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Rifle cleaning question - keep copper in?

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by gringogigante, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. I recently saw a show with some Green Beret snipers that were talking about how they only cleaned their rifle bores by running several patches through them but not cleaning the copper fowling. He said that when he left the copper in, his shots were more accurate.

    He started from a totally clean gun. Then after 20-30 shots he cleaned it with 5-10 patches only (not scrubbing out the copper fowling) as this made the gun more accurate. Not sure how or why this happens, so I thought I'd bring it to the pros.

    How do you clean your hunting rifle?

    Chris
     
  2. msoprano

    msoprano

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    During hunting season I only use a boresnake. I won't give the bore a thorough cleaning until I see declining accuracy. So, almost never. Took me a while to get used to keeping a "dirty" bore. The army gave me harmful over cleaning habits, IMHO.
     


  3. WoodenPlank

    WoodenPlank Who?

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    NW Florida
    Copper build up over time can affect accuracy, but not necessarily by making it worse. At extreme distances, it can change POI(ie: shift in a specific direction, or simply make the group larger), so a particular rifle's (and shooter's) dope may best match up to a specific level of fouling in the bore. By trying to maintain the rifle at a consistent point, it keeps the dope matched to the weapon.
     
  4. SigFTW

    SigFTW

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  5. The copper fouling can fill in the microscopic pores in the bore so that it is a smoother surface for the bullet to travel over putting less drag and imperfections on the projectile.
     
  6. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

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    In general, I clean 'em out knowing that next time it goes out, I'll need to fire some fouling shots before it starts settling down and giving me the best accuracy.

    If the next time is a hunting trip, it doesn't get cleaned. Cold bore shots are enough of a monkey wrench to deal with. Cold / clean bore just adds a tad more uncertainty.

    All that said, heavy copper buildup in your bore is not a good thing. The more it builds up, the harder it is to get out.

    Butch's bore shine is really helpful.
     
  7. M&P15T

    M&P15T Beard One

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    Arlington, VA.
    Bore Snakes and CLP is all I use to clean my AR & GLOCK barrels. Gets them clean as a whistle.

    Don't know why you would consider a rifle cleaned with a Bore Snake as "dirty".
     
  8. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

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    A boresnake is a stopgap measure between cleanings or a finish to a proper cleaning to make sure the barrel is completely dry.

    Take a patch wet with copper solvent and run it down your bore. Let it sit 15 minutes. Betcha the next patch comes out blue.

    CLP isn't going to chemically etch copper fouling. Neither will Hoppe's #9.
     
  9. M&P15T

    M&P15T Beard One

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    Let's stick with the GLOCK barrel, since it's faaar easier to visually judge. After 3-4 passes with CLP and a Bore Snake, it's spotless. Mirror smooth and clean.

    If there's still copper in there, it isn't visible. In the past, I can remember fouling that was very difficult to remove, that I assumed was copper fouling. My CLP/Bore Snake regime easily removes everything that the eye can see.

    Can you describe what copper fouling would look like?
     
  10. R2D2

    R2D2

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    Jun 4, 2012
    Palm Coast, FL
    But wasn't the original question about hunting rifle bores not Glock pistols?:cool:
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2012
  11. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

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    You normally won't see much if any copper fouling in pistol barrels. Start working things up to 50,000 psi and it's a different ball game.

    [​IMG]


    It's difficult to see on an AR with the flash suppressor, but this is usually the easiest way to see on a normal barrel.

    This stuff builds up... oxidizes (galvanic corrosion).

    No es bueno.
     
  12. M&P15T

    M&P15T Beard One

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    I see what you're looking at.

    Still, I can tell you, my AR's barrel is clean as a whistle after 4 or 5 CLP/Bore Snake passes. But then, 5.56 runs at 62k PSI, so maybe I'm missing something.
     
  13. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

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    Old Colorado City
    You just aren't going to see it looking down a barrel. You can only see it looking directly at the surface with a bright light like in the photo I pulled off google images. You aren't going to be able to do this with an AR unless you remove the flash hider or you have a borescope.

    Try what I said before - run some copper solvent down the bore and let it sit 15 minutes. Next patch will be blue. That is copper. Repeat as needed until the patches come out with no blue on them. Run oil after, then a dry patch.

    :thumbsup:


    ETA: Butch's bore shine claims you can leave it in the barrel as long as you like, but I wouldn't leave ammonia based copper solvents in the barrel for much longer than 15 minutes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2012
  14. FLRon777

    FLRon777

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    ZS, how many patches with CLP or other similar product will it take to remove any residue of the bore solvent? Whats the best way to be sure you don't have any residue remaining?

    Thanks!
     
  15. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

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    Like I said, I usually run a patch wet with oil down the bore (run a couple if you're worried about it), then a dry patch (or boresnake) right behind it.
     
  16. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Grumpy Old Guy

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    Don't clean until accuracy starts to go away then refoul the barrel with 10 to 5 rounds. Many rifles are like this but you see it more often in match/target/sniper type rifles.
    Also happens in 22LR rimfire rifles a lot.
     
  17. I agree. Its better than nothing, but its not the proper tool for the job.

    You may have the loose crud out, but the barrel is far from clean. Put a dry patch on a jag, and run it back and forth a few times, and I can guarantee you, youll still see fowling on that patch. Put a proper solvent on a brush, and alternately brush and patch it, and it will come out blue/green for a good while.

    I hear people say they can clean their Glocks in a couple of minutes with a bore snake or a couple of patches, and I just dont see how. I clean mine once a week after shooting 3-500 rounds, and it takes me a good hour to get it to the point the patches are "starting" to come out close to clean. They never do come out "white", nor do they with any of the other guns I shoot and clean.


    I have an AR that, when properly maintained, and using reloads it likes, will shoot 3/8" or better 5 shot groups at 100 yards. Ive been using Frog Lube alone now for about a year or so, and have seen the accuracy degrade since Ive stopped using a copper solvent in my cleaning regimen. I always considered CLP to also be a field expedient, and it appears this confirms it. Frog Lube works great, but some things do need more specific care to keep them at their best.
     
  18. garya1961

    garya1961

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    NC
    Most people over clean their rifle/gun bores, I know I do but I'm really trying to break that habit. A couple swipes with a patch with CLP and a couple dry patches are all that's needed. Most probably put more wear fom cleaning than they do shooting.
     
  19. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

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    I'll agree some folks damage their bores in an attempt to clean, but the idea of over clean is a little strange to me...

    :dunno:

    Fact is most people can get away with a couple patches of CLP because the rifle might see 50 rounds a year, and I'd bet the average is less than that. Five rounds to check zero and one or two on a hunting trip. Lots of hunting rifles around here never see 500 rounds total.

    The guys the OP talked about probably did get better accuracy... as I said, a perfectly clean bore can be a little erratic. That's not to say you never clean the crud out of there... powder fouling and copper fouling... let it build up enough and you have a smaller bore - pressures also go up.

    Keep it clean and you might have to fire 3-5 fouling shots to get everything dialed in again. Big deal.
     
  20. My boresnakes have little metal bristles on them....doesn't that clean out the carbon fouling?