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Thread: Cleaning copper

  1. #1

    Default Cleaning copper

    How often do you give your gun a complete cleaning? I usually clean my bore every time I do some shooting, but only take the time to clean it good about every 3rd shooting sesion. I will use a good copper solvent and scrub it good about every 50 rounds. Is this ok or do I need to do it more often? How many fouling rounds do you need to shoot after a good cleaning, and does this vary from gun to gun?

  2. #2
    Member JoeJ's Avatar
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    The answer may depend upon your barrel and the break-in procedure you initially used. The break-in procedure of firing one shot and then completely clean the copper from the bore prior to firing another shot is paramount to possessing a barrel that fouls very little if at all. It may also take a good super match grade SS barrel to get those results, as I’ve seen chrom-molly barrels you couldn’t clean-up in a decade of attempted break-in. If like most - you have a factory chrom-molly barrel and just shoot it - here's my $0.02 worth.

    If you have a rough bore but to your eye it looks super smooth, the copper will build-up fairly rapidly but probably won’t affect accuracy that’s noticeable until you have a couple thousand rounds down range unless you’re a benchrest shooter. Depending upon how much you shoot, you may only need to clean once a year providing you aren't close to the coast or humid conditions.

    Cleaning your bore every 50 rounds sounds good to me but I doubt it’s necessary. You mentioned a good copper solvent – IMO, there are good copper solvents and then there are really good copper solvents. Back in the day we used ‘Blue Goop” which we made from 28% ammonia and had sort of a special cleaning regiment of also using hydrogen peroxide as a catalyst of some sort - it did a good job. Sweet’s 7.62 was tried with good results along with others but they are on the slow path. There’s some fast copper solvents on the market today with Bore Tech Products being as good as any today. Using Bore Tech CU+2 will get the copper out fast and you won’t need a fouling 1st shot, as with most cleaners. Bore Tech Eliminator is a fine multi-purpose cleaner but as with most multi-purpose cleaners it doesn’t quite match the dedicated cleaners. I like Bore Tech C4 carbon remover followed up with Bore Tech CU+2 and my “rough bores” come clean in 10/15 minutes after 500/600 rounds downrange.

    One thing about using these chemicals is you also need to use a cleaning tip that is made from stainless steel or aluminum, so you don’t get false copper readings from the brass jags – you can get Bore Tech’s specials jags if you feel the need or can’t find stainless steel jags. Doesn't hurt to use good quality coated cleaning rods with a bore guide and throw a good protective covering over your stock.

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    I clean after each session. Does not matter if its 50 rounds at the range or a single shot on game. I run a few wet patches of shoters choice followed by a few dry. No magic. if a barrel shows copper (blue/green) on the patches I will repeat the process. For heavy fouling sweets will usually do the trick.

    As far as barrel break in goes there are many opinopns and processes, bottom line if the barrel is rough it collects copper. Quality match barrels are hand lapped from the makers and should not really require any special break in processes to smooth them out because it has already been done, but some insist that it is necessary. Here's some interesting reading on break in.

    http://www.6mmbr.com/gailmcmbreakin.html

    I don't use any brushes, just a proper jag,patch, and bore guide from the action and a quality coated cleaning rod. For bad fouling a bore mop wet with some sweets 7.62 usually does the trick. Just follow the directions.

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    When I see copper on the lands at the end of the barrel is a good time.

    Smitty of the North
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    last evening I tried "wipe out" for the first time ... messy stuff BUT the darnedest bore cleaner I've ever seen ! think I'm kunverted ....

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    I clean a rifle's barrel when (if) the accuracy goes south. If it doesnt go south, it doesnt get cleaned. Every rifle is different. I can not remember the last time I cleaned a .22 rimfire.

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    I dont use copper solvents anymore down the barrel. I only use carbon remover. I started noticing a more obvious POI shift on the cold bore shot just after I cleaned my barrel using copper solvent. But a less noticeable shift when using just the carbon remover. I dont have any scientific data to back this up, but it works on my stainless barrel so I'll continue doing it.

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    AK-Bandit - at some point, if you don't get that copper out of the bore, you will notice "something" and I have read more than once that a build up of copper fouling "can" trap moisture and corrode beneath so the traditional school of thought may "be your friend" - we all have our ways and ideas and I know that in my case I've many a time sat scratching my head and "thinkin; why didn't I look at it THAT way" ?? (just happened today as a matter of fact) I've never seen a bore cleaner that takes out "blue/green" like that wipe-out stuff ! You might want to give TETRA OIL a try, in a clean barrel work it in with a clean bronze bore brush and it will work against copper fouling like you wouldn't believe ...

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    Snowwolfe - what if the accuracy goes south midway into a hunt that you just realized you missed a shot on ?

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by back country View Post
    Snowwolfe - what if the accuracy goes south midway into a hunt that you just realized you missed a shot on ?
    I doubt the POI would shift enough to even notice on a killing shot, unless maybe out past 600 yards or so. It might become an issue if you know a hunter that might shoot a few dozen rounds on a hunting trip, but that falls under shooter error.

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    really ? "shooter error" ...... what about "gun maintenance error" ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by back country View Post
    Snowwolfe - what if the accuracy goes south midway into a hunt that you just realized you missed a shot on ?
    How many shots you plan on taking?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by back country View Post
    Snowwolfe - what if the accuracy goes south midway into a hunt that you just realized you missed a shot on ?
    That's a fair question, so the question back to ya is how well do you know your rifle? In my experience with factory rifles, they're all different, but somewhat predictable. My experience on average is that it takes 2-5 shots after a good... and I mean GOOD cleaning, for a barrel to settle down. After it settles down, you might have 10, or 20 or 30 or 50, or 100 rounds, or more, before you start loosing accuracy, depending on your definition of accuracy. You need to shoot and clean your rifle and get to know it. That said, things will change if you change loads and also if/when your throat starts eroding.

    On the subject of cleaning... most rifle owners think they have clean bores and actually do not... the opinion of a local gunsmith with a bore scope who was impressed with the condition of my rifles bores vs most of the other rifles he saw. I learned a lot when I started cleaning with Wipeout and BTE. Forget Sweets and the rest.

    My philosophy after reading a whole lot on the subject... and my own experience.... Know your rifle and only clean when it needs cleaning due to loss of accuracy... and that can be predictable.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaRifleman View Post
    That's a fair question, so the question back to ya is how well do you know your rifle? In my experience with factory rifles, they're all different, but somewhat predictable. My experience on average is that it takes 2-5 shots after a good... and I mean GOOD cleaning, for a barrel to settle down. After it settles down, you might have 10, or 20 or 30 or 50, or 100 rounds, or more, before you start loosing accuracy, depending on your definition of accuracy. You need to shoot and clean your rifle and get to know it. That said, things will change if you change loads and also if/when your throat starts eroding.

    On the subject of cleaning... most rifle owners think they have clean bores and actually do not... the opinion of a local gunsmith with a bore scope who was impressed with the condition of my rifles bores vs most of the other rifles he saw. I learned a lot when I started cleaning with Wipeout and BTE. Forget Sweets and the rest.

    My philosophy after reading a whole lot on the subject... and my own experience.... Know your rifle and only clean when it needs cleaning due to loss of accuracy... and that can be predictable.
    I realize that what you are talking about is REALLY cleaning a rifle, i.e. removing all traces of copper down to bare steel. I agree with the statements you made in that regard. I am curious though if you and others who follow this philosophy run any patches of Hoppes or CLP or something similar after every shooting session to remove powder fouling and or clean the chamber and bolt? I'm not at all trying to be argumentative, I really do wonder how much cleaning the "no cleaning until accuracy goes" crowd does.

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    I would bet that there are nearly as many "ways" to clean a rifle as there are ........... ahemmmm .... my way: I now use Wipe Out, it says on the can that it cleans anything and everything (and I now believe it) as many wet patches as it takes then I dry patch the bore 3 or 4 times then I, using a new or good bronze "for caliber size" brush soaked with TETRA OIL and stroke it into the bore 15 to 25 strokes, then dry patch 2 or 3, pull the bore guide out and put a double patch into the chamber and twist to swab out any oil that "escaped" and I'm done - every one of my rifles, when cleaned this way, will hit their designated POA first shot, every time - I've repeated it many times, in varmint rifles hundreds of times .... (I also moly coat my bullets) shot a (4) into 1 hole (at 100 yds though) first 4 after cleaning as I just described with that Tikka T3 superlight 7mm mag this AM

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