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The Guru Takes on Barrel Break-In Procedures

THIS IS ONE OF THE FABLED “HOT-TOPICS”, THAT IS GUARANTEED TO INITIATE A HEATED DEBATE BY BOTH GUNSMITHS, SHOOTERS AND BARREL MANUFACTURERS. THIS WILL NOT BE AN ATTEMPT TO SWAY YOU ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, BUT STRICTLY AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCES @ MY WORK BENCH. SO HERE GOES……………………………………………..

I PREFER TO USE “THE KISS PRINCIPLE”—KEEP IT SUPER SIMPLE !!!!!! THE MORE COMPLICATED THE PROCESS IS, THE MORE TEMPTATION THE SHOOTER IS TO NOT FOLLOW THE REQUIRED STEPS. MY EXPERIENCE HAS SHOWN, IT DOES NOT MATTER WHETHER THE BARREL IS A FACTORY TUBE, HI-END CUSTOM, CHROME-MOLY / STAINLESS STEEL CONSTRUCTION, THE PROCESS IS STILL THE SAME.

A Hawkeye Borescope image of copper fouling.

FOR TRAINING PURPOSES, THIS RIFLE BARREL WILL BE MADE OF CARBON / CHROME-MOLY & IS THE STANDARD FACTORY “LAUNCHING TUBE”. VIRGIN BARRELS ARE COATED ON THE INSIDE WITH A MODERATELY HEAVY GREASE PRESERVATIVE & MUST BE REMOVED PRIOR TO FIRING THE FIRST FEW SHOTS. YOU WILL NEED SOME CLEANING SOLVENT, COTTON PATCHES SIZED TO THE BORE DIAMETER, & THE CORRECT DIAMETER CLEANING ROD. READY ???? LET’S GET STARTED……………………………

#1—REMOVE THE BOLT FROM INSIDE THE RECEIVER & SET IT OFF TO THE SIDE.

#2—CLAMP THE RIFLE SECURELY IN A DESIGNATED RIFLE CLEANING CRADLE OR INSIDE WELL PADDED VISE JAWS.

#3—SCREW ON THE “SLOTTED” PATCH TIP ON TO THE END OF A CLEANING ROD & THREAD-IN A CLEAN PATCH. MOISTEN THE PATCH WITH SOLVENT OR OTHER CLEANING SOLUTION OF YOUR CHOICE. “MARVEL MYSTERY OIL” IS MY FAVORITE !!!!!

#4—PUSH THE CLEANING ROD INTO THE BREECH END OF THE BARREL, UNTIL THE PATCH PROTRUDES FROM THE MUZZLE. PULL BACK ON THE ROD HANDLE, UNTIL THE PATCH HAS CLEARED THE BREECH. REPLACE WITH A CLEAN PATCH & REPEAT THIS PROCESS X 2. ALLOW THE SOLUTION TO REMAIN INSIDE THE BORE FOR ABOUT 5 MINUTES.

Our jags are designed to scrub heavily fouled areas without losing traction on the patch.

#5—UNSCREW THE PATCH TIP & INSTALL A CORRECTLY SIZED BORE-BRUSH (BRONZE BRISTLES FOR CARBON STEEL & PLASTIC BRISTLES FOR STAINLESS BARRELS). MOISTEN THE BRUSH SAME AS THE PATCH & MAKE SEVERAL PASSES TO / FRO INSIDE THE BORE. REMOVE ROD, UNSCREW BRUSH, & REPLACE WITH A CLEAN PATCH AND SLOTTED TIP.

#6—REPEAT THE PROCESS, AS OUTLINED IN STEP #4, UNTIL THOSE PATCHES BEGAN TO COME OUT REALLY CLEAN !!!!!!!!

TIME TO GRAB SOME AMMO & HEAD OUT TO THE SHOOTING RANGE—–YEE-HAW !!!!!!!

FIRING & CLEANING PROCESS:

#1—LOAD 1 ROUND OF AMMO & FIRE A SHOT DOWN-RANGE.

#2—CLEAN BORE SAME AS YOU DID @ HOME, FOLLOWING STEP #4.

#3—REPEAT STEPS 1 & 2 FOR A TOTAL OF 5 SHOTS FIRED. CLEAN BETWEEN EACH SHOT & DO NOT LET THAT BARREL OVER-HEAT.

#4—LEAVE THE BOLT OPEN & ALLOW TIME FOR THE BARREL TO COOL COMPLETELY TO THE TOUCH (USE THE INSIDE OF YOUR WRIST FOR THIS PURPOSE & NOT THE FINGER-TIPS).

#5—LAY 5 ROUNDS OF AMMO ON THE BENCH-REST & FIRE 1 SHOT. REPEAT UNTIL ALL 5 SHOTS HAVE BEEN FIRED, BUT DO NOT LET THAT BARREL GET HOT !!!!!!!! AFTER SHOT #5, REMOVE THE BOLT & CLEAN THE BORE AGAIN. FROM THIS POINT ON-WARD, CLEAN THE BORE EVERY 5 ROUNDS UNTIL A TOTAL OF 25 SHOTS HAVE BEEN FIRED. AFTER THAT, CLEAN EVERY 10 SHOTS.

NOTE:  THAT 25 ROUND TOTAL DOES NOT HAVE TO BE COMPLETED AT THE FIRST SHOOTING SESSION !!!!! IT CAN BE SPREAD OUT OVER SEVERAL “LIVE-FIRE” VISITS TO THE SHOOTING RANGE. REMEMBER:  DO NOT ALLOW THE BARREL TO OVERHEAT !!!!!

#6—BARRELS CLEAN THE BEST, WHILE STILL @ THE SHOOTING RANGE. AFTER FIRING THAT LAST SHOT OF THE DAY, PATCH, BRUSH, & DRY PATCH ONE MORE TIME. BEFORE CASING THE RIFLE & STORING FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME, DO THE FOLLOWING:

#7—INSTALL ANOTHER CLEAN PATCH ON THE ROD & MOISTEN IT WITH DROPS OF “CLEAR-COAT SAFE AUTO BODY POLISH” (ANY BRAND) & PASS THAT PATCH SEVERAL TIMES IN & OUT OF THE BORE. REMOVE THE DAMP PATCH, CHILL OUT FOR A FEW MINUTES, & ALLOW THE POLISH TO DRY COMPLETELY. DING-DING-DING, THE POLISH IS DRY !!!!!!!!  INSTALL ANOTHER CLEAN PATCH & PASS IT SEVERAL TIMES THROUGH THE BORE. AS YOU DO THIS, YOU CAN EASILY FEEL THE PATCH PASS EASIER & EASIER, AS THE POLISH IS BUFFED.

#8—HOLD THE MUZZLE UP TO A BRIGHT LIGHT & INSPECT THE BORE. WOW, IT IS BRIGHT, SHINY, AND MOST IMPORTANT,THE BORE IS DRY & NOT OILY !!!!!!!!  OILY SURFACES WILL ATTRACT DUST, DIRT, & FIRING ASH. BUT THAT POLISHED DRY SURFACE WILL NOT & IT WILL PROTECT THE BORE FROM BOTH SURFACE RUST AND CORROSION !!!!!!!! DO THE SAME ON ALL THE EXTERNAL METAL SURFACES, TO PROTECT THEM ALSO. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY “AUTO POLISH”, A LIGHT APPLICATION OF OLD-FASHIONED PASTE FLOOR WAX DOES A FANTASTIC JOB ON BOTH THE METAL & THE WOOD.

GOT ANY QUESTIONS ON HOW TO BREAK-IN A NEW BARREL & PROVIDE SOME LONG-TERM PROTECTION ??????  GOOD, CAUSE I GOT TO TAKE A BREAK FROM MY KEYBOARD. CLASS DISMISSED & CARRY ON——–OOORAH !!!!!!!

“GURU”

Mike Whitlock brings 40 years of firearms experience to the Guru’s Classroom.