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Thread: How a cleaning rod and jag (or tip) can damage a fine shooting bbl

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    How a cleaning rod and jag (or tip) can damage a fine shooting bbl

    I've often heard it said, that many guns accuracy is ruined by poor methods of cleaning. For the sake of the "newbies" on this board, as well as us old pharts, How do YOU clean a bbl? Do you use a jag or slotted tip? How tight is your patch? What solvent do you prefer? Have you ever used "Lead Free" cloth strips wound around a copper brush to remove minor traces of lead fouling? Lets have an exchange of ideas and perhaps some do's and don'ts; at least from your perspective.
    It's all chicken, even the beak!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
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    I doubt anyone here has "ruined" a barrel cleaning but I will sit back and read. I know some that say they bought a "ruined " barrel, so this will be interesting. I am of the mind that aluminum is softer than steel, then I hear about the dirt,sand,mud,asphalt and such is what causes the damage. Flame away.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    white eagle's Avatar
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    I agree Flatline
    I have heard that wives tale as long as I can remember
    been cleaning rifles for 48 years aint ruined one yet by cleaning
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  4. #4
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by white eagle View Post
    I agree Flatline
    I have heard that wives tale as long as I can remember
    been cleaning rifles for 48 years aint ruined one yet by cleaning
    It will get interesting soon I'm sure

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    as long as the rod or brush is softer than steel dont see any damage could occure ?

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


    Kraschenbirn's Avatar
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    I've been using nothing but brass jags and carbon-fiber rods for quite a few years. Before that, I had both stainless steel (one-piece) and brass (take-down) rods with brass jags. Those old rods, btw, are still racked over my workbench. Still got a couple of old hardwood take-down rods with brass ferrules and tip for shotgun, too.

    Bill
    "I'm not often right but I've never been wrong."

    Jimmy Buffett
    "Scarlet Begonias"

  7. #7
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    Just about the only way to ruin a barrel with a cleaning rod is to insert the rod(steel) from the muzzle without using a guide. Lots of scrubbing and repeated cleaning in this manner can wear the rifling and crown area at the muzzle. I must add, the only rifles I have seen this happen to were military rifles that got cleaned a lot that way.
    If you clean from the breach and use a rod guide there shouldn't be a problem.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    There are different schools of thought when it comes to cleaning rods.

    Some folks will claim a cleaning rod made from a soft metal such as brass or aluminum cannot damage the steel of a barrel.

    Other folks will claim a steel rod is preferable because abrasive debris cannot become embedded in a steel rod.

    This debate has existed about as long as cleaning rods have been around.

    Jointed cleaning rods can present sharp edges at the joints and most competition rifle shooters avoid them like the plague.

    If the jag is made of brass and is properly fitted, the only part of the rod that can contact the bore is the side of the rod and that contact is sliding contact along the length of the rod.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazman View Post
    Just about the only way to ruin a barrel with a cleaning rod is to insert the rod(steel) from the muzzle without using a guide. Lots of scrubbing and repeated cleaning in this manner can wear the rifling and crown area at the muzzle. I must add, the only rifles I have seen this happen to were military rifles that got cleaned a lot that way.
    If you clean from the breach and use a rod guide there shouldn't be a problem.
    For over 40 years have cleaned from the muzzle, How do you clean a semi or pump from the breach ? Have never seen a crown protector until a few years ago when they were invented.

    Not bashing Taz, just this discussion has always been a burr in my saddle.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Several ways to harm a barrel with cleaning procedures are 1) using to small a rod, rod flexes rubbing on barrel. this can be increased with tight fitting brushes and patch jag configurations. 2) Not keeping the rod centered and true, again this allows the rod to rub the bore. 3) allowing the rod to become coated with debris or a dirty rod thus becoming a lap. Rods should be wiped down every few passes until most of the crud is removed. 4) Cleaning from the muzzle, harder to keep rod centered and true and more direct contact. Cleaning from the breech you have the chmber to give some alighnment to the rod. 5) improper use of chemical cleaners, soaking to long or mixing with others that can cause etching. 6) more than one pass of a patch after its carried and impregnated with crud it becomes a lapp also. The carbon fouling is abrasive and can cut steel. Put a zip lock bag over the muzzle push patch thru and remove dropping in bag.

    Things to help 1) is a good rod guide for the action and rod or on rifles that have to be cleaned from muzzle a guide for there. ( On M1A/M14s a 12 gauge shot shell with primer removed works ) 2) A good vise for the firearm to hold it steady. This allows for a straight push thru and more stability. 3) good clean patches and rags to start with. Same with solvents keep them clean. 4) use the jag the way its meant to be used there are wrap jags and push jags. a wrap jag is longer and is meant to have the patch wrapped around it tightly Patch size is more critical with these. A push jag has a pointed small dia tip to pierce and hold the patch and is meant to push the patch thru the bore.

    Other damage that can and does occur is most solvent soften bedding materials and wood eventually. To slow this clean rifles upside down so solvents run out the top and not into the bedding. Oils also can have this effect also.
    The cleaning cradle can be made from wood some of these are very nice and useable. Purchased from several makers again can be very nice and useable. Or in a bind a medium sized heavy card board box can be used. cut vees in opposite sides lay a clean soft rag over them and lay the rifle in them A box 12" wide and 14-18" long works well here and about 6-8" deep. This will clean a lot of rifles if your careful with it. The homemade one can be set up with spots for jags brushes solvent bottles patches and other tools in the base tray.

    When cleaning
    mount rifle in cradle upside down. Lay a rag under action. Install rod guide in action. Place bag over muzzle. wrap or center a patch on the correct jag. push thru bore out muzzle and drop in bag on reverse stroke. Remove rod and wipe clean. repeat. check patches as you go. when they are not showing the heavy crud. Intsall brush on rod and apply chosen solvent in bore. Brush bore using firm straight force keeping rod as straight and true as possible.
    A simple rod guide can be made from a fired case by drilling the primer pocket out to rod size +.005. lightly deburr inside and out. Again rod guides can be made or purchased. Most rods come with a little guide for the muzzle that works somewhat well. Its hard to hold them and start a jag or brush at the same time.
    On lever actions pumps and some semi autos a rag in the action catches the crud and solvents, cleaning upside down lets it run out the top. This keeps the slop out of the action bedding. There was a little action insert for Garands and M1a/M14s also.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    I bought several rods in the 80s that had the muzzle protectors with them and I suspect they were available before that. Jointed rods where there are sharp edges exposed can also cause damage.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyFlatline View Post
    For over 40 years have cleaned from the muzzle, How do you clean a semi or pump from the breach ? Have never seen a crown protector until a few years ago when they were invented.

    Not bashing Taz, just this discussion has always been a burr in my saddle.
    No offense taken.
    When I am working with my pump(Rem 760) I use a string/rope cleaner from the breech or a rod with a fitted guide from the muzzle and work slowly and carefully. As I said, the only rifles I have personally seen that were damaged by cleaning from the muzzle were military rifles which were cleaned with jointed steel rods from the muzzle. In many instances, the rifling at the muzzle were completely worn away while the rifling a couple of inches down the bore were still intact.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I normally use one piece coated rods with a jag.The rods need to be clean.M1 rifles especially those used in basic training units normally had damage at the muzzle from the use of the sectioned steel cleaning rods.When I went thru basic the instructors made a bid deal out a man who had the highest score at rifle qualification.He also started basic with a brand new M1.The M1 I had was typical.It was in bad shape,worn muzzle,gas piston on operating rod undersize,and the gas cylinder wasn't in very good shape either.I was an expert at immediate action.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master kens's Avatar
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    All of us damaged our barrels cleaning them. 'All of us' are the people in the muzzle loading game in the late 70's, muzzle loading was at that time at its peak at Friendship Indiana, and the NMLRA.
    We clean between every shot, and push a patched ball home, then clean when we got home. All with a wooden ramrod (which frequently broke)
    Then came modern technology.......the fiberglass ramrod.....they never broke, they were the next best thing since sliced bread (or so we thought)
    All of us wore out the muzzle, the fiberglass turned out to be an abrasive. Everybody's muzzle was wallowed out in the last inch of the muzzle.
    Hence, everybody shortened the barrel by an inch and re-crowned.
    Now knowing how abrasive fiberglass is, I shudder at the sight of a steel cleaning rod.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I use muzzle bore guides and coated one piece ride with swivel handles, and bire snakes for semi autos. Need to get a guide for the muzzle of my revolver.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    CraigOK,
    Better still for the pistols is a stand similar to the ones sold for loading cap and ball revolvers. this holds the pistol steady and in position allowing for both hands to alighn and run the rod. on revolvers with the cylinder open a rag can be draped thru to catch crud also. Another help is to use the appropriate length rod for the pistol. a 22 cal rod 6" long is much stiffer and easier to handle than a 12" 22 cal rod. I have a little brass rod I made that's 4" long. Its the handiest thing for the snub guns and short barreled pistols. Its also very good for cleaning chambers in cylinders. Its nothing special dosnt rotate just a length of brass rod glued into a large file handle. cleaning barrels I let it swivel in my hand. chambers I stroke a few times and give it a spin or 2.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    fiberoptik's Avatar
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    I use a cut down 12 gauge shell minus primer for a guide in my Swiss K-31. Fits just fine.
    Note on brushes & solvents— Solvents that remove copper also dissolve bras brushes. Any wonder why they always show copper? Also said brushes need rinsing from solvents with alcohol in order to stop the solvents actions on them. Oh, let’s not forget DON’T mix solvents!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I use all manner of rods & jigs and just use care. Since I don't treat 'em rough, they don't get damaged. Lots of Ed's Red.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    There is an excellent article at the Accurate shooter site.
    http://www.accurateshooter.com/techn...eaning-debate/
    It seems each world class shooter has their own idea about cleaning barrels.
    Personally, I use a rod guide whenever possible.
    Plastic brushes and nickel coated jags are use to keep from getting false copper readings.
    2 patches through the bore wet with BoreTech Eliminator and 5 strokes with the plastic brush.
    2-5 dry patches.
    Repeat until clean. It usually only takes a couple of cycles. ...dale

  20. #20
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I have a airgun cleaning tool. Essentially a piece of stout cord in a plastic sleeve.

    Because it is designed for .177 airgun bores slipping it down a .30 cal bore is childs play.
    Then it is just a matter of learning how big a square of patch to cut for a tight fit.

    I prefer to work from the breech just on general principles.





    I got mine for free with some parts I ordered for an Airgun.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check