is the q-tip down the muzzle. This will allow you to see if you have the copper out of the bore. You should also become proficient at “reading” your patches to determine when the bore is clean.
With this article I hope I cleared up some of the concerns of custom barrel care. If all else fails, go back to my old stand-by, a quote I repeat to myself weekly: “Do no harm.”
Jim See owns and operates Center Shot Rifles in Pittsville, Wisconsin, where he builds precision rifles. He has been a dedicated hunter from childhood, and spends a few weeks a year traveling to western states on do it yourself hunting adventures.
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