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Thread: How could a cleaning rod damage a bore?

  1. #1

    How could a cleaning rod damage a bore?

    Just finished up a nice AR build and decided to read some references on barrel break-in procedures. I've decided the whole thing is a bunch of bunk and will just shoot about ten rounds through fairly quickly to deposit some copper, allow the barrel to cool, and then away we go, cleaning when accuracy begins to be impacted. The biggest thing I found was that most of the guys who knew what they were talking about said that the cleaning procedure with the elaborate break in regiments did more damage with the cleaning rod than any benefit received from the procedure.

    My thoughts were: How can an aluminum or brass cleaning rod possibly damage a bore or any of the rifling. If the chamber or bore is that soft, you got bigger problems to worry about. My barrel is cold hammer forged and shot peen relieved, with a nitride finish. I don't think there is anything I'm going to be able to put down that barrel to wear it out other than 30,000+ rounds.

  2. #2
    Administrator imanaknut's Avatar

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    Welcome to the group !!!

    You are right, a brass rod or a soft aluminum rod is not going to hurt a hardened steel or chrome lined bore.

    My personal cleaning implement is an Otis pull through cable. The ends are brass and should not hurt the bore.

    If the AR has a chrome lined bore, a break in isn't going to do much because of the chrome's hardness, but in a standard bore, the old fire, clean, fire, clean for 10 rounds, then two rounds and clean for another 10, them 10 and clean and have fun is up to you. Some target shooters swear by a proper break-in, some don't. Myself I have gone through the break in process on only a couple of rifles that I used for supreme accuracy, but others that close enough is good enough, I just fired the first few rounds slowly so as not to get the barrel too hot, then a good cleaning. After that it was full play time.

    The break in is not for long life, but for supreme accuracy. I agree that if you don't do a competition break in, you still are going to get 30K rounds through with no issues.

  3. #3
    Forum Administrator Schuetzenman's Avatar

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    Barrel break in is for a Match Gun with a Match Grade barrel. Your AR isn't. Now if it had a Kreiger barrel it would qualify. You have to understand such procedures were developed by Bench Rest rifle competitors. Their idea of accuracy is a 5 shot group that measures under .250". To them a rifle that shoots a .500 to 1 inch groups is crap and time to replace the barrel.

    The brass or aluminum rod can damage a precision bore at the throat where the rifling starts if cleaning from the breech. How it can do it is that they can pick up dust from soil blowing around at a range. That would be silicon dioxide also know as sand paper when the chucks are larger and glued to paper. On my Kreiger barreled Match AR rifle I use a cleaning rod guide that fits in the upper in place of the bolt carrier.

    You never want to reverse a bronze bore brush inside the bore. This can cause damage to a Stainless or normal Carbon steel barrel. Chrome lined or ion nitrided barrels are not match grade barrels so eeeh, no big deal. You alwas clean in the direction the bullet travels, breech to muzzle. Push the rod through, unscrew the brush and then remove the rod, put brush back on the rod. If one uses a pull through cleaning rod like an Otis System use a muzzle guide to prevent the flex rod from pulling against the rifling at the muzzle to preven potential lapping of the lands and crown by the flex rod. In the case of an M1 Garand or M1A rifle to clean with a solid rod, I use a muzzle guide for the same reason. In this case I put the rod to chamber end and screw the brush on and then pull it out, remove brush, reinsert rod and then reattach brush.

    All this is only done for match guns, not typical run of the mill blaster grade AR rifles, AK rifles, etc. When you spend $400 to $700 on a barrel you don't take short cuts cleaning it. To do so will shorten the performance life of the barrel.

  4. #4
    ** Contributor 01/2013 **

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    Just use a bore snake instead of a cleaning rod if that is a concern.

    If you do use a rod, make sure you don't grind the crown in front of the barrel or it'll be less accurate until you get it recrowned.

    After using the brass brush, always run at least 2 oiled or grease patches through to catch any grit or metallic fragments left behind.

    Be sure to use nitro solvent too.

    The oiled patch should catch any sand or broken brass bristle fragments left behind.

    Unless one is removing cosmoline from a historic weapon, I would advise against putting a cleaning rod in a powerdrill to clean the barrel.

    Breaking in an AK is unnecessary. My AK has never jammed once from the first shot onward.

    With ARs, I'm not sure.
    Last edited by whitelightning777; 01-28-2013 at 11:07 PM. Reason: fix error

  5. #5
    Hey guys, thanks for the replies! I use the Otis cables on my prior cleanings on my old stuff and have an Outers kit and both are aluminum/brass. Just thought it was a bit of a stretch to say that a cleaning rod could hurt barrel steel. I just read a post on another site where the guy (an engineer and avid shooter) was pretty damn knowledgeable, and he knew guys who were military ballisticians and metalurgists and they said that those procedures really just scarred/eroded the bore/chamber and actually shortened the life of the barrels, essentially selling more barrels for the guys who developed this process. I guess if you're a target shooter, a shorter barrel life is small stuff in a competition environment... really isn't a big deal. This guy, who had scoped numerous barrels said his assessment, for what it was worth, was that a brush or patch was not going to remove any machining burs and that the copper fouling actually filled some minor marks in the lands and helped improve accuracy, up to a point. Sounds to me like a custom barrel maker would find a better way to relieve any remaining metalurgical stresses in a high dollar barrel. Anyway, I'd like this barrel to be able to shoot approximately 12'' groups at 600yds. I think with the right scope and ammo, it'll pull that off if I'm up to the task. It's a Daniel Defense 18'' heavy profile 1/7 twist. Coyotes beware!

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