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To clean or not to clean?

This is a discussion on To clean or not to clean? within the Ruger Rimfires forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; The May issue of American Rifleman, in response to a reader question, stated "Quality .22 rimfire bores firing quality ammunition may truly never need to ...


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Clean bore after every use 42 97.67%
Never clean the bore 1 2.33%
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Old May 9th, 2017, 03:43 AM   #1
 
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To clean or not to clean?

The May issue of American Rifleman, in response to a reader question, stated

"Quality .22 rimfire bores firing quality ammunition may truly never need to be cleaned. The only reason requiring cleaning is a build-up of lead fouling."

Given I clean my guns (including bores) after every range session I found this surprising. Anyone agree or disagree with the above?



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Old May 9th, 2017, 03:59 AM   #2
 
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I don't clean my 22 or 17 WSM after each outing. Every few outings I'll run a bore snake through them.

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Old May 9th, 2017, 04:06 AM   #3
 
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Many years ago, I purchased a Marlin 22mag. It had a sticker on it stating "Do not clean this gun." The accuracy on this gun was outstanding, I could hit a dime sized target at 50 yards all day long. After about 200 rounds fired through this gun, I cleaned it. Upon shooting this gun again, I was only able to get one-and-a-half inch groups at 50 yards! Since then I have shot at least 500 rounds through it and it is now approaching it's original accuracy. I don't shoot as well as years ago, so it may be me too. The gun also had a sticker on it, "Inspected by Steve". I guess I should have listened to Steve.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 04:18 AM   #4
 
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Probably not as much of a problem on a bolt rifle, but the chamber on a semi auto will eventually develop a carbon ring which could affect cycling. I always clean any firearm after I shoot it, but you could probably get by with just cleaning the chamber and running a dry patch through the bore now and then. Maybe wipe off the bolt face too.

IMO, if you don't ever clean a firearm, eventually you are going to have problems. What about lube? Do you just keep putting new lube onto the carbon and grit built up in the receiver and on the bolt?
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Old May 9th, 2017, 04:38 AM   #5
 
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On my 22's I clean the receiver group every few outings but only hit the barrel a few times a year. On the other hand my CCW's get a full and detailed cleaning once a week. I feel its probably more important to wipe them down after shooting just to insure no rust develops from fingerprints and such.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 05:11 AM   #6
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Here we go again. The never ending how often do you clean your guns thread. Clean it when it needs it. They have to be free of fouling and reasonably lubed to function. Beyond that they don't have to be squeaky clean all the time. I'm not an obsessive gun cleaner at all but even I don't believe a 22LR never needs cleaning. lf you shoot it enough without any maintenance it will eventually fail in some way. A little TLC every now and then is necessary IMO. I know the OP question was specifically about the bore but my opinion still applies.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 05:17 AM   #7
 
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I clean all the weapons I shoot after each range trip before putting away.Taught to me by my father. Stuck with me 60+ years. No gonna change my ways now.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 05:19 AM   #8
 
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I almost never clean my bolt or pump 22s .
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Old May 9th, 2017, 06:21 AM   #9
 
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Morning seatrout;

Your survey needs more choices like "none of the above" or "when needed", or occasionally", or "every 3000 rounds", or "before long term storage", or "before selling", etc.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 06:55 AM   #10
 
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I clean my 22s about every 500 rounds.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 08:49 AM   #11
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Competition rimfire shooters do not clean the bore on a rimfire unless it is absolutely needed, typically for the sake of functioning (feeding and extraction issues from residue buildup in the chamber). Target rimfire guns maintain better and more consistent accuracy with fouled bores. When one of these shooters does clean the bore on their gun, they intentionally run x number of rounds though the gun before they compete, again, to restore the gun to its previous accuracy.

On my rimfires, I do the same. For instance, depending on the ammo I use, I clean the bore on my Mark pistols every 1000 rounds for the sake of functioning. I'll also clean the bore on a gun after it's been out in a wet environment. Otherwise, in all my 40 plus years of shooting rimfire, I've never had a rimfire bore go bad from lack of cleaning. If it makes you feel better to clean the bore after every use, go for it, but you're more likely to damage the bore from frequent cleaning than by leaving it fouled and cleaning only as needed.

Your gun, your call, though.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 10:10 AM   #12
 
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There is much misinformation about cleaning of rimfires and too often I hear the "top shooters don't clean their rimfires" non-sense. I competed in rimfire benchrest for a little over 10 years. I'm in the IR50/50 Hall of Fame at the Gold (highest) level. I've won a National championship and placed in the top 10 at a world championship. I can unequivocally tell you all that ALL the top shooters will clean their custom benchrest .22s (the most accurate .22s on the planet) after every target (approx every 50 shots). They do this to prevent any lead and carbon fouling from building up in the barrel and particularly in the chamber leade area. It is true that after cleaning we have to shoot a few shots, not so much to foul the bore, but so the wax/tallow lube on the bullets are carried the full length of the bore to establish a consistent bore condition. This usually takes just 5-7 shots in a good custom barrel. My normal routine involved cleaning with wet patches, followed by several stokes with a bronze brush, a few more wet patches and then a couple dry patches. I would then fire 5 shots into the berm before going to my sighters where I would fire a few more shots to check the zero, figure out the wind conditions etc. and then go to the record targets. IR50/50 is not a group size game but a score game based on 25 targets.

So, if one is shooting tin cans, clean only to maintain function, if you are lazy and that pleases you. Accuracy will decline, but the average shooter won't notice. If precision accuracy is what you're after, shooting small groups or consistently hitting a 1/32" dot, you will clean it every 1-2 boxes of shells. As my top-flight gunsmith told me, "You can repeat clean, you can't repeat different levels of dirty." Predictability and consistency in your equipment, ammunition and sound shooting technique is how accuracy is achieved.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 10:35 AM   #13
 
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Listen to your gun.

My MKIII gets cleaned well after every range trip. It's extremely accurate from the first round. By contrast, my MKII hates a clean bore. The first 1-2 mags make patterns like a shotgun before settling into making tight groups. I've started cleaning only the chamber and breech, leaving the bore only lightly wiped without any solvent. Now it shoots well from the first round also.

Any semi-auto needs the chamber cleaned regularly. Carbon ring can form, even with regular cleaning methods. Accuracy goes out the window when it reaches a certain point. Then aggressive chamber scrubbing is called for.

The bolt should be cleaned well at least every 500 rounds. The grip frame components are cleaned at around 3000 rounds. When the mag well is grimy, the hammer and sear generally are too. Cleaning these areas is more about reliability than about accuracy though. (Don't forget to clean the mags.)
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Old May 9th, 2017, 10:54 AM   #14
 
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I clean mine after every use, every gun, every time.
that's just what I do. I like a clean gun.
but I'm not a target/match shooter. I have an American rimfire and a single ten, so they are not of the match grade variety.
maybe match grade work differently. I'm just a simple guy who enjoys plinking with the .22
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Old May 9th, 2017, 11:26 AM   #15
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In my case it doesn't matter if I fire my gun 1 time or 1,000 times during a range session, I ALWAYS strip and clean my guns when I get home. There's just something about looking down a freshly cleaned barrel that's just total eye candy to me!
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