Hello, I am looking for a new gun cleaning kit. Something that encompasses most calibers. My current cleaning rod/kit is starting to give me false positives for copper fouling. I have looked into bore snakes and was wondering if they would do just as good as a regular cleaning kit. Cabela’s has a nice set of bore snakes on sale that I was looking at. I will post the link below. Anyone have any recommendations?
Copper fouling is a different kind of animal than lead, lubricants, burnt powder and soot. There are many kinds of solvents and gizmos expressly for remediating copper fouling—some being fairly harsh on barrels if left in contact for too long.
I don’t have an issue with copper fouling and Outer’s Nitro Solvent with a lot of ptches works for me (you want NO green patches—zilch—zero! That will take a lot of patches. Place the patch on top of a wool mop to get a press fit inside the rifling grooves
Bore snakes OTOH are usefull for quick jobs on firearms that are difficult to clean from the breech, and on warm barrels, but they won’t substitute for a rod, brush and patch, and are less than adequate for plastic wad fouling in shotguns( my opinion) Good for .22 lrs though—will save you a lot of patches. Be careful pulling on any pull through because they can damage the muzzle over time, so keep your bore snakes clean and replace them regularly.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at enough war surplus Mausers clean with issue pull through and you’ll eventually see the cattywompus wear to the crowns.
I find the best cleaning kits are the ones I assemble my self. If you want multiple cailbers consider using a fishing tackle box to contain it all.
One overlooked component for cleaning kits are the patches. True old cut up t-shirts will work well enough (old Oxford cloth dress shirts even better), but good cotton flannel GI surplus/style patches with “tooth” on one side are, I think, the best thing going. Modern synthetic patches simply don’t compare IMHO.
Ok thanks. My issue is I’m getting a false positive copper fouling. I don’t have the issue of copper fouling in my barrel (atleast I don’t think I do). If a patch coated with hoppes 9 synthetic blend briefly touches my cleaning rod it turns a blue color all over the patch. So I was hoping to get away from the traditional 3 piece cleaning rod so I don’t run into this issue again.
I spent quite a bit of time today trying to figure out why no matter how much I cleaned my rifle it would still come out with blue patches. Granted, I am cleaning a “new to me” used rifle. So I cleaned a brand new rifle I bought a few months ago and I still had the same issue of blue patches. I figured since the issues progresses to a rifle I know does not have copper fouling, that it must be my cleaning equipment. My cleaning rod and kit has been used a lot over the few years I’ve had it. So it might be time for a new one.
If your brass brushes are dirty use a nylon brush and dawn dish soap to clean the accumulated oil and solvent off and use them until they wear out. The same happened to me and I was getting frustrated and then the light came on. DUH.
I would get an assortment of one piece rods. I have gotten them in all sizes for all my guns. Its a little pricy if you just try to sit and buy them all at once ( I have calibers from .17 to .50 BMG not counting shotguns) but start with a basic handgun and rifle rod or two and add as needed prioritizing the ones that are giving you a false positive. You can usually go one size bigger than the caliber range without too much problem assuming you are using a carbon fiber rod. I used to use Dewey cleaning rods (and still do as I have not worn one out yet) which are steel with a bore-protecting coating. They work great, but stay within the caliber recommendations so that you dont bend/bow the rods too much and they are no longer straight. Lately, I have really liked the Hoppe’s elite one piece carbon fiber cleaning rods. There is no coating to wear out and have material imbed in and they will stay straight even if pushing a tight patch through a little larger bore than the caliber recommendations. Also, wipe down your rods regularly during cleaning and clean them before putting them up.
Bore snakes are fine for a quick range clean-up but are no substitute for a rod and patch. Also, jags and brushes wear out so replace them on a regular basis.
No such animal unless you are willing to make serious compromises.
Pistols are relatively easy to clean and if you are talking defensive handguns (and not specialty pistols or target guns) copper fouling is a relatively small or issue that will not really affect combat accuracy so you really do not have to be fanatical about it. The main thing with defensive handguns is keeping the inner works clean enough to work reliably so just about any decent solvent/cleaner and proper lubrication will get you there. Use short rods made of soft metals and a decent brush, a few patches and you are home free. Do NOT over clean or over lubricator. Both are bad for carry guns.
Rifles (and that includes Specialty Pistols) on the other hand are precision instruments and require quality one piece rods from reputable makers and specialty solvents to remove copper and carbon fouling from bores. Bore snakes are a quick field expedient solution but a really good detailed cleaning using the right tools and chemicals is essential specially when dealing with precessions rifles.
I have a dedicated area on my bench JUST for gun cleaning and it is overflowing with rods, brushes, jags, rags, felt pellets, all sorts of chemical solvents and lubricants. Probably more stuff than I need but I never have to improvise or feel I lack something I need to get my desired result regardless of which gun I’m working on.
Thank you. I was kind of hoping there’d be a cleaning kit that covered the various caliber pistols and rifles I have. But that seems to not be the case. I made this post primarily about a “new to me” used hunting rifle I just purchased. Remington model 700 BDL in 30-06. Probably from the 70s or 80s. I’ve never had patches come out blue before this rifle so I was trying to figure out what my issue is. Posting here was one of my various attempts to get an answer.
I did stop today into my local gun shop and found a nice one piece, coated cleaning rod. I ran some wet patches through my rifle and still had blue patches. It eventually got less and less as I cleaned, however, it never fully got rid of the blue color I’d get. As a last ditch effort, before contacting my gun shop about the rifle to see what they’d suggest, I sprayed some CLP in the barrel and let it soak for about 10-15 minutes and then cleaned it. By the time I was done this time around there was very little dirt or blue color coming out of the barrel. Once dried I ran a patch with a little bit of hoppes gun oil through the gun and put it away. (No dirt or anything coming out with the oil on that patch either, thankfully). So after now cleaning it 4 separate times I’m gonna say it’s good to go. I’ll just have to take it to the range and see how it shoots. If I can find some ammunition now. Lol.
And that can be part of the “problem.” Copper can be stubborn to get out, and if you purchase a used rifle, there is a chance that the prior owner never bothered to really get the copper out. I purchased a used .243 a couple years back that took me two evenings of cleaning to get all the copper out of.
What did you use and what was the process to get all the copper out?
What was weird though was I cleaned a brand new rifle that I’ve maybe put around 70 rounds through and the first patch I put through it came out blue. It never has before so why would it now all of a sudden? So I figured it had to be my cleaning rod, jag, and etc.
I have a habit of “rescuing” older hunting rifles, most of them victims of owner neglect. The last two I recently got are 1950s vintage examples of this. A commercial Fabrique National (FN) Mauser in .270 and one of my bucket list guns, a pre-64 Winchester Model 88 chambered in .308. The last one was not truly neglected it’s in fine condition but as most guns of that era the bore was, well, “grungy”.
In any case, almost without fail, the first few patches I run through the bore of the older rifles soaked in Sweets (very aggressive copper solvent) will invariably send a wave of deep blue foam out of the muzzle. In the old days making sure all the copper fouling was cleaned out of the bore was not a big priority of most hunters (in some cases even basic cleaning was not either) so these rifle’s bores have DECADES of layers of carbon/copper/carbon/copper, etc. in them. Then again most of those guys only had Hoppes No.9, the old standard for gun solvents, to work with and quite frankly the stuff, while not a bad carbon fouling cleaner, it’s really not very good on copper.
Not sure of the science of why the fouling goes in layers but I have been told this by several high level competitive Bench Rest folks that I trust, and my personal experience seems to bear it. So that’s why you sometimes think you are done with the copper, then run a few patches of a carbon solvent and voila you get blue patches again.
This makes it almost impossible to get decades of fouling out of these bores in one day. Most times it takes a few days for the worst of the stuff to soften up (especially carbon which hardens and clings to the steel with tenacity) and leech out of the small fissures most barrels have in them. I clean for copper, then carbon, then leave the barrels wet with normal carbon type solvents overnight, then clean them out for carbon again and then attack the copper again until BOTH cycles produce clean patches. The good news is that if you are patient and do it diligently you most likely will be rewarded with a gun that shoots groups their original owners never dreamed of.
So back to the two rifles I just bought:
This is a cold bore two shot group with commercial Remington ammo out of my FN .270. This was after a week of cleaning sessions.
This is a cold bore 2 shot group out of the Model 88, a Gun that is not usually thought of as an accurate gun because it’s a lever action. The ammo is Walmarts Federal Blue box and again this was after a week of cleaning the bore.
I can guarantee you the original owners of these guns never thought you could get accuracy like this out of those guns. In the 60s the standard for a hunting gun was a 2 MOA groups and folks would get outright giddy if the had a close to or true 1 MOA gun. Today I get cranky if I can’t get those same guns to give me .5 MOA with at least a few types of quality commercial ammo.
One last thing. For hunting guns I only run two shot groups out of a cold bore, kind of bucking many of the “experts”. My reasoning is that I’ve never had the time (or needed) to shoot three fast consecutive shots at game. So as far as I’m concerned, who cares what the third shot out of a now hot barrel does.
Now with my precision rifles, I will shoot 5-10 shot groups to make sure the POI does not change with a hot barrel.
Hope this long diatribe helps you.
Ps. Remington 700 rifles in particular benefit hugely from bedding the lug and first inch of the barrel by the receiver. Whatever it will shoot for you I can almost guarantee you that the groups will shrink significantly if you do this and make sure the barrel is free floated.
Thank you for explaining things better for me. I never took into account the age of the rifle and how far along cleaners have come since then. Do you have any recommendations on copper and carbon cleaners and a good process for cleaning? So far I have just been using hoppes 9 synthetic blend and hoppes gun oil.
One other question. How long do you normally let bore cleaner sit in the barrel? I just realized I am probably not letting it sit long enough at all. I normally run a wet patch through. 60 or so seconds more later I run dry patches through until clean. Am I doing this wrong or is there a better way?