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Q:
I'm having a real problem with copper fouling in my rifle barrels. I've tried lots of different solvents and techniques, but nothing seems to stand out as being better than anything else. What's the best way to get rid of copper fouling?

Question by henson270. Uploaded on August 13, 2010

Answers (17)

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from mesarich wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Have you tried WD40? Works for me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from furbuster wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

You might try moly coating.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Moly coating will just "asphault pave" your barrel. Have you noticed the moly hype is gone?

Barnes CR 10 will if used according to directions remove any copper fouling out there. Your barrel may be so copper fouled that cleaning will take longer than average. Shooting copper bullets through a fouled barrel will virtually sleeve the barrel in copper and make cleaning far more difficult.

Dave Petzel gave a very good cleaning primer on this very site a while back. Check out the archives. If you can't find it, ask him in his next thread and I'm sure he'll repeat it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Proverbs wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Elbow grease.

And go after the copper at least every 100 rounds. Don't wait too long, or it becomes REAL work.

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from Sarge01 wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Kroil works well for me along with elbow grease and a good brush.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

What kind of bullets are you using? This makes a bit of difference in cleaning up a barrel. Often riflemen think they have a clean rifle, but have never used serious copper solvents, consequently the copper builds without notice. There are many good brands, but the copper removal may require a lot of time and sweat. Sweet's is a very serious copper solvent and requires careful use. It can take the finish off a wooden stock with the blink of an eye if you are not careful. It may cause damage to a barrel and metal working part if you do not follow their instructions, but will take copper out of your barrel. Don't leave it working for extended time periods.

I agree with Beekeeper, check Petzal's blog on rifle cleaning.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

I second that Barnes CR 10 is a good choice as no doubt the people at Barnes know as much about copper as anyone. Montana X-treme works for me as well. Additionally I wonder about the original roughness of your bore plus your choice of bullets. Once you remove the copper fouling perhaps you should look at smoothing the interior of your barrel and may consider alternate bullet choices. I have heard that David Tubb's barrel conditioning kit is a good choice but have never personally used it. You possibly might need to back off a bit on your velocity if you handload. These suggestions might help, might not.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

You can use Sweets or Hoppes copper, I use the Hoppes because if you leave the Sweets in your gun it will eat your rifleling away in about 20min.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

I clean mine with Barnes CR-10 followed by Hoppes Bench Rest Copper Solvent, followed by Hoppes No. 9!

Hoppe's Bench Rest No 9 may be left in overnight per hte directions. My 7mm Weatherby is marinating in some BR No. 9 right now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Montana X-treme, Sweet's, and Hunter's Extreme Copper-Melt (not sure if it is available anymore) work well for me. Also try J-B Bore Cleaning Compound from Brownell's.

If it is really bad you can get an Outer's Foul Out system.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

If mine gets real bad which I don't let it get that way any more I still use JB Bore Cleaner along with Kroil. Seems to work very well. Most everything takes elbow grease. I don't really like to use Sweets because it is too extreme.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

A lot of fine advice here. I had no idea there were so many options. I always used Hoppes #9 and sometimes a lot of elbow grease is necessary. I don't use brushes anymore. No reason, I just don't However, I make sure the rag is as tight as I can get it. I rarely shoot enough to foul the barrel but lightly so once a year usually does me fine.

Hoppes #9 and a good tight rag will clean my shotgun barrel with two swipes after several trips out and lots of shooting.

I shoot copper clad shot Federals when pheasant hunting. I haven't noticed the barrel getting mucked up but the action sure gets messy. I like those rounds but they are dirty.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from AlaskanExile wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Barnes CR-10, Butch's Bore Shine, or Montana X-treme work well, but follow the directions exactly. Use a brush. I use the Butch's primarily, mostly because I bought a giant jug of it years ago, and a little goes a long way.
The thing to remember is that the main chemical in all of these is ammonia, so one is about as good as another.
If it's really bad use some JB Bore cleaner, over time that will really smooth out your barrel, as it is paste with a mild abrasive.

G.David Tubb (World-Class High Power rifle competitor) makes some bullets to reload in your cases that have progressivly finer grit coated on the bullets. You reload in per the directions and shoot the 5 grittiest, then clean, then the next five etc. Supposedly this will "fire-lap" the throat and bore and possibly smooth out the rough spots making it less likley to foul. It's easily less than $100 from Midway, could save you a lot of trouble, and a lot cheaper than a re-barrel.
AKX

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

Use J & B bore paste and Barnes CR 10 or Sweets to clean your barrel until there is absolutely no fowling left. You will know when the patches come out snowy white. Next coat the bore with Ultraborecoat the directions come with the bottle. After that you can clean with nothing but patches and solvent. I use this stuff in Rifles, Muzzleloaders, handguns and shotguns. It has been tested by John Barsness and he recommends it too. This is a ceramic based liquid that leaves a fine film that is thinner than a human hair in your bore. It seals tiny hairline cracks that collect copper and lead greatly reducing fowling. You can get ultraborecoat at Mack's Prairie Wings and soon at Cabelas. UBC will not make your rifle more accurate or add velocity. It just makes cleaning easier, and it gets better as you fire more ammo because the heat and pressure of firing cures the bore. If your bore is extremely rough this will help but not eliminate fouling.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

From Lilja's website:

Q. What does Lilja Rifle Barrels think of the use of bore solvents with ammonia?

A. While we're aware of "bad press" associated with the use of cleaners with ammonia as part of the solution, we have never seen any damage in one of our barrels caused by the use of ammonia. The rumor is that copper-removing cleaners with ammonia will pit and damage the interior surface of a barrel. Ammonia is very effective as a copper remover. We use solvents, such as Butch's Bore Shine, to remove copper during the break-in. We routinely leave Butch's solution in the barrel over night too. Again, I repeat, we have never seen a problem with ammonia in the concentrations found in commercial cleaners, in either our chrome-moly or stainless steel barrels. This includes examination with our borescope.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BCfromCan wrote 3 years 19 weeks ago

I started using a product called Wipe-Out

http://www.sharpshootr.com/wipeout.htm

I previously used Hoppe's Copper solvent and thought I was doing a good job, but when I first used Wipe-Out I got a huge amount of crap -copper, lead and carbon- out of my barrel. I thought about using Barnes CR 10 when I started using Barnes copper bullets, but when I read the directions on the web site it said not to leave in the barrel for more than 15 minutes and I wondered how safe that would be on my rifle...not just the barrel,but other parts I might accidentally spill the product on. Wipe-Out is designed to be left in for an hour or even overnight for heavily soiled firearms. Best of all it is intended to be brushless. As they point out in their website, how can shoving a metal scrubber through your barrel over and over be good for it?
Anyway, look at their website and try it. I am very happy with it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from New Age Bubba wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Phil Petzal wrote an article on this subject some time ago and recommended a product: J&B something or other. I bought a jar and believe it saved my new rifle's stainless bore as it was fouling and accuracy suffered. It comes in a jar and looks like a paste, and is a pain in the a** to use, but works fine and is not terribly abrasive according to PP.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post an Answer

from ishawooa wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

I second that Barnes CR 10 is a good choice as no doubt the people at Barnes know as much about copper as anyone. Montana X-treme works for me as well. Additionally I wonder about the original roughness of your bore plus your choice of bullets. Once you remove the copper fouling perhaps you should look at smoothing the interior of your barrel and may consider alternate bullet choices. I have heard that David Tubb's barrel conditioning kit is a good choice but have never personally used it. You possibly might need to back off a bit on your velocity if you handload. These suggestions might help, might not.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from mesarich wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Have you tried WD40? Works for me.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Moly coating will just "asphault pave" your barrel. Have you noticed the moly hype is gone?

Barnes CR 10 will if used according to directions remove any copper fouling out there. Your barrel may be so copper fouled that cleaning will take longer than average. Shooting copper bullets through a fouled barrel will virtually sleeve the barrel in copper and make cleaning far more difficult.

Dave Petzel gave a very good cleaning primer on this very site a while back. Check out the archives. If you can't find it, ask him in his next thread and I'm sure he'll repeat it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

What kind of bullets are you using? This makes a bit of difference in cleaning up a barrel. Often riflemen think they have a clean rifle, but have never used serious copper solvents, consequently the copper builds without notice. There are many good brands, but the copper removal may require a lot of time and sweat. Sweet's is a very serious copper solvent and requires careful use. It can take the finish off a wooden stock with the blink of an eye if you are not careful. It may cause damage to a barrel and metal working part if you do not follow their instructions, but will take copper out of your barrel. Don't leave it working for extended time periods.

I agree with Beekeeper, check Petzal's blog on rifle cleaning.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

You can use Sweets or Hoppes copper, I use the Hoppes because if you leave the Sweets in your gun it will eat your rifleling away in about 20min.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

Use J & B bore paste and Barnes CR 10 or Sweets to clean your barrel until there is absolutely no fowling left. You will know when the patches come out snowy white. Next coat the bore with Ultraborecoat the directions come with the bottle. After that you can clean with nothing but patches and solvent. I use this stuff in Rifles, Muzzleloaders, handguns and shotguns. It has been tested by John Barsness and he recommends it too. This is a ceramic based liquid that leaves a fine film that is thinner than a human hair in your bore. It seals tiny hairline cracks that collect copper and lead greatly reducing fowling. You can get ultraborecoat at Mack's Prairie Wings and soon at Cabelas. UBC will not make your rifle more accurate or add velocity. It just makes cleaning easier, and it gets better as you fire more ammo because the heat and pressure of firing cures the bore. If your bore is extremely rough this will help but not eliminate fouling.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from furbuster wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

You might try moly coating.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Proverbs wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Elbow grease.

And go after the copper at least every 100 rounds. Don't wait too long, or it becomes REAL work.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Kroil works well for me along with elbow grease and a good brush.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

I clean mine with Barnes CR-10 followed by Hoppes Bench Rest Copper Solvent, followed by Hoppes No. 9!

Hoppe's Bench Rest No 9 may be left in overnight per hte directions. My 7mm Weatherby is marinating in some BR No. 9 right now.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Montana X-treme, Sweet's, and Hunter's Extreme Copper-Melt (not sure if it is available anymore) work well for me. Also try J-B Bore Cleaning Compound from Brownell's.

If it is really bad you can get an Outer's Foul Out system.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sarge01 wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

If mine gets real bad which I don't let it get that way any more I still use JB Bore Cleaner along with Kroil. Seems to work very well. Most everything takes elbow grease. I don't really like to use Sweets because it is too extreme.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

A lot of fine advice here. I had no idea there were so many options. I always used Hoppes #9 and sometimes a lot of elbow grease is necessary. I don't use brushes anymore. No reason, I just don't However, I make sure the rag is as tight as I can get it. I rarely shoot enough to foul the barrel but lightly so once a year usually does me fine.

Hoppes #9 and a good tight rag will clean my shotgun barrel with two swipes after several trips out and lots of shooting.

I shoot copper clad shot Federals when pheasant hunting. I haven't noticed the barrel getting mucked up but the action sure gets messy. I like those rounds but they are dirty.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from AlaskanExile wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Barnes CR-10, Butch's Bore Shine, or Montana X-treme work well, but follow the directions exactly. Use a brush. I use the Butch's primarily, mostly because I bought a giant jug of it years ago, and a little goes a long way.
The thing to remember is that the main chemical in all of these is ammonia, so one is about as good as another.
If it's really bad use some JB Bore cleaner, over time that will really smooth out your barrel, as it is paste with a mild abrasive.

G.David Tubb (World-Class High Power rifle competitor) makes some bullets to reload in your cases that have progressivly finer grit coated on the bullets. You reload in per the directions and shoot the 5 grittiest, then clean, then the next five etc. Supposedly this will "fire-lap" the throat and bore and possibly smooth out the rough spots making it less likley to foul. It's easily less than $100 from Midway, could save you a lot of trouble, and a lot cheaper than a re-barrel.
AKX

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

From Lilja's website:

Q. What does Lilja Rifle Barrels think of the use of bore solvents with ammonia?

A. While we're aware of "bad press" associated with the use of cleaners with ammonia as part of the solution, we have never seen any damage in one of our barrels caused by the use of ammonia. The rumor is that copper-removing cleaners with ammonia will pit and damage the interior surface of a barrel. Ammonia is very effective as a copper remover. We use solvents, such as Butch's Bore Shine, to remove copper during the break-in. We routinely leave Butch's solution in the barrel over night too. Again, I repeat, we have never seen a problem with ammonia in the concentrations found in commercial cleaners, in either our chrome-moly or stainless steel barrels. This includes examination with our borescope.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BCfromCan wrote 3 years 19 weeks ago

I started using a product called Wipe-Out

http://www.sharpshootr.com/wipeout.htm

I previously used Hoppe's Copper solvent and thought I was doing a good job, but when I first used Wipe-Out I got a huge amount of crap -copper, lead and carbon- out of my barrel. I thought about using Barnes CR 10 when I started using Barnes copper bullets, but when I read the directions on the web site it said not to leave in the barrel for more than 15 minutes and I wondered how safe that would be on my rifle...not just the barrel,but other parts I might accidentally spill the product on. Wipe-Out is designed to be left in for an hour or even overnight for heavily soiled firearms. Best of all it is intended to be brushless. As they point out in their website, how can shoving a metal scrubber through your barrel over and over be good for it?
Anyway, look at their website and try it. I am very happy with it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from New Age Bubba wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Phil Petzal wrote an article on this subject some time ago and recommended a product: J&B something or other. I bought a jar and believe it saved my new rifle's stainless bore as it was fouling and accuracy suffered. It comes in a jar and looks like a paste, and is a pain in the a** to use, but works fine and is not terribly abrasive according to PP.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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