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Old 11-01-2019, 12:33 PM
doubs43
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Clean Your Rifle - Long



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Three years ago I bought a stainless steel Sabatti Rover Tactical rifle in .223 Remington. It's a heavy sucker at 11 pounds without rings or scope. Other than mount a Weaver T-36 to it, the only other things I did was remove the short Piccatinny rail from the fore end and adjust the trigger to 10 ounces. It's my bench gun.

Initial testing resulted in a load of 23.9 grains of H-322 topped by a 52 grain Nosler Custom Competition bullet seated .015" off the lands. Sub 1/2 inch groups for 5 shots were common.

Over time and many rounds, accuracy began to slowly fall off. I always cleaned with solvent and a bronze bristle brush and the bore seemed clean enough. I don't own a borescope so I could only eyeball the bore.

About six weeks ago I pulled out the JB Bore Cleaner, wrapped a patch around a well-worn brush and coated the patch with the cleaner. The bore had already been cleaned with solvent. Re-coating the patch after 6 or 7 passes, I made a total of 20 strokes in each direction. Numerous wet patches followed to remove all traces of the JB cleaner.

Every other Wednesday, weather permitting, a bunch of we old retired fellows have a .22 centerfire bench rest match. Three five shot groups at 100 yards and three more at 200 yards. Low aggregate wins. My first match after cleaning began well enough with an aggregate at 100 yards of .833" for the three groups. The wind got me at 200 and a couple of errant shots resulted in 4.766" for an aggregate of 5.599" for the six groups and second place. The fellow who won has consistently shot below 5" aggregates and that day was no exception.

Two weeks later we shot again and this time I was much more careful about the wind at 200 yards. My 100 yard aggregate was 1.312" for the three groups and 2.419" at 200 yards for a total six group aggregate of 3.731". It was the first time that any of us has shot below 4 inches.

It would never have happened if I hadn't given the bore a good scrubbing with the JB Bore Cleaner. I'm certain that there was a buildup of fouling that solvents didn't or couldn't completely remove.

Interestingly, the newest American Rifleman magazine has an excellent article about cleaning bores that came out shortly after my own experience. It's worth a read.
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Old 11-01-2019, 05:07 PM
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284wahoo
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Iíve gone down this same road you described but with different results. In my case, I eventually figured out that the bbl throat had erroded enough (not terrible) that my original loads I had worked up and had done so well for me in this rifle, were no longer what was working as well, and I found that when I seated the bullets a out further, back to 20 thou from the lands new location, my groups came back to where I expected. So sometimes cleaning is the fix, sometimes itís something else. Thatís what makes this so challenging and fun.
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Old 11-02-2019, 02:36 AM
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The throat of the barrel is worn, and will continue to wear until it shoots like a shotgun pattern. Now there are two fixes. Either replace the barrel, or have a gunsmith remove the barrel, cut it back enough to get past the eroded area, and re-instll it and cut a new chamber.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizzy View Post
The throat of the barrel is worn, and will continue to wear until it shoots like a shotgun pattern. Now there are two fixes. Either replace the barrel, or have a gunsmith remove the barrel, cut it back enough to get past the eroded area, and re-instll it and cut a new chamber.
Yep. That’s what I was referring to when I said the throat was eroded. Eventually it will certainly require either of the suggested resolutions. My point was to suggest other causes to consider beyond cleaning when accuracy starts dropping. In my case, a simple change to my reload fixed the issue for the time being.

Last edited by 284wahoo; 11-02-2019 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:15 AM
Steve Newman

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To paraphrase an older post with a link to a very in depth article on rifle cleaning: how many 3 position, prone position, F class, National Match, Olympic level, and BR championship winning shooters are cleaning their rifle barrels? ALL of them. Yes, individual barrels may need "X"amount of seasoning shots, (CF relatively few, RF quite a few more, because of bullet lube) but it seems well accepted and proven at the top levels of all accuracy driven disciplines, that clean, but properly seasoned, or fouled, barrels perform their best, accuracy wise, and the astute competitors know their rifle's preference for how much fouling from completely clean they need for consistent accuracy; also how wide their accuracy window is (number of rounds) before complete cleaning is required again.

Last edited by Steve Newman; 11-03-2019 at 02:30 AM.
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