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Thread: Barrel Cleaning

  1. #11
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    I was never a big fan of cleaning barrels....the Army forces you to do it unless you're on the rifle team then they hardly ever cleaned them they just poured the lube in.....they would end up with faces and hands full of lube and carbon but the guns shot better that way......I'm a bit lazy so even since Ive been really young I never cleaned barrels unless they started acting up....never thought I was smart I just didn't see the point.....glad to hear I'm not alone

  2. #12
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    Quote from Gale McMillan on barrel break in for anyone interested......The break in fad was started by a fellow I helped get started in the barrel business . He started putting a set of break in instructions in ever barrel he shipped. One came into the shop to be installed and I read it and the next time I saw him I asked him What was with this break in crap?. His answer was Mac, My share of the market is about 700 barrels a year. I cater to the target crowd and they shoot a barrel about 3000 rounds before they change it. If each one uses up 100 rounds of each barrel breaking it in you can figure out how many more barrels I will get to make each year. If you will stop and think that the barrel doesn't know whether you are cleaning it every shot or every 5 shots and if you are removing all foreign material that has been deposited in it since the last time you cleaned it what more can you do? When I ship a barrel I send a recommendation with it that you clean it ever chance you get with a brass brush pushed through it at least 12 times with a good solvent and followed by two and only 2 soft patches. This means if you are a bench rest shooter you clean ever 7 or 8 rounds . If you are a high power shooter you clean it when you come off the line after 20 rounds. If you follow the fad of cleaning every shot for X amount and every 2 shots for X amount and so on the only thing you are accomplishing is shortening the life of the barrel by the amount of rounds you shot during this process. I always say Monkey see Monkey do, now I will wait on the flames but before you write them, Please include what you think is happening inside your barrel during break in that is worth the expense and time you are spending during break in

    Food for thought

  3. #13
    LRO Owner ~ Review Editor ~ Long Range Hunting Specialist Broz's Avatar
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    Here is where I draw my opinion. And like all others it is just an opinion we arrive at after years and years and a pile of barrels and rifles.

    I took the time to look hard for a while at chamber jobs from many respected gun smiths. Several samples from both regular reamers and carbide reamers. Also from reamers with solid pilots and live pilots. Random flushing during chambering and live continuous flush with coolant. The live flush and live pilots were much better, but all the chamber jobs had one thing in common. Tool marks in the first little bit of the rifling. Tool marks going against the flow of bullets. Ever so slight, but there. It is impossible for a reamer to go in cutting, stop and not have a slight burr left there rolled up where the cutter stops. Most very slight. But never the less still there.

    So, we know these ever so tiny marks and burrs will lap out with bullets fired. But we also know these burrs and marks will grab, to some degree a given amount of copper jacket and hold it. This is visible with any decent bore scope and many of us have seen it. So, I draw my own conclusion that if I remove this copper as completely as possible my cleaning process does two things. 1: remove copper so the next bullet has a clear path to smooth and lap out the burr and marks. 2: my gentle process of cleaning this area will also work in my favor to gently lap the burr and marks away.

    I have also seen some rifles come across my bench where no beak in was performed and they had severe copper fouling already and load development was being influenced by it. I choose to believe in these cases that the first bullet was stripped of a little copper in the burr and mark area, then next bullet bonded a little more on top of that copper, the next left a little more and so on. The fouling was in the first part of these barrels. So there was a nice micro shield of copper fouling doing a great job of protecting these mice scratches and burrs we want lapped out. Copper grew until enough was there to damage the bullet jackets to some degree, and accuracy suffered until the barrel was cleaned and cleaned well. Rare case? Maybe,, but I have seen more than one.

    This is why do a barrel break in. I let the amount of copper coming out after each shot tell me when I am done or close to done.

    To further support my theory , any of us that have done a break in on very many barrels know that as you clean after each shot you will start to see less copper being left in the newly chambered barrel. I doubt there would be much argument that the first shot leaves the most copper jacket behind. I mean like holy crap a lot!! Then it tapers off and in the best instances I have seen barrel completely stop grabbing copper after cleaning every shot in as little as 6 shots. Shoot the 7th shot and one or two patches and clean as a whistle. So I believe this to be proof something is going on in this critical time of a new barrels life.

    Also you may have heard it said when talking about barrel life that keeping them cool is the most important thing you can do to keep them alive. I 100% agree with this. Then you will also hear it said that keeping them clean of copper and the carbon ring, and proper care, will also help barrel life. I too believe this too. Why??? Because it is a 100% fact that the barrels that have had a noticeably shorter life before they left me, were barrels I didn't break in. That record stands today still in my experience. Two of which didn't make it to 500 rounds. Would a break in have extended their life? Who knows for sure. But this is for sure a pattern I will not ignore.

    This is a very debatable subject that is very hard to prove anything in. Because we simply can not do both to the same barrel. But we can look for patterns, keep notes and records and develop what seems to work best for us. For me I will take the time to do a break in. Might only be 5 or 6 rounds. But I will clean her until the burrs and marks are lapped by passing bullets and she remains clean. It is one little thing I can do myself in an effort to make her last longer. If I had a stack of barrels, a lathe and time to research the process further I would know more about this. But for now I have to go with the patterns and experience over the last 20 years or so.

    Just my personal opinions and thoughts. Not what he said or she said. All derived from what I have seen paying as close attention as I could.

    Jeff

  4. #14
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    Now that is a common sense approach to barrel break in, I just never bought into firing 100rds to break in a barrel. I would no doubt take the little time it takes to shoot 5-10rds to break in/preventive measure to help barrel life....can you describe your process and what you use in between shoots? Thanks
    Joel

  5. #15
    Senior Member The Guide's Avatar
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    This all makes since to me from a machinist stand point as we are basically using the bullet to swage the barrel smooth. I guess new guns should be cleaned at home before taking them to the range to see if the test bullet left major copper fowling to give you a hint if the barrel is going to need a long break in or just a few shots.

    Jay

  6. #16
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    Joel, only seen a few done in 6 rounds or so. But most are done in 20. Here is what I do. First, be gentle. A good bore guide, good nickel plated jag, proper fitting patches. Go in with a wet patch first then a few dry to make sure barrel is free of any machining debris. Shoot one, go in with 2 or 3 soaked patches with BoreTech eliminator. Let soak for 10 min. more wet patches until blue stops, let soak 10 min, repeat until little to no blue then dry with 4 or 5 dry patches. Shot 2, clean again same way, shot 3 same and by now you will usually notice it cleaning faster, keep doing this for 6 or so shots and you should have seen the amount of copper fall way off and the cleaning may only take 2 or 3 wet patches and done. Start load work up with 3 shot groups cleaning between first 2 or 3 groups. Then continue load work up shooting 2 three shot groups maybe 3 (6 to 9 shots) and clean. By now the initial barrel break in is done and you have a good start on load work up. At this time you have fired 20 to 25 shots and are well into load work up and barrel should be broken in pretty much. From this point I will keep up with load development and clean after 20 to 30 rounds. Then after 50 to 75.

    I have often seen barrels after 100 to 150 rounds change velocity. So I like to recheck the velocity for my programs after I get 100+ rounds. But by then the rifle is broken in, load work up is done and drops to a mile documented. Ready to hunt with.

    Jeff

  7. #17
    Senior Member The Guide's Avatar
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    So, no nylon brush? I like your method as the brush makes a mess all over.

    Jay

  8. #18
    LRO Owner ~ Review Editor ~ Long Range Hunting Specialist Broz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Guide View Post
    So, no nylon brush? I like your method as the brush makes a mess all over.

    Jay
    Jay, only use a brush in extremely fouled barrels. Try to limit it to 20 strokes and very careful on the re-entry at the muzzle.

  9. #19
    Senior Member The Guide's Avatar
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    So the Savage M10 Predator in 260 Rem that I just bought is the first rifle I am going to try and break the barrel in with some sort of cleaning system. I usually just buy them, sight them in, and clean the powder out of them with a BoreSnake every 20 rounds or so. I haven't shot the 260 yet but I figured there should have been a proof round fired so I'd clean it before I ever shoot a round out of it. Wholly Cow was this barrel dirty! I ran 3 wet patches and 4 dry parches and it was still coming back super dirty so I sprayed some foaming bore and copper cleaner in the barrel. I let it set for a couple minutes and then used a nylon brush to scrub the bore. I ran a dry patch through to see what came out and man was it black! I filled the barrel with the foam one more time and then let it sit for the recommended 10 minutes. I didn't see much for blue copper fowling but there sure was a lot of black slimy residue on the dry patches. I figure it must have been oil from machining or preservative and powder residue. I wonder how often this affects a barrel's accuracy by coking (taking all the volatile's out of an oil leaving a very hard residue of high carbon solids) the oil into the barrel. I'll make it to the range tomorrow and see if I get any type of copper residue when I shoot it.

    Jay

  10. #20
    Senior Member The Guide's Avatar
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    I just did 5 strokes in each direction since it was so dirty and I just picked the gun up new yesterday. I put a paper towel around the barrel and then put a water bottle over the end to contain the mess. To be honest with you this barrel was dirtier than any other barrel I've ever cleaned.

    Jay

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