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Thread: Question about aggressive barrel cleaning, what to use...

  1. #21
    Boolit Master
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    Sep 2016
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    953
    I had two problem children who's barrels wouldn't clean up. One was a 1895Win saddle ring carbine. No matter what I tried,solvents, brushing even Rem Clean wouldn't get the lumps out of the barrel. Made in 1915 probably had copper nickle (cupronickle) fouling and wasn't about to try any ammonia based cleaners. Soaked patches with Butches bore shine wet the barrel and scrub and got blue and black patches. Same with Hoppes patches let it really soak the barrel and got green patches. So every week or so wet the bore and let it soak. Just for grins and giggles used a 8mm bore brush with one episode and the lumps went away. The other one was a Canadian property marked BSA single shot 22rf martini. Got lots of bits of lead and they must have shot a bunch of copper plated 22's. Scrubbed and scrubbed no joy. I had bought another cocking lever as the old one was messed up. So took it outside and shot it to see where the firing pin hit the rim. Sometimes you have to mess with the horns on the cocking lever to adjust the firing the strike. Well the lever needed no adjustments but checked the fouling and the lumps were gone. cleaned it well and the Mark I eyeball could see no lumps. That one is going out to a smith that speaks SingleShots. Plug about 8 scope base holes, install steel picatinny rail,clean up the metal, bead blast and blue. For some funny reason I've become quite fond of a bead blast and blue job as the blueing comes out almost black and looks nice. And correct a problem with the breech block not contacting the extractor as it should. Will only pull the case part way out of the chamber. Frank

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    Worst barrel I ever had was a garand ,near new,fired corrosive and not cleaned.......just rust ,nothing else............anyway ,for old military barrels that have lots of metallic deposit,a good method is electrolysis.......the way this works is that with the correct polarity,microscopic hydrogen bubbles form under the edges of the fouling and force it off the steel.........you cannot damage the steel,but if too much current is used,you can plate iron back in to replace the fouling........the only other effective method are the so called "ammonia dopes" used by the military........any method cannot improve the condition of the steel bore......if it was pitted before,it will still be pitted........the only method to remove pitting is to remove some metal----increase the size .........this is quite practical ,and can be done using laps,.. a series ,not just one,or cutters.

  3. #23
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    a good method is electrolysis ... you cannot damage the steel
    NOT true, you CAN damage/remove barrel steel by overdoing/improper use of electrolysis, or use of the wrong chemicals.
    Not something to mess with, especially with "home made" setups or home made chemicals.
    Its a quick easy way to ruin your barrel.

    FYI when using electrolysis, when the fluid turns black, that is evidence that you are destroying the barrel,
    as the black is extremely fine particles of iron oxide (i.e. barrel steel) in the fluid.

    FYI very old school ink (as in inkwells and feather quills) is black because its made of very fine particles of iron oxide.

    Question: you say that the patches are coming out BLACK, not blue/green?
    I take it that you are not talking about the first few patches, which of course would have black powder fowling/carbon.

    BLACK makes me suspicious that it is iron oxide.
    The question is,
    is it iron oxide from barrel steel, or from something like steel residue from steel jacked ammo (i.e. russian and others).
    Last edited by edp2k; 05-22-2019 at 04:13 PM.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I just did a two day soak of foaming bore cleaner about a month ago. Kept spraying in about three times in a row then scrubbed with a brash brush approx 20 Times and repeated till the foam came out clean. It was a mil surplus 303 British. Worst I’ve ever encountered. In years past I’ve hooked an outers rod to my electric drill with a bronze brush and spun away.

  5. #25
    Boolit Buddy
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    FYI: It is true that US 30 carbine is not corrosive, but other countries that acquired carbines from us also made ammo for them and it may not be non-corrosive. If the previous owner bought cheap surplus foreign ammo it could be an issue.

  6. #26
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    Elbow grease isn't always easy, but at least it doesn't cost very much!

  7. #27
    Boolit Buddy 458mag's Avatar
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    For really fouled up barrels electrolysis works for me. Others like stroking their smoke poles. Id rather be shooting.
    Most folks see a firearm as rifle, pistol, shotgun, ect.... I see a canvas.

  8. #28
    Boolit Grand Master

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    When doing heavy cleaning I use the heaviest rod possible for the bore size, this reduces flexing and rub down. A tight fitting jag patch combo and brush can really flex a light rod. Filling a bore with some solvents may not be as effective as wiping or coating them since no oxygen gets to them to make it work. For applying solvents in the bore a looser patch jag works well or a brush and apply. I have used a spray bottle also.

  9. #29
    Boolit Grand Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    With jacketed bullet fouling rifles that had never been cleaned properly the fouling is in layers of copper and carbon. Most products work better on one or the other. While slow the best I have found is milsup abused bores is https://sharpshootr.com/wipe-out/ It may take once a day for two or three weeks for the real bad one.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  10. #30
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thick heavy fouling isn't usually a good sign. My guess is that you have a pitted or rusted barrel and that's what is holding all the fouling.

    I would try shooting it. Often it will start coming out as you shoot and clean.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master

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    I soaked the barrel for several hours this morning then scrubbed some more for 3 hours this afternoon. Can still see "chunks" of fouling in the barrel. The fouling is so thick that the sides of the lands are slopes not sharp square corners. Barrel is soaking again with acetone this time and will get another scrubbing in a couple more hours. Plenty of meat on the lands but tons of crud surrounding them. Doesn't appear to be any pitting on the lands, but I'm not down to bare metal yet in most of the barrel. Tried a paste of bartenders friend and solvent on a patch. Seemed to help but there is just too much junk in the barrel to say how much. Looks like I'll still need to invest a lot more elbow grease before it gets clean.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    Smooth(ish ) lands and pitting in the grooves is known as "guttering" and not uncommon in military arms fired with corrosive by civilians...........every army on this planet cleaned corrosive residue by boiling water asap after shooting..........

  13. #33
    Boolit Buddy
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    More soaking and less scrubbing is what works best for me.

    Badly fouled barrels get a tight fitting patch of green scotch brite on a jag.
    Slobber some hoppes or foaming bore cleaner down the barrel
    Scrub 20 passes and stop.
    Slobber more cleaning stuff down the barrel and let it sit overnight.
    Patch it out with 1 patch the next day. If it's green - repeat.

    This works better than anything else.

    The scotch brite etches the surface of the oxidized metal and scrubs off the layer of carbon and allows the cleaning solution to do it's thing to the fresh fouling underneath.

    Alternating cleaners also works - as the different chemical packages attack things a little differently.

    I primarily use Hoppes #9 but also will alternate to Outers or WipeOut foaming bore cleaner when needed. These also don't corrode your barrels when you let them sit over night like some of the really aggressive copper solvents will.

    Hoppes is probably the most effective with the scrub and sit method. For me - it works better than most others, and I have tried a LOT of cleaners on a LOT of bad barrels including Mosin Nagants, SKS, AK, and M1 Garand that were really really full of fouling.

    And it's cheap and they sell it in the stores locally.... Unlike $10/can foaming cleaner that you have to mail order.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master

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    I soaked the barrel over night with acetone then gave it a quick scrub with a brush then this morning I filled it with Hoppes #9 and let it sit for another 6 hours. Just finished cleaning it. The chunks of crud finally came out. The barrel has some minor pitting but nothing bad. The muzzle was worn fairly smooth, but the rest of the rifling looked deep and strong. I counterbored the barrel about 1/4 inch and the new ends of the lands are strong so I expect it will shoot with reasonable accuracy. Thanks for the suggestions guys. They did help. 300+ patches, 2 days of soaking and 8 hours of scrubbing finally yielded a clean if slightly pitted barrel.

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
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    I always used Dupont auto body red compound initially when cleaning a mil suro's barrel. Since the hewer trucks and cars have that protective covering on the paint Haven't seen anyone use it. I make up a semi paste with the red compound with some Hoppe's mixed in and use a tight fitting patch on the jag. This stuff will come out black on the patches. Patch out the residue then leave the bore wet with Hoppes and rub a patch the next day to see if there is any green. You can also use a patch on a tight fitting brush as well, and when done use the Dupont white or polishing compound also made up into a paste. Did this a few times on different barrels but the best one was a Swede 1896 mauser that was badly crudded up. Came out bright and shiny. Frank

  16. #36
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Hoppe's 9 wasnt strong enough for me. Everyone was telling me to let it sit with a plug in the barrel. Never worked. I bought Hoppe's foaming solvent from their elite line of products. 3-5 passes, and the bore came out as clean as can be!

    I did this in a winchester 1886. It hadn't been cleaned in a few years. FYI : It was made in 1889....

  17. #37
    Boolit Mold
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    Let the chemicals and time do the work. Or let electricity do it. Electrolysis had been my killer cleaning method before I realized there were solvents much better than hoppe #9. Electrolysis really works, so does modern solvents based on principle of chelation. I stopped hand scrubbing like mad long ago. Now my nylon (not brass) brush is just a solvent applicator.

    Taking about running patches down the barrel. A tight patch on jag does NOT work well. If you want the patch to absorb liquid well, you want it relaxed, not tight. Oscar cable pulls a relaxed big patch down the bore, so it works well.

    -TL

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk

  18. #38
    Boolit Grand Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tangolima View Post
    so does modern solvents based on principle of chelation. I stopped hand scrubbing like mad long ago. Now my nylon (not brass) brush is just a solvent applicator.
    Yep. 90% of my cleaning is done with https://www.boretech.com/products/el...r-bore-cleaner

    It's a surfactant. Never tried a chelating solvent. What are you using?
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 05-23-2019 at 05:27 AM.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  19. #39
    Boolit Buddy nueces5's Avatar
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    I had to fight with a mauser who looked like he had never cleaned himself. Always the end patch came out dirty.
    I have followed the advice of an old shooter, of those who when firing there was not much variety of cleaners. What I did was to clean with different cleaners, one at a time, hoppes, another Argentinian sold here, ... and between cleaning I put several liters of boiling water. Be careful not to wet the wood. That way I found that my gun had a very good rifling.
    The boiling water evaporates very quickly, and lifts the layers that say above.
    Good luck!

  20. #40
    Boolit Buddy
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    I've sure used my share of foaming bore cleaners, Kroil, Ballistol, Hoppe's, Sweet's 7.62, bronze brushes, JB Bore Paste, et al. I have never found the magic formula.
    But I do agree with some posters here about shooting the firearm a few times. I had an ancient M 1867 Swedish Rolling block in 12.7X44R with a very dark bore, even despite those deep grooves the Swedes cut. I tried many of the products listed above and kept getting gunked up patches. Finally I thought I could do no more. Shot a few rounds of BP/cast handloads through her and lo and behold, she cleaned up really nicely with some light salt-and-pepper ahead of the chamber and bright lands and grooves on up the tube.

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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