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Cleaning routine

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Old 12-11-2010, 10:30 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Whitecourt, Alberta
Posts: 22
Cleaning routine

Hey guys, just curious what kind of different cleaning procedures different people use. I know some say clean the barrel until your patches come out clean and then others say just brush once each cleaning to avoid barrel damage. Just curious what works for you?
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:32 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: sebastopol, ca.
Posts: 418
Re: Cleaning routine

You will get a ton of opinions on this one.
My routine is to clean it after thirty or so rounds and not scrub the crap out of it. My 300 win mag shoots better with a few fouling shots so I tend to not clean it very often to maintain the accuracy.
It works for me, I am sure you will have other opinions.
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Old 12-12-2010, 05:14 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Billings, MT
Posts: 332
Re: Cleaning routine

I know how you feel. I'm torn between squeeky clean, and clean enough, myself.

Maybe we will get one of the metalurgist guys and/or machinist on here to clear up the cleaning debate.

I picked up an M1 Garand recently, and the barrel is junk, due to inaddequate improper cleaning. Now a barrel is gonna cost me. I think a lot of it came from dirty surplus ammo.

I know primers and powders are nearly inert to metals as far as reacting. They do build up. Most problems come from the copper buildup in the bore, it's also one of the hardest to get out. Have to be care full with the amonia based solvents, to not get them on your brass. It will make brass brittle. I think that is most of the reason they work on copper fouling.
There are only two seasons: Hunting season, and Getting Ready for Hunting season. -DAD
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:40 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Whitecourt, Alberta
Posts: 22
Re: Cleaning routine

Also do you brush from chamber side only or brush both ways like some? And what is the general consensus on the need for a boreguide. Thanks guys I appreciate any help I can get. There are a lot of myths in this hobby I'm just trying to route out the ones that can damage my barrel. Lol
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:28 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: sebastopol, ca.
Posts: 418
Re: Cleaning routine

I brush both ways and use a chamber guide if possible and scrub both ways.
I don't like my barrels squicky clean but if it is an AR or M1A or some other semi auto you really need to keep it clean. The carbon and copper build up will reduce reliability and accuracy in most cases.
Every couple of hundred rounds I clean the barrel really well to make sure I am not getting a build up.
I would clean a factory barrel better and more frequently than a custom. I have two Hart barrels and they clean up really easy but my TC encore is usually a chore.
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Old 12-23-2010, 12:41 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 230
Re: Cleaning routine

I clean after I'm done shooting (20-40 rounds). Boreguide, couple of Shooters Choice patches pushed through. Copper brush both ways several times, wetting it at the muzzle and the guide end until the brush has removed anything that doesn't feel right. A couple of more wet patches. Then a very tight dry patch that gets pushed just to the muzzle and pulled back. Any felt restrictions, especially when nearing the throat and the barrel either gets brushed again or a dampened patch of SC and JB bore paste gets worked in the area. When the tight patch feels good. A wet and a dry follow. Then a patch with 50BMG is worked down through, left set a minute or two. Usually shows some blue. Continue to work more patches with the BMG until blue is very faint or gone. A couple of dry patches and then I run another drenched patch of Shooters choice in the barrel and let it in the barrel for the ride home. An hour or two later a patch out the SC, if it shows some green, I soak it again. Next patch is usually just wet with no color. A couple of dry patches followed with a coating of BreakFree CLP, and a clean patch stuffed in the chamber and the muzzle and I'm done. If I'm going to be shooting again right away, the CLP is limited to about a dime sized dot in the middle of the patch, followed by a dry patch.

When I take them out to use, I remove the chamber patch, put the bore guide in and push a dry patch through. Wrap a brush with a patch sprayed with Gun Scrubber and spin it in the chamber. Insert my homemade action cleaning tool. (aluminum arrow shaft with opposing slots cut in it to hold the gun scrubber soaked dental gauze things) And clean the lug recess and back through the bolts path. Squirt some bolt grease on the lugs and bolt and ready to go. First shot is usually 2-3 feet low at 1k. Then good to go. About every 200 rounds I put the muzzlebrake in an ultrasonic cleaner.

Hunting season I leave em dirty for the season following a traditional 3 shot zero check.
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:54 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Searcy, Arkansas
Posts: 700
Re: Cleaning routine

Like someone said, this topic is good for lots of different opinions........ here is my two cents worth. Some will certainly disagree, but it works for me. Also keep in mind, I keep my barrels clean, I do get a little more aggressive when a buddy brings me a rifle that is 20 years old and never been cleaned......

First of all, I almost never use a wire brush and NEVER in a custom lapped barrel.

Second, always start the patch (or brush) at the breech end and use a boreguide. Go one direction only and NEVER reverse either patch or brush while in the barrel, and never pull a patch back through the barrel in reverse after it has been pushed through from the breech.

Step 1, Insert boreguide
Step 2, Run patches with automotive brake cleaner through until they start to come out clean. Usually takes 3 to 4. (removes powder fouling and carbon)
Step 3, Run patches with 50 BMG copper solvent through until they come out with no blue.
Step 3, (alternate) Fill bore with foaming bore cleaner, allow to sit for 30 min, repeat, then push through 2 clean patches. Push 1 patch with 50 BMG check for blue, if blue, repeat.
Step 4, Push through 2 patches heavily wetted with Kroil.
Step 5, Push through 1 dry patch
Step 6, Remove boreguide, swab chamber with a clean 12 ga shotgun swab.
Step 7, Lube bolt lugs


I typically clean after a maximum of 20 rounds.

Some factory barrels may require more aggressive cleaning, but most will not if copper or carbon is not allowed to build up in the first place. A factory barrel with a fairly rough finish may need to be cleaned after as little as 10 rounds to avoid too much copper build up. As a general rule a good custom barrel will not build up copper quickly and will not require as aggressive a cleaning process.
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