Does The Amount Of Time In Between Firing And Cleaning Effect The Effort Required To Remove Lead?

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mashburn posted this 18 April 2019

When I was a youngster in college I was acquainted with a WWll fighter pilot veteran. He was a firearms and reloading fanatic He was a revolver shooter and.he shot practically everyday at his home range. He had a theory that there was a certain elapsed time between when the gun was fired and when it was cleaned that determined how easy the lead was to remove .I can't remember what the amount of time was. He had been doing this for years and years and wouldn't stray from it. Every day that he would shoot ,just like clock work when that time got there he would never miss cleaning his firearms .Getting serious about cast bullet shooting is all new to me so can any of you tell me if this theory holds any water. Now that people are aging their bullets after quenching got me to thinking that he may have been on to something. This was in about 1964. Some of you people out there let me hear your ideas about this.

Masshburn

David a. Cogburn

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JeffinNZ posted this 18 April 2019

A good load doesn't lead the bore and I seldom clean my cast bullet firearms. 

Cheers from New Zealand

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 18 April 2019

... a teensy dot ... but one of my favorite plinkers is my remmy 722 in 300 savage ...during the last 300 shots ( plinker 1300 fps with 7 gr unq, 130 gr. Badman hardball, his one groove of blue waxy lube ) before putting it up i just run an oily rag through the barrel and nothing but dust shows up.  in high humidity iowa, all outside metal gets some Fluid Film, a waxy smelly goo.  stocks get ballistol.  fungus is amungus.

with similar plinking loads i haven't scrubbed a barrel in any of my rifles for about 10 years.

tho my ruger 357 security six revolver does appreciate barrel ( leade ) attention with pb cast at 1400 fps ...

ken

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M3 Mitch posted this 18 April 2019

I have to agree with Jeff and Ken, good cast loads don't lead the bore, so I don't have much direct experience.  My 2 9mm Lugers tend to lead with the bullet I have for them, an RCBS 121 grain truncated cone design that is very close to the original Luger ammo in profile, but I am thinking it's undersized, that's why it leads. 

Anyway the idea that leading in the bore might "age harden", assuming the process of getting the lead off the bullet and stuck to the steel of the bore anneals it (that stands to reason but that's not the same thing as data) is an interesting one.  I would wonder if age hardening of leading in a bore is a "thing", does the hardening process make the leading harder (or easier) to remove?

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mashburn posted this 18 April 2019

Hello M3 Mitch,

Thanks for your response. Ideally everybody would like to have a firearm that didn't lead and it seems that there are a lot of shooters have accomplished this feat. However there are a lot of neophytes that get disgusted when they first get into the sport and quit. My revolvers lead very little but they do lead a little. I've fired them several hundred rounds since cleaning and they are still very accurate. My question  to the idea was, is there some chemical reaction taking place within a certain time that allowed them to clean easier. If you read the article by the chemist about how Blue Goo works he was explaining a chemical reaction that the goo entered with the lead fouling and does this waiting time effect how the chemicals react with the lead fouling?  .If curing a certain amount of time effects lead quenched bullets, then I could see where he possibly was on to something. I know he did it for decades and convinced a lot of revolver shooters to do the same.

When you are working on developing hunting cast loads, you are at velocities that can lead very easily. Even Frank in his speaking frankly articles discusses leading. I've been working on cast hunting loads for my big bore rifles and have some very accurate loads and am suffering from a little lead problems but not bad. As hunting rounds it would be easy to live with but I hope to solve it.

LETS HEAR FROM MORE OF YOU PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO POSSIBLY HAVE A LITTLE POSSIBLE INFO. At my age I guess I should be more concerned with erectile dysfunction than projectile dysfunction.   

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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loophole posted this 18 April 2019

fellows:  Back when I got a lot of leading it was easier to clean out of a hot barrel than one which had cooled.  Now I have learned to avoid leading  I get a few flecks if lead in revolver barrels from time to time,  but it comes out with one or two patches.  I have been shooting very soft plain base bullets in my antique 32-40 and 38-55 rifles without a trace of lead after 30 or 40 rounds.  Even with 1500-1800 loads in my o3-a3's and mod 70 Win a few gas check bullets take any lead out of the barrel.

What I want to ask those of you who don't clean after cast bullets is how you deal with the black goop in the barrel using any of the smokeless powders we ordinarily use?  Does black goop not detract from accuracy? I find it much easier to clean the fouling from black powder than using 4227, 5744, 2400, etc.  Patch after patch seems to come out black for me, even after  bronze brushes.  I use Hoppe's #9, and I've tried MR, Shooter's Choice, and a couple of other bore cleaners.  Will  Ballistol work any better?

Loophole

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Ross Smith posted this 18 April 2019

I've had some real beautes.(buttes) Leaded like you maybe can believe. It's a job no matter when. Light leading cleans easily.

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M3 Mitch posted this 19 April 2019

In my experience, after a few rounds with smokeless powder and a good-fitting, grease lubed bullet, the bore condition stops changing with time.  I figure that with bullet lube ironed onto the barrel and no corrosive or hygroscopic fouling in the barrel, I might as well leave well enough alone, just like a lot of people do with a .22 rimfire. You may have noticed the conspicuous absence of my name from the record books, so maybe at a higher level of shooting, cleaning matters.  I'm not certain.

The black fouling left by most smokeless powder is a lot of work to remove completely from a barrel, even a quite smooth one.  Thing is that I don't notice any better shooting if I remove it, and after a dozen rounds at most. the barrel is as black and sooty as after 100.

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BigMan54 posted this 19 April 2019

A couple of years ago, I got stuck with cleaning my Chiropractor Buddy's 2 RUGER Vaquero's and 94AE Trapper in .44Mag. 

I don't believe he has ever cleaned any of these guns in the 15+yrs he's been Cowboy Shooting.

WHAT A NIGHTMARE. I stripped down each gun and Used M-Pro 7 to clean them. I added a Lewis lead remover. After 2 hours I got about 90% of the lead out of the bore of the rifle. Action was clean. GEEZ I was tired. Thank the GOOD LORD I had a one piece Rig shotgun rod for those wire patches.

The Vaquero's were Worse. The previous bullet source used moly-coated lube on the Bullets. They were sized .429, so they kinda rattled down the .430bore.

After 7 1/2 hours of cleaning disassembly/reassembly,  I told my friend NEVER again. I had told him to clean the guns before he shot my bullets/ammo lubed with WLL BAC . Guess he didn't listen. But he did remark the guns seemed smoother.

So I think from my own experience, cleaning at home 15 minutes from the range seems to make cleaning a lot easier. 

Or maybe it's the ED's RED.   

Either way His next batch of ammo will be loaded with PC'ed bullets. I can hope and pray he shoots the ammo in the numbered box order.

Long time Caster/Reloader, Getting back into it after almost 10yrs. Life Member NRA 40+yrs, Life S.A.S.S. #375. Does this mean a description of me as a fumble-fingered knuckle-draggin' baboon. I also drool in my sleep. I firmly believe that true happiness is a warm gun. Did I mention how much I HATE auto-correct on this blasted tablet.

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 19 April 2019

At the police dept. range where we fired 100s of thousands rounds a year of cast bullets, it was impossible to keep leading from happening with about 6,000 different guns being fired. There was no way to match the bullet diameters. So leading was a real thing. We always suggested that the officers clean their guns before leaving the training facility. Those that didn't always failed inspection as their supervisors always knew when they had been on the range. Some however wanted to avoid cleaning their gun like they wanted to avoid STDs. Some training officers had a little side job where they would clean officer guns for a small fee. 

It didn't matter if the gun was cleaned right after shooting or days or even weeks later, the lead was easy or hard to remove depending on the gun. So I don't think a chemical reaction, my opinion. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Ross Smith posted this 19 April 2019

Just an aside here: The worst leading I ever tackled was a (my) 1873 trapdoor. My friend loaded up some smokeless trapdoor loads of 3031. The bullets were actually vaporizing before exiting the barrel. I knew 45-70's kicked so I was dumb enough to shoot three rounds. As it turned out, I pulled some bullets and weighed the powder charges, 30% over max!!!!! We found a burr on the guys powder scale that was causing erratic charge weights. The rifle held, I still shoot it. The barrel was so leaded you could not see the lands and grooves. I replaced that barrel.

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mashburn posted this 19 April 2019

Hello Out There Again,

I can't speak for strictly cast bullet accuracy with a dirty bore but I can durn sure speak for accuracy with jacketed bullets and  a dirty bore. Before I quit prairie dog shooting, and i'm still trying to figure out why I quit, I had lots of on the job training with clean and dirty guns. When we would go on a hunt I would usually take from 5-7 guns so that I wouldn't have to clean so often. I didn't want any prairie dogs to survive while I was cleaning firearms. And a point to make is I never put a brush in the bore of my good guns, I used only patches and solvent. You soon learned what kind of barrel you had. We labeled them as: foulers,semi-foulers and Non foulers.. Where we shot you were never looking for a target. When I first started prairie dog hunting I would clean after every 40 shots and then I stretched it to 50 shots and then I got smart. When I started missing 250 yard head shots I would put that one back to clean. of course the barrels were getting much smoother the more we fired them. A semifouler will often turn into a non-fouler after 1000-1200 firings. I will guarantee you that it won't take you long to see the difference in accuracy in a barrel fouled with jacket material and a clean fresh bore .In a four or five day shoot we would fire 3,000 to 3,500 rounds.

I'm paying the price now. The .17 that I'm doing the experiment with cast loads on is out in the shop now in the process of being cleaned .The last day we shot I put it up and was going to clean when I got home ,well, I just started cleaning it  today and that has been a few years. I shot it many more rounds without cleaning that day because our hunt was drawing to a close. It is a very accurate rifle but I bet it wouldn't hit the proverbial bull in the A__ in it's present condition. But  I know nothing about dirty cast rifles.

Mashburn 

.

David a. Cogburn

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BudHyett posted this 19 April 2019

Interesting discussion with many points offered. In my experience, there are too many factors to have an absolute answer. The degree of cleaning is dictated by the individual rifle and the individual bore, same as the loads. 

With .22 LR target grade barrels, I only clean when switching ammunition. Even with Eley brand, I found this to be true switching from Benchrest to Ten-X. Brush with Ed's Red, patch until the patch comes clean, five shots for conditioning the bore and then shoot for record. 

With cast bullets, I only clean after each match stage going from 100 to 200 yards and after the 200 yard match with my current traditional benchrest rifles. The military rifles show the same cleaning regimen with rifles that have been shot a lot. Rifles with newer barrels require more frequent cleaning. I have two issue Springfields that have been rebarreled and thus I know their history. 

As to the question of "ease of cleaning'', I do not believe there is an exact answer. My experience has taught me the sooner you clean, the easier to clean. Experience has also shown some lubes to be harder to extract and clean, TAURAX being my worst example. Certain brands of NRA/ALOX also seem to stick more effectively to the barrel and need more patches to have a shining bore. Ed's Red does an excellent job. I apply Kroil as a preservative when clean. 

These days, I only shoot jacketed for prairie dogs. Fifteen to twenty shots, clean while the barrel is hot. Too many prairie dogs, switch to another rifle and clean both. I may be wearing the barrels out by excessive cleaning, 

Theoretically, barrel temperature can be an influence. Every ten degree increase increase in temperature doubles the rate of reaction within a compound and this influences reactivity. Immediately after firing, the barrel is hot and the cleaning compound reacts more effectively. This is an attribute that is subjective and hard to quantify to have an objective analysis. 

Country boy from Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 19 April 2019

Although my experience to the leading issue has greater history with handguns and it differs from Bud's, his comments does bring up a thought from the back of my mind. Does the heat generated from firing raise the temperature of the lead to the point it softens it sufficiently to start the process of re-hardening over time. A theory with some value for sure. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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BudHyett posted this 20 April 2019

My thought is not only the lead, but the powder residue and the lead combined. Add to this the lube residue and you have the opportunity for forming of a type of an amalgam. Once the lead trace is positioned and held, the next shot seeks to iron it n place. Once ironed, the lead trace becomes hard to dislodge. The role of the bronze brush and solvent is to loosen the lead trace to where the solvent dissolves this amalgam and the trace is freed to be cleaned out with a patch. 

Barrel heat helps in keeping the lead trace softer and increasing the solubility of the solvent. This has to be a thought experiment because I know of no practicable way to structure an experiment to test within my budget.

Adding to the thought above, I do not use plastic wadding within a rifle barrel. The pressure and heat within the barrel with each shot is high enough to vaporize a slight amount of plastic as the bullet progresses down the bore. Plastic residue in the bore as the barrel cools hardens in its own way and will cling to the land and groove surface plus fill in the radius in the grooves. Hardened plastic is extremely resistant to any bore cleaner. 

Country boy from Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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Reeferman posted this 20 April 2019

I have a 1873 Trapdoor made in 1882 that was my grandfathers. You could hardly see any rifling at all in it. Took 6 fifty caliber brushes all the chemicals I could think of including carburetor clean and several weeks of hard work to get that barrel clean. The barrel looks like it just came from the factory with just a few small pits 8” from the muzzle that you can only see with a borescope. Slug came out at .4602” It’s a really good shooter now with the right bullet .

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bdrake71 posted this 22 April 2019

I'm of the opinion that powder residue can be more of an issue affecting the barrel condition than whether the lead residue is in for a long time.  I try to clean within a few days of my taking a rifle to the range as I've seen the condition of a friends rifle (M-N 91/30) who had shoot russian surplus ammo through it and then set it aside for a couple weeks before he went to clean it and the surface rust from the Berdan corrosive primers was just ripping his barrel apart.
Most of us don't use corrosive primers but the powder fouling is still capable of absorbing moisture so I'll continue to clean them as soon as I can after shooting them.

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M3 Mitch posted this 23 April 2019

You know, I just hate corrosive primers.  I know, I know, if you clean promptly and with a water-based cleaner, you won't have any rust.  But I have never bought any corrosive primed ammo, and would not take it for free, or if you paid me to take it.  I just don't want that stuff around.

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mashburn posted this 23 April 2019

Mitch,

I agree with you all the way. I don't want my rifles to even get close to that corrosive crap.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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Mike H posted this 23 April 2019

There are so many rifles and barrels that had a long diet of corrosive primers that are in good condition,I wouldn’t worry about corrosive primed ammunition.saying this doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t clean well after using such ammunition.In case anyone thinks I have no idea what I am talking about,I have seen too many .303 rifles here in Australia that are corroded and ruined by neglect.Ignorance is the problem not the primers.

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