Shooters Choice (Bore cleaning)


      There are so many good gun cleaning products out there, that it is hard to be sure that you're using the "best" one.   Shooters Choice is a product that I recommend (and no, I don't sell it.)   Most new shooters regard bore cleaning as a chore that can be done later, if it even gets done at all.   No one seems to enjoy taking the time to do this job, but experienced shooters know the importance of cleaning their rifle barrels to maintain top accuracy.   One thing is for sure .... everyone seems to have developed their own preferred cleaning procedure.

Shooters Choice       Cleaning the average hunting rifle is quite different from cleaning an expensive benchrest rifle.   I've found that there is no single method that is "the only way to do it".   However, there are some precautions to take and a few techniques that can make the job faster and easier.   First .... if it is possible, it is always best to clean a barrel from the rear, and you should use a use a rod guide to avoid doing more damage than good.

      I have no preference for stainless steel rods over coated rods as long as they are absolutely clean, straight as an arrow and free from nicks or dings.   Avoid using jointed rods unless it is the last resort and you're desperate.   I prefer to use a patch that is wrapped around an undersize bore brush, instead of using a jag.   This gives your patch a tight fit against the lands and grooves.   If you've ever used the wrong size patch on a jag and got your cleaning rod stuck in your barrel, then you'll really like this method because that will never happen to you again.

      After firing no more than 20 rounds, I clean my barrels by running a patch down the barrel with a good supply of Shooters Choice on it.   The material that I use for patches is a strip of paper towel.   At the risk of sounding like a TV commercial, "Bounty" paper towels really is the best brand to use, because they don't get soggy like other brands.   After the bore is wet, I run a bore brush completely through it (about 15 to 20 swipes) while keeping the bore wet.   Notice the tight fit that you have when using a new bore brush.   When bore brushes start to wear out, you will notice that they can be pushed through your barrel with less resistance.   Be sure to discard your bore brushes at that point.

      If you're cleaning a benchrest barrel never pull the brush back from the muzzle.   At all cost, you always need to be careful to protect the crown of your barrel.   Every now and then, I add a few extra steps at the end of the cleaning process.   I wet down the inside of the barrel with Kroil, and I coat a patch with JB Bore Paste.   Then I use it to scrub the barrel paying extra attention to the first few inches ahead of the chamber.   On this step, with the "paper towel on a brush" method, you can run the patch both ways in the bore, but once it exits the muzzle - remove the brush.   Don't pull the brush back after it exits the barrel.   A close examination of a neglected barrel will show that the bore diameter is often "reduced" by a build up of bullet copper and extremely hard fowling just ahead of the throat.   A close examination of a "worn out" barrel shows the first few inches of rifling looking very shallow.

Copper Fowling
Copper Fowling

      These magnified pictures show what your bore looks like before and after a good cleaning.   The area photographed is about 4" ahead of the chamber on an average hunting rifle.   Without a borescope, all you can see is a few copper streaks at the muzzle.   If you prevent this copper fowling from building up, your rifle will keep its peak accuracy for a lot longer.   Always finish up by leaving a very light coat of Kroil in the barrel.

      If you have another method of cleaning .... that's perfectly OK.   Bore cleaning can be performed very well by using several different cleaning products in a variety of ways.   There are volumes of information written on this subject.   If you would like to try my "paper towel" method, I clean .30 cal. barrels useing a .22 cal. brush with a paper towel patch (slightly larger than a dollar bill) wrapped around it.   This method works for me.   I can usually get the job done in less time than it takes most shooters, and my bore scope proves that this method works very well.


      Cleaning pistol barrels is similar to cleaning a rifle barrel except when you are shooting lead bullets.   There are 2 tools that I use to remove leading.   The popular Lewis Lead Remover does a great job.   Another method is to use a worn bore brush that has copper mesh wrapped around it.   You can get the copper mesh in any grocery store.   This stuff is used to scrub pots and pans .... just be sure that it is made of copper.   These two methods work best when a pistol barrel is bone dry.   It really gets the lead out without damaging the bore.   After you get the lead out, you can finish cleaning by using Shooters Choice on a brush.   When the barrel is clean, just swab the it out with kroil, and wipe most of it off with a dry patch.


      Cleaning shotgun barrels after a day of shooting skeet, trap or sporting clays, can take some time.   The toughest part is removing the plastic wad residue and powder from the barrel(s).  The first step is to coat the inside of your barrel(s) with a powder solvent.   I use a special tool that I made from a power screwdriver.   It slowly spins the cleaning rod while you run a wet bore brush down the barrel and back.   I wrap a small "Bounty" paper towel patch around the brush, so that it holds more cleaning fluid.   I prefer to use a solvent called "Wads Out" made by Seminole Gunworks.   Quite often, after 3 or 4 passes, it's just about done.   Wipe it dry and inspect the barrel(s) to see if you need to repeat this process.   When the barrel(s) are clean, just swab the barrel with kroil and wipe most of it off with a dry patch.

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