Understanding Firearm Cleaning and Preservation.
11.The heart and sole of any firearm is the barrel, it is the most difficult part to replace or repair, so much depends upon its accuracy and performance, it dictates that it must deserve the most attention. That is why the most important item of cleaning equipment is a well fitting, one piece cleaning rod, with a thread on one end to interchange with a brush and jag and a revolving handle on the other end.
12. ‘Pull throughs’, are available and they can be used to spread some oil in a barrel and even dry it out before shooting it but they can never clean a barrel properly and predictably break when you need them most. ‘Pull throughs’, would have to be near the top of the list of obstructions that gunsmiths are continually asked to remove from barrels.
13. The scenario seems to go like this, they are a 1000 miles from nowhere, they sensibly want to take the oil out of the barrel before shooting, as the oil itself is an obstruction as it hydro-statically blocks the progress of the projectile, the “pull through” has a piece of flannel attached to the loop the weight is dropped down the barrel, and drawn through, the disaster occurs, the string breaks, the wad is stuck. Is it a 1000 miles drive home to get a cleaning rod, yes that would be the end of the shooting holiday. So they try a piece of fencing wire, or a stick, or a straightened coat hanger. During my years removing such obstructions I have found nails, one on top of the other, golf tee’s, paper clips, battery acid, fountain pen tops, car aerials, fishing rods, chain link, bottle cleaners, welding rods. What the inventive human mind will use in desperation is nothing short of brilliant, but little of it works, when they jam it full, then they try and hammer the muzzle with a punch this just compacts the mess in the barrel. They then get really inventive, they hold it over a camp fire to burn it out, ending up with a barrel full of compressed charcoal, then they put a hose on one end and try and wash the charcoal out. By the time the gunsmith has it handed to him some weeks later corrosion has taken its toll, as well. As you can imagine the most likely conclusion is a $1000 firearm that has been turned into a bag of parts.
14. Do yourself the greatest of favours buy a cleaning rod, keep it under the seat of the vehicle or in the gun box or gun bag, they take very little room up and if weight is a problem take a smaller can of beer!
15. When selecting a cleaning rod a one piece one, has to be preferred to one in sections(even though it looks compact and neat, you lose the sections anyway) as it much stiffer, and has less tendency to bend. When a cleaning rod bends in use it will rub the sides of the valuable rifling, hopefully the material that your barrel is made of will be harder and tougher than the stainless steel, or steel in your cleaning rod, thankfully that is usually the case, but not always.
16. Plastic coated rods are a poor choice as the plastic lining becomes grime and grit impregnated. Then as the rod bends, as the plastic has no strength, (its only purpose is to make the steel look more substantial), the impregnated plastic acts like sand paper polishing away important sections of your barrel. If you can only purchase a plastic coated rod, (if its still going to be ridged and strong enough as with the Parker-Hale Rods,) strip of the plastic coating and use it without the plastic coating. The solvents eventually rot the plastic coating anyway.
17. Steel is a bit of a worry though as without having it Rockwell hardness tested, you cannot ascertain how hard it is in relation to your barrel steel and the friction damage you could do could be depressing at a later date. Hopefully the steel yours is made from will be stiff and unbending and softer then your barrel steel.
18. Brass is nice and soft but its difficult to find it tough enough in a diameter less then .22 so that it won’t distort and bend permanently. Its ability to reform itself after bending (memory) is where it mainly fails. Brass Cleaning Rods are also so soft that the surface can absorb grit and when two metals are in moving contact the softer will carry the grit and abrasives and wear the harder. Brass in shotgun cleaning rods is just fine as they can be over (.5) half an inch in diameter and should never touch the inside of the barrel.
19. Stainless steel is the very best of them all, the grade is a lot softer than barrel steel so friction wear is not a problem and they are stiff enough not to bend permanently and have good memory if they do have slight bending when pushed it regains its shape when the pressure is off. The surface of the stainless steel is too hard to allow grit to be compressed into it.
The rod should be about .203 inch for a.22 and .250 inch for barrels and .270 for .30 calibre firearms, and should have a strong rotating handle.
20. The rod of course should be 6 inches longer than the combined barrel and receiver that you wish to clean. The thread at the tip end should take the thread of a brass or bronze brush and a brass Jag which is serrated so that the cleaning flannel patch will not slip off it. If possible do not select brass or plastic loops for flannel as they are easily broken and only apply pressure and clean on two opposite 180 degree sides and leave the other two untouched.
Shot gun rods due to their size can be made of wood or brass and have a thread which provides for a brush and Jag for flannel.
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