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Posted: 1/22/2006 9:18:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/22/2006 10:10:57 AM EDT by swenis]
Hi everyone! I'm pleased to say that within a week or so I will have my very first AR, a Bushy A3 M4. Now that I've said that, I want to make sure I do everything right from the start with my new baby. :) Besides CLPing everything else, I have a question about how to clean the bore perfectly, procedure-wise. I've cleaned other rifles, but I want to make sure I do this one right. So after every range trip, what do I do?

I've heard Butch's Bore Shine is great for copper and not as aggressive as Sweet's, which I like. How about for carbon? Non-chlorinated brake cleaner or something else?

So, what do I run down the barrel first? A patch soaked in carbon cutter, M-Pro7, or CLP? After the barrel has soaked in solvent for a bit, I'm aware that I should use a bronze brush (when not using ammonia) from the breach end. How many passes without overdoing it? 3? 5? After brushing, I assume I should run another patch with solvent down the barrel again to get out the residue? I take it I repeat this process a few times until clean.

After that, do I use a copper solvent then flush with isopropyl alcohol to neutralize the NH3 followed by lube? If anyone has stepwise instructions, I would be much less worried. :) I'm trying to put together a good shopping list of cleaning supplies, and I'm relying on this great forum!

Thank you all very much!
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 1:50:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/22/2006 1:50:47 PM EDT by GunDraw]
Let me tell you what I do.

First, I don't clean my guns the same way every time.

For a "general" cleaning. I want to get the powder residue, carbon, lead etc out. Decoppering is a concern, but IMO, not worth doing every time.

Few tips.
A.) I STRONGLY suggest getting a bore guide, jag and a good rod. (I use a sinclair guide, tipton jag and a dewey coated rod). Trust me, you will probably end up with more AR's and why not protect them right? As for the Jags, you can get almost a complete set of Tipton brass jags from Midwayusa for like $13... Do it.

B.) When you push a patch through the bore, do it from the breech side (with the bore guide) and take the patch out at the muzzle when it pokes through. I've heard a couple people advise against this, and I'd like to hear their rationale.

C.)Avoid hitting the crown (Very tip of the muzzle end). This is where cleaning incorrectly hurts accuracy the most. Use a good coated rod and be a little careful and you won't have much to worry about.


For a procedure.

As a GENERAL cleaning:

Patch the bore with Solvent, I use Hoppe's #9.
Let sit for a few seconds as it works.
Run dry patch.
Repeat until dry patches look pretty clean.
Run patch of CLP through bore
Run dry patch through bore.
Clean chamber and rest of gun with Hoppe's #9, then lube with CLP.

For a thorough cleaning - Which is when I feel the round count is getting high, or I see lots of fouling, or accuracy degredation.

Patch bore with Hoppe's #9 and dry patches until they look clean as I do above.
Run a brush through the bore back and forth, maybe 3 or 4 times??
Do the Hoppe's #9, and dry patches again till they come out clean.
Then, I put Sweet's 7.62** on a patch. Run it through.
Usually just wait a few seconds
Follow up with a dry patch, then a patch soaked of rubbing alcohol.
Run a final dry patch and see how it looks - if get lots of junk out, repeat the procedure with Sweet's.
When you are done with the Sweet's. Run another patch soaked with rubbing alcohol JUST to be sure.
Now, I will usually do another run with Hoppe #9 just to ensure the Sweet's is gone.
THen a dry patch.
Clp patch.
Another dry patch.
Clean and lube the rest of the gun as you normally would.

** Remember, Ammonia will attack the chrome lining in an AR if left on for a longer period of time. As you said, running rubbing alcohol will neutralize it. Just be sure you remember to do that.

As for Solvents'. There are TONS out there. I like Hoppe's #9 cause it tried and true. I have been thinking about buying some brake cleaner for something a little more agressive AND to let me "blast" junk out that I can't reach with a rag or brush very well (the chamber and locking lugs are good examples). I like Sweet's because I don't decopper often, and when I do, I want to be sure I'm getting EVERYTHING out. For CLP I use FP-10. Although I find it virtually worthless as a cleaner, I use it solely as a lubricant, and I've been fairly pleased with it at that. However, as with any lube, getting too much collects dirt and works against you.

I know your predicament. I'm an anal retentive about this kind of stuff. But keep in mind, a gun is made out of steel. Just be a little careful, get a good quality coated rod, brass jag, and a bore guide and you are gonna have to work at screwing stuff up. I even had a first hand account of a guy who used to be an armorer at a PD I believe. He got called away in the middle of a cleaning job and left Sweets in a chrome lined bore for a I think over a few hours. The bore ended up being just fine... So I think sometimes the ammonia/chrome lining thing get's blown out of proportion. But I'm careful all the same.

Welcome to the sight and the black rifle addiction... You are in for some fun!
Gundraw

Link Posted: 1/22/2006 6:06:26 PM EDT
Thanks a lot for the reply. I didn't see the Sinclair guide on Midway. Where did you order yours? Are there any other reputable bore guide companies? Keep the responses coming, everyone. I'm OCD about expensive stuff. :)
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 11:22:15 PM EDT
I use a tac jag. First I run a patch through the barrel soaked in Hoppe's #9, let it sit for a bit, then I run a .223 brush down the bore a few times. Next I run a dry, clean patch through the bore a few times and repeat with another dry patch. I generally don't clean until nothing shows on the patch because if I did, I would never finish. The method I use gets it plenty clean for my tastes. Everyone cleans their guns differently, but this is how I clean mine.
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 12:07:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2006 12:27:02 AM EDT by FishKepr]

Originally Posted By swenis:
Thanks a lot for the reply. I didn't see the Sinclair guide on Midway. Where did you order yours? Are there any other reputable bore guide companies? Keep the responses coming, everyone. I'm OCD about expensive stuff. :)



Midway sells, or at least sold, their own brand of rod guides. I don't know who actually makes them though. Sinclair guides are available direct from Sinclair. I've used both.

If you get a Dewey avoid the female threaded 'Service Rod.' The coating does not last nearly as long IMO. Get the 36" male threaded one instead. Female threaded accessories are available from Brownells. I like Parker-Hale style jags because they provide very good bore coverage, but they're also kind of a PITA to use. Some people don't like them.

ETA: The 36" length is just right for a 20" rifle when using a guide, so you may want to take that under consideration.
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 1:28:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/24/2006 1:37:40 AM EDT by another_shooter]
Recently, an article appeared in Precision Shooting by Irv Benzion (Prec. Shooting, Jan 2006;8-16) which used a Borescope to examine various copper and carbon cleaners. The author felt that the most rapid carbon deposit remover was an aqueous product (not a volatile organic solvent) called "Slip 2000tm Carbon Cutter" (www.slip2000.com). The best copper remover was Bore Tech's new "Eliminator" (www.boretech.com).

Anyway, if you want to try something new, these may be a way to go. According to the author, Boretech's Eliminator "puts ammonia based products in about the same class as buggy whips." Slip 2000tm Carbon Cutter beat JB Bore Cleaner "Hands Down" in one test. Several other aqueous carbon removers also appear to be very good: Hoppe's Elite and Bore Tech's Carbon X. The aqueous products reduce flammability concerns as well as concerns about inhalation of potentially unhealthy organic vapors.

ETA: The study was performed as follows: 1. Two wet patches, 2. 50-75 bronze brush strokes, 3. let sovent stand 5 min, 4. Dry patch; 5. Check with hawkeye Bore Scope
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 1:31:34 AM EDT
IMO clean but don't over clean. Hoppes # 9 down the barrel and let it sit for 5-10 minuets while you lightly scrub the bolt with a tooth brush with CLP or Hoppes. go back to the barrel and with the Hoppes still in it I run a wet hoppes nylon bore brush through it 3-4 passes. The clean path it 2-3 times. Then a lightly coated CLP patch and your done with that. It doesn't need to be military clean. Don't clean yourself to death. If it istakeing you over 30 minur=ets to clean your rifle and have it back together your cleaning to much IMO.

Wipe bolt off with clean rag and Q tips and relube with clp . wipe out upper with a CLP cloth and slap her back together.

What Im trying to say is there is no need for a inspection ready white glove rifle. Just wipe her out run a few patches relube and place back in the safe till next range trip. I personally use a OTIS cleaning kit. No worries about dinging the muzzel and haveing bore guide. Get one... WarDawg
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 5:59:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/25/2006 6:00:19 PM EDT by tdogg77]
My technique:

Disassemble. Squirt CLP down the barrel and let it sit. Squirt CLP generously on bolt carrier parts, and wipe clean. Use bore brush, two full revolutions. Clean lugs with qtips. Clean fire control mechanism with qtips. Run brush down bore where CLP has been working for the past ten minutes or so, two passes with brush, run two dry patches, then one with a smidgen of CLP. Lubricate and reassemble. I don't see the need to use anything else on a chrome-lined bore.

I use OTIS--its a neat kit. I don't use their gimmick patches though, I "roll my own."
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 7:18:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By another_shooter:
Recently, an article appeared in Precision Shooting by Irv Benzion (Prec. Shooting, Jan 2006;8-16) which used a Borescope to examine various copper and carbon cleaners. The author felt that the most rapid carbon deposit remover was an aqueous product (not a volatile organic solvent) called "Slip 2000tm Carbon Cutter" (www.slip2000.com). The best copper remover was Bore Tech's new "Eliminator" (www.boretech.com).

Anyway, if you want to try something new, these may be a way to go. According to the author, Boretech's Eliminator "puts ammonia based products in about the same class as buggy whips." Slip 2000tm Carbon Cutter beat JB Bore Cleaner "Hands Down" in one test. Several other aqueous carbon removers also appear to be very good: Hoppe's Elite and Bore Tech's Carbon X. The aqueous products reduce flammability concerns as well as concerns about inhalation of potentially unhealthy organic vapors.

ETA: The study was performed as follows: 1. Two wet patches, 2. 50-75 bronze brush strokes, 3. let sovent stand 5 min, 4. Dry patch; 5. Check with hawkeye Bore Scope



Very interesting. What other products were tested and how did they compare?
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 8:29:30 PM EDT
Thanks for all the info everyone. So the best way to clean the bolt, etc. is just lightly scrubbing with a toothbrush and a cleaning agent?
Link Posted: 1/27/2006 9:38:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jmart:

Very interesting. What other products were tested and how did they compare?



The article did not specify (which may raise some suspicion). But this is what the author writes:

"The question might be raised, "What were the other products that were tested?" The names of the myriad other products used in this study have been purposely been (sic) omitted since Bore Tech's Eliminator, and Slip 2000tm's Carbon Cutter and Gun Lube were clearly far superior to all other products tested."

Not very satisfying, but neither Slip 2000tm Products nor Bore Tech Products have any advertisements in this or other recent Precision Shooting issues.

One thing that he mentioned that is important if one uses Slip 2000tm's Carbon Cutter is to use a lubricant in the bore. He specifically recommended Slip 2000tm Gun Lube. He stated "A fact to be cognizant of is that all of the new generation carbon fouling removers are water based and are so proficient that they completely strip all imbedded oils from any metal..." The lubricant, Slip 2000tm Gun Lube "is a synthetic, biodegradable, non-toxic lubricant. Unlike petroleum-based oils which have a flash point of about 200 degrees, Gun Lube's flash point is over 2000 degrees." Thus, according to the author, "It means that when used as the lubricant on the bolt of an AR-15, the lubricant does not burn off when the rifle is fired." Also, the author claims that "Gun Lube does not combine with carbon to gum up and form sludge or crusting..." and "it enters the pores of the steel and makes future cleaning even faster and easier."

I may try some, in the future (I still have too much Butch's, JB, Hoppes #9, and Tetra to think of buying more cleaners)
Link Posted: 1/28/2006 7:08:42 AM EDT
I'm not a bench-rest shooter or a clean fanatic but after more than 50 years of pushing stuff through rifle bores this is it for me.

After shooting; wet bore with No. 9.
Two days later; punch with dry patch and another wet patch. Repeat every two days 'til it's clean enough, leaving bore wet with No.9. Once in a while I even brush it.

Dry it to shoot or oil it when you get tired of cleaning it.

In a normal shoot/clean cycle we're talking six to eight passes using a bore guide except for chamber. One piece rod except pull-through for rifles without breech access.

For field use; jointed military type rods with loosened joints used as pull-through. Don't like cable pull-throughs in situations where
jamming a patch would be disastrous.

Mild Bill, NO. 9 enthusiast
Link Posted: 1/28/2006 7:34:48 AM EDT
Thank you so much for the replies everyone. I'm soaking this stuff in like a sponge. Keep these great replies coming - you're helping formulate my Midway wish list!
Link Posted: 1/28/2006 8:18:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/28/2006 8:19:09 AM EDT by swenis]
I've been looking around, and I am going to take everyone's advice here and order a Sinclair bore guide. Even though they are a bit more, they have great reviews. However, on the Sinclair website, it asks me for different measurements before they can make the guide for me such as the action manufacturer, action model, and cartridge. Now, I've got the action manufacturer and cartidge figured out (Bushmaster and 5.56, right?), but how do I determine the action model? Any help would be so kindly appreciated.

Thanks
Link Posted: 1/28/2006 9:57:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/28/2006 10:00:35 AM EDT by jmart]
Just get an AR-15 model bore guide, #RGAR15. You'll see them advertised with their HP/AR-15 stuff in the catalog. You don't have to specifiy a make or model in this instance. The ones you are probably looking at are primarily for bolt actions, and there you need to specify.

Another useful thing I've found is their AR Cleaning Link, #14-900. It secures the upper nicely while you are cleaning the barrel and the locking lug recess area. Actually, I consider this almost a necessity. I've never tried cleaning without one, and I couldn't imagine doing it unless I were willing to completely remove the upper from lower each time.

Lastly, a purely discretionary item, but one which simplifies cleaning the locking lug area is their Lug Recess Tool, #14-925. Check it out in their catalog/website, it's easier to understand how it works by looking at it than by me trying to describe it. An alternative to this setup are chamber cleaning stars, a kind of multi-nubbed, star-shaped cotton deal you stick on the end of a bronze brush. Do a search on them, Grant (C4IGrant) sells them. Either works a heck of a lot easier than Q-tips and hemostats and any of that stuff. Prior to using this type of device I just used to send a blast of carbon cutter/brake cleaner/whatever in the locking lug area to try to blast the gunk away, followed up by a couple of drops of CLP in the area, as well as on the bolts locking lugs. It kept things clean enough but after using the Sinclair Lug Recess tool for the first time, alot of gunk came out. I definitely think they are worth it.

Link Posted: 1/28/2006 6:01:25 PM EDT
I'm definitely going to get the AR-15 model bore guide, but that lug recess tool looks pretty awesome, too.
Link Posted: 1/28/2006 10:58:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By swenis:
I'm definitely going to get the AR-15 model bore guide, but that lug recess tool looks pretty awesome, too.



Dewey has everything you need for cleaning the ar. Great company to deal with too !
Link Posted: 1/28/2006 11:27:41 PM EDT
I agree on the Sinclair cleaning link. Once I tried one I swore I would never clean an AR without one again if I could help it.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 4:00:32 AM EDT
After reading about "Bore tech" products other places and then seeing it mentioned hear again I finnally ordered some to give it a try. I tried the "Elliminator".

I first tried it on my TC Encore in 454 casul. Because of the larger bore it is easy to see the rifling and I was having great difficulty removing all the copper "staining" from it in the past----- I was NEVER able to get it all removed completely (stainless steel barrel). ALL traces of copper are now gone!!!!!! VERY impressed!!!!

I then cleaned my 22-250 which was already clean (or so I thought) and was stuned by the amount of copper that came out of that.

When it came time to clean my AR (which had been fired a couple times) I was again impressed by how fast it worked and how clean I got it. It works as great on powder fowling as it does on copper.

But you will need to use a nickel plated jag, a brass one will make the patches turn blue making it difficult to tell if it is comming from the bore or jag.

Link Posted: 2/11/2006 4:35:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/11/2006 4:37:22 AM EDT by zw123]
Bore guide, coated rod.
Never pull anything back through your muzzle. I use a stop on my guide so the patch just come out the end.
Be careful with dry patches, they will scratch a bore. I have hand lapped barrels.
1. Wet patch. #9 3x's
2. Bore brush, until I get tired. Add #9, let brush push out of barrel, wet patch
3. dry patch
4. patch with alcohol
5. Butches, wait 15-30 minutes
6. Dry patch
7. alcohol patch

So far my new WOA barrel, with this procedure, I've seen no traces of copper on the Butches patch.

Link Posted: 2/12/2006 4:57:49 AM EDT
I have heard on more than 1 occaison that Hoppe's Elite is a weaker version of M-Pro 7. However, I am unsure of how well M-Pro 7 gun cleaner works. I tried Hoppe's Elite and it was similar to Slip 2000's Cleaner / Degreaser (sort of like windex but smells nicer).
Link Posted: 2/12/2006 8:48:30 PM EDT
So let me get this straight a dry patch will scratch a bore, and a metal brush wont?
Link Posted: 2/13/2006 3:15:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Unseen:
After reading about "Bore tech" products other places and then seeing it mentioned hear again I finnally ordered some to give it a try. I tried the "Elliminator".

I first tried it on my TC Encore in 454 casul. Because of the larger bore it is easy to see the rifling and I was having great difficulty removing all the copper "staining" from it in the past----- I was NEVER able to get it all removed completely (stainless steel barrel). ALL traces of copper are now gone!!!!!! VERY impressed!!!!

I then cleaned my 22-250 which was already clean (or so I thought) and was stuned by the amount of copper that came out of that.

When it came time to clean my AR (which had been fired a couple times) I was again impressed by how fast it worked and how clean I got it. It works as great on powder fowling as it does on copper.

But you will need to use a nickel plated jag, a brass one will make the patches turn blue making it difficult to tell if it is comming from the bore or jag.




Great follow-up... Thanks
Link Posted: 2/13/2006 3:50:47 PM EDT
You don't need bore guides and $50 coated rods to clean a gun...Period. Here is a copy of a post that I had in another thread:


Nobody seems to have a problem putting tight fitting, rifling engaged, 3000+ FPS pointy copper plated lead pills with 15000 psi of hot burning gas behind them through their weapons as fast as one can flinch a finger.

BUT a lot of people seem to be really bothered by passing a hand powered, sub-diameter, aluminum or brass cleaning rod, moving inches per minute, 10 or so times through their steel bore to clean it.

Sorry, I don't get it.



Also, the idea that a soft dry patch will do anymore damage than a bullet (see the first part of my quote above) is absolute idiocy. The patch/rod/jag/etc. will not encounter anything in a dirty bore that the next bullet that is fired won't. And I can guarantee that any fired bullet will put a lot more force on your bore than you can with any cleaning implement.

On topic: I use MC-25 (though Mpro7 is good) for carbon removal, fallowed up with the copper removal bore foam at Walmart and it does a very good job. It takes no more than 10 swipes with a cheap-o aluminum rod/patches/brushes to get a barrel clean. Then wet patch the bore with the oil of your choice to keep rust away.

If you are the type of person that just has to get every single speck of dirt out of your bore, I hope you are a patient man with time on your hands.
Link Posted: 2/13/2006 7:30:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/13/2006 7:37:35 PM EDT by GunDraw]

Originally Posted By Tempest45:
You don't need bore guides and $50 coated rods to clean a gun...Period. Here is a copy of a post that I had in another thread:


Nobody seems to have a problem putting tight fitting, rifling engaged, 3000+ FPS pointy copper plated lead pills with 15000 psi of hot burning gas behind them through their weapons as fast as one can flinch a finger.

BUT a lot of people seem to be really bothered by passing a hand powered, sub-diameter, aluminum or brass cleaning rod, moving inches per minute, 10 or so times through their steel bore to clean it.

Sorry, I don't get it.





And from that same thread...



In my opinion, this is poor logic and you are missing the point. Ever tried to scratch steel with copper or lead... or even raw aluminum. Now, try scratching steel with anodized aluminum or sand (often hard as glass), some of the things found either on or imbedded in a cleaning rod, especially aluminum ones. Raw aluminum has virtually nothing to do with damaging a bore, and aluminum is definitely not the only thing on those rods after a few uses. In fact, IIRC, the aluminum itself crystalizes making a super hard coating.

That said, I think solid cleaning techniques and being careful around the crown add up to more than a bore guide. But I use them for everything. I have one for AR's and another universal for all my bolt guns. It certainly doesn't hurt anything, and if nothing else, keeps you from buggering up your rod.

Gundraw



Now the dry patch damage... , never heard of this. However, the first patch through my bore is always soaked with solvent, so I never really deal with that.

Bottom line, yes, you can damage a firearm from improper cleaning. Want proof? Go find me a truly "shot out" .22 at your local gunshop. 9 times out of 10, your "shot out" .22 is nothing more that a .22 who's crown has been demolished from from stroke after stroke with a "harmless" aluminum rod.

As I said, just some solid cleaning techniques will get you further than anything. And chrome is not easy to demolish, it is pretty tough stuff. However I don't hesitate to buy a nice cleaning rod and maybe spend a few more dollars on a bore guide to ensure I protect my investment.

Gundraw
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 7:24:38 AM EDT

Ever tried to scratch steel with copper or lead... or even raw aluminum.


At worse, a few hundred thousandths of the softer material will be deposited onto the harder material.


Now, try scratching steel with anodized aluminum or sand (often hard as glass), some of the things found either on or imbedded in a cleaning rod, especially aluminum ones


My cleaning rods are not anodized (never seen one) and anyone that puts a sand coated rod in their bore needs to step back away from the weapon...forever. That wouldn't really be cleaning, would it. And yes, cleaning rods should be cleaned along with your other equipment.

Again: The patch/rod/jag/etc. will not encounter anything in a dirty bore that the next bullet that is fired won't. And I can guarantee that any fired bullet will put a lot more force on your bore than you can with any cleaning implement.


Raw aluminum has virtually nothing to do with damaging a bore


Exactly


In fact, IIRC, the aluminum itself crystalizes making a super hard coating.



Never seen this happen short of dunking it in an anodizing tank. Even if it did oxidize on it's own, your only talking about a layer a few millionths of an inch thick. The copper/lead/debris left in a barrel from shooting it is much larger than this, and is put under much more pressure buy a bullet, than a cleaning rod.


That said, I think solid cleaning techniques and being careful around the crown add up to more than a bore guide.


Exactly


It certainly doesn't hurt anything, and if nothing else, keeps you from buggering up your rod.


I'll agree with you on that.


Bottom line, yes, you can damage a firearm from improper cleaning. Want proof? Go find me a truly "shot out" .22 at your local gunshop. 9 times out of 10, your "shot out" .22 is nothing more that a .22 who's crown has been demolished from from stroke after stroke with a "harmless" aluminum rod.


If this is the case, it has been cleaned WAY to much.


Also, I would recommend a bore guide if you are going to use a coated rod. I have seen way too many coated rods "shave" material off them. These shavings can stick to the rod and be redeposited into the bore. Now you have strands of plastic several thousandths of an inch in your barrel. The final wet patch should... get them out.

Link Posted: 2/14/2006 8:37:30 AM EDT
Tempest45,

What you are missing is aluminum DOES oxidize. In fact, I'm not an expert on the metallurgy, but I believe aluminum oxidizes RAPIDLY. Creating a layer of aluminum oxide on the outside.

Second, things DO embed themselves in the nice and soft aluminum. Whether you see them with your eyes or not. And the sections are an abosolutely PERFECT place for these hard crystals to embed themselves and run right up against your bore.

So yes, first time out of the box, that sectioned aluminum cleaning rod might be harmless. However, get some solvent on it, and a chance to get a little dirty(from normal use) and no longer is it just a piece of raw aluminum.

Gundraw
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 9:11:33 AM EDT
sounds like keeping your rod clean will prevent this from becoming a big issue.
What is rour prefrence for a bore guide.?
Link Posted: 2/14/2006 11:55:52 AM EDT

sounds like keeping your rod clean will prevent this from becoming a big issue.


+1 If a person cannot get the exposed surface of an aluminum rod clean that can be easily hand wiped with a rag/solvent, then there is no way that person can get a .224" Dia., 20" long, spiral cut, drilled hole clean either.

According to this site, Mil. Spec. Chromic Anodizing (the least corrosive anodize process) is 0.00002"-0.00003" in thickness. Since they actually have to put aluminum through a man made process to get this thickness (as opposed to just leaving it in the air), I think it safe to assume that naturally occurring oxidation is at least no thicker than this.

If this amount of aluminum oxide bothers someone...so be it. It's their gun.

I'd also like to mention that AR uppers are hard anodized (Rockwell hardness 60-70) and have steel bolt carriers (Rockwell ~40) inside them moving at very high rates of speed, that last for tens of thousands of rounds, all the while being blasted by the same junk that one would find in a barrel.

Link Posted: 2/15/2006 1:52:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tempest45:

sounds like keeping your rod clean will prevent this from becoming a big issue.


+1 If a person cannot get the exposed surface of an aluminum rod clean that can be easily hand wiped with a rag/solvent, then there is no way that person can get a .224" Dia., 20" long, spiral cut, drilled hole clean either.

According to this site, Mil. Spec. Chromic Anodizing (the least corrosive anodize process) is 0.00002"-0.00003" in thickness. Since they actually have to put aluminum through a man made process to get this thickness (as opposed to just leaving it in the air), I think it safe to assume that naturally occurring oxidation is at least no thicker than this.

If this amount of aluminum oxide bothers someone...so be it. It's their gun.

I'd also like to mention that AR uppers are hard anodized (Rockwell hardness 60-70) and have steel bolt carriers (Rockwell ~40) inside them moving at very high rates of speed, that last for tens of thousands of rounds, all the while being blasted by the same junk that one would find in a barrel.




It doesn't matter how thick this hard layer is... it's still very abrasive.

From Otis Gun Cleaning Website (and I've read the same thing elsewhere):

"Aluminum rods will damage most firearms if they are allowed to rub extensively in the barrel. You may believe that aluminum is soft and will not damage the firearm. Aluminum creates an oxide on its outer surface. This oxide is similar if not identical to the aluminum oxide used in grinding wheels and knife sharpening equipment. This oxide will lap the bore and make it oversized and uneven."

Just type in "Aluminum Cleaning Rod" in Google and start counting the websites explaining the problems with aluminum cleaning rods.

Comparing the bolt carrier/upper to the barrel diameter is like comparing an automotive differential to the gears of a wind up watch. The bolt/carrier doesn't need near the tight exacting tolerances that a barrel does.

Yes, if you can clean, polish, and keep the aluminum rod airtight and free from oxygen, it will work great for you... or you could just spend the $25 for a top of the line rod and sleep better at night knowing you are protecting each of your $500+ investments.

Gundraw

Gundraw
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 4:00:37 PM EDT

It doesn't matter how thick this hard layer is


Yes it does. This is why we have different grades of sandpaper, polishing compound, etc. 100 grit and 2000 grit will remove very different amounts of material. Plus, there are products like JB compound made especially for barrels that state that they are abrasive. Yet, I have never heard of anyone complaining about a barrel being destroyed by this product. Also, many custom smiths' are known to hand lap their barrels prior to firing. I'd bet that some type of abrasive is used in this process as well.


From Otis Gun Cleaning Website


It does not surprise me that Otis does not like rods since they do not sell them. I am discounting any information from a seller unless they have scientific testing to demonstrate their claims.



Just type in "Aluminum Cleaning Rod" in Google and start counting the websites explaining the problems with aluminum cleaning rods.


I did that. I found 2 relevant articles.
#1
#2
I found nothing overly convincing. In the first article, the guy cleaned his M1 with nothing but a mil issue steel rod (from the muzzle ) for 5000 rounds and had no drop off in accuracy. He did this with 4 different barrels. Yet he still has a big problem aluminum rods.
The second site is commercial and is trying to sell you stuff, but it is still a good read.


Comparing the bolt carrier/upper to the barrel diameter is like comparing an automotive differential to the gears of a wind up watch. The bolt/carrier doesn't need near the tight exacting tolerances that a barrel does.


I'll grant you that this is a stretch, but it still shows how little steel wears in the presence of very small amounts of AlumOxide (anodizing).

Plus, if debris can embed itself so easily into a "soft" aluminum rod, then why can't it do the same thing with the plastic on a coated rod (this goes for the Otis coated cable as well)?? Last time I checked, aluminum is quite a bit harder than most plastics. Also, I see no reason why that same debris would not get lodged into the "soft" jacket of a tight, gas sealed bullet as it goes screaming down the barrel. And at 3000+fps, it would do it in a hurry.
Link Posted: 2/15/2006 11:37:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/15/2006 11:39:22 PM EDT by GunDraw]

Originally Posted By Tempest45:

It doesn't matter how thick this hard layer is


Yes it does. This is why we have different grades of sandpaper, polishing compound, etc. 100 grit and 2000 grit will remove very different amounts of material.



Incorrect - grit is not determined by the thickness of the scraping surface, it's how many "particles" can fit in one square inch of paper. You could have the abrasive "sand" stacked up like a brick, and the bearing surface is all that's gonna matter. Yes, the thickness of EACH "PARTICLE" effects this to a degree (as it will be more pourous/abrasive), but that is irrelevent in this case as the particles aren't getting thicker, it's just the abrasive layer is getting deeper... kinda meaning the "sandpaper" would last twice as long, not actually remove more material.




Plus, there are products like JB compound made especially for barrels that state that they are abrasive. Yet, I have never heard of anyone complaining about a barrel being destroyed by this product. Also, many custom smiths' are known to hand lap their barrels prior to firing. I'd bet that some type of abrasive is used in this process as well.




You are right, it IS abrasive... and along with being somewhat controversial for the exact reasons we are debating, it is a uniform application across the bore, certainly different from a cleaning rod rubbing against one side of your barrel and possibly worse, your crown.





Just type in "Aluminum Cleaning Rod" in Google and start counting the websites explaining the problems with aluminum cleaning rods.


I did that. I found 2 relevant articles.



Then I'm sure you noticed that on the first two pages alone, 5 out of the 6 pages that weren't catalogs/advertisements were condemning the use of aluminum rods




Comparing the bolt carrier/upper to the barrel diameter is like comparing an automotive differential to the gears of a wind up watch. The bolt/carrier doesn't need near the tight exacting tolerances that a barrel does.


I'll grant you that this is a stretch, but it still shows how little steel wears in the presence of very small amounts of AlumOxide (anodizing).

Plus, if debris can embed itself so easily into a "soft" aluminum rod, then why can't it do the same thing with the plastic on a coated rod (this goes for the Otis coated cable as well)?? Last time I checked, aluminum is quite a bit harder than most plastics. Also, I see no reason why that same debris would not get lodged into the "soft" jacket of a tight, gas sealed bullet as it goes screaming down the barrel. And at 3000+fps, it would do it in a hurry.



That's true, and that's probably the biggest problem with coated rods, they CAN embed bad particles. However, the MAJOR problem with the aluminum is not only the oxidized layer it gets, but the convenient section gaps/mismatches that harbor this kind of stuff like mad and make a nice oxidized notch... perfect for damaging a crown (or bore, throat etc.)

Once again, yes, solid cleaning techniques are the key. Shoot, you could use a piece of thread-all if you were careful enough to never run it against the bore in any way (without a bore guide this would be VERY challenging). But if something does end up rubbing, you'd be FAR better off with a coated or brass 1-piece rod than the aluminum counterpart.
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 12:41:44 PM EDT
Does nobody use a Boresnake to clean thier AR's?
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 1:41:13 PM EDT

the particles aren't getting thicker, it's just the abrasive layer is getting deeper


This chart suggests otherwise. Abrasive particles are not completely uniform on a sheet, but particle size is a major factor in grit specifications. But we are not here to talk about sandpaper...back to guns.


I finally found a very good site describing Anodizing. According to the site, under the "Barrier Oxides" area:


The details of film structure and composition depend on the history of exposure to the ambient atmosphere but, on aluminum, there is always a barrier oxide layer next to the metal that is 2-3 nm thick (one nanometer is one billionth of a meter).


That's (by my math) .000000118" thick. You need electron microscopes to view things at this scale. If that is still worry some, the site also says this:


Barrier oxide deposited on clean aluminum at room temperature has an amorphous (non-crystalline) structure, that is, its x-ray diffraction pattern is a diffuse halo.



Pic on the site.

So unlike the aforementioned crystalline sanding grit, there are no sharp or pointed structures to abrade metal. If anything, there is hard, smooth, non-porous layer covering the entire surface of the aluminum that should prevent debris from embedding/sticking. In fact, according to the pic above, the oxide appears smoother than the base metal.

This new information has convinced me that the naturally occurring AlumOxide on a cleaning rod is a total non-factor.

As I stated before, the joints are not going to collect any different debris that a bullet will not encounter on its way down the bore. A bullet (not to mention the gas behind it) will put astronomically more force on that debris than will a cleaning rod, no matter how hard one pushes on it. The only possible chance I see for real damage would be repeated Hammer powered strikes to the exact same place on the crown. I find even this unlikely due to the fact that brass punches and hammers are designed to impact steel with no damage to the base metal.

I am satisfied with my position on this issue. Thank you for debating with me. It has been a very fun and informative discussion.
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 3:03:18 PM EDT
I see your point of view. And I agree with the fact that solid cleaning techniques are the key to this all. But I still feel confident, the risks, whether major or minor (once again, depending on how careful you are at cleaning) are simply not worth the savings.

A solid debate though.

Gundraw
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 7:42:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/16/2006 7:46:13 PM EDT by Gregory_K]
Gale McMillan
Senior Member posted September 25, 1999 07:52 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I answered this and lost it on transfer so will shorten this one and try to get my point across in fewer words. When some one uses JB on one of my rifles I void the warrantee! For two reasons. ! it dimensionally alters the barrel dimensions and not evenly and the second reason is the barrel maker laps the barrel with a grit of lapping compound that is most effective in preventing metal fouling. Then a customer polishes that finish away with JB. I wouldn't be as apposed to it if it were applied on a lead lap and very sparingly. It is very obvious when you look at a barrel with a bore scopes all the sharp edges are worn off the rifling. if it has JB used on it on a regular basis. As you know ,it is an abrasive of about 1000 grit. As for using it on factory barrels I will say that while it is difficult to hurt a production barrel but the thing that hurts a match barrel will do the same to a factory barrel

link
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 6:55:33 AM EDT
Gregory_K: Great link!! That should be a must read for everybody.

It's good to here from people in the know on these subjects, and that link provides it. Especially since they back up their claims with testing/experience.

I have used JB compound only recently, and only in leaded pistol barrels. I am switching to Eezox and wanted to get as close to bare metal as possible for the initial application. To me, it is a last ditch option, and I would never recommend it as part of a normal cleaning routine. Especially every 10 or so rounds as was mentioned by some in that article.

From the link:

The Barnes folks tell you to clean when your barrel stops shooting well


That's my theory.
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 9:09:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Cavalry99:
Does nobody use a Boresnake to clean thier AR's?


Only for quick cleaning. it still leaves a lot of crap behind and it does not get the copper out
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 9:13:38 AM EDT
What about using Liquid Glass or toothpaste to brush the bore?
It contains a very fine abrasive used to polish the clearcoat finishes on cars (Liquid Glass) and toothpaste is well, relatively easy on the hard enamel of teeth.
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 10:25:13 AM EDT

What about using ...toothpaste to brush the bore?


Does that work as good as shaving cream??

It probably wouldn't hurt the bore, but I would guess that the abrasives were to small to do any real cleaning either. Can't say that I've tried it though, and I doubt that there any charts on the web that show the "grit" specs. for toothpaste...
Link Posted: 2/22/2006 11:16:36 AM EDT
what are you going to use for floss?
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