Evil Fouling

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John Alexander posted this 4 weeks ago

I am shooting a 223R load of 6 grains of TiteGroup, WSR, LBT Blue, and 84 grain bullet and getting hard black fouling that makes the first patch with solvent hard to get through the bore.  It causes five shot groups to go from sub minute to 2-3 minutes usually by the third group but sometimes a bit later.  It comes out easily with wet patch -- brush -- dry patch and takes one fouling shot to be ready for another good group. There is no indication of true leading.  Only the tiniest flecks of lead can be seen in good light on the first patch and none later.

In last week's CBA nationals I cleaned after every target card as a stopgap measure (max of about 15 shots between bore cleaning) l think that helped get me in the money although I didn't win my class.  I hated the cleaning.  More importantly I can't believe that if those two inch fliers come at shot  # 12 or #18 that earlier shots aren't affected as well. 

I am going to shoot strings of groups with different components.  My goal is to find an accurate load that doesn't require bore cleaning. Any suggestions as to which components are less likely to foul would be appreciated.

 I know this is possible because in the early 1980 I went the whole  season a couple of times without ANY bore cleaning (2,000 -- 3,000 rounds). I know that a few others have done the same. Load was 72 grain bullet, CCI 450,and 9 grains of old first batch surplus 5744.  Even with the hot primers there were always unburned power grains but it shot well all season and a bore cleaning at the end didn't improve groups.  That ended when 5744 changed and I got hard black fouling.

Any advice is welcome.

John

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onondaga posted this 4 weeks ago

John,

My routine with Titegroup low charges in a different caliber is very different from yours. My Squirrel load for my 7.62X39 Remington Spartan single shot is a cast 90 gr Lee SWC with 2.9 g Titegroup for 1160 fps.:

Before shooting, my rifle was put away cleaned and pre-fouled with Johnson's Paste wax.  I apply the wax with a snug sweat cloth patch well waxed and 5 rod strokes distribute it evenly and thin, I leave alone till I shoot, no buffing the wax.

At the range I take no fouling shot, shoot a 5 shot group and pull through a clean dry Hoppe's BoreSnake through once,  and then once again after every 5th shot.

5 pulls when I am done shooting for the day and then at home I use 3 pumps of Hoppe's Elete, let it stand 2 minutes muzzle down in a cup then dry patch with 2 snug sweat cloth patches using 5 strokes with a rod each patch. That takes any gunk out and dries the bore with just 2 patches.  Then, with a clean patch re-apply Johnson's to pre-foul the rifle for the next session and put it back in the safe.

Maybe something in my routine would help you, but I find the TiteGroup a very clean powder in my application with no problems using my routine.

I do cut my own sweatcloth patches for a snug fit. They are a cotton/poly blend fabric I get from sweat suits at Goodwill. I cut them up with a paper cutter, 1..25X1.25" for 30 caliber. I use the same patches for .22 but cut them in half first. I use very few patches in either caliber and I don't get fliers either.

Gary

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RicinYakima posted this 4 weeks ago

John, I have not shot a lot of TG, but have used some WW231 for cast loads. Thinking outside, are you reasonable confident it is the powder fouling? Could it be carbon fouling mixed with lube? There is not a lot of gas volume being generated could it just be too much lube remaining in the bore? Ric

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John Alexander posted this 4 weeks ago

Gary and Ric,

Thanks for the suggestions.  

Maybe I should clarify my question.

Gary,  if I lived where I could still hunt squirrels I would try your wax pre-fouling technique.  Also thanks for the tip on using a papercutter to cut custom patches. Your elaborate bore maintenance procedure is very interesting but I am looking for something that is less work than a simple cleaning after every target which works well but even that is more work than I want to do and takes time during a match that could be better spent.  As mentioned, my hoped for goal is no cleaning at all and consistent accuracy.

Ric, I am not confident that the fouling is powder fouling.  It could be burnt lube or something else. But I am using only a tiny amount of lube what will fit in the gap between gas check and end of shank, none in lube groove. Maybe too little lube but accuracy seems to go down with more.  And, unless it has degraded over the last forty years, the LBT blue is the same batch I was using when I use to go 3,000 rounds between bore cleanings.

John

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Starmetal posted this 4 weeks ago

John on another forum one of the lube guru masters came up with some lube concoction that they later found left a similar hard to remove fouling such as you speak of.  I agree with you that's it's not the powder. 

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Scearcy posted this 4 weeks ago

John,

I had a very similar fouling issue when I first began working with a 243 last winter. I was using two coats of 45-45-10 at the time. I switched to Lyman moly and the issue went away. I have no idea if the issue was the type of lube( unlikely) or the amount. I am using less lube with the Lyman moly.

Jim

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

when shooting 22rf bench, i shot about a year with trying moly lube i added to the bullet ... found out best results were to add lube to every 3 shots ...incredibly small amount of moly .  also, after about 100 shots it was better if i ran a light-oil ( kroil? ... mmo ... hoppes9 ...ER ?? .) patch through to dilute even that minute amount of moly .     

the above showing the less moly i used the better it got  ... might lead to the conclusion that NONE would be best . ( heh ) .  but still i felt that that minuscule was better .  and i note that j. scearcy and joeb are  doing good things with lyman moly .

the proposed correlation here is that my moly project was to improve consistency with my flawed factory 22rf barrel ....without moly it finished from dead last to middle of the competitors.  with moly it went from middle pack to a couple 2nd places .... ( dang those better shooters ! )

i feel that factory sportsman/hunter rifles are probably in the "" slightly flawed " category ... so moly might be worth a try .   can't set back, rechamber/throat, and lap a hunting class rifle .

whatever you try, please keep us informed, i feel barrel condition explains a lot of our mysterious results . 

ken

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Eutectic posted this 4 weeks ago

John,

I think it is the powder. I have used LBT Blue for years in 308 and 30.06 and the only time I got hard black fouling was when I tried ball powders. When I switched back to extruded powders the problem went away.

I thought it was the deterrent coatings when I tried ball powders, but TiteGroup being very fast should not have much deterrent. I do not have the answer but I do not think the lube is involved and that pretty much leaves the powder.

Steve 

 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

john ... where is the " bad " spot ... i have been assuming it was at the throat or just in front .... and therefore it had something to do with throat wear ... or some kind of nick or etching ... from primers?... cleaning rod ?? .... my rant of using moly was just an idea to prolong the onset of fouling enough to get through a match .  it would be scary to replace a 223 barrel that shoots somewhere under 1 moa ...   there might not be a lot more of those out there ..... sometimes we can live with a crutch ... heh ...

in fact, if a crutch works, we call it a "" special routine "" ...

ken

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John Alexander posted this 4 weeks ago

Ken,

I don't think there is a "bad spot"  I can't see anything but an execptionly smooth and machining free throat and bore with a bore scope.  The rod with the first patch feels strong resistance near the throat but also just as much at least  half way to the muzzle.

John 

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 4 weeks ago

thanks john ... i love a good mystery ... and this one looks like a GREAT mystery ...wished you lived closer ... i would stop by and shoot up all your components until we found the culprit .  same lot of powder as usual, right ?? ...

...and remember the good news ::  we learn more from unusual results ... this could be an incredible educational opportunity !!

ken

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Starmetal posted this 4 weeks ago

John,  I forgot to mention that LBT Blue is high pressure high velocity lube and not meant of low velocity and low pressure loads, although many get away with it. Kinda of like burning premium gas in a lawn mower engine. 

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John Alexander posted this 4 weeks ago

Thanks to all who contributed ideas to this thread.  I thought that that by this time I would have had two range sessions trying out variations of components.  I do have the loads ready but have been rained out two days running.  For the high dessert here in central Oregon that is the equivalent of a 100 year storm.  I will try again on Friday when the range opens and let you know if I find anything useful.

By the way, I don't think my fouling problem is unique or even rare.  I notice that a good share of shooters at the nationals are pumping a cleaning rod after every target. I assume they aren't doing that just for the exercise. On the other hand frantic cleaning may just be to satisfy another old wives tale that we cast bullet shooters love and the kind of foulng tormenting me really is rare.

John

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OU812 posted this 4 weeks ago

John, Lately I have been applying a light coat of Lee's liquid Alox to bore ride surface of bullets after they have been seated. First I check the runout and adjust, then I apply Alox using a cleaning patch saturated with Alox. The Alox is allowed to dry over night.

I also use LBT soft lube in the lube groove.

Sometimes it can take a very long time to break in new factory barrel and make surface smooth.

I also urge you to try Linotype bullets that are properly fitted to rifling (slight engraving without being pushed back into case). The harder linotype seems to foul barrel less also (this harder alloy seems to push out powder fouling and not ride over it). Try a slower powder like 4759, 4198, 5744, R7, 748 etc with your linotype.

 

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OU812 posted this 4 weeks ago

My Remington has over 5000 rounds thru barrel and still shoots good. Bullets bore ride must be bumped to .222 so that rifling engraves bullet. I never experience fouling at the first 5 inches of barrel, it is usually 16" down barrel. Throat has also been cut using NATO reamer, this reamer cuts throat to a less abrupt 1 degree angle.

I would wrap some 0000 steel wool around bronze brush and scrub throat larger (first 5 inches, mainly first inch) using Remington bore cleaner (the one with fine abrasives added). Insert plastic coated Dewey rod at muzzle then scrub throat.  

You will also be surprised to see that rifle will still shoot jacketed bullets very well with larger throat.

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John Alexander posted this 4 weeks ago

OU812,

Thanks for all the suggestions.  I have also found that several rifles I have owned still shot JBs as well as new in spite of an enlarged throat.  I suppose there is a limit to this.  Present rifle being used has 9,500 shots through it probably 300-400 JB and the rest cast so the throat is somewhat enlarged and requires a .221+" nose for best accuracy.  

Many of the loads that caused the accuracy ruining fouling had noses coated with LLA. That didn't seem to help.  Not sure if it made fouling worse but wouldn't expect it to.

I will try linotype, and slower powders as you suggest and maybe animal sacrifice or other supernatural remedies.

I am a little surprised that others haven't confessed to accuracy degrading fouling.  If others don't experience it, what is all that bore cleaning for at every CBA match I go to.  Is it just a ritual or is it needed for best accuracy?  It must be one of the other?

John

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OU812 posted this 4 weeks ago

Most all of my testing was using softer alloys, but I never achieved consistent accuracy under 1.00 inch. The recent harder Linotype alloy test shows better results with the 70 grain SP bullet.

Fit is most important...rifling "must" engrave linotype bullet slightly and evenly all around bore ride section. My bullet bands measure .227 after bumping.

11.5 grs 4759

18.0 grs 748

12.0 grains R7 (slightly more hard fowling in barrel after ten shots)

12.0 grs IMR 4198

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OU812 posted this 4 weeks ago

I would like to add that LBT lube really works at reducing fouling, but is the bullet carrying enough lube to do its job? Maybe smearing a thin coat of LBT on bore ride section would help more. Maybe the harder LBT formula would work best with your bullet?.

I tested some bumped, water quenched hardened bullets "without" filling lube groove with LBT. I just coated the bullet with thin coat of Alox. DO NOT DO THIS...the leading and fouling was bad after just 5 shots.

Is there a formula to thin LBT so that it smears on more easily?

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John Alexander posted this 4 weeks ago

I finally got around to doing some shooting to see if substituting other components in the load I used at the nationals would result in less loss of accuracy from fouling.

 I tried two substitutions in addition to loads left over from the nationals for a control load.  In one I substituted 700X for the TiteGroup and in the other Remington 71/2 Remington small rifle benchrest primers for WSR, otherwise the loads were identical to the control load.

 I shot four 5-shot groups with each load without cleaning during the four group string. I cleaned the bore after each string of four groups and compared the average group size of the first two groups with the second two groups. Temperature was about 50 F. and the barrel was never more than slightly warm to the touch.

 The average group sizes for the first two groups after bore cleaning were .85 moa for the control load, which matched previous average group size for that load, .74moa for the 700X load, and 1.43 for the Remington primer load.

 The group size of the average of the second two groups increased for all three loads indicating that the frequent bore cleaning at the match probably helped.

 The percentage increase in group size between the average of the first two groups and the second two were 33% for the control load, 11% for both the 700X  and the Remington primer loads.  This seemed to indicate that both the 700X load and the Remington primer load fouled less.  However, the Remington primer loads were nearly twice the size of the other two.

 These preliminary results hint that 700X and possibly other similar powders may be worth trying in the search for a load that doesn’t require bore cleaning every few rounds to maintain peak accuracy.  It is going to take a lot more shooting to make progress towards an accurate load that doesn’t need frequent bore cleaning.  A tough dirty job but somebody has to do it.

 John

 

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Eutectic posted this 4 weeks ago

John,

You did not mention the Lee Liquid Alox in the first post. You have to be careful with LLA in any high pressure, high accuracy load.
LLA is made by reacting calcium hydroxide to the oxidized petroleum fraction (ALOX) making a calcium soap. While this makes LLA more heat resistant, at high enough temperature it decomposes and leaves a hard residue of calcium oxide and calcium carbonate (limestone). If you heat some LLA on aluminum foil over a candle flame you can see the residue. This is an easy way to test any lubricant for non-volatile components. 

I have seen LAA deposit in attempts to push CB's over 2500 fps in 30.06 and 308. It does not seem to happen in pistols or low velocity rifle loads. You might try smearing regular lube on the ogive, or dipping in melted lube like they do some 22 LR rounds.

 

Steve

The greatest discoveries are not accompanied by "EUREKA!', but by "gee tha'ts strange".

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Ed Harris posted this 4 weeks ago

I agree with Steve.  

While I have no recent experience with high velocity small bores, I have observed hard fouling using LLA in the .30-'06 firing the M1 Garand at around 2200 fps with IMR4064 powder.  I got much better results with 50-50 Alox-beeswax filling the grooves and wiping a thin film of JPW on the exposed bore riding portion of the bullet, and grouping appears consistent without brushing or wiping being required over 50-60 rounds firing a reduced scale National Match Course.  Cast bullets are consistently more accurate than all but the very best lots of Ball M2.

Granted, this is not a benchrest-moa capable combination, but when I can shoot 8-shot groups from a tweaked, but otherwise rack-grade CMP Garand in the 4-5" range at 200 yards, the load is working!

 

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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