really tough copper fouling


Active Member
Dec 21, 2003
N. Virginia
I've got a rough but very accurate barrel on my semi-factory ruger (consistantly shoots .2-.3" at 100yds-half MOA and better out to 500yds-from what I hear, I must be pretty lucky!
).Anyway, Ive been using Butch's B S and it isn't getting all of the copper out. The fouling hasn't affected accuracy yet but it still bugs the hell out of me! What do you guys use to get tough copper fouling out of barrels? Ive heard really good and bad things about sweets copper solvent-(I bought a bottle today but I'm not going to use it till I know the truth). Should I just except the fact that it's a rough factory barrel and be glad that accuracy isn't suffering? I sure hate those ugly, stubborn, orange streaks-every time I clean my barrel they just seem to say, "screw you!!"
If you believe in the idea that it is only necessary to clean your bore enough to return accuracy, then ignore the orange streaks at the muzzle. Some shooters refer to them as copper wash. Copper wash does not seem to degrade accuracy, and removing it may well do more harm than good. It is possible to clean a barrel out before you shoot a barrel out.

If for whatever reason you want to remove all the copper, here is what works for me. For really stubborn copper I alternate between a copper remover ( Sweets, CR10, etc) and JB. It may take a few cycles but it never fails.

There are several techniques for stubborn copper. I use nylon bristle brushes (kleen bore or Montana Extreme) instead of brass. With brass and copper solvents you are going to get wash from the brush. Plus the solvent eats up your brush. If you do use a brass brush spray it off each time with brake cleaner to take the solvent off.

Butches and CR10 seem to work very well with a little work. However, if you have a rough factory bore, then a tight fitting wrap around patch and JB bore paste will take out the carbon ring in front of the chamber and smooth out some rough tool marks in bore.

some guys are having very good luck with Wipeout, a spray foam that you let set in the bore at least one hour to overnight.

yes--wipe-out, let it over night and the copper will be gone. follow up with some hoppes 9 or something to treat the bore and dry that out and you are ready to go.

when you need to clean quick though montana extreme seems to work the best. Butches, to me doesnt seem to work well on factory tubes.

I use Sweets in a factory Remington PSS barrel. It does a very good job of getting out the copper, and I've never had it damage a barrel. I know some knowledgable shooters that use it on very expensive rifles without harming them, so it shouldn't hurt my factory barrel. Just follow the directions, and don't leave it on longer than it says.

On the other hand, the copper may be filling in the rough spots and helping your rifle shoot better. I'd think twice about removing it. But, it's not like you can't put it back if it hurts your accuracy.
Sweets and Hoppe's BenchRest work pretty well, but, the winner, hands-down, is the Outers Foul-Out Electrochemical bore cleaner. Since you have a rough bore, some Cu fouling is a good thing since it helps to fill in all the minor imperfections present. If you remove it ALL, you will definitely notice a diff in POI on first shooting. The Outers system is what I use to clean ALL my bores when Cu fouling becomes a problem. Otherwise, I use the Hoppe's BenchRest and a SMALL amount of JB. It works for the custom bbl on my 1k yd rifle and it works like a charm. It is a tedious process, but there is none better when it comes to getting ALL of the Cu out. As said above, the Cu "wash" at the muzzle end is actually beneficial most of the time as long as it does not become too excessive. You can find the Foul-Out system for 40 or 50 bucks on Ebay and it's worth every penny. So, if you are tired of brushing.... it's the only way to go bro. Just my .02.

One way to tell if you have excessive Cu fouling is to look down the bbl (with a bore scope if you have one) and see if the edges of the rifling are sharp and crisp. If you do not see the distinctive edge on the rifling, then your bbl is either getting worn, or you have excessive Cu fouling.

[ 01-20-2004: Message edited by: Austin ]
You guys have been really helpful (Ex. I never knew the orange streaks at the muzzle were called "copper wash" and could sometimes be benefitial). I appreciate the solvent recommendations, I'll have to try some of them.--THANKS AGAIN! Drew Stuart
if you think that copper is bad just wait till you jump on the carbon fouling. copper aint nothing.I use sweets and some JB compond. A buddy of mine likes the isso bore cleaner from sinclair it all works well for us though. You know what they say different strokes for differnt folks.
I am not afraid to use sweets solvent for cleaning. I am afraid to leave any in my barrel. Within a couple minutes of its use, I run 2 dry patches through. Then I clean that crap out with powder solvent.

For really stupborn copper try the JB bore compound. I dont know what the truth is on that stuff but I do know that I use it every time I clean my rifle. I clean between 50-75 rounds and I have 2500 rounds through the tube. Still shoots .25 MOA at every range to 800 yards. Who knows, maybe thats why it shoots so good!!
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