Understanding Firearm Cleaning and Preservation
Guarding the Muzzle
57. If the firearm has a fixed barrel and a bolt that cannot easily be removed the barrel has to be cleaned from the muzzle. Cleaning from the muzzle can be a problem if damage is done to the “crown” of the barrel as it will severely affect accuracy. So protecting the crown is a priority. A hard or dirty cleaning rod, rubbing on the inside of the barrel wears the critical edges where the bullet leaves the barrel. Any wear on these leading edges ruins any hope of accuracy. So to prevent this a Muzzle guard can be simply made, anything which can be a tight fit on the outside of the barrel, as an example like an empty 12 gauge cartridge case with the primer drilled out to accept the cleaning rod is a good example for a heavy barrel, the crux is finding something which centrally fits snugly on the barrel, it may be a head of a .303 case. When you have yours ready just slip it onto the rod before you screw the brush or Jag on then attach it to the muzzle and it will keep the Rod in a central position in the centre of the bore and not allow the sides of the rod to damage the crown of the barrel any wear on this important section of rifling will ruin the accuracy potential of the barrel.
Cleaning the Chamber
58. It might be the best time now to discuss what to do with all the crud, mud and residue that gets washed into the rifles chamber. Now I know you all have not got one of these, they are not available at your local gun shop and you do not use that calibre anyway but they are the most elaborate I have ever seen for the job. The Swedish Government made a chamber cleaner for the M42 b Ljungman it was brass the shape of the 6.5x 55 chamber with a thread covering its exterior. It had a brass cup hook at the end and cotton waste wound around the thread, the item could be inserted into the chamber at the breech end and circulated in a clockwise motion with a straight multi-tool which had a hole in one end that encompassed the cup hook, the rotating motion either way you turned it rotated the brass chamber cleaner.
59. Most shooters use a larger bronze or wire brush with some powder solvent, then wrap some cotton flannel around the brush and push in and out of the chamber until the chamber is clean. Of course if you cannot remove the bolt easily you have to introduce the rod through the muzzle (with the Muzzle guard on), pass it through to the open action, then screw on the larger chamber brush. Then pull it in and out of the chamber.
Swabbing out the Barrel and Removing the Fouling.
60. After leaving the solvent in the bore for at least ten minutes, wipe the rod clean, screw on the brass jag of the suitable diameter for your bore, cut a suitable length of cotton flannel and wind it around the Jag. Enter the rod and flannel filled jag into the breech of the barrel, supporting the rod centrally with the fingers then push the rod through the barrel it should be a tight moving fit, when it gets so the patch is just poking out of the barrel stop and pull it all the way back on the first pass it may be prudent to change the flannel patch for a clean dry one as it may be very dirty. Wipe the rod clean with a dry piece of flannel.
61. Repeat the process, as the patches come out cleaner it is possible to pass the same patch up and down the barrel four or five times before changing, all this time keep your fingers near the action supporting and centralising the rod. When you finally get a dry clean patch to go up and down a few times and if it comes out fairly clean, With no green/ blue copper stains on it, it indicates that the bore is clean. With certain types of ammunition and powder there is a certain quantity of graphite mixed with the powder so no matter how many times you re-clean with solvent and dry with a flannel patch it always comes out with a gray shadow, do not be perturbed about this.
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