It's easy to keep a clean bore clean, but years off accumulated crud is tough to get out. It can also hide a good bore beneath what looks like flaws. Knowing how to clean old bores can lead you to some real bargains on great shooters.
A few years ago I picked up a Springfield 1898 30-40 Krag. It had been sporterized- guessing by the accessories and details, sometime in the 50's if not before. I got it out of nostalgia for an old friend who had one just like it. But the bore was pretty sorry looking and dark.
I put a few boxes of shells through it and did some cursory bore cleaning, but since it seldom shot better than about 6" at 100 yards I kind of gave up on it and stuck it in the back corner of a gun safe.
Something came over me a few days ago, and I pulled it out and went to work on the bore. You wouldn't believe the copper fouling that came out! And the more I cleaned, the better the rifling looked.
I took it out yesterday to see if shooting results justified further cleaning efforts. The bloomin thing shot a 2" 5-shot group at 100 yards right off the bat! That's with my old eyes, open sights and Remington factory loads.
I've been hunting deer lately with a Model 94 25-35, but I'd better get back to the 30-40's bore right away, cuzz it's going with me on the next hunt.
There are other oldies in my safes with "bad" bores. I'm kinda itching to put some elbow grease and modern fouling solvents through them to see what the bores are REALLY like. Might be some hidden gems collecting dust in the back of my safes.
Anyone else got oldies hanging around with "bad" bores? Better give them another go with a good copper or lead solvent.
Shot Out Barrel
Actually a pretty common scenario - someone buys a rifle at a bargain price because the barrel is "shot out", then the new owner does a high intensity bore cleaning job and low and behold it starts to group again!!! Seen it many times before and no doubt will see it again.
Yup. It kinda embarrasses me to find one like that in my own kit, tho. I'm just curious if anyone else is guilty.
Amazin' ain't it?
What's really amazing is when you put one of the electric rod cleaners in there wit an ammonia based cleaner and let it sit for awhile!
Them old original Krag barrels had a lot of things going against them from the git-go. The old Cupro-Nickel bullet jackets that the original military loads had would build up deposits toward the muzzle, and a Doughboy or Leatherneck would have a tough time hitting the INSIDE of a barn with one so fouled. The original .30-03 loading for the '03 Springfield suffered the same way, and it only got worse when they went to a 150 gr. bullet at 2750 fps.
Mercuric priming didn't help a lot, especially if the soldier or sportsman was a bit lazy or neglectful in respect to cleaning his weapon promptly and thoroughly!
Bore cleaners with a good dose of ammonia helped out, and the longest lasting of the bunch was Hoppe's formulation #9. One of the early answers to the problem was the introduction of the DuPont '1/2' series of powders which had a dose of tin in it, after the French found that tin in their powder charges cut down the fouling problems they were having in their artillery pieces...only thing is that the fouling from that formulation is REALLY nasty in and of itself!
Even with an 'iffy' bore, I've found a trick or two to make them shoot better...try using a round nose bullet with a long straight shank. The Krags I've played with really liked the 220 Hornady's at about 2000 fps with IMR 4350. Gotta remember that barrel making equipment at Springfield Armory wasn't really all that hot, and there's some REALLY oversized bores, and inconsistent bores in them! Substituting a damaged Krag barrel with a later '03 barrel helps them out a BUNCH, and my last one had a Winchester M1917 barrel installed and a new chamber cut on a '98 Krag. With the mentioned load it would shoot out gnat's eyeballs!
Going the other way, I've been disappointed by rigorous cleaning, too. My uncle's 94 .25-35 saddle ring carbine is downstairs, and the more I clean it, the more it resembles a Roman sewer pipe.
Glad to hear your old Warrior has awakened! Good luck and Enjoy!
I have a lot of friends that are only marginally into hunting. Whenever they ask me for help (because their deer rifle that they've had for years is suddenly no longer hitting the paper) the first thing I do is clean the daylights out of their gun.
You would be amazed at the number of guys who complain the they "ran a patch through it" when they put it away last season, after firing off the rest of the box (17 or 18 rounds) that they had left. Plus they bought new ammunition (different lot number) this year and "I wonder why it's not hitting in the same spot?".
I go through about 1500-2000 rounds a year (through various guns) and it takes me a couple of shots at the bench every time to get away from flinching. They shoot three shots every year and try to tell me that they aren't jerking the trigger?
So I give their gun a liberal brushing with copper solvent and let it sit barrel down for about 5 minutes and then 3 or 4 dry patches (removing them as they stick out the bore before retracting rod). Repeat until patches come out light gray.
You wouldn't believe the number of guns that miraculously start grouping back onto the paper! Especially if I'm behind the trigger. Ouch! I think I just hurt my shoulder trying to pat myself on the back.
I can't help but grin at the guys who come to the range and burn through 2 or 3 boxes trying to sight in (while only making the problem worse) and never touch a cleaning rod.
Well, back to work. Have fun and keep your groups tight.
Good point on the RN bullets, Darreld. I was thinking of running some of my overstock of assorted 180 grain spitzers through it, but I've long been a fan of Hornady RNs on game. Maybe shoot the 180's for fun and the 220s for game.
I use Hornady's 154 and 175 grain 7mm RNs in the 2300-2500 fps range as "brush bullets" for deer out of 7x57, 284 and 7 mag. Couldn't be happier with terminal performance. BTW- That 7x57 has a damaged bore, but it shoots the 175 RNs like it was a match gun.
Keep your eyes on those buddies with the cruddy bores, Deathray! Lots of them get magnumitis and new gun fever this time of year, and along the way dump their "shot out" guns for next to nothing. Kind of puts me on the spot, whether to help out with the dirty bores to save them money, or to wait till after they have sold me their guns to work on the bore!
Thanks for the info guys. I bought a Rem 760 30-06 a few years ago and was never real happy with the accuracy. Not near as accurate as my 308 carbine. I took your advice and bought some copper solvent last week and started cleaning tonight. I have worn out 2 brushes so far and patches are still coming out dirty. I sure hope it helps the accuracy. I guess I fall into the category of the guy who runs a brush with #9 and a few patches and calls it good. That was obviously a mistake. I am going to need another trip for more brushes to clean the rest of my guns.
BrownBear, I've got a 30-40 Krag in the 1895 Win action (new Browing mfg) it also prefers the 220 gr RN.
I ran into some stuff in Louisiana a few years ago for cleaning the crud out of bores, RB17, it's made in Spring, Tx. supposedly a chemist figured out how to make it from horse manure, this stuff does work. The bottle I have has an address and phone # if anyone is interested send me a PM.
Thanks JM.I found the website http://www.rb-17.com/.
What products have you used?