Barrel Cleaning by Graham Freeman

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Barrel Cleaning by Graham Freeman

Postby pmh » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:39 am

First appearing in Airgun World 2013, this is an extract from an article by Graham Freeman.

BORE’N’ AGAIN AIRGUN!

Bench rest champion, Graham Freeman, on barrel cleaning.

To clean, or not to clean ... that is the question. Some people say don’t clean the airgun barrel, let it lead Up; others say keep it clean, it shoots better - so what do you do for the best? Well, I hope I can put your mind at rest. There is no right or wrong way, it’s just a matter of knowing when to clean the barrel, and this is different for each airgun.

When you shoot a pellet down the barrel, the blast of air forces the skirt of the pellet into the gun’s rifling. The pellet runs down the rifling and out of the gun, and every time, it leaves behind it a small deposit of lead. Over time, the lead starts to fill up the rifling and the smooth, leaded barrel then starts to form peaks and lumps. This becomes evident when you shoot at a target in five-pellet groups.

Four pellets take out the bull’s-eye, and one drops. Sometimes, people put this down to a bad pellet, but trust me, it is not; it is due to particles in the rifling. This is when the barrel should be cleaned, and it should be cleaned correctly.

THE CORRECT WAY TO CLEAN

Some people say that all you need to do is to brush the barrel out with a wire-brush cleaning kit, and that’s fine if you’re shooting garage doors, but if you’re a target shooter, this is a definite no-no.

Many shooters use felt cleaning pellets to clean their barrels and this is fine if your barrel is smooth and not badly leaded, and may work to some degree, but if there are irregularities in the rifling, this method of cleaning isn’t good enough and it would take a lifetime to clean away the lead build-up.

Then there are the “solvent people”, and each to their own, but personally, I wouldn’t recommend pouring solvent down your barrel. Yes, this will dissolve the lead, but if you’re not careful with how you use it, it can also dissolve the seals inside your airgun.

To clean your barrel properly you will require a few things:

Solvent, Gun oil, Pull-through, Pull-through string, Some time.

METHOD:

1) Take a small quantity of solvent and place it on the pull-through string - just a little, it must be damp, not wet. You don’t want to get solvent into your transfer port, or damage air seals.

2) Feed the pull-through line down the barrel from the trigger end and slowly pull the solvent through the barrel. This will remove lead from the rifling. This process will have to be repeated up to ten times depending on the amount of lead build-up. A clean pull-through string each time tells you if it’s clean.

3) Once the lead has been cleaned out, the next step is to oil the barrel. Take a small quantity of the gun oil and place it on the pull-through string and draw it through the barrel, as previously described. Just one pass through will be enough, and again, the string must be damp, not wet with solvent.

4) The final step is to pull five clean strings through your gun barrel, but only use the string once. It might take 20- 30 shots to settle down, but it will make a lot of difference to
the accuracy of your gun.
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Re: Barrel Cleaning by Graham Freeman

Postby zooma » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:40 am

What type of "solvent" do you use to dissolve the lead ?

What type of gun oil does the author use to lube the barrel?

Are there any pictures to show the type of "string" used or can you advise what it is and where to get it from?
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Re: Barrel Cleaning by Graham Freeman

Postby pmh » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:08 pm

Alas, there were no details of solvents used, or accompanying pictures that would help.

I suppose the solvents and oils are the ones generally available from Airgun suppliers, but names were left out for advertising purposes.

I suppose this now opens the thread up to suggestions and recommendations.

Kind regards,



Phil
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Re: Barrel Cleaning by Graham Freeman

Postby zooma » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:09 pm

pmh wrote:Alas, there were no details of solvents used, or accompanying pictures that would help.

I suppose the solvents and oils are the ones generally available from Airgun suppliers, but names were left out for advertising purposes.

I suppose this now opens the thread up to suggestions and recommendations.

Kind regards,



Phil


Lets hope so - I still want to know what solvent to use :(
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Re: Barrel Cleaning by Graham Freeman

Postby pmh » Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:11 pm

I have an aerosol solvent called "Solv-it Gun Cleaner", which was recommended to me for shot guns.

I have recently read that care has to be taken with solvents, as these can damage seals over time if they escape from the barrel and contact other places.

I also have "Youngs 303", which I to use to clean my full bore pistols.

I am sure both would be fine if used sparingly and all excesses cleaned away.

Kind regards,



Phil
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Re: Barrel Cleaning by Graham Freeman

Postby zooma » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:48 am

Maybe there is no need for any kind of cleaning solvent in an air pistol ?

Nothing is ever discharged or burnt in the barrel like it would be with a firearm or shotgun.

Cleaning felt pellets may well be enough - although I do know that the chrome plated barrels on a Steyr need to be cleaned a little more often than any others types and this does help to keep the groups tight - strange but true - but a felt pellet now and again ( maybe after every evening of shooting) is still all that is required.

Lots of good shooting target air pistols have never seen a felt pellet or had their bores cleaned in any other way either so I do think this is an area where great debate could ensue.
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Re: Barrel Cleaning by Graham Freeman

Postby pmh » Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:37 pm

I'm inclined to agree.

My regime is usually:-

1 dry felt
1 lightly oiled felt
2 dry felts

and that's probably about once a year.

I probably then put 1 dry felt a month through, if I remember.

I'd also like to point out that it is not wise to use solitary felts in springers, as they do not contain enough mass to stop the piston hitting the end of the chamber. Either put one in front of a pellet or use at least 3.

Kind regards,



Phil
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Re: Barrel Cleaning by Graham Freeman

Postby zooma » Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:03 pm

I think I may try your cleaning regime on a couple of my pistols and see how it goes.

You offer some good advice about the use of felts in springers ( unless they are well down on power) and this is something that I doubt many have considered.

We always stock plenty of .177 and .22 felts as they always go and need replacing sooner than expected.
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Re: Barrel Cleaning by Graham Freeman

Postby I.J. » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:53 am

Personally, I only clean the barrels of my Steyr pistols as I find this improves accuracy. Or is it just in the mind? :think: Whatever. I feel they benefit from a light cleaning after every couple of hundred shots. By light I mean a VFG cleaning felt on a rod done very carefully near the muzzle. The first felt is soaked in Balistol and the following half dozen felts, until they come out clean, dry. I rarely use anything abrasive and then its only VFG felts with the bronzy bits soaked in light oil.
I find this cleaning regime only works on my Steyrs and is not needed on any of my other pistols. (Benelli Kite, Ham P20 FWB65/80 etc.). I think its summat to do with the chrome bores on a Steyr - but then again I have been known to be wrong. :snooty:

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Re: Barrel Cleaning by Graham Freeman

Postby RobinC » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:49 am

I would definately not use solvents at all in an air gun, firearms are different there there can be burnt powder residue and carbon particles, but even then we only clean .22rf rifles with a couple of dry felts pushed through after every shoot whilst the barrel is still warm, this is the recomendtion of Walther and our rifles have had no more in their three year life and they shoot consistent 100's. Centre fire is a different thing all to gether and I clean after every shoot with two solvents, a carbon remover, and a copper fouling remover and scrub vigoursly with a phospher bronze brush, but the bullet is a copper jacket 105 gn doing 2850 fps.
An air gun is a totaly different scenario and bares no similarities with a cartridge gun, it is a soft lead pellet weighing 7 or 8.3 gns and is exiting at 500 ish fps. The tightness of the barrels and the projectile fit is loose for an airgun compared to a firearm. Any one heard of an air gun being shot out? No and you won't! A match quality .22rf will last 50K rounds, a 6mm BR barrel lasts 2,500!!! An occasional felt is all that is necessary in an air gun.
Last September at MEC in Dortmund during a rest in a coaching session they tested my wife's air rifle. Its a typical womans rifle so had not been cleaned since? Well, she could not remember! (nice unused pack of felts in her shooting bag!) Various fun mocking of how they would test it, clean it, and then show how much it had improved took place.
Mec has the best test set up imaginable, they shoot from a rest and aim using electronics, the results are measured to a 100th of a mm (thats 1/2 a thouth in old money). There was much interest from the watchers as her rifle, a Walther LG400 special shot over 10 shots at 10 mts, using her RWS 8.3 gns 4.49 pellets straight from a tin it failed to shoot a group, it shot just one hole! Measured electronicaly to 0.01 mm as one hole with no group!!!! The comment, "hell this thing shoots, do you want to sell it?" It was cleaned with 10 dry felts and repeated the result!
Moral? If its a good barrel and you use good pellets, cleaning in an air gun makes very little difference.
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