Is Your Cleaning Patch Angel White?

The first rifle tested had a custom, cut-rifled barrel and they don’t foul much, plus they are easy to clean… so maybe that was not a sufficient test. I decided to try a factory rifle, a Remington 700 chambered in 221 Fireball that had seen about a hundred rounds down the barrel. A patch was soaked in Patch-Out and pushed down the bore. After ten minutes a clean patch was run through the bore and it came out indicating both copper and powder fouling. The bore was treated again with Patch-Out and left on the bench overnight. In the morning a clean, dry patch was run through the bore and the patch indicated copper and powder fouling again, so the rifle was treated and left overnight again. The next day a clean patch was pushed through the bore and it came out white. I don’t know if it was “angel white”, but it was white. Again, I was impressed.

Another rifle was placed on the bench, this time a custom rifle with a barrel made by a very respected barrel maker. The rifle had only been shot about three hundred and fifty times. Like the other rifles, this one had already been cleaned with my regular bore cleaner. Patch-Out was applied to a patch and run through the bore followed by a ten minute wait. A clean patch was pushed through the bore and it came out gray, indicating powder fouling.

To make a long story short, this process continued about twenty times, each time resulting in a gray patch. This was not experienced with the other two rifles, so I called Terry and told him of the situation. He knew the problem right off. “For those rifles that are badly fouled you may want to apply Patch-Out with a nylon brush. We strongly recommend that you do NOT use a bronze brush. A nylon brush will allow more Patch-Out to be applied and make the chemical suds-up and get down into the grooves better. After you have given the Patch-Out time to work then wipe the bore out with a quality patch.”

It was hard to believe that this barrel could be badly fouled with powder but I took his advice and ran some Patch-Out through the barrel using a nylon brush. After waiting a few minutes a clean patch was run through the bore and, to my surprise, the first patch came out black… solid black. I continued cleaning. The second, third and fourth patches also came out black. Then the patches started getting less black, until the eighth one came out white. Holy cow, a barrel that I thought was clean was actually filthy. I wonder what effect this fouling had on the accuracy. It was at this point I decided that Patch-Out and a nylon brush would be used to clean my rifles in the future.

I was having such a good time I decided to try another rifle, one that would more than likely be very fouled. It was an older Ruger Model 77V chambered in 220 Swift that my mother gave me in 1996. It had been used primarily for crow hunting and I doubt seriously if it was cleaned on a regular basis. After receiving this nice gift a scope was mounted and the rifle sighted in. Other than that event it had not seen a crow or any other varmint in many years.

The Ruger was retrieved from the back of the safe and taken to the bench. Assuming the bore was in serious need of cleaning the Patch-Out was applied using a nylon brush. After ten minutes a dry patch was pushed through the bore. To my surprise it came out only slightly dirty but indicated both copper and powder fouling. Then I pushed a wet nylon brush through the bore and left it overnight again. The next day a clean patch was run through the bore followed by another dry patch which came out white. The Ruger was not as fouled as I had suspected.
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