I have a new Remington 700 TIR 308. I love it! It is hand lapped and I have put 140 rounds through it, cleaning it after every trip to the range (about 25-35 rounds thru it per trip). I'm just getting back into rifles (been an archer for 30 years) and I have found there are 2,347 different ways to clean the barrel (I never cleaned mine before). Really??????
Seems to me, if my groups are tight and stay that way, do I really need to hit it with a powder cleaning solvent, followed by a copper solvent, then lube it and start the whole process over again? Good grief! What is the norm for barrel cleaning? Someone please help me....
With that rifle, every 35-40 rounds run a patch with regular solvent all the way through once, then run your brush through it 3-4 times, folled by another patch with solvent, a few dry patches to get what remains, a patch with rem oil, then a single dry patch. about every 160-180 rounds run a drenched patch of Sweets copper solvent all the way through, let it sit 5-10 mins, then run dry patches through until there is no bluish green tint on them, then scrub it with a patch of J&B compound to remove carbon build up, followed by dry patches until they come out clean, then 1 oil patch and 1 dry. Also get a bore guide to keep from wearing out the bottom of the throat. It sounds complicated but it isn't, it takes 30 minutes or so and your barrel will live alot longer. Hope that helps.
I have found that every rifle is a little different (or sometimes a lot). The best answer is to shoot your rifle enough to know it's habits. With a lapped barrel, you should be able to shoot more than a factory one "in general". Most barrels will be from 20 to over 100 rounds. It usually takes a few rounds to get the barrel settled back in to consistent POI after cleaning. I prefer to NOT get every single speck of copper out but stop short of "perfectly white patches". I feel it takes fewer shots to get POI back using this method.
I really like a product called "Bore Tech Eliminator". It cleans both carbon and copper very well and will not harm the barrel even if left in overnight. As was already mentioned, use a bore guide and be very careful of the muzzle area (crown). Never clean from the muzzle end or even attempt to drag a patch or brush back thru. I like to use Kroil to finish wipe the bore after cleaning. Good luck......Rich
Good advice elkaholic. Some rifles shoot very well with just a little fouling remaining in the barrel. But every barrel should be cleaned occasionally. In competition, I do not clean between relays. After about 40 or 50 shots, match is over and I bring it home and clean. First Butch's with patches; then dry it out and finish with BT Eliminator on a nylon brush. If fouling persists, I will spary Wipe Out in it and let sit overnight. That stuff really works. Always use a good bore guide. After cleaning thoroughly, a few fouling shots will usually restore accuracy.
Everyone does it different and my philosophy is to clean then shoot until accuracy falls off and clean again... and like Rich says, barrels behave differently.
I to am a fan of Bore Tech Eliminator and Wipeout. A lot of guys think they have a clean bore when they no longer see blue on their patches when in fact there is still copper in the barrel. I have experienced this a number of times with products like Butches Bore Shine, Montana Xtreme 50 BMG, KG12 and others that are supposed to be powerful copper removers. The way to test this is to soak your bore with BTE or Wipeout after you think it's clean form using another product, then patch it out and see what you get. Wipeout and BTE have always got more copper out for me. I have verified Wipeout's effectiveness by having two of my barrels borescoped by a local smith who said the bore's were completely free of copper with slight traces of carbon which he said he rarely sees.
When using BTE, it's best to use a non-brass jag because BTE will immediately start eating the brass and leave a false blue indication on the patch. I use nickel plated jags. Bore Tech has also come up with CU+2 copper remover and C4 carbon remover for more specialized cleaning. And the Bore Tech Products have an oxidation inhibitor in them.