One of the questions I got for “Ask Petzal” had to do with using a rod on barrels that have to be cleaned from the muzzle end. Do I give them special treatment?

And how. It takes thousands of rounds to burn out the rifling in a barrel, but if you damage the grooves and lands at the front end, you can see its accuracy vanish quickly, and there are few better ways to do this than by running a cleaning rod in and out at an angle. It has to remain centered in the bore.

Since I use a cleaning rod left-handed, I grab the muzzle with most of my right hand, leaving the thumb and index finger free. With these two digits I pinch the cleaning rod and guide it as it does the old in-out, in-out. Same thing with muzzles that have flash suppressors that don’t unscrew.

In the case of muzzles with removable brakes I always unscrew the brake and clean from the breech end. When I’m done I wipe the ugh off the threads and put a small dab of choke-tube grease on them. Those threads are machined very tight, and if you get enough gunk on them the brake can seize up on you.

If you have a rifle whose muzzle is damaged, the fix is relatively simple. A gunsmith can saw off the last fraction of an inch and re-crown it. But it will cost you money, and it’s better to take care of it in the first place.