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  #1  
Old 11-01-2019, 01:55 PM
doubs43
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OR... Don't Clean Your Rifle



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While this is a centerfire section, this is about rimfire rifles.

Some 15 years or so back, I sold a Remington model 37 .22 target rifle to a friend. A few months later he told me that he couldn't get it to shoot. I immediately offered to buy it back for what he'd paid. He said he'd keep it.

Fast forward a few years and one day my friend said "I got that model 37 to shoot". Of course I asked how and his reply was "I stopped cleaning it". It seems that other friends with whom he shot frequently had told him that for best accuracy he had to clean the snot out of it after every trip to the range.

It's been my experience, and that of many other shooters, that rimfire rifles often shoot best after the bore has been seasoned by the bullet lube. Remove the lube and until the bore has been seasoned again, accuracy will suffer.

This is a controversial issue and there are those who say their rifles shoot their best with a clean bore. That has not been my experience with MY rifles and I only clean the bore when accuracy falls off, normally after many hundreds of rounds.

So, centerfire rifles mostly like a perfectly clean bore while rimfire rifles seem to like a well lubed bore. At least that's my experience.
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Old 11-01-2019, 02:14 PM
Balvar24
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I think that people forget that accuracy is as much about repeatability as much as anything. Recreating similar inputs for a like output.

You can only make one shot with a clean bore. Then it's dirty.
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Old 11-01-2019, 02:31 PM
ammohog
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Rimfire Research and Development

For the rest of us, clean is good. I really hate to suggest this with your current mindset, but this PDF is downloadable for future use. Think of it as "Rimfire Cleaning 101". It's all about cleaning, and why you should do so. Be careful, you might learn something. This guy knows his stuff:

http://www.ssvtexel.nl/index.cfm?act...F5CF897974784F

I had a rifle that shot very well, until I deep cleaned it. With the help of a borescope, I realized that removing the crud from the leade area uncovered serious pitting in that area. It never shot well after that because it really did need a new barrel. My advice - sell it while it's shooting good. This story sounds waaay too familiar. Good Luck....... AH

Last edited by ammohog; 11-01-2019 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:04 PM
Balvar24
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At some point, if reason is doesn't prevail, physics and chemistry will.
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Old 11-01-2019, 03:17 PM
ammohog
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At some point, if reason is doesn't prevail, physics and chemistry will.
Are you taking (smoking) "smart" pills?
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Old 11-01-2019, 04:49 PM
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I don't think it's very "controversial". I think most people would agree that a rimfire shoots better when the bore is seasoned with whatever ammo your shooting out of it. All my 22lr rifles have target chambers and I only clean them when accuracy starts to fall off. This usually for me happens between 300 - 1000 rounds depending on the barrel. Leading can also be good for your barrel if there are any inconsistencies. The lead will fill in the bad areas potentially making the gun shoot better.
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Old 11-01-2019, 05:49 PM
doubs43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick7274 View Post
I don't think it's very "controversial". I think most people would agree that a rimfire shoots better when the bore is seasoned with whatever ammo your shooting out of it. All my 22lr rifles have target chambers and I only clean them when accuracy starts to fall off. This usually for me happens between 300 - 1000 rounds depending on the barrel.
While I agree that it shouldn't be controversial, I've seen far too many arguments over it.

I'm not suggesting that a rimfire bore should never be cleaned. I'm saying that once clean, it shoots best with the bore having a coating of the lube from the chosen cartridge. In my experience, most rifles will maintain that accuracy for hundreds of rounds or more just as you point out WRT your own rifles.

Only when accuracy begins to fall off should the bore be scrubbed completely clean again. With experience over time, the shooter begins to develop an idea of just when accuracy may begin to taper off and will clean just before that point.
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Old 11-01-2019, 05:53 PM
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I find a mixed bag to be true of all the above. For rimfires, shooting slower rounds like .22LR, I’ve seen consistently better results in all of my better rifles (Anschutz Sako, CZ, Kimber) when I allow a clean bore become fouled by the same ammo I plan to shoot groups with. I will leave the bore thus fouled for only a limited time though before doing a proper, thorough cleaning. I do not store away an uncleaned bore. That’s asking for pitting. Conversely, I’ve found my higher velocity loads, 17HM2 - center fires, tend to respond better to consistent degrees of bore cleanliness/fouling. A slick clean bore tends to give me a different bullet placement than it’s next two follow up shots from cold bbls. I generally see best consistentcy with the first three rounds following the first fouling shot. Afterwards I might see progressive opening up of groups as the more fouling is put into the bore. At some point, as we all know, that fouling will cause a steep drop in accuracy and require a deep cleaning to get back to the beginning. For my big game hunting rifles, it works well for me to establish my best groups/loads with the first three-five shots following the initial fouling shot after a deep cleaning. Then, I’ll go through a hunting season with a rifle that was cleaned fired once, and from then on, left uncleaned the rest of the season or until I get some shooting in. Then it’s back to the beginning of clean, one fouling shot, ready to go. Of course I verify zero as appropriate along the way.

Last edited by 284wahoo; 11-01-2019 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 11-01-2019, 11:34 PM
ammohog
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In post #3, the link also includes different disciplines of shooting and how often the competitors clean. If you would actually read the link, you will find most of what has been posted is mentioned in that link, for different disciplines. Yes, it is rather .......uh...... long, but it covers a lot of information. (at least it had purdy pictures)
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Old 11-02-2019, 04:09 AM
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I know a man who told me over 20 years ago, about not cleaning. I have posted this many times, and it seems others know better so I give them the info and let them decide what to do with their rifles. This man is a multi time national champion in rimfire. Anyway.... he told me the HE cleans his rifles when he see's the accuracy starting to fade, or when he stores them in the winter. NOw know how many roun ds poer year he shoots tells you why he cleans his before putting them away in the winter., He shoots 10, of thousands of rounds per year. He shoots in a private league,k he practices all the time, p0lus all of the national shoots he goes to.

I used to always clean my bores after every tiume I shot them, but since I have adhered to his cleaning methods, my guns just keep getting more accurate the longer they go without cleaning. Some of mine, its been years, but I do not shoot anywhere near as many as he does. The lube from the bullet and the lead will coat the bore to protect it.

Now, I have poeted this again. Those of you who just do not believe it will ignore it and that is fine. Those of you who do not at least give a try and see how your riflers shoot without cleaning the bore, then you will never know.

Good luck to all no matter which way you decide to go on this.
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:38 AM
ammohog
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Hi Gizzy: I really enjoy shooting NRA, USBR, and most of all groups of five at 50 yards. I have found that with most of my good shooters, the accuracy does fall off after about 75 rounds, or at most about 150 rounds. Therefore, I clean. Having had several used rifles that had not been cleaned regularly or as they should have been, it is absolutely disgusting when using a borescope to inspect the condition of the barrel. The lead buildup, usually in the leade or crown area, isn't protecting anything. The only thing it's protecting you from - is a good score. That is probably why the previous owner sold them (or didn't clean to cover up pits in the leade area). Personally, I don't deep clean unless accuracy has really gone south, not just on a whim. I'm sure we are very close to being on the same page. At least, I hope we are.

Not cleaning: Shirley, you can't be serious.

Last edited by ammohog; 11-02-2019 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:53 AM
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My father never cleaned the bore of his Savage 303 all his life cause he said it shot where he wanted it to. None of his shots were ever over 75 yds. with almost all less than 50 yds.. After he died I cleaned it up for selling and the bore was ruined. The buyer was informed of the condition and didn't even care to look with my bore light...sold. Okey dokey then.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:07 AM
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OK, I'll post in this thread, with a little apprehension, after seeing all of your post counts. I'm new here. I'm also new to rimfire shooting, however.....24 years in the military (with many combat deployments) in my mind tells me that I know a "thing or two" about shooting (I'm still alive to type this!). NOT "competition" shooting (where a trophy is given), but the kind of competition where the winner gets to live another day.

Centerfire rifles have bores, consisting of lands and groves, which do what we all know they do. Rimfire rifles have the same thing, for the same reason. So,.....why would rimfire rifles be different than centerfire? I can tell you (I've seen it MANY times) that centerfire rifles' accuracy goes out the window when the bore is fouled with deposits, to the point that there are no more "lands and grooves". Why would a rimfire rifle GAIN accuracy once the bore becomes so fouled that it's a "smoothbore"?

If someone can explain this "theory" to me by using actual data derived from physics/ballistics, I would love to hear it.

I clean all of my weapons IMMEDIATELY after I use them (as soon as possible in combat), and all my subordinates were trained the same way. I am 64 YO now, and there is no more combat for me, but some habits die hard, as they say. I take personal pride in cleanliness of my weapons, and they serve me well.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:49 AM
Balvar24
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It's easy enough to test for yourself. Try it an see. We'd be glad to hear what happens. I've heard very few instances of cleaning after every shot. I suppose it's been done. Cleaning is good. Not cleaning is fine too, as long as it doesn't roll into neglect.

Last edited by Balvar24; 11-02-2019 at 10:53 AM.
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  #15  
Old 11-02-2019, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdahoMTM View Post
So,.....why would rimfire rifles be different than centerfire?
The 22 LR uses an outside lubricated lead bullet, coated with a wax or oily lubricant. The centerfires you are referring to use an inside lubricated jacketed bullet. Rimfires such as the 17 HMR, Mach2, 5mm Rem and 22WFR also use an inside lubricated jacketed bullet similar to the centerfires and should be treated as such.
The 22 LR has been shown to shoot more accurately with a bore that has been seasoned (or coated) with lube from firing a number of rounds through it. Lube that is in the bore keeps the lube on the bullet longer resulting in more consistency when the bore is fully seasoned.
I have also found that I get my best groups when my barrel has been warmed up a bit rather than shooting it cold.
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