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Thread: Sectional cleaning rods and barrell break in humbug!

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    Resident Wildman Wildthang's Avatar
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    Default Sectional cleaning rods and barrell break in humbug!

    I belong to shooters forum that have a lot of experienced long range shooters, and they are knowleagable, but I think some of them go to the extrememe regarding gun care. Some of them say that the 3 piece cleaning rods ruin the chamber and crown of a rifle, and that the 3 piece cleaning rods should be outlawed because they are so damaging to a rifle. Okay, I agree that a 1 piece cleaning rod would probably be better, but how in the heck can a brass 3 piece cleaning rod damamge hardened metal? I guess they have just made me paranoid and I was wondering what you guys do. All of those guys say a boresnake is the way to go, but have you felt of the gritty crystals in the middle of a boresnake? They feel like the material on a course grinding disc. If that was drug over part of the chamber bore, I would think that would do way more damage than a brass cleaning rod. I have been using brass cleaning rods my entire life and if I have ever damaged a rifle with it, I was not aware of it.
    So on to barrel break in. I have a new Savage 12F low profile varmint rifle, and will be taking it to the range soon, weather permitting. The guys on the other forum say to shoot 1 time, cool down, and clean for around 10 shots, then every five shots up to around 30 shots. I suppose this could help smooth the bore and help copper build up later in the life of the rifle, and I will probably go that route just to make sure. So how many of you guys break in the barrel of a new rifle? In the past, I have taken new guns to the range and just started burning lead getting them sighted in, and really didn't think about cool down, and barrel break in. None of my guns have ever shot flyers, and they all seem to last as long as anybody elses.
    So what are your thoughts?


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    Senior Member TresMon's Avatar
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    I'm a member of likely the same long range forum.

    I do believe in breaking in a barrel correctly. Shoot 1 shot and clean. Do this 3x.
    Shoot 3 and then clean. Do this 3x. This is prolly sufficient for your (great Savage) factory barrel.

    The big fuss with a three piece cleaning rod is STEEL rods. The sections typically do not line up perfect with the next leaving a literal cutting edge, that literally nicks, gouges and cuts the bore.

    The second big fuss is with segmented cleaning rods is Aluminum rods. The rods oxidize. What is Alunimum oxide? Well, ever read what is printed on the back of most general purpose sand paper out there?

    Your likely okay with brass. But use a bore guide, and don't let the rod drop down and rub the edge of the muzzle. It will wear it, yes SLOWLY and egg shape your muzzle depleting accuracy.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    What they say may have be valid on one end of the the big picture.....the other end being someone buying the rifle on Friday nite, box of shells and head out hunting on Saturday morning at 4:30 A.M.

    Keep in mind that there are a lot of shooters, that shoot, shoot shoot....for the sake of shooting....and shooting 10X targets.
    Their advice is most likely valid.

    I'm a hunter that shoots as a means to harvest game first, shooter for the sake of shooting second.

    I'm a min. of paper plate shooter, from any position thru brush, rain fog, rocking boat from 10 ft to 200+ yds, and if lucky, have a tree or stump for a rest, if there is time.

    I use a brass rod, mindful of a possible rub on the end of the bore and rifling, and as long as I have cleaned thewater mud, powder fouling, leading and other residue out to a clean patch, light misting of oil........Good enough for me.

    I guessing that hauling it in/out of the case, vehicles, boats...loading and unloading endlessly, (seems like it sometimes)......crossing wire fences, thru brush/brambles, dropping it god knows where, sliding around in the bottom of the canoe/boat, dropping in the river/lake....seems more likely to cause damage than a brass or aluminum. cleaning rod.

    But that is just me.
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    Resident Wildman Wildthang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TresMon View Post
    I'm a member of likely the same long range forum.

    I do believe in breaking in a barrel correctly. Shoot 1 shot and clean. Do this 3x.
    Shoot 3 and then clean. Do this 3x. This is prolly sufficient for your (great Savage) factory barrel.

    The big fuss with a three piece cleaning rod is STEEL rods. The sections typically do not line up perfect with the next leaving a literal cutting edge, that literally nicks, gouges and cuts the bore.

    The second big fuss is with segmented cleaning rods is Aluminum rods. The rods oxidize. What is Alunimum oxide? Well, ever read what is printed on the back of most general purpose sand paper out there?

    Your likely okay with brass. But use a bore guide, and don't let the rod drop down and rub the edge of the muzzle. It will wear it, yes SLOWLY and egg shape your muzzle depleting accuracy.
    Thanks TM, nobody clarified that the steel cleaning rods were the culprits, but it makes sense. When I use the brass rods, I try to keep it centered and not let it drag the crown, so as to egg it out. After buying my first bore snake, I think I like the brass rods better than the bore snake. That crystal abrasive stuff on the snake worrys me! I think you could scratch glass with that stuff!
    Anyway, thanks for the help buddy!

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I have weapons that were made in the '30's and up. They still shoot fine with none of that stuff worried about. I do clean after each shooting but I don't like to put any tool away dirty.

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    Senior Member TresMon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    I guessing that hauling it in/out of the case, vehicles, boats...loading and unloading endlessly, (seems like it sometimes)......crossing wire fences, thru brush/brambles, dropping it god knows where, sliding around in the bottom of the canoe/boat, dropping in the river/lake....seems more likely to cause damage than a brass or aluminum. cleaning rod.

    But that is just me.
    I feel the opposite 'pard. You can do all that stuff to the point that the stock looks like it was chewed on by a monster Rottweiler dog, scratch all the bluing off, let the external metal get rusty and pitted- but so long and you kept her bore nurtured she'll shoot as consistent as she ever did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    I have weapons that were made in the '30's and up. They still shoot fine with none of that stuff worried about. I do clear after each shooting but I don't like to put any tool away dirty.
    "They shoot fine" is an incredibly relative term... but i get what you mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wildthang View Post
    After buying my first bore snake, I think I like the brass rods better than the bore snake. That crystal abrasive stuff on the snake worrys me! I think you could scratch glass with that stuff!
    Anyway, thanks for the help buddy!
    Bore Snakes are marketed as a bore cleaning tool- with the insinuation it properly cleans the bore of fouling, lead & copper. In this capacity it is A USELESS JOKE*. However let me go on record as to saying I don't go on field ops without one. When you have one, maybe two shots to get the job done- you need to make sure that no litter, dirt or other field crud has snuck into your barrel before taking that first precious shot. A bore snake is pefect for that.

    * per my own finding with a $1000 bore scope.
    Last edited by TresMon; 01-09-2012 at 07:57 PM.
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    NOTE: I'm a machinist, gunsmith, writer, and instructor of many outdoor topics looking for gainful employment in any geographical cool place to live. Resumes posted on website.

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    No disrespect here intended tresmon but, I'm going to have to side with hunter63 and Rick on this one...

    I've never had time to run a bore snake down the barrel while in the field and before taking a shot at game. (I'm assuming that's what you mean by "field ops.") I've also never owned a bore snake so even if I'd had the time, I couldn't have done it. I just put a bit of electrical tape over the bore when I go out and I've never had anything undesireable find its way into the bore, no matter how bad the weather or circumstances.

    This last season I shot an antelope doe at a bit over 100 yards with a rather old (built , I think, in the early 50's) Winchester model 64 in .32 Win Spcl using its original iron sites. The old girl dropped like a stone.

    My 40+ year old Winchester M70 in .264 Win Mag that I inherited from my Grandfather and that still wears its factory original barrel still shoots sub-MOA 3-shot groups and I can guarantee you my Granddad didn't ever even think to do a "barrel break in" program.

    Those two examples, too me, represent the very definition of Rick's notion of "shooting just fine."

    I clean my rifles regularly but not obsessively. At home I use a 1 peice rod and with my bolt action guns I use a bore guide . In the field I don't usually do any cleaning but, on the rare occasion when it's been necessary, I've used multi-piece rods with no ill effects.

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    Weatherby also recommends the "two box" method of bbl break in that Tres described. I followed the recommendation on my Weatherby and it shoots as well as its guarenteed to. Now just to say we covered this base... Why not clean your rifle from the breech and not chance dinging the muzzle with a rod?

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    Senior Member TresMon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoryD View Post
    Weatherby also recommends the "two box" method of bbl break in that Tres described. I followed the recommendation on my Weatherby and it shoots as well as its guarenteed to. Now just to say we covered this base... Why not clean your rifle from the breech and not chance dinging the muzzle with a rod?
    Your right bud, but sometimes you just can't. Examples: M-14, Ruger 10-22, Winchester Lever action....
    ---------------------------------------------
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    Tres
    Website has been updated for 2012!! http://wildernessmeans.com/

    NOTE: I'm a machinist, gunsmith, writer, and instructor of many outdoor topics looking for gainful employment in any geographical cool place to live. Resumes posted on website.

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    hehe Well, yeah hard to clean a lever or semi when the bolts encased in the receiver, but in a bolt action, a cleaning from the breech might be better. (A Savage 12F is a bolt, right? I havent been keeping up on my rifle models too much lately) Of course, a field situation may call for a different approach, too

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I wasn't inferring that break in is wrong. Just stating that there are a lot of old, very good weapons out there that the only break-in they received was the first combat action they saw.

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    Senior Member natertot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    I wasn't inferring that break in is wrong. Just stating that there are a lot of old, very good weapons out there that the only break-in they received was the first combat action they saw.
    Very true Rick.

    My break in is simple. I clean the gun first. I shoot a box of ammo through it. I clean it again followed by an inspection of bolt face, firing pin, feed ramp, and internals. After that, I just simply enjoy shooting. I have never had any problems with this method. I really don't understand shooting one bullet, clean, one bullet, clean, etc.

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    Senior Member TresMon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by natertot View Post
    I really don't understand shooting one bullet, clean, one bullet, clean, etc.
    It's fire lapping the bore. It's similar to burnishing the wood on the back of a bow. To "see" the work of breaking in a bore you need a borescope:
    factory Remington barrel compared to match grade barrel:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf9zZqn00CA

    A vid showing what a bore scope looks like:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2n7B...eature=related
    Last edited by TresMon; 01-10-2012 at 11:33 AM.
    ---------------------------------------------
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    Tres
    Website has been updated for 2012!! http://wildernessmeans.com/

    NOTE: I'm a machinist, gunsmith, writer, and instructor of many outdoor topics looking for gainful employment in any geographical cool place to live. Resumes posted on website.

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    Jesus answered, 的 am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

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    Senior Member natertot's Avatar
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    TM, those are some great videos. I like the second vid showing the different kind of views of wear/damage through the eye of a borescope. However, the first vid compared a factory barrel to a match barrel. I definately see the difference and understand why the match barrel would be more accurate. However, if factory barrels come with tool marks and rounded edges already, I don't see how shooting one bullet, clean, one bullet, clean, etc. is going to affect the accuracy compared to the barrel imperfections already in place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TresMon View Post
    It's fire lapping the bore. It's similar to burnishing the wood on the back of a bow. To "see" the work of breaking in a bore you need a borescope:
    factory Remington barrel compared to match grade barrel:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf9zZqn00CA
    Help me out here TresMon, 'cause I'm not sure I'm following the logic.

    The video you posted (as you also noted in your post) is a comparison of a factory Remington 700 barrel vs. a Match Grade Lilja barrel. It's an interesting comparison to make, especially if you are trying to convince someone that has the money that the Lilja is worth the extra investment. However, are the differences between the two barrels simply fire-lapping? I don't think so.

    The video does not show any evidence that would suggest that a bore break-in, no matter how meticulously done, will improve the quality and/or accuracy of the factory barrel. Now, doing so might actually accomplish that very purpose, but it cannot be inferred from the video. The video's message is nothing more than, "buy a Lilja barrel, because their better."

    Could you maybe show a video showing a before and after of a factory barrel that went through a bore-break-in program and what improvements were seen as a result?

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    Senior Member natertot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucznik View Post
    The video does not show any evidence that would suggest that a bore break-in, no matter how meticulously done, will improve the quality and/or accuracy of the factory barrel. Now, doing so might actually accomplish that very purpose, but it cannot be inferred from the video. The video's message is nothing more than, "buy a Lilja barrel, because their better."
    Thanks Lucznik, that is kinda what I was trying to say!

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    I recently purchased a H&R/NEF Handi rifle, is .204 Ruger (I didn't have that caliber), with the idea that I was going to add some other barrels thru their Barrel Accessory program.
    Several calibers that have not been available for a few years, but are now, so I decided to go for just it.

    Haven't fired it yet as the action has been sent in for the added barrels I ordered.....but the .204 Ruger is supposed to be a hot, flat, varmint type load with small weight bullet, starting at about .32 gr and reaching speeds to over 4000 fps.

    I might just consider following the fire lapping protocol, for no other reason that it can't hurt as it will be fired to sight in anyway.......what to compare it to I don't know.

    Now that being said, and doing some research on this the .204 Ruger, was that past barrels were manufactured with one barrel twist, and the replacements were being engineered to change the twist for better accuracy??????

    Don't have the full story, just a lot of interweb conjecture, discussion and opinions ( you know what they say about opinions....)so we will see.

    H&R's don't come with a match grade barrel, nor is one available, so will be interesting to see what results can be reached.
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    Senior Member TresMon's Avatar
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    Hunter, If you REALLY want to go all out and milk all the accuracy you can out of it I can send you some links on a few items you can pick up to polish the bore on your rifle a good bit. It just depends on how far you wanna take it. I'd be happy to help you.

    Rifling changes are due to bullet changes. Longer bullets require a tighter twist. You see muzzle velocity figures sell cartridges and rifles to the market, which is driven by your average ordinary shooter, much like 0-60 times sell cars to your average ordinary sport's car buff.

    Thusly the factory sells you a rifle chambering with the minimum twist. Why? It's win win for them. With a mild twist your forced to shoot a light bullet. A light bullet = big velocity numbers. And the tighter the twist the more velocity is lost to rotational spin. Mild twist = big velocity numbers. So you got double big velocity numbers which sell "the hot new cartridge."

    Then enough folks shoot them in the field that the factory gets feed back of "awesome velocity numbers, but it's like shooting spitwads." So they get sensible and change the riflings of the factory chambering to more of a middle of the road bullet for the particular cartridge. They loose a little velocity, choose a heavier bullet and pick up great gains in field usability.

    So- all this to say don't sweat them changing riflings in the .204. It's for the good, making for a better more serviceable round.

    Rifling change is never really to make a rifle "more accurate." Yes sir I know thats what they say. It's a tidy little lazy sentence to write, when the actual explanation would take paragraphs. Rifling change is to free up velocity with a slower twist and lighter bullet, or to stabilize a heavier, slower bullet. It's better to err on the side of tight twist as you can shoot a light OR heavy bullet = options.

    Have fun with the new Iron and let us know how it does!
    Last edited by TresMon; 01-10-2012 at 03:36 PM.
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    Tres
    Website has been updated for 2012!! http://wildernessmeans.com/

    NOTE: I'm a machinist, gunsmith, writer, and instructor of many outdoor topics looking for gainful employment in any geographical cool place to live. Resumes posted on website.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Thanks will keep that in mind....as the .204 is one of 4 barrels I will be dealing with, and the .35 whelen being the barrel I was going for, in the first place, might be a while.

    Yeah, I know a real round-about way of getting to an objective, namely, a .35 whelen for Handi rifle platform, and having already added 9 barrels to the original Handi, the .204 complete rifle @ $229 seemed a no brain-er, and a good choice for something to play with.

    So, anyone make a trigger group for a Handi?

    As the OP deals with fire lapping and other issues, rather than my new project, I digress......
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    Senior Member Winter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TresMon View Post
    Rifling change is never really to make a rifle "more accurate." Yes sir I know thats what they say. It's a tidy little lazy sentence to write, when the actual explanation would take paragraphs. Rifling change is to free up velocity with a slower twist and lighter bullet, or to stabilize a heavier, slower bullet. It's better to err on the side of tight twist as you can shoot a light OR heavy bullet = options.
    My old Deawoo DR-200 would not stabilize a 62gr 5.56. At 25 yards it laid the bullets flat against paper. I about cried because it was useless with the heavier load.

    The rifle was , of course, designed to shoot the M193.


    Thanks for the info.
    Last edited by Winter; 01-10-2012 at 10:46 PM.
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