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Thread: Paper patch to polish a rough bore?

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master


    richhodg66's Avatar
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    Paper patch to polish a rough bore?

    Recently got a rifle with a slightly rough bore, I have shot worse with good results, but this one seems to fould badly fast after just a few jacketed rounds through it. I thought I'd try this, having never done it before. Made some patches I carefully measured with ordinary typing paper, dampened them, wrapped twice, twisted the tails and cut them off. When they dried, I ran them through a .327 sizer (it's an old 8mm) and loaded them with ten grains of 700X and shot them. I've done a little light cleaning of the bore, can't tell from looking if it changed anything, bit it didn't really look that bad before.

    I've read where paper patched bullets will polish up a rough bore, I'm just wondering how many should it take to do it? Is that load too hot or too light for doing this?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    For final polish we would use the soft side of a shop paper towel. The soft side was around 2500 grit and used on a part would bring out a mirror finish. Modern papers have various things in them for sizing and finish. Clay being one.

    With modern paper you might alone you might slight round the corners of the riflng but I dont think much if any real change in bore size. My sharps and other rifles that see PP do have and maintain a very shiny bore.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Fire lapping might help some. Go slow! From your description, I'd fire lap with some FLITZ , clean and then use your PP bullets.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master


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    After those 25, I think I'm gonna clean it thoroughly and try some cast bullets, hopefully it would lead badly.

    I have done some fire lapping before. I might try that at some point. I really hope this rifle will shoot cast well.

  5. #5
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    Got to find out where it is giving you trouble first.
    A hand lapping can do wonders but takes time and effort.
    Think of it as your covid exercise program.
    I have only lapped 3 barrells by hand and all shot extremely well when I finished

    Your arms may feel like they will drop off after a while thou.

    No use lapping lead smears either.
    Dry wrapped and frequent cleaning will shine it up no end for the final finish.
    Iím not a fire lapper as I feel it extends the throat.

    I used a reasonable load. Not light or ear splitting but jacket start loads.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy Old Coot's Avatar
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    Paper patch will polish a rough bore (it did in my Zasava 7.62x39) , but it takes about a 100 rounds minimum. Use printer paper or typing paper as the clay in the paper helps polish the bore.

    If you want to fire lap the barrel I would use only the finest grit and then go to the paper. The nice thing about paper patch and rough bores is that you can enjoy shooting the gun with reasonable accuracy while you polish down the rough machining. Good Luck

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I've heard from others the same. Although I've never witnessed a barrel that was buffed or lapped bright in such way.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    My Parker Hale P61 had a rough spot in the barrel for years. A while back I got a mould for the paper patched Pritchett bullets and have been using those mostly. It now loads a lot smoother than before and the bluing is wearing off the bore. Paper doesn't do a lot real fast but will eventually slick things up somewhat.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I was shooting full pressure loads paper patching a .348 and the barrel looks like a mirror. I wouldn't fire lap, the paper will do it.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    What about a pitted barrel? Have a 7mm Mauser that looks like a sewer pipe.


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  11. #11
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiberoptik View Post
    What about a pitted barrel? Have a 7mm Mauser that looks like a sewer pipe.


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    Maybe if you patch with sandpaper...

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiberoptik View Post
    What about a pitted barrel? Have a 7mm Mauser that looks like a sewer pipe.


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    A sewer pipe is merely a challenge. Firelap to remove the sharp edges of the pits then go fine polishing compound to just plain paper. Use fine grit for the initial fire-lapping. Just two or three shots. Or as Bara has suggested, hand lapping. Again, just to dull the sharp edges or if you choose, a little more elbow grease. I haven't done it yet so I can't comment. What I have done is use Scotch Bright pads, cut to the right size over the end of a cleaning rod with some light oil pushed through a few times.



    On the effectiveness of paper as a polishing medium, I have this old and rust worn bore with no pitting. I cleaned it up then developed a patched load that would just confetti the patch. This load was very accurate but after a number of shots, accuracy fell off. Turned out the bore had polished up and the patch was no longer confetti-ing at the muzzle! So I had to increase the charge. I must get that rifle out again, it's such a nice little carbine (303).

    Last edited by 303Guy; 05-11-2020 at 03:57 AM.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    What fire-lapping can do.



    Or if you like


    After fire-lapping

    I had to shorten the barrel a bit though



    My fire-lapping should not be confused with what one would normally think of as fire-lapping.

    This is what I use



    The grit is in the grooves inside the neck. The bit in front is just to ensure the 'bullet' enters the bore true.

    I ended up doing it this way



    So what that is, is grits over the powder, followed by a card wad and topped off with 400 grit compound. A cast boolit caps it off. Obviously, the card wad must not be pushed into the case when the boolit is seated. This is supposed to remove the sharp edges of rust pits. I don't know how effective it is in removing the rust from the pits. That brass fire-lapping boolit is pretty effective at doing that.

    Last edited by 303Guy; 05-11-2020 at 02:37 AM.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Pictures.
    How hard could it be?
    What the camera and my eye sees are two different things.
    It just keeps blurring out.
    But it does shine.
    Just ran a dry patch thought the bore.
    Probably got a bit of lead wash from shooting Pb bullets.
    The bore is not perfect to start with .
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Red one is with the end sitting on my foot in overcast light.
    It does clean up easy.
    Probably 5000 pp bullets thought it.
    Ha.

  15. #15
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    One last attempt.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Those are good pictures, barra.
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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