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Cleaning your rifle


Honey Badger

Dec 31, 1969
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Okay. Settle a cunundrum for me. You saw my group posting the other day. I have 20 rounds through the new deer rifle. So do you scrub it down really good? or leave it be? I was always taught that you clean a gun after firing it. I have also been told once you get a rifle sighted how you want it you leave it alone. Well??? What say you?
I have two dirty barrels as we speak in the safe now. They will be even dirtier after this coming weekend. Most barrels degrade through use and improper cleaning techniques.
I do break in my rifles and do use a copper remover. Break in varies on individual and whatever voodoo witchdoctor stuff they believe or have been taught. I'll say, most factory barrels have burrs and shit in them and are not honed or polished for the most part. A lot of custom jobs are. Either way, whether you do 20 rounds at a time, or 1 round clean intervals, I recommend cleaning your bore of copper for the first hundred rounds of its life. Carbon fouling is not really the culprit ...it's copper.

That said, prior to say, deer season, I'll punch the bore, go check zero/rezero (5 rounds min), and then the gun gets left that way until the end of season. Then I'll clean it and put it away until the next time.

Don't forget, boreguide, jag, coated rod, and NO STEEL or ALUMINUM in your bore (or chamber for that matter).
I break a new barrel in shoot scrub shoot scrub bout 20 rnds. Shoot shoot shoot scrub shoot shoot shoot scrub bout 20 rnds then it's 5rnd clean bout 20rnds and it normally gtg

I'll clean bore thoroughly bout every 50 rnds or so,

Then put 1 rnd down range put rifle back in safe.

Pistols the same,

My daily carry gets thoroughly cleaned & oiled every week whether I've shot it or not.
Depends on barrel honestly. I break a barrel in with 6 rounds and my cleaning regiment.

Load development usually goes no more than 20 rounds a session and I soak, scrub, soak, scrub. That goes on until 100 rounds.

Then I clean when accuracy falls off or I see a change in velocity not weather related. For my HMR Pro in .308, that's about 55ish. It gets cleaned at 50. My HMR in 6.5, 120ish. Every 100, it gets cleaned.

Bore guides for specific rifle, nylon bore brushes, patch out with accelerator, brass jags and time.

Rimfire, I clean every 50 rounds for the first 200-300, and then the bore/chamber does not get touched unless I have a drop in accuracy. I have a 10/22 that has been cleaned once since being broken in 10 years and about 3000-3500 rounds ago.

Shotguns, I clean a lot. I think I have my past ownership of a 870 to thank for this. Hell, I'll get nervous and pull all my shotguns out and wipe them down with a silicon cloth every few months if I'm not shooting them.

Handguns, meh. Whenevs. They do get a quick wipedown after the range usually. wipe the vaseline/carmex/burts bees off the flashlight lens, wipe the excess crap off of it, wipe off the feed ramp and remove fingerprints from the metal.

AR/AKs? Pretty much the same treatment as my handguns. Maybe worse, as they get rattlecanned and I dont have to worry about fingerprints. Every 1000-2000 rounds they get a good cleaning. Breakin as per manufacturer/barrel recommendations.

Bolt guns? They get some love usually, but still, wipedown after the range, deep clean every 500ish rounds, unless they get dropped in the mud, which happens more than I care to admit. My x39 ruger ranch has been planted like I'm landing on the moon many times, due to dumb shit, never intentional. It gets cleaned out more than most. Sometimes just in a puddle or pond, then hosed down with CLP and a bore mop when I get back to the truck.
Two schools of thought 1. Never clean the barrel 2. clean it, don’t let it stay dirty.
I’ve acted as the RSO in several IHMSA World Championships. Several of the world chanpions are using 22 Anshutz pistols (bolt action) that have never cleaned their barrel. One champion, Jim Fields, went 20,000 rounds with out touching his bore. He did use a dry brush to clean the chamber.
I can’t put a gun up without the barrel being clean. Just raised that way. I did have a Mousin Nagant that shot 3“ groups at 100 yds. To improve it I tried
cleaning the bore out. I used foaming cleaner on it, got the copper out of it. The group opened up to 6”.
i guess it depends on the rifle and the shooter.
Handguns, meh. Whenevs. They do get a quick wipedown after the range usually. wipe the vaseline/carmex/burts bees off the flashlight lens, wipe the excess crap off of it, wipe off the feed ramp and remove fingerprints from the metal.
Pretty much the same. I clean optic lenses more than I do the weapons
I’m with a majority of you guys that I hardly ever clean my guns with the exception after shooting a run n gun match. After crawling through sand or mud, I clean them to get any gunk out especially since I shoot my rifles suppressed which makes it even dirtier.

I never do use brushes down my barrel though. Either a bore snake of the foaming copper remover and then a bore snake.