Bore Cleaning Basics By Matthew Cameron

Discussion in 'Technical Articles - Discussion' started by ADMIN, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. ADMIN

    ADMIN Administrator

    Mar 6, 2008
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  2. Boss Hoss

    Boss Hoss Well-Known Member

    Nov 10, 2005
    While I agree with the premise of the article my own experience as Verified with a bore scope concludes the use of brake cleaner will not remove the carbon fouling in a barrel. I use brake cleaner extensively in my firearms cleaning to remove solvents and crud in general (also use to clean solvents off of brushes and blast the lug area prior to re lubrication) and it is extremely useful.

    While my method is a little different and more comprehensive with the exception of the carbon removal this is a pretty good guide for those who do not utlize a structured approach to the cleaning their firearm.

    Good Job..

  3. eshell

    eshell Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    Good job on the article Mr. Cameron! Thank you!

    I would have a few constructive criticisms to offer:

    1) Bore guides: I heartily agree that a good bore guide is necessary. The trouble is that the bore guides pictured to not serve any function beyond simply preventing solvent from getting into the action. I have about ten Sinclair and Midway bore guides in various calibers that sit unused in drawer. They do NOT prevent the rod from rubbing the rifle throat, which is THE most critical function they could have performed.

    We must ask ourselves this single question to understand my point:
    If a proper caliber bore brush will pass through a bore guide, how can it possibly perform it's stated purpose?
    Answer: It clearly cannot.

    While I use good quality rods from Dewey, to get the required protection I have gone to bore guides made by Mike Lucas. Mr. Lucas' guides actually DO guide the rod itself and prevent contact with the bore, while also serving the secondary function of keeping solvents out of the action and bedding.

    2) In agreement with the above poster, I also have a bore scope and find that brake cleaner does not do very much to remove carbon fouling. There are far better products out there. SLIP2000 is one, GM TEC is another. The SLIP must be used with caution, because it will strip all oils and a chrome-moly barrel can be pitted if left too long without re-oiling the bore. This warning of potential corrosion is on the label.

    3) I have abandoned Hoppes and Sweets for "Wipe Out" and "Patch Out" products.

    I have used Hoppes since the early 1970s, and always had confidence in it's effectiveness. Then, I tried Sweets 7.62 and found that it removed large amounts of copper from bores that had seemed clean when using Hoppes. I then went to Hoppes to remove carbon, and used Sweets to remove copper, and life was good, until I built a 6.5-300 Weatherby in the mid 1990s.

    I cleaned this pig very often, but it still developed a hard carbon ring that gave me quite a fit with pressures until I finally realized what was going on. Even JB simply polished this hard deposit of carbon and deterrent left behind by 80+ grains of H870.

    When Wipe Out foam was introduced, a trusted friend told me how great it was, but I was, at that time, quite happy to be scrubbing with Hoppes, Sweets and JB. I went through several bottle of Sweets a year, and at least one tub of JB. I bought my Hoppes in 16 ounce bottles. I wore out numerous bore brushes, and eventually went to buying dozen packs at Sinclair.

    When I finally tried Wipe Out, it removed a HUGE amount of copper that was left after what I though was a very thorough cleaning with Sweets & JB. I had cleaned my Hart barreled 6.5-300 Wby and .22-250 until the patches came out clean. No more fouling was removed by Sweets or Hoppes. I applied Wipe Out and let stand overnight. When I pushed a patch through, I got what looked like blue jello, and a large amount of copper was removed. I reapplied, and got even more copper out. A third application finally came out clean.

    Since getting my bore scope outfit, I have looked at many barrels, and I have also procured about 10 pull-off barrels from custom gunsmiths, some of which were terribly fouled. Between experimenting with these pull-offs and my own rifles, I see now that both Hoppes and Sweets will perform to a certain extent, but both will leave fouling. Wipe Out does not.

    Again, thank you very much for a very informative article!
  4. Rubber Ducky

    Rubber Ducky Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    Re: Butch's Bore Shine?


    Are there any opinions on Butch's Bore Shine?

    I seem to get good results with it, but a respected local gunsmith is against it's use as it's supposed to be abrasive. It certainly does clean out the copper fouling fast and so I never leave it in the barrel for more than a few minutes.

  5. Boss Hoss

    Boss Hoss Well-Known Member

    Nov 10, 2005
    Re: Butch's Bore Shine?

    Better find another smith because yours is so far in the weeds he cannot see out. LOL
  6. Rubber Ducky

    Rubber Ducky Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    Re: Butch's Bore Shine?

    Thanks Boss,

    When I first used Butch's Bore Shine, I had already been shooting my rifle, a Remington Sendero in .270Win, for a while. That first time, it took me more than 50 patches soaked with 'Shine before there was no more blue. After that it wasn't nearly as bad.

    I had already been using a bore guide, a vinyl coated rod, brass core brushes and brass cleaning jag, but I didn't know about Butch's Bore shine until I read an article on how the bench rest boys cleaned their rifles. While I have always had good experiences with (moon) Shine, it was the gunsmith's opinion which had me worried a bit.

    We never cleaned our rifles like this in the (Canadian) Army and so I learned the hard way that what works in the service doesn't necessarily translate to what is good when you're shooting elk at long range in the mountains.

  7. joel0407

    joel0407 Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2008
    I have checked out a few Brake cleaners and Carby cleaners and none claim to remove carbon.

    My problem is I moly coat all my projectiles and when I clean he barrel with Sweet 7.62 the first patch through the barrel seems to stick to the barrel and jams up needing force to keep it moving.

    Once the barrel is clean and lubed its as smooth as and patches pass through freely.
  8. Forester

    Forester Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    eshell hit the nail on the head with the Wipeout suggestion.

    Shoot it in the bore when you get home, patch it out the next day. Repeat if you shot a bunch or have a barrel that you know fouls severely. Take Wipeout's challenge and shoot it in a bore you know is clean from your usual process, I'll bet in most cases you see blue on the patch a few hours later from copper you did not know was there.

    If I need to clean up quick in the field I don't usually want to get all the copper out because leaving some seems to keep the first shot still "in the group". To speed the Wipeout up their accelerator product works like a charm.

    I don't ever put a bronze brush in my barrels anymore, there just is no need to when Wipeout and a cotton patch will do the trick.

    Another thing, not only would I not pull a brush back through the bore I dont even pull the bare cleaning jag back through, just reach up and unscrew it. Almost all of them have a shoulder that could nick the crown in some way..better safe than sorry for my $$$.
  9. blackbrush

    blackbrush Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2008
    Rifle cleaning? I love it!!! I truly do. It is relaxing and gives me time and excuses to spend with my firearms.

    First comment; very excellent article by Capt. Cameron.

    With respect to cleaning some may think it is not so good to pass around because gun shops and gun manufacturers are on the short end of the stick if many do it. Most just shoot and poke it back in the case back at the hunting camp and pull it out again the next year to fire a couple of shots down it to “check the scope.” Hunting camp, night, day, cold, hot, dry and humid all get to live in the barrel and start the corrosion or pitting process.

    Most on this forum are not in this two or three shot a year category but it sure pops up when their buddy’s rifle won’t hit the target like it used to.

    On the LR shooting application side I would like to suggest whatever cleaning method you use, entertain that one which gets you the most consistent results. By that I mean the CCB (Cold Clean Barrel) shot. If you know where that one will print you are over half way there.

    I credit Darrell Holland for the great start and continuous guidance and encouragement in my shooting. Without attending Darrell’s long-range shooting school in Oregon, I would still be humping to keep it on the paper at 150 yards. For South Texas wildlife habitat management it would be like walking shoeless on the ranch without Darrell’s training and continuous support.

    DO NOT BUY A borescope!!! You do and it will cost you, not for the dough you fork over for the tool, but you will find out how ineffective you thought your cleanings were. I was so full of myself knowing I would be looking at nothing but a mirror finish because I bought all the latest and greatest cleaners on the market that were advertised in the most prestigious shooting magazines. I read the instructions on each and followed them to the tee. Heck, they worked for all the world champions and the testimonials in the advertisements but my borescope indicated otherwise.

    I gathered all of my cleaning solutions and disposed of them keeping only two plus gun oil. I must have wasted $250 on the myriad of solutions over time.

    Some other points to consider on the jag side are to purchase them on the smaller size so you can use larger patches. This also keeps your cleaning box less cluttered and simpler to distinguish jag size. For example, if you have a .30 caliber, .284 (7mm) and a .243, buy a .243 cal jag. When you wear down the bronze brushes on the .30 caliber you can use it on the 7mm and so forth.

    Also, keep something, anything over your scope to keep splashing cleaning solutions from getting on the glass.

    If you use your rifles out in the field, there is dirt. Big dirt or little dirt it is going to cling to your firearm. Remove the bolt and thoroughly clean your locking lug receivers. This means you need the little dentist type cotton tubes or anything else you figure out to get this area void of all dirt and grime. I use an excellent compound to lubricate the locking lugs and putting it on correctly is important.

    If you don’t clean this area you might as well leave a lapping compound in there because that is all the dirt is doing.

    After you get it cleaned, shoot it and record that CCB shot. This is important!

    After a day of hunting and only two or three shots taken, I will just run a Barnes or Sweets patch down the barrel a couple of times, then an alcohol patch followed by an oil patch.

    The next day I know where that first shot and subsequent shots go.

    Happy shooting!
  10. Pistol packer

    Pistol packer Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    thank you mr cameron for a great article.
    i have been shooting for over 40 years and shooting for me is a lot to most people. 15,000 rounds out of a 300 WM, 50,000 rounds out of a 44 mag, 100,000 rounds out of a 45 ACP, etc. all in one year. i owned an ammunition manufacturing business for some time just to feed my habit.
    your article was exellent in it's statements of fact and also in your open mindedness to alternative methods. because i shot so much, i was always on the quest for the holy grail of gun cleaning. cleaning 10-20 long guns after a day of shooting is no fun, no matter how much you love cleaning.
    consequently, i have used just about every product out there. whenever a new bore cleaner, copper solvent, or product came out, i bought it. copper actually is the easier of the two to remove contrary to many opinions.
    the ultimate copper remover is the outer's foul out. for those who peruse pawn shops and gun stores for the great used rifle, this was a God send. i have spent weeks cleaning one rifle that the foul out did in a matter of a day or two and it does so to the microscopic level. i don't use it for everyday use because i dont like putting acid (no matter how weak) into my barrels. So i shy away from ammonia also for the same reason.
    this last year i found the ultimate carbon remover. it is cheap, hardly known, protects metal and cleans to almost microscopic levels. It is Kroil. i also use PB blaster and or CRC marine blaster. think about it. it is a penetrating oil. it can lift rust off of metal. carbon is easy. i spay a wheelgun down after a thousand round day, let it sit for a few minutes, rub the excess off and 90 % of the carbon comes off. i respay it, let it sit, use a nylon brush and 9 % more comes off. same then a bronze brush to finish if needed. down the barrel and a few patches and kroil and it is a WHITE patch in just a few passes. never had a pure white patch before this. this one product has replaced all my carbon removers, expensive protection oils, cleaning products, etc. it is almost impossible to remove it all from the steel. this must be watched closely for you alaska shooters. dont know at what temp it will freeze up.

    i rarely ever use brushes anymore. i totally agree with you on the damage a brush does-NADA. bronze is used to POLISH steel. i think that the bore inspectors see a polished run down their bore that the brush bristles perform. if their brushes are actually gouging their bores, i would suggest that the bronze is either too hard or their barrels too soft. still, i dont like using any bristle harder than nylon down my bores.
    a long range shooting friend of mine turned me onto some KG 12 lately. it is not ammonia based and it appears to remove copper very quickly. the jury is still out on that one. i would appreciate any comments from other shooters. a last word. always clean the chamber with alcohol on a clean patch and mop. no matter how good your chamber guide is, you can misseat it, o ring damage, etc. can happen. this removes any lubricant and prevents excessive pressure on the first shot. i have seen too many auto's lock up, bolts freeze up, blown primers, etc. from someone leaving a "minute amount" of lube in the chamber.
    well, that is it from the "ole timer". thank you again for your article..
  11. Tepco

    Tepco Member

    May 16, 2011
    I too have had a friend tell me about Wipeout he said it is a foam spray in cleaner that fills the bore of a rifle and after sitting for a period of time litterally strips the copper fouling out...
    I have been using Sweets 7.62 and Hoppes for years and busting my butt trying to get fouling out of barrels.
    The most memorable was my custom built 25-06.
    A friend who reloads suggested I try some of the loads he had been working up, Seems that they were Barnes X bullets. I don't recall all the details but I do remember what happened next.
    My tack driving 25-06 shot the 1st round close to where I aimed and then I was all over the paper!!!!
    Boy was I embarrased!!
    When I got home and inspected my barrel, I found a great deal of Copper Fouling. It too me a week of scrubbing to get it out!!

    Here's a lesson, DON'T use other peoples re-loads!!! PERIOD!!!

    That was really good piece on bore maintenance. Thanks
  12. AKHunterNP

    AKHunterNP Member

    Oct 18, 2011
    I'm not quite sure what shooting someone else handloads has to do with copper fouling?