July 2nd, 2020

Smart Advice on Barrel Cleaning — Best Techniques and Products

Criterion Barrels Cleaning Clean Solvent rod guide Hoppes Wipe-Out

This article comes from the Criterion Barrels website. It provides good, conservative advice about barrel cleaning. Understand that cleaning methods may need to be adapted to fit the amount and type of fouling (and the particular barrel). In general, we do try to minimize brushing, and we follow the procedures Criterion recommends respecting the crown/muzzle. We have also had very good success using wet patches followed by Wipe-Out bore foam. Along with the practices outlined by Criterion below, you may want to try Wipe-Out foam. Just be sure to use a fitted cleaning rod bore guide, to keep foam out of the action recesses and trigger assembly.

The above video shows how to apply Wipe-Out or other bore-cleaning foam. We use a slightly different method. First, we use 3-4 wet patches to remove loose carbon fouling. Then we apply the foam as shown, but usually from the muzzle end (with bore guide in chamber). Here’s the important point — after 20-30 minutes, once the bubbles have dissipated, we apply the foam a second time, getting more of the active ingredients into the barrel. We then patch out, as shown, after 3-4 hours.

What is the Best Way to Clean a Rifle Barrel?

We are asked this question quite frequently alongside requests for recommended break-in procedures. Improper barrel cleaning methods can damage or destroy a barrel, leading to diminished accuracy or even cause a catastrophic failure. When it comes to barrel maintenance, there are a number of useful techniques that we have not listed. Some techniques may work better with different barrel types. This series of recommendations is designed to incorporate a number of methods that the Criterion Barrels staff has used successfully both in the shop and on their personal rifles. Please feel free to to list your own recommendations in the below comments section.

We recommend the use of the following components during rifle cleaning:

• Cloth patches (sized for the appropriate caliber)
• Brass jag sized properly for your bore
• One-piece coated cleaning rod
• General bore cleaner/solvent (Example: Hoppes #9)
• Copper solvent of your choosing (Example: Sweets/KG 12)
• Fitted cleaning rod bore guide
• Plastic AP brush or toothbrush
• Q-Tips
• Plastic dental picks
• CLP or rust preventative type cleaner

There are a number of schools of thought relating to the frequency in which a barrel should be cleaned. At minimum we recommend cleaning a barrel after each shooting session to remove condensation, copper, and carbon build-up. Condensation is the greatest immediate threat, as it can cause the barrel to rust while the rifle sits in storage. Copper and carbon build-up may negatively impact future barrel performance, increasing the possibility of a failure in feed or function. Fouling should be removed whenever possible.

The below tips will help limit the wear of different parts of your barrel during routine maintenance, helping extend the life of the barrel and improving its performance.

The Crown
The crown is the portion of the barrel where the bullet loses contact with the lands and grooves and proceeds to exit the firearm. The area most critical to accuracy potential is the angle where the bullet last touches the bore of the barrel.

Avoid damage to this area by using a plastic toothbrush and CLP type cleaner to scrub the crown from the exterior of the barrel. Even the most minimal variation in wear to the crown will negatively impact barrel performance, so be careful to avoid nicking or wearing away this part of the barrel.

Reducing Cleaning Rod Wear to the Crown
When running a patch through the barrel, place the muzzle about a ¼” from a hard surface that runs flat at a perpendicular angle to the cleaning rod’s direction of travel, like a wall or the edge of a work bench (pictured). When the jag impacts the hard surface, retract the cleaning rod and remove the patch.

By withdrawing the jag prior to its exit from the barrel, you are limiting the possibility of the brass dragging upon the crown if the rod is at all bent or misaligned. The soft cloth patch will continue to serve as the point of contact between the jag and the barrel, minimizing potential wear.

If possible, insert the rod through the chamber, pushing it forward toward the muzzle. Some rifles, such as the M1 Garand or M14, will require you to insert the cleaning rod through the muzzle. In these situations the use of a cleaning rod guide is recommended to limit the friction placed upon the crown.

Avoid using cleaning rod segments for scraping carbon from the recessed muzzle of an AR-15 barrel. We used this trick in the Marine Corps to impress the armorers and NCO’s with the cleanliness of our muzzles, but it likely played a significant role in reducing the service life of the rifle barrel in question.

Use a Q-Tip soaked in solvent to remove any copper or carbon residue from the recessed muzzle of an AR-15 barrel. A little bit of remaining carbon on the face of the muzzle will not negatively affect bullet travel so long as the crown edge remains consistent around the circumference of the bore.

The Lands and Grooves
This portion of the barrel may experience reduced efficiency due to copper fouling and cleaning rod damage. If copper fouling takes place during the initial break-in of the rifle, make sure to check our barrel break-in article.

(more…)

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
April 22nd, 2020

Speed Up Bore Cleaning Chores with Wash Bottles

Wash Bottle

rifle bore cleaner bottle

Small patches are not very efficient at distributing bore cleaning liquids inside your bore. The problem with a tight-fitting patch is that the solvent gets squeezed off in the first few inches. You can switch to a smaller jag, or a bore mop, but there is an even better way to get an ample amount of solvent in your bore. Just spray directly into the bore with a wash bottle, an inexpensive plastic bottle with an L-shaped dispensing neck, tapered at the end.

When using the wash bottle, you can either just plug the breech and spray from the muzzle end (where most copper fouling is), or, alternately, put the wash bottle neck directly in the chamber and spray forward. When spraying from the chamber forward, you may need to use a rubber O-Ring to seal off the action… depending on the bore size and the particular wash bottle’s neck spout diameter. We prefer to plug the breech ans squirt from the muzzle.

Bottle Solvent Application Great for Smaller Bores
Using wet patches or wet brushes is an inefficient way to really saturate the tight bores of 17s, 20s, and 22s. Even with a cotton bore mop, most of the solvent will be squeezed out before it gets to the end of the bore, where most copper fouling occurs. For these smaller 17, 20, and 22-caliber bores, you can just take the wash bottle and stick the tapered nozzle right in the chamber. The tapered end will press fit in the throat, sealing off the chamber. With the barrel slightly nose-down, give the bottle a couple good squirts until the solvent mists out the muzzle. In just a few seconds, this will put more solvent in the bore than a half-dozen wet patches.

A solvent-filled wash bottle is also handy for wetting your brushes. It’s much easier to saturate a bore brush (without spilling solvent on your stock), by using the wash bottle. You can get wash bottles from USPlastic.com, Amazon.com, or lab supply stores.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
July 6th, 2019

How To Clean Rifle Barrels Effectively and Efficiently

Criterion Barrels Cleaning Clean Solvent rod guide Hoppes Wipe-Out

This article comes from the Criterion Barrels website. It provides good, conservative advice about barrel cleaning. Understand that cleaning methods may need to be adapted to fit the amount and type of fouling (and the particular barrel). In general, we do try to minimize brushing, and we follow the procedures Criterion recommends respecting the crown/muzzle. We have also had very good success using wet patches followed by Wipe-Out bore foam. Along with the practices outlined by Criterion below, you may want to try Wipe-Out foam. Just be sure to use a fitted cleaning rod bore guide, to keep foam out of the action recesses and trigger assembly.

The above video shows how to apply Wipe-Out or other bore-cleaning foam. We use a slightly different method. First, we use 3-4 wet patches to remove loose carbon fouling. Then we apply the foam as shown, but usually from the muzzle end (with bore guide in chamber). Here’s the important point — after 20-30 minutes, once the bubbles have dissipated, we apply the foam a second time, getting more of the active ingredients into the barrel. We then patch out, as shown, after 3-4 hours.

What is the Best Way to Clean a Rifle Barrel?

We are asked this question quite frequently alongside requests for recommended break-in procedures. Improper barrel cleaning methods can damage or destroy a barrel, leading to diminished accuracy or even cause a catastrophic failure. When it comes to barrel maintenance, there are a number of useful techniques that we have not listed. Some techniques may work better with different barrel types. This series of recommendations is designed to incorporate a number of methods that the Criterion Barrels staff has used successfully both in the shop and on their personal rifles. Please feel free to to list your own recommendations in the below comments section.

We recommend the use of the following components during rifle cleaning:

• Cloth patches (sized for the appropriate caliber)
• Brass jag sized properly for your bore
• One-piece coated cleaning rod
• General bore cleaner/solvent (Example: Hoppes #9)
• Copper solvent of your choosing (Example: Sweets/KG 12)
• Fitted cleaning rod bore guide
• Plastic AP brush or toothbrush
• Q-Tips
• Plastic dental picks
• CLP or rust preventative type cleaner

There are a number of schools of thought relating to the frequency in which a barrel should be cleaned. At minimum we recommend cleaning a barrel after each shooting session to remove condensation, copper, and carbon build-up. Condensation is the greatest immediate threat, as it can cause the barrel to rust while the rifle sits in storage. Copper and carbon build-up may negatively impact future barrel performance, increasing the possibility of a failure in feed or function. Fouling should be removed whenever possible.

The below tips will help limit the wear of different parts of your barrel during routine maintenance, helping extend the life of the barrel and improving its performance.

The Crown
The crown is the portion of the barrel where the bullet loses contact with the lands and grooves and proceeds to exit the firearm. The area most critical to accuracy potential is the angle where the bullet last touches the bore of the barrel.

Avoid damage to this area by using a plastic toothbrush and CLP type cleaner to scrub the crown from the exterior of the barrel. Even the most minimal variation in wear to the crown will negatively impact barrel performance, so be careful to avoid nicking or wearing away this part of the barrel.

Reducing Cleaning Rod Wear to the Crown
When running a patch through the barrel, place the muzzle about a ¼” from a hard surface that runs flat at a perpendicular angle to the cleaning rod’s direction of travel, like a wall or the edge of a work bench (pictured). When the jag impacts the hard surface, retract the cleaning rod and remove the patch.

By withdrawing the jag prior to its exit from the barrel, you are limiting the possibility of the brass dragging upon the crown if the rod is at all bent or misaligned. The soft cloth patch will continue to serve as the point of contact between the jag and the barrel, minimizing potential wear.

If possible, insert the rod through the chamber, pushing it forward toward the muzzle. Some rifles, such as the M1 Garand or M14, will require you to insert the cleaning rod through the muzzle. In these situations the use of a cleaning rod guide is recommended to limit the friction placed upon the crown.

Avoid using cleaning rod segments for scraping carbon from the recessed muzzle of an AR-15 barrel. We used this trick in the Marine Corps to impress the armorers and NCO’s with the cleanliness of our muzzles, but it likely played a significant role in reducing the service life of the rifle barrel in question.

Use a Q-Tip soaked in solvent to remove any copper or carbon residue from the recessed muzzle of an AR-15 barrel. A little bit of remaining carbon on the face of the muzzle will not negatively affect bullet travel so long as the crown edge remains consistent around the circumference of the bore.

The Lands and Grooves
This portion of the barrel may experience reduced efficiency due to copper fouling and cleaning rod damage. If copper fouling takes place during the initial break-in of the rifle, make sure to check our barrel break-in article.

(more…)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
December 19th, 2018

Great Cleaning Option for Rimfire Shooters — NO-LEAD Cleaner

Suhl Rimfire Benchrest indoor cleaning
We have used NO-LEAD Cleaner in rimfire benchrest rifles similar to this modified Suhl 150-1. It helped restore accuracy with minimal brushing.

NO-lead brushless lead remover Wipe-out Sharp Shoot-rMade by the same folks that created Wipe-Out™, and Carb-Out™, the NO-LEAD Brushless Lead Remover™ really works. Honest. If you are an active rimfire shooter, or if you shoot cast lead-alloy bullets in centerfire rifles and pistols, you should try this product. We now use NO-LEAD in our rimfire benchrest rifles, and in some centerfire guns that receive a steady diet of soft-alloy cast bullets (90%+ lead). (With rimfire guns, you don’t need to use NO-LEAD very often — maybe every 300-400 rounds unless you have a real fouler of a barrel.)

If you’ve got stubborn lead fouling in a rimfire barrel, or on a pistol’s muzzle brake/compensator, you should definitely give this stuff a try. We don’t know how but it does soften lead deposits. The manufacturer says you don’t need brushes, but we found that a bit of brushing (after NO-LEAD application) can help remove more serious lead build-up.

Frankly we were surprised to find a lead remover that really works. We tried a half-dozen other lead “cleaners” that promised to dissolve lead and most of them, we discovered, are nearly useless. There’s a reason for that, as the lead alloys used in bullets don’t react to typical petrochemical-based solvents. It took the Wipe-Out chemists over five years to perfect a new water-based solution that really does dissolve lead.

NO-LEAD Cleaning Procedure — Read Carefully
NO-LEAD Lead Remover is a clear, red gel that is easy to apply. Just swab it in your bore (or on muzzle brakes) with wet patches or bore mop and let it sit for a few minutes. (The manufacturer says you can leave the NO-LEAD for up to 20 minutes, but that long of a dwell time does not seem necessary with our rimfire barrels.) When it contacts lead it will start to foam and you’ll see that the NO-LEAD solvent turns a pastel pink when it dissolves lead. The pink comes from the formation of lead oxide. After the recommended dwell time, simply patch out the dissolved lead deposits (you can also use a nylon brush for stubborn lead build-up).

NOTE: After cleaning, it is very important that you get all the NO-LEAD out of your barrel, and neutralize it. We recommend following the application of NO-Lead with Wipe-out or Patch-Out to neutralize the NO-LEAD, clear the bore, and remove residual carbon and copper fouling. If you don’t have Wipe-Out or Patch-out, flush the barrel thoroughly with Rubbing Alcohol or even a solution of Dawn dish detergent — then re-oil the bore.

Be Sure to Neutralize NO-LEAD After Use
Remember that N0-LEAD is a strong, slightly acidic chemical that needs to be neutralized after use. If you leave it on a nice, blued barrel for too long, it can harm the bluing. NO-LEAD will remove all the surface oils from the barrel bore. For this reason it is recommended that you neutralize NO-LEAD with Wipe-Out, or Patch-Out, which both contain effective corrosion inhibitors. If you don’t have those products, once you’ve flushed the NO-LEAD with something like rubbing alcohol, then follow with a gun oil. Caution: A petroleum-based gun oil will NOT, by itself, neutralize NO-LEAD. You need to neutralize first, then apply the corrosion inhibitor (or do it all in one step with Wipe-Out or Patch-Out).

Where to Buy NO-LEAD Lead Remover
NO-LEAD Lead Remover costs $15.99 for an 8 oz. squeeze bottle with a flip-top spout. This product is sold directly by Sharp Shoot R Precision Products, www.Sharpshootr.com, or you can purchase NO-LEAD through many other online vendors. For more information, send an email via the Sharp Shoot-R Contact Form or or contact Sharp Shoot-R at (785) 883-4444. You can ask for Terry Paul, Sharp Shoot-R’s owner and the master chemist who developed the NO-LEAD formula.

View Price List for all SharpShootr products »

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
June 5th, 2017

TECH Tip: How to Use Wipe-Out Without Making a Mess

wipeout brushless bore cleaner foam

Wipe-Out foam bore cleaner is a product we’ve used with great success on many rifles. With sufficient dwell time, it removes both carbon and copper fouling. You can combine it with Wipe-Out Accelerator or Patch-Out liquid to speed up cleaning time. Many shooters, including this editor, find that bore-brushing has been virtually eliminated with the regular use of Wipe-Out. (With some barrels however, you may still have to brush or use a bore paste if you notice stubborn carbon build-up in the throat area.)

Method One: Apply Through Muzzle
Out standard procedure with Wipe-Out is to insert an O-ring-sealed cleaning rod guide into the chamber and then squirt through the muzzle in short puffs. Put a towel or rag on the comb of your stock and watch for a little bit of foam to exit the rod guide. We usually wait 30 minutes for the bubbles to dissipate, then do a second foam application. Be sure to clean off any excess foam before it drips on your stock. It is important to keep the foam off fine wood or paint finishes.

Our actual routine normally starts with 3-4 wet patches with Carb-Out (to get the loose black stuff out), followed by the two foam cycles as explained above. Then we plug both ends of the barrel, drive home from the range and dry-patch out on arrival at the house. If the gun is going to be used again soon, that’s all we do. If there will be long-term storage we’ll run some Eezox down the bore.

Method Two: Apply Wipe-Out from Breech
You can also apply Wipe-Out from the breech. To allow breech-first application, Wipe-Out cans now come with a short plastic tube and a plastic tip that fits in your chamber. These can also be purchased separately for $2.50. However, we’ve found the plastic tip is too big for some chambers and it is not always easy to get a good, secure seal even if it does fit. Jason Baney has come up with a solution. READ Jason’s Wipe-Out Article.

Use Fitted Tubing for Breech-First Applications of Wipe-Out
You can apply Wipe-Out through the breech very effectively if you use fitted, plastic tubing. While this works well for bolt-actions, breech application is particularly handy for the Garand, M1A and other semi-autos. Jason Baney has written a short article describing this process. In a nutshell, you need one piece of tubing that fits the chamber tightly and then connects with a second, smaller diameter tube that attaches to the Wipe-Out can. This avoids any “over-spray” of foam in the action area, providing a clean, simple solution. Just squirt for a second or so, and wait for white foam to come out of the muzzle. Be sure to keep Wipe-Out off fine wood stocks.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
June 2nd, 2017

Bore Cleaning 101: Speed Up the Job with a Wash Bottle

Wash Bottle

rifle bore cleaner bottle

Small patches are not very efficient at distributing bore cleaning liquids inside your bore. The problem with a tight-fitting patch is that the solvent gets squeezed off in the first few inches. You can switch to a smaller jag, or a bore mop, but there is an even better way to get an ample amount of solvent in your bore. Just spray directly into the bore with a wash bottle, an inexpensive plastic bottle with an L-shaped dispensing neck, tapered at the end.

When using the wash bottle, you can either just plug the breech and spray from the muzzle end (where most copper fouling is), or, alternately, put the wash bottle neck directly in the chamber and spray forward. When spraying from the chamber forward, you may need to use a rubber O-Ring to seal off the action… depending on the bore size and the particular wash bottle’s neck spout diameter. We prefer to plug the breech ans squirt from the muzzle.

Bottle Solvent Application Great for Smaller Bores
Using wet patches or wet brushes is an inefficient way to really saturate the tight bores of 17s, 20s, and 22s. Even with a cotton bore mop, most of the solvent will be squeezed out before it gets to the end of the bore, where most copper fouling occurs. For these smaller 17, 20, and 22-caliber bores, you can just take the wash bottle and stick the tapered nozzle right in the chamber. The tapered end will press fit in the throat, sealing off the chamber. With the barrel slightly nose-down, give the bottle a couple good squirts until the solvent mists out the muzzle. In just a few seconds, this will put more solvent in the bore than a half-dozen wet patches.

A solvent-filled wash bottle is also handy for wetting your brushes. It’s much easier to saturate a bore brush (without spilling solvent on your stock), by using the wash bottle. You can get wash bottles from USPlastic.com, Amazon.com, or lab supply stores.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
April 23rd, 2017

Barrel Cleaning TECH TIPS — Criterion’s Advice for Bore Cleaning

Criterion Barrels Cleaning Clean Solvent rod guide Hoppes Wipe-Out

This article comes from the Criterion Barrels website. It provides good, conservative advice about barrel cleaning. Understand that cleaning methods may need to be adapted to fit the amount and type of fouling (and the particular barrel). In general, we do try to minimize brushing, and we follow the procedures Criterion recommends respecting the crown/muzzle. We have also had very good success using wet patches followed by Wipe-Out bore foam. Along with the practices outlined by Criterion below, you may want to try Wipe-Out foam. Just be sure to use a fitted cleaning rod bore guide, to keep foam out of the action recesses and trigger assembly.

The above video shows how to apply Wipe-Out or other bore-cleaning foam. We use a slightly different method. First, we use 3-4 wet patches to remove loose carbon fouling. Then we apply the foam as shown, but usually from the muzzle end (with bore guide in chamber). Here’s the important point — after 20-30 minutes, once the bubbles have dissipated, we apply the foam a second time, getting more of the active ingredients into the barrel. We then patch out, as shown, after 3-4 hours.

What is the Best Way to Clean a Rifle Barrel?

We are asked this question quite frequently alongside requests for recommended break-in procedures. Improper barrel cleaning methods can damage or destroy a barrel, leading to diminished accuracy or even cause a catastrophic failure. When it comes to barrel maintenance, there are a number of useful techniques that we have not listed. Some techniques may work better with different barrel types. This series of recommendations is designed to incorporate a number of methods that the Criterion Barrels staff has used successfully both in the shop and on their personal rifles. Please feel free to to list your own recommendations in the below comments section.

We recommend the use of the following components during rifle cleaning:

• Cloth patches (sized for the appropriate caliber)
• Brass jag sized properly for your bore
• One-piece coated cleaning rod
• General bore cleaner/solvent (Example: Hoppes #9)
• Copper solvent of your choosing (Example: Sweets/KG 12)
• Fitted cleaning rod bore guide
• Plastic AP brush or toothbrush
• Q-Tips
• Plastic dental picks
• CLP or rust preventative type cleaner

There are a number of schools of thought relating to the frequency in which a barrel should be cleaned. At minimum we recommend cleaning a barrel after each shooting session to remove condensation, copper, and carbon build-up. Condensation is the greatest immediate threat, as it can cause the barrel to rust while the rifle sits in storage. Copper and carbon build-up may negatively impact future barrel performance, increasing the possibility of a failure in feed or function. Fouling should be removed whenever possible.

The below tips will help limit the wear of different parts of your barrel during routine maintenance, helping extend the life of the barrel and improving its performance.

The Crown
The crown is the portion of the barrel where the bullet loses contact with the lands and grooves and proceeds to exit the firearm. The area most critical to accuracy potential is the angle where the bullet last touches the bore of the barrel.

Avoid damage to this area by using a plastic toothbrush and CLP type cleaner to scrub the crown from the exterior of the barrel. Even the most minimal variation in wear to the crown will negatively impact barrel performance, so be careful to avoid nicking or wearing away this part of the barrel.

Reducing Cleaning Rod Wear to the Crown
When running a patch through the barrel, place the muzzle about a ¼” from a hard surface that runs flat at a perpendicular angle to the cleaning rod’s direction of travel, like a wall or the edge of a work bench (pictured). When the jag impacts the hard surface, retract the cleaning rod and remove the patch.

By withdrawing the jag prior to its exit from the barrel, you are limiting the possibility of the brass dragging upon the crown if the rod is at all bent or misaligned. The soft cloth patch will continue to serve as the point of contact between the jag and the barrel, minimizing potential wear.

If possible, insert the rod through the chamber, pushing it forward toward the muzzle. Some rifles, such as the M1 Garand or M14, will require you to insert the cleaning rod through the muzzle. In these situations the use of a cleaning rod guide is recommended to limit the friction placed upon the crown.

Avoid using cleaning rod segments for scraping carbon from the recessed muzzle of an AR-15 barrel. We used this trick in the Marine Corps to impress the armorers and NCO’s with the cleanliness of our muzzles, but it likely played a significant role in reducing the service life of the rifle barrel in question.

Use a Q-Tip soaked in solvent to remove any copper or carbon residue from the recessed muzzle of an AR-15 barrel. A little bit of remaining carbon on the face of the muzzle will not negatively affect bullet travel so long as the crown edge remains consistent around the circumference of the bore.

The Lands and Grooves
This portion of the barrel may experience reduced efficiency due to copper fouling and cleaning rod damage. If copper fouling takes place during the initial break-in of the rifle, make sure to check our barrel break-in article.

For regular maintenance we suggest using a single piece coated cleaning rod rather than the traditional segmented rod or bore snake. While segmented rods and bore snakes may be convenient for field use, the corners between the segments may bow out and catch on the lands, scraping along the length of the rifling. Residual grit and particles from expended cartridges may also get caught between segments, resulting in an abrasive surface working its way down the length of the barrel. Most bore snakes will remove significant amounts of carbon fouling, but may fall short in the removal residual carbon buildup and copper fouling during deep cleaning. Good rods can be sourced from multiple manufacturers, but we have found good results using both Pro-Shot and Dewey brand products.

General cleaning requires the use of patches rather than nylon or brass bore brushes. Brass brushes may be required when aggressive cleaning is required, but can lead to unnecessary wear on the barrel if used frequently. This is not due to the nature of the soft brushes themselves, but from the abrasive particles of grit that become embedded in the material that is being run repeatedly through the bore. We recommend the use of bore guides when cleaning from both the muzzle and breech. These bore guides will help serve to protect the crown and throat from cleaning rod damage.

If significant resistance develops while running the cleaning rod through the bore, no attempt should be made to force it in further. Back the rod out and inspect the barrel to determine the cause of the resistance. The jag may be pushing between a bore obstruction and the rifling, digging a divot into the barrel before pushing the obstruction back through the muzzle. One way to minimize the risk of a stuck rod is by utilizing a slightly smaller patch during the initial push.

The process of cleaning the length of the rifling is relatively straightforward:

1. Check to make sure the rifle is safely unloaded.
2. Carry out any necessary disassembly procedures prior to cleaning.
3. Remove bolt (if possible) and insert fitted cleaning rod bore guide in action.
4. Soak a patch in bore solvent (similar to Hoppes #9).
5. Center and affix the patch on the brass jag, inserting it into the chamber end of the barrel. A misaligned patch may cause the jag to damage the lands of the rifling, so make sure the patch is centered on the jag.
6. Run the patch the full length of the barrel, retracting it upon reaching the end of the muzzle.
7. Let the solvent sit for a minute.
8. Continue to run patches through the bore until carbon residue is minimized.
9. Run a dry patch through the bore to ensure carbon residue has been removed.
10. Soak a patch in copper solvent (Sweet’s or KG-12).
11. Run the patch through the bore, leaving it to sit for 3-5 minutes (do not let solvent sit for more than 15 minutes.*)
12. Repeat this process until no blue residue remains on the patches.
13. Run a patch of Hoppes #9 and a dry patch through the bore to neutralize the copper solvent.
14. Inspect the barrel prior to reassembling the rifle, verifying that no bore obstructions remain.

*Please note that some ammonia-based copper solvents may prove to be corrosive if left sitting in the barrel for an extended period of time. It is essential that these solvents be removed within 15 minutes to avoid ruining the bore.

The Chamber
Proper cleaning of the chamber is a critical component of a general cleaning procedure. Carbon rings can build up near the neck and throat of the chamber wall, leading to feeding malfunctions and pressure spikes inside the chamber.

The chamber can be the trickiest part of the barrel to effectively clean, due to its fluctuation in size and the awkward ergonomics often required to remove carbon residue. Numerous chamber specific devices have been created to address this problem, and while some should be avoided (steel chamber brushes), others can be used to great effect (cleaning stars and plastic dental picks). The simplest approach to cleaning a chamber is to apply solvent to a couple patches, and use the cleaning rod to spin the wadded up patches inside the confines of the chamber. This should aid in removing any excess carbon. A Q-Tip can be used to reach portions of the chamber unreached by patches.

The Barrel Exterior
While the condition of the crown, rifling, and chamber are essential to firearm performance, the finish of the exterior should also be cleaned after handling. Condensation, humidity, direct water contact, and salt residue from skin contact can cause rust or corrosion. An application of anti-corrosion products is recommended when placing a firearm into deep storage for an extended period of time. [Editor: AccurateShooter.com recommends Corrosion-X or Eezox, but other products work well too.]

Finding Cleaning Components
While most cleaning components can be found at your local gun shop, some specialty items may need to be sourced through online retailers such as Brownell’s. Criterion utilizes both Dewey and Pro-Shot brand cleaning components during our day-to-day operations.

Do you have any rifle cleaning tips or tricks not mentioned in the above article? We’d love to hear about them. You can post your comments below.

Permalink - Videos, News, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
April 20th, 2017

Try NO-LEAD Cleaner for Barrels after Shooting Lead-Alloy Bullets

Suhl Rimfire Benchrest indoor cleaning
We have used NO-LEAD Cleaner in rimfire benchrest rifles similar to this modified Suhl 150-1. It helped restore accuracy with minimal brushing.

NO-lead brushless lead remover Wipe-out Sharp Shoot-rMade by the same folks that created Wipe-Out™, and Carb-Out™, the NO-LEAD Brushless Lead Remover™ really works. Honest. If you are an active rimfire shooter, or if you shoot cast lead-alloy bullets in centerfire rifles and pistols, you should try this product. We now use NO-LEAD in our rimfire benchrest rifles, and in some centerfire guns that receive a steady diet of soft-alloy cast bullets (90%+ lead). (With rimfire guns, you don’t need to use NO-LEAD very often — maybe every 300-400 rounds unless you have a real fouler of a barrel.)

If you’ve got stubborn lead fouling in a rimfire barrel, or on a pistol’s muzzle brake/compensator, you should definitely give this stuff a try. We don’t know how but it does soften lead deposits. The manufacturer says you don’t need brushes, but we found that a bit of brushing (after NO-LEAD application) can help remove more serious lead build-up.

Frankly we were surprised to find a lead solvent that really works. We have tried a half-dozen or more other lead “cleaners” that promise to dissolve lead and most of them, we discovered, are nearly useless. There’s a reason for that, as the lead alloys used in bullets don’t react to typical petrochemical-based solvents. It took the Wipe-Out chemists over five years to perfect a new water-based solution that really does dissolve lead.

NO-LEAD Cleaning Procedure — Read Carefully
NO-LEAD Lead Remover is a clear, red gel that is easy to apply. Just swab it in your bore (or on muzzle brakes) with wet patches or bore mop and let it sit for a few minutes. (The manufacturer says you can leave the NO-LEAD for up to 20 minutes, but that long of a dwell time does not seem necessary with our rimfire barrels.) When it contacts lead it will start to foam and you’ll see that the NO-LEAD solvent turns a pastel pink when it dissolves lead. The pink comes from the formation of lead oxide. After the recommended dwell time, simply patch out the dissolved lead deposits (you can also use a nylon brush for stubborn lead build-up).

NOTE: After cleaning, it is very important that you get all the NO-LEAD out of your barrel, and neutralize it. We recommend following the application of NO-Lead with Wipe-out or Patch-Out to neutralize the NO-LEAD, clear the bore, and remove residual carbon and copper fouling. If you don’t have Wipe-Out or Patch-out, flush the barrel thoroughly with Rubbing Alcohol or even a solution of Dawn dish detergent — then re-oil the bore.

Be Sure to Neutralize NO-LEAD After Use
Remember that N0-LEAD is a strong, slightly acidic chemical that needs to be neutralized after use. If you leave it on a nice, blued barrel for too long, it can harm the bluing. NO-LEAD will remove all the surface oils from the barrel bore. For this reason it is recommended that you neutralize NO-LEAD with Wipe-Out, or Patch-Out, which both contain effective corrosion inhibitors. If you don’t have those products, once you’ve flushed the NO-LEAD with something like rubbing alcohol, then follow with a gun oil. Caution: A petroleum-based gun oil will NOT, by itself, neutralize NO-LEAD. You need to neutralize first, then apply the corrosion inhibitor (or do it all in one step with Wipe-Out or Patch-Out).

Where to Buy NO-LEAD Lead Remover
NO-LEAD Lead Remover costs $15.99 for an 8 oz. squeeze bottle with a flip-top spout. This product is sold directly by Sharp Shoot R Precision Products, www.Sharpshootr.com, or you can purchase NO-LEAD through many other online vendors. For more information, send an email via the Sharp Shoot-R Contact Form or or contact Sharp Shoot-R at (785) 883-4444. You can ask for Terry Paul, Sharp Shoot-R’s owner and the master chemist who developed the NO-LEAD formula.

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September 9th, 2013

TECH TIP: How to Apply Wipe-Out from the Breech

Wipe-Out foam bore cleaner is a product we’ve used with great success on many rifles. With sufficient dwell time, it removes both carbon and copper fouling. You can combine it with Wipe-Out Accelerator or Patch-Out liquid to speed up cleaning time. Many shooters, including this editor, find that bore-brushing has been virtually eliminated with the regular use of Wipe-Out. (With some barrels however, you may still have to brush or use a bore paste if you notice stubborn carbon build-up in the throat area.)

wipeout brushless bore cleaner foam

Out standard procedure with Wipe-Out is to insert an O-ring-sealed cleaning rod guide into the chamber and then squirt through the muzzle in short puffs. Put a towel or rag on the comb of your stock and watch for a little bit of foam to exit the rod guide. We usually wait 30 minutes for the bubbles to dissipate, then do a second foam application. Be sure to clean off any excess foam before it drips on your stock.

Applying Wipe-Out from Breech
You can also apply Wipe-Out from the breech. To allow breech-first application, Wipe-Out cans now come with a short plastic tube and a plastic tip that fits in your chamber. These can also be purchased separately for $2.50. However, we’ve found the plastic tip is too big for some chambers and it is not always easy to get a good, secure seal even if it does fit. Jason Baney has come up with a solution. READ Jason’s Wipe-Out Article.

Use Fitted Tubing for Breech-First Applications of Wipe-Out
You can apply Wipe-Out through the breech very effectively if you use fitted, plastic tubing. While this works well for bolt-actions, breech application is particularly handy for the Garand, M1A and other semi-autos. Jason Baney has written a short article describing this process. In a nutshell, you need one piece of tubing that fits the chamber tightly and then connects with a second, smaller diameter tube that attaches to the Wipe-Out can. This avoids any “over-spray” of foam in the action area, providing a clean, simple solution. Just squirt for a second or so, and wait for white foam to come out of the muzzle. Be sure to keep Wipe-Out off fine wood stocks.

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July 11th, 2013

NO-LEAD Lead Remover — This Stuff Really Works

Made by the same folks that created Wipe-Out™, and Carb-Out™, the NO-LEAD Brushless Lead Remover™ really works. Honest. If you are an active rimfire shooter, or if you shoot cast lead bullets in centerfire rifles and pistols, you should try this product. This stuff was introduced a year ago. We now use NO-LEAD in our rimfire benchrest rifles, and in some centerfire guns that receive a steady diet of soft-alloy cast bullets (90%+ lead). (With rimfire guns, you don’t need to use NO-LEAD very often — maybe every 300-400 rounds unless you have a real fouler of a barrel.)

If you’ve got stubborn lead fouling in a rimfire barrel, or on a pistol’s muzzle brake/compensator, you should definitely give this stuff a try. We don’t know how but it does soften lead deposits. The manufacturer says you don’t need brushes, but we found that a bit of brushing (after NO-LEAD application) can help remove more serious lead build-up.

Frankly we were surprised to find a lead solvent that really works. We have tried a half-dozen or more other lead “cleaners” that promise to dissolve lead and most of them, we discovered, are nearly useless. There’s a reason for that, as the lead alloys used in bullets don’t react to typical petrochemical-based solvents. It took the Wipe-Out chemists over five years to perfect a new water-based solution that really does dissolve lead.

NO-LEAD Cleaning Procedure — Read Carefully
NO-LEAD Lead Remover is a clear, red gel that is easy to apply. Just swab it in your bore (or on muzzle brakes) with wet patches or bore mop and let it sit for a few minutes. (The manufacturer says you can leave the NO-LEAD for up to 20 minutes, but that long of a dwell time does not seem necessary with our rimfire barrels.) When it contacts lead it will start to foam and you’ll see that the NO-LEAD solvent turns a pastel pink when it dissolves lead. The pink comes from the formation of lead oxide. After the recommended dwell time, simply patch out the dissolved lead deposits (you can also use a nylon brush for stubborn lead build-up).

NOTE: After cleaning, it is very important that you get all the NO-LEAD out of your barrel, and neutralize it. We recommend following the application of NO-Lead with Wipe-out or Patch-Out to neutralize the NO-LEAD, clear the bore, and remove residual carbon and copper fouling. If you don’t have Wipe-Out or Patch-out, flush the barrel thoroughly with Rubbing Alcohol or even a solution of Dawn dish detergent — then re-oil the bore.

Be Sure to Neutralize NO-LEAD After Use
Remember that N0-LEAD is a strong, slightly acidic chemical that needs to be neutralized after use. If you leave it on a nice, blued barrel for too long, it can harm the bluing. NO-LEAD will remove all the surface oils from the barrel bore. For this reason it is recommended that you neutralize NO-LEAD with Wipe-Out, or Patch-Out, which both contain effective corrosion inhibitors. If you don’t have those products, once you’ve flushed the NO-LEAD with something like rubbing alcohol, then follow with a gun oil. Caution: A petroleum-based gun oil will NOT, by itself, neutralize NO-LEAD. You need to neutralize first, then apply the corrosion inhibitor (or do it all in one step with Wipe-Out or Patch-Out).

Where to Buy NO-LEAD Lead Remover
NO-LEAD Lead Remover costs $14.99 for an 8 oz. squeeze bottle with a flip-top spout. This product is sold directly by Sharp Shoot R Precision Products, www.Sharpshootr.com, or you can purchase NO-LEAD through many other online vendors. For more information, email gethelp@Sharpshootr.com or contact Sharp Shoot R at (785) 883-4444. You can ask for Terry Paul, Sharp Shoot R’s owner and the master chemist who developed the NO-LEAD formula.

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December 7th, 2011

New Tactical Advantage Cleaner from the Makers of Wipe-Out

Tactical Advantage bore and gun cleaning semi-autosSharp Shoot R™ Precision Products, the makers of Wipe-Out foam bore cleaner, has a new cleaning product designed for ARs and other semi-autos that tend to run dirty and accumulate carbon. Sharp Shoot R’s new Tactical Advantage™ is a very carbon-aggressive bore cleaner that will remove copper fouling as well as powder fouling with a minimum of effort. Run it on a patch (or nylon brush) to dissolve carbon and copper fouling in the bore. Mix it 50/50 with water and spray it on the bolt, muzzle brake, and other parts which accumulate soot and carbon in regular use.

When sprayed on bolt carriers, bolts, and brakes, Tactical Advantage will dissolve carbon on contact — without ammonia or acids in the formula. In fact the chemistry in Tactical Advantage actually protects metal from corrosion after it cleans.

Terry Paul, Sharp Shoot R’s owner and chemistry wizard, says that: “Tactical Advantage has been designed to be a maximum-strength product. In our testing we found that Tactical Advantage was capable of dissolving more fouling faster than any product currently on the market. We developed this product with the aid and consultation of competitive shooters, gunsmiths, barrel makers, and tactical firearms manufacturers. The R&D team produced a revolutionary new type catalyst that provides exceptional cleaning power.” We’ve heard similar claims about many other gun cleaners, but Tactical Advantage has some interesting properties:

Tactical Advantage bore and gun cleaning semi-autos

  • Tactical Advantage is odorless, and contains NO ACID and NO AMMONIA.
  • Tactical Advantage is safe for all steels (both stainless and carbon) and all metal plating (including chrome-lined barrels).
  • Tactical Advantage is harmless to modern gunstock finishes on wood, carbon fiber, or fiberglass. (However, it is not for use on shellac, varnish, or oil finishes.)
  • Tactical Advantage cannot gum or leave behind solids that render the firearm useless.
  • Tactical Advantage is effective on copper fouling, and it aggressively dissolves carbon fouling on contact.

Tactical Advantage — Suggested Cleaning Procedures

Bore Cleaning — With the breach open, apply into the barrel with a patch or nylon brush which has been wetted with the solution. Place the firearm down horizontally on the bench. Wait for 15 to 20 minutes. Put a clean cotton patch on a good jag and push through the bore. Or run two strokes through the bore with a nylon brush and Tactical Advantage will produce a thick lather. Allow it to set as per original instructions for faster results.

Bore Swabbing During Matches — You can use Tactical Advantage as a barrel swab in between relays or between shot strings to remove powder fouling and begin the job of dissolving carbon and copper. This method is a quick solution that works for High Power shooters who have limited time to clean their firearms between relays.

Parts Cleaning — Mix Tactical Advantage 50/50 with water in a spray bottle. Spray dirty parts fouled with powder residue or carbon. Use same method for muzzle brakes and suppressors.

Tactical Advantage costs $15.99 (MSRP) for a 8 oz. plastic bottle that will clean as many guns as two cans of Wipe-Out foam. Get Tactical Advantage from major vendors, or order direct from:

Sharp Shoot R Precision Products®
P.O. Box 171
Paola, Kansas
email: getinfo [at] sharpshootr.com
phone: 785-883-4444

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome readers submissions.
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