Tools - Hangun
we get into the mechanics of barrel care, a brief look at the tools
necessary is in order. A good assortment of high-quality cleaning
supplies is essential.
get a patch or brush through the bore, a cleaning rod is obviously
needed. As simple as this function may seem, it can be a source
of serious barrel damage. Among competitive shooters, only two types
of rods will be found: one-piece stainless steel rods or the one-piece
coated rods by Dewey or Parker Hale. At present, shooters seem about
evenly divided in their preference for one type or the other. While
these rods are far less likely to damage the bore than other types,
they must still be used correctly and carefully.
more commonly seen aluminum rods are soft enough to allow abrasive
particles to become imbedded in its surface. These particles can
act as a lap while in the barrel, causing serious scratching throughout
the length of the bore. These rods should be completely avoided,
at least for any kind of gun-cleaning chore.
consideration few shooters stop to think about is the cleanliness
of their cleaning equipment. Rods wet with solvent and laid down
on a shooting bench pick up dirt, dust and all sorts of abrasive
material. Unless the rod is cleaned before using it again, all of
the grit it has picked up from the bench will be run right back
through the bore, possibly scratching or damaging the barrel in
the process. While the softer aluminum rods pose the greatest threat
in this respect, any rod can damage a bore if it is improperly used.
Before you run the rod through your barrel, wipe it down with a
clean rag dampened with a bit of solvent. You may be surprised to
see how much grit and residue is deposited on the rag residue
that would have gone into your barrel.
as with rods, there are both good and bad brushes available.
quality phosphor bronze bristle brushes are the best and safest
for your barrel. These use a brass core that is looped at the end,
leaving no sharp edges exposed that may damage the bore. A poor
second choice would be the bronze bristle brushes that have a steel
core. If this type of brush must be used, extreme caution is needed
to get it started straight into the bore. Since the core is generally
cut rather than looped, a jagged tip is usually left exposed at
the end. If this tip is allowed to gouge into the throat or leade
area, it could cause serious bore damage. Stainless steel brushes
have also become available in the last few years. These brushes
are probably best reserved for only those handguns suffering from
extremely bad leading. These brushes are very aggressive and will
cause barrel damage if overused.
are several different styles of jag tips available, and each has
its proponents. Some shooters prefer the spear type
jag, such as those put out by Pro-Shot. Others prefer the wraparound
type by Parker-Hale. Dewey offers a jag that can be used either
way. Here, personal preference is probably as important as any other
factor, as they all do a good job when properly used.
bore guide is a closely fitted tube, usually plastic or nylon, that
keeps the rod centered in the bore. Generally thought of as an accessory
used for cleaning rifles, bore guides have now become available
for some handguns. Neil Jones Custom Products, for example, makes
a guide specifically for the Freedom Arms revolvers. Given the rifle-like
accuracy levels these handguns display, it makes perfect sense to
accord them the same care and respect given to a tack-driving varmint
rifle. The object here, as with rifles, is to prevent the rod from
damaging the barrel.
type of material makes the best patches? We strongly recommend cotton
flannel. Highly absorbent cotton flannel is tough enough to withstand
being run through the bore on a tight-fitting jag, making it ideally
suited to bore-cleaning chores. As with bore brushes and cleaning
rods, patches must be kept clean. Keep them in a sealed container
until they are to be used and never leave them out where sand or
grit may be blown onto them.
bore cleaners, such as Shooters Choice MC-7 or Hoppes #9,
represent the most common and widely used method of barrel cleaning.
In practice, a few drops of solvent are placed on a bronze brush
and run through the bore several times. This scrubbing action should
effectively loosen both powder residue and mild copper fouling,
allowing it to be removed easily with a solvent-soaked patch or
two. An alternate method is to use the solvents alone, without resorting
to brushes. When using only patches to apply solvent, remember that
the solvents work chemically and do not actually require any scrubbing.
When solvents are used in this manner, use only a loose-fitting
patch. In this instance, the patch serves only as a vehicle to transport
solvent into the bore. A patch that fits the bore too tightly will
be wrung out, leaving little solvent to do the work.
A word of caution here regarding Hoppes #9 and nickel-plated
guns: Use this solvent carefully and quickly as it can frost or
strip the nickel plating. We have seen examples of nickeled guns
being left to soak for extended periods in this solvent, actually
causing the finish to peel and flake off. Used properly and wiped
off thoroughly after the powder fouling has been removed, Hoppes
#9 will give excellent results.
using any type of solvent with a bronze brush, the barrel should
be thoroughly flushed with Gun Scrubber or a similar cleaner/degreaser
to stop the action of the solvent. Bronze, after all, is a copper
alloy and is attacked by the solvent just as aggressively as is
the fouling in the barrel. Flushing the solvents away will increase
the service life of your brushes many times over. Regardless of
the approach used, a stronger method may be called for if evidence
of copper fouling remains.
more aggressive type of liquid solvent, usually containing a higher
(4-5%) ammonia content, is also available. Two popular examples
of this type of solvent are Sweets 7.62 and Shooters
Choice Copper Remover. These will prove useful in removing particularly
stubborn deposits of copper fouling but should be used with appropriate
care. Unlike the milder solvents, more aggressive solutions should
not be used with bronze brushes as they will begin to dissolve them
almost immediately. This creates a second problem because it gives
a reading of copper fouling when patches are used next.
Whether the traces of blue on the patches actually indicate copper
fouling or that the solvent has attacked the brush and left traces
of bronze in the bore will be unclear. Avoid this situation by using
only patches with this type of solvent. While many milder solvents
may be left in the bore to soak for long periods, some of the stronger
solvents may actually etch the metal if left in the barrel too long.
Due to the higher ammonia content of these solvents, they are best
suited to removing copper fouling as opposed to powder fouling or
particularly stubborn fouling, it may be necessary to resort to
a mild abrasive, such as JB Bore Compound or Remingtons Rem-Clean.
These compounds, usually in the form of a paste or thick liquid,
contain a mild non-imbedding abrasive that when used carefully will
cut through fouling without damaging the bore.
brushing is a technique in which a bronze bristle brush is run through
the bore without the benefit of any type of liquid bore cleaner.
While this will help keep fouling from building up quite so rapidly,
dry bushing cannot be considered as a replacement for a more thorough
cleaning with liquid solvents.