Barrel Cleaning Question?
How often do you clean your barrel and what technique do you use? Thanks
I use a carbon fiber cleaning rod with a wire brush with a patch wrapped around it from the muzzle end. First I remove my shroud tube so the patch doesn't get caught in the air stripper. I wrap some tape around the spot where the wire brush screws into the cleaning rod so there is no chance of it abrading the crown.
I know all about the old wives tale that says never to clean your barrel from the muzzle end, but I have been doing it this way on all my rifles for over 50 years and never had any problems. And I only clean my barrels when I see the accuracy drop off...otherwise I leave well enough alone. And this normally consists of just running a couple dry patches in and out and done.
For a real thorough cleaning I use the Hoppe's Elite that "cleans right down to the pores". Usually I only use this on brand new guns to remove whatever factory preservative is in the barrel to prevent rusting. I will also tell you that I have observed many people over the years that appear to either be addicted to the smell of Hoppe's No. 9, or the ritual of cleaning their barrels...and yet always complaining about their guns lack of accuracy. It is a known fact that many barrels just shoot better when they are "dirty" than when they are "clean"!
Fishing line with Goo Gone. Only when accuracy is noticeably lacking then reseason 60 to 100 shots.
New routine added- after all of the dry patches following the Goo Gone, simple green followed by some more dry patches.
Believe it or not, there are some guns that never require cleaning. If you know your gun well enough, and consistantly shoot the same ammo through it, you will know how many shots (give or take) before you will need to clean it.
One of the most important things about cleaning an air gun barrel -- you rarely need to clean them. Target and field target shooters may shoot 10,000 or more pellets per year and the general consensus among precision air gun shooters is to only clean when accuracy seems to have degraded.
Don't use metal cleaning rods/brushes of any kind for routine air gun barrel cleaning, they can damage the bore. Buy a Crown Saver cleaning kit or make a flexible boresnake-style pull-through barrel cleaner from trimmer line: however, like the Patch Worm best.
Most Air gun barrels are made from soft steel or brass with rifling that is measured in ten-thousandths of an inch in depth compared to firearms barrels with rifling measured in thousandths of an inch depth! Soft steel abrades very fast, and brass abrades even faster. IZH Baikal, CZ and other air guns with hammer forged barrels just like a conventional firearm are hard enough to be cleaned routinely with a brass brush but I treat them the same as soft barrels.
So many of us warn against using brushes to clean airgun barrels because so many shooters are careless when they clean; the cleaning rod can rub against the bore at the point where it enters the barrel. It will wear the barrel if it does rub. That's why you are warned to clean a barrel from the breech; if possible, so you don't wear the rifling at the muzzle.
For heavy duty cleaning chores use a brush that is softer than the barrel. For steel barrels, a bronze brush is fine. For brass barrels, there are nylon brushes, although you should stay out of a brass barrel altogether with a brush unless there is a serious problem. Remove the barrel from guns with serious barrel problems without access to the breach for cleaning so you can use a brush and cleaning rod from the breach end. Never use a stainless steel brush!
Felt cleaning pellets should not be used in a spring-piston gun. They do not cushion the piston sufficiently, and it is akin to dry-firing. You can use them in just about every other power plant. If you do use them in a spring-piston gun, pack in enough felt pellets to provide some resistance when the piston comes forward. For an air gun with 800 to 1000 FPS power, perhaps five felt cleaning pellets in a row might be enough to cushion the piston.
Don't routinely use flammable firearm and general purpose flammable solvents like GooGone in air gun barrels without pulling dry patches to remove all traces of them as they can cause damage to seals and severe detonations that may damage the air gun. GooGone or any other flammable solvent is good for the first cleaning of a new barrel to remove the preservative grease, oil and crud from the barrel. After that flammable solvents aren’t necessary.
Some of the newer solvents like “Simple Green” are biodegradable and non flammable that do a good job of cleaning without causing damage to seals. Two products I’ve used with good results are OTIS dry lube and OTIS 0895 CLP. Both products removed significant lead deposits from barrels that appeared to be clean after pulling a snug dry patch through the barrel. These two OTIS products penetrate the pores of the metal and leave a protective moisture barrier film behind.
To summarize: Flammable solvent like Goo Gone, kerosene, and naphtha (odorless mineral spirits) to remove the oil and grease; after that, a nonflammable cleaner and/or dry patches pulled through the barrel from the breach to the muzzle with a Crown Saver, Patch Worm, or trimmer line.
Save the brushes for heavy duty jobs like removing lead and rust with JB Bore Paste and or polishing the bore (another sensitive topic.)
Air gun barrels are typically soft and can be damaged easily if you don’t exercise great care when using cleaning rods and brushes.
Cleaning from the muzzle end should be done with a rod guide to keep the rod centered on the bore. once a new barrel is clean use patches on a green 20 cal Patch Worm only from the breech end with your favorite solvent until a patch comes out with no black followed with two dry patches. each barrel will have it's own cleaning schedule.
I'm an air rifle benchrest shooter so my routine is different, Bronze brushes never touch my LW match barrels. If a new barrel needs a brushing I use a nylon brush with Shooters Choice lead remover solvent and dry patches on a patch Worm. My routine cleaning for benchrest accuracy is to start with a clean barrel and shoot sighters until the barrel is in it's happy state; usually 15-25 or so fouling shots with my reject pellets. After the first card of 25 shots +sighters I pull a dry patch on a Patch Worm, sighters for the second card will usually take 5-10 shots. After the second card of 25 shots + sighters I pull a dry patch. Sighters for the 3rd card will; usually take 5-10 shots for the barrel to be in it's happy state again. At the end of the 3 card match I pull patches with Shooter's Choice lead remover or OTIS 085 CLP until they come out clean then 2 dry patches.
Shooters Choice Lead remover has MT-10 that gets beneath the lead and lifts it away from the steel without prolonged soaking. Be careful with this cleaner... it will damage wood stock finishes.
Patch Worms are purchased on line; I use Google to find them, an extra long (rifle rod) is $7
Airguns are a gas.
I use Ballistol for the first few wet patches until they come clean, then dry patches until all the Ballistol is absorbed. Ballistol is a good anti corrosion material and preservative. I know a lot of folks use Simple Green and I have too, but it is water based which makes me a little goosey.