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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am now rethinking my rifle cleaning applications and this is what I found or other words this is the first in a series of The Carbon War Chronicles.

One of my target rifles I haven’t fired since 2005 was pulled out and given a once over to see how it is doing and in my gauging now I have added a muzzle gage (got it from CMP) and I inserted the gage in the muzzle and saw it went in a bit far so I put the borescope in and to my shock I saw a ridge of metal build up about 3/8” down inside barrel with a copper build up on it. I remembered last couple of times I shot it that the rifle was not up to par at 600 and this explained it so I decided to whack off 3/8” and get down below the damaged area.

Got it whacked off with cut off saw and started to insert in back of lathe and it there wasn’t enough room to get barrel in back of headstock with action still on so I looked at log book and it had 2800+ rounds on it and the borescope showed it was starting to get tired so I screwed the barrel off and cut off the barrel threads which is known as a “set back”. After rethreading and rechambering it was put back on.

Barrels get most of their wear in the throat about ¼” to ½” forward of the chamber so whacking off ¾” (length of the action threads) will get you into not new but nearly new rifling and remove the effects of high pressure flame erosion.

For years I have liked 26” barrel length to give me good sight separation for shooting long range. Target shooters well know the longer the barrel the further the iron sights are apart and the ability to aim is enhanced with a longer sight radius. This is why you don’t see many guys after age 40 shooting service rifle, especially the AR variety because the older shooter’s eyes won’t accommodate looking close and distant as well as younger shooters eyes will.

Bottom line here is service rifle is a young man’s game but the good news is the NRA Highpower Rules have been changed to allow one corrective lens to be used in rear aperture of a service rifle.

OK back to the set back barrel. To increase sight distance devices known as bloop tubes were developed by an innovative shooter named Scott Medesha which initially consisted of a machined block of aluminum and half of it clamped on the muzzle that was altered to remove taper and give cylinder dimensions about last 2” of barrel.

In the other end of the block a piece of aluminum tubing is inserted which in effect does not lengthen the barrel but the distance between the sights can be enhanced up to a foot. Cap Screws pull the block (slotted in bottom) together and it holds the sight radius extension as the front sight is then placed on front of the tube.

I did not need a foot so I turned the muzzle to .850 and got a piece of stainless steel pipe about 3” long and bored the inside of it to .850”. I drilled and tapped the pipe for the front sight base and then I carefully fitted them together so the front sight was vertical and when it was right tapped it home so now I have a .850” hole at front of barrel and a slightly longer sight radius.
I fired it 20 rounds and the interference fit remained snug and did not move and after confirming the front sight was in the right place I drilled a hole through pipe and into barrel and put a set screw in.


I rechambered the rifle with the same chamber reamer it was put on with in 1990 so all my cases previously fired in first chamber fit the new chamber perfectly so I did not have to pull down the ammo I had loaded for it several years back. On each target rifle I have 200 to 500 pieces of brass that are only fired in that rifle and the boxes are identified by the serial number of the rifle to keep them segregated.

It is a very tight chamber and brass barely moves. Thusly when run into FL die the brass is barely moved returning it to reloadable dimensions. I can reload and fire brass in this chamber using LC Match cases over a hundred times by stress relieving the necks every three shots and cleaning the brass well.

THEN IT HAPPENED ! ! ! ! ! In life you think you know all the answers when you get older but next thing you know all the questions are changed ! ! ! !
It appears I have sort of created a problem in that when the bullet exits the muzzle the gases do not freely go off to wherever but they deposit carbon (our worst enemy besides politicians) on the inside of the tube and the face of the barrel. I zeroed it at 200 yards with iron sights and made an interesting discovery.

I knew that carbon got hard when it cools and never could figure out how quickly this occurred until this past week when I finished the zero session and cleaned it within a few minutes I had ER in the muzzle and the carbon came out rather quickly and easily. I figured if the carbon remained in a heated condition it would remain soft but then again the internal temp of cases run around 3000F and cooling them off to about 120F was too much to hope for. I thought I was good to go until I went to a high power match over the weekend and fired 88 rounds.

We only had three relays so the barrel never cooled off and I ran ER on a bronze brush through it about 30 passes after 66 rounds when we left the 300 yard line and went to 600 yards and shot 22 more followed by another cleaning. I estimate the barrel got to about 130-140F during the rapid fire stages and never cooled down below 115F all day.

I noted a goodly amount of carbon build up on muzzle so I left the range with a patch soaked down with ER packed in against the muzzle in what I THOUGHT would be the thing to keep the carbon wet and soft.

I got home and did not get to look at the muzzle again till Sunday afternoon and to my shock when the soaked down patch plug was removed the carbon was STILL HARD and there was build up adjacent to every groove and I inserted a scraping tool and it was too hard to scrape off. So basically the ER soaked it for 24 hours had not kept it soft.
I next tried Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor oil as I know it keeps the internal parts of my engines very clean so I soaked another rag plug with Mobil 1 and left it 6 hours and the carbon came right out with a minimal of scraping.

Went out and ran some testing and fired another 35 rounds and laid the Mobil to it again and it cleaned right up.

Bottom line here now is I will be doing more work along this line in the Carbon Wars to see which tactic works best. I also have some other stuff that is advertised to be a carbon remover and will try that as well but it is extremely expensive for a quart of it and Mobil 1 is like 6.35 a quart. I will try some other things as well but the traditional stuff has never seemed to work in the past.

Bottom line here is if carbon is this hard to remove from the muzzle you can just imagine it loading up inside the barrel round after round and that is a much longer surface to deposit on and it if builds up and packs hard at the muzzle just imagine what is happening inbore as additional rounds go downrange.
 
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My mouse gun gets a ring of carbon at the end of the neck portion of the chamber, where it steps down to the freebore diameter. Nothing I did would removed it until I tried Gunzilla, which was new on Commercial Row that year, and which the maker claimed would remove carbon. I ran a patch in and forgot about it overnight. I figured the next day I would go through my normal cleaning routine and see if there was any progress. So, I pushed a dry patch through to remove the Gunzilla to start the cleaning process, but was surprised to see black on it. I put the borescope in the chamber: clean as a whistle. The carbon ring was just gone. No scrubbing.

I had the same experience later with an 03-A3 barrel. This was an old one my dad has. It looked pretty good inside except for some discoloration in spots in the bore. I put Gunzilla in. This time it sat in a spare MTM cleaning cradle for about a month before I got back to it. When I pushed a patch through, I was dismay to see not only carbon sludge but rust. I ran a couple more wet patches and saw no more rust. The borescope showed the once good looking bore had pits. They were where the discoloration had been. Apparently the pits were old, and carbon had built up to glaze them over. The Gunzilla had caused the carbon to turn to sludge and just fall off, then loosened the rust, which it also does well. There was no visible rust in the pit bottoms. Fortunately none of the pits is near the muzzle, so the barrel still shoots OK.

I've used Slip 2000 Carbon Killer before to clean M14 gas pistons out and to get the carbon collar of the back side of Garand op-rods, but it does mark the Parkerizing or partly thins it. Gunzilla is slower acting, but does not bother the finish. I note that Boretech, which makes my favorite bore cleaner (Eliminator) now has a carbon solvent out. KG makes one, too, but I think maybe it's oriented to black powder guns. I haven't yet tried either. What's remarkable to me is the Gunzilla (a vegetable product) and Bortech products essentially are non-toxic, are biodegradable, and have no offensive odor.

Gunzilla is available in a couple of different size pump sprayers. I carry the small one to the range in my cleaning kit, and at the end of the session I tilt the muzzle down a pump a couple of squirts into the chamber and let it run down the barrel. I put in a chamber plug or a couple of big patches in the chamber, and at the muzzle a Neoprene stopper. Those are just to keep the action and gun case from picking up Gunzilla. Cleaning later becomes a breeze.

It will be interesting if it turns out Mobil 1 can really do much the same thing as the Gunzilla or other carbon softeners. As you point out, it's a fraction of the cost.
 

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I'm using three Boretech products now. The multi-purpose Eliminator is my favorite also. I was so impressed with it that I bought their specific carbon and copper killer products. The carbon product works beautifully. I thought all my guns were totally clean until the patches came out black.
 

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Is the carbon product the same odorless water-based format the Eliminator is, with the same rust inhibitors? If so, it would be a great candidate for a pump sprayer, too. Now I feel like I have to try it and compare it.

Hands down, the most dramatically effective copper solvent is KG-12, but the stuff just turns orange-tan instead of blue or green, so you never know when your done without running a different product through as an indicator. Jim Owens has been selling it, in addition to the usual sources. It will dissolve an enormous quantity of copper for its weight. I pick up a trace of ammonia scent in it, but way too little to be doing the dissolving. It's probably just acting as a surface activator for the main chemistry.
 

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The carbon product, dubbed C4 by Boretech, has a slight lemony smell to it. The bottle says 'no ammonia' and 'environmental friendly', same as the Copper product they offer. The instructions say to patch the barrel prior to shooting the rifle after cleaning. Glad I did, because more black stuff came out. By the way, I see no indication of rust inhibitors on my bottles.
 

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I've been following what you and others type Humpy. I'm not a competitive shooter though, so I guess I just don't see the trouble that you folks do!

Wondering if the "black" on the face of a revolver cylinder and at the forcing cone is carbon like you are declaring war on?

If so, it would be a good place to test some of your techniques and be able to see what happens purdy good ( without a borescope ).

If not, I'll just shut up and keep reading your threads/posts. All interesting stuff.

Cheezywan
 

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It probably applies. I'm never 100% sure until I try it, though. A good example is the crusty carbon in the bottom of primer pockets. Some of the cleaners that soften other carbon just fine, don't seem to do as much to it, leaving me to think it is black because carbon is caught up in a matrix of other residue materials. I know there is carbonate in the structure both from the primer MSDS and the fact an acid will make it fizz, which loosens the crust some. The bore of my mouse gun was never a problem to clean except that one one corner at the end of the neck portion of the chamber, until Gunzilla finally whacked it.

Bottom line, we might be dealing with more than one enemy here.
 

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Purdy limited experience with chemistry here unclenick. I remember that few molten metals will stick to it.

A "matrix of other residual materials" is going to be beyond my understanding until I learn more from those of you that do!

Copy your bottom line though. Thinking about it.

Cheezywan
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Oh yeah most definitely. The primer residue if not really cleaned will lay big chunks in barrel and when the bullet arrives will embed in jacket and engrave your barrel.

Several years ago I was doing a barrel wear study on a new barrel with a different cleaning regimen and I shot 50 rounds cleaning barrel every 12 rounds or so and as soon as I shot them I went in and loaded them. The primer material is quite soft right after it is fired and the crud comes out pretty easy. I would borescope the throat every 50 rounds a well. This did fine for about seven sessions and I had to go to town and did not load the rounds immediately.

It was several days before I loaded them and the primer crud was hard and I scraped what I could and loaded them. I fired them as before with cleaning and upon borescoping I had a gouge down the bore.

Now the rounds went from the ammo box to the chamber to the ammo box. Never touched the bench and were absolutely clean.

I borescoped more match rifles and all of them have about a dozen gouges.

Then I found out Mitchell Maxberry made the same discovery about gouges from the primer residue.

By the way the enhanced cleaning schedule was interesting. Normally on new barrels the reamer marks in the throat disappear in 100 to 150 rounds. With my enhanced cleaning schedule I still had reamer marks in throat at 800 rounds.

Now all my primer pockets are spotless as I am using stainless pins to clean the brass and this removes 100% of the primer crud and carbon from inside of case.
 

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Alright. I think I'm on the same page as you fellers then.

Primer residue is not difficult to come by. All flavors.

Can test in a test tube so as to witness what happens. Right?

Can't help but assume that I must be missing something about all of this? Most obvious difference that "I see", is that humpy and unclenick are competive shooters.

I really don't compete with anyone but me. Clean regular with common solvents and tools. I'm not sure if I have any place participating in this thread?

Feel free to tell me to PO as you need.

Cheezywan
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Cheezywan, Just because we shoot in public and don't care who beats us doesn't mean you are not "in the club" so to speak. Shooters is shooters and dirty barrels are just that, dirty. If you keep them very clean they will last much longer.

I just wish I had found this out many years ago which is why I am passing it along to you guys as I had to learn it the hard way. I was a Small Arms and Ammunition Test Director at Aberdeen Proving Ground and I learned stuff there that just is not told in books so I am passing along things here and there as I think of them.

We ran upwards of a million rounds on some testing. It was a tough dirty thankless job but someone had to do it haha.
 

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I feel honored that you think that "we" are in the same club humpy. I figure to be a student for the rest of my years.

I've got most of my firearms doing what I need them to do. My interest in your threads/posts is more about if they can do better? I want all of them to be all that they can be.

A million rounds. That is a big number to me! Very cool that you got to participate in that test. Wonder my lifetime round-count? Happens one shot at a time I guess.

Cheezywan
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Going to a match tomorrow and am going to try the Mobil 1 on the line between matches. I have some sponge material I am going to wet with Mobil 1 to keep in contact with muzzle to keep.

I have been soaking it about five days and ran a patch in tonight and got just a slight trace of black.
 

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Interesting experiment. Please keep updating.

Between this thread and your previous posts on carbon, It looks like there are worst-wear rates of fire. IIRC, you'd said some full auto barrels lasted a large number of rounds because, you hypothesized, the carbon stayed soft. Obviously if you went full auto for too long you'd burn the barrel out, and that would bring you back to short life again. Then again, the snipers and other guys with very low rates of fire and more frequent cleaning seem to get much longer life than service rifle match guns, which shoot about 40%-50% rapid fire, depending on the course of fire. So, if I have all that right about the full-auto, it should be possible to plot a curve of round-life as a function of rate of fire roughly in the shape of an "S" layed over 90°. It could be useful to know where the first dip occurs.


Cheezywan,

We're all students our whole lives long, or we're not paying attention. There is no third option. Titles like "Expert" and "Master" are always relative to perfection, which is not within the grasp of mortal man.
 

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Now all my primer pockets are spotless as I am using stainless pins to clean the brass and this removes 100% of the primer crud and carbon from inside of case.
Not sure I understand this, Humpy -- could you say more about your cleaning procedure, please?

Thanks,

The Old Guy
 

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It's done in a rotary tumbler with soapy liquid and maybe a little citric acid, using short stainless steel pins instead of the corncob or walnut media used in dry tumbling. It cleans very completely inside and out.

This outfit specializes in stainless case cleaning, but they charge twice as much for the stainless media itself as anybody else except maybe Sinclair. This place is much less expensive, but you have to buy more. This outift is a good source of citric acid powder for either stainless or ultrasonic cleaning of cases, if you want to use it. 5% by weight with water when used alone or in ultrasonic, but just a percent or two with soapy water to help keep the stainless passivated and brighten the brass a little.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)

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Thanks

Nick and Humpy, thanks to you both. I had not seen this system before.

STM's video mentions adding Dawn dish detergent to the water with the stainless pins, and that triggered a memory.

A year or so ago Veral wrote about a conversation he had with one of his customers, a long-time competition shooter, who boils his fired cases in water with Dawn, and said it leaves the primer pockets spotless.

Which makes me wonder, is it the Dawn or the stainless pins that is removing the carbon deposits? Any thoughts?

Thanks,

The Old Guy
 

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Discussion Starter #19
check out page 35 or 36. Shows pics of guy who did just that. The boiled cases were clean but not shiny and he then tumbled same cases and they became beautiful.

Seems a excellent way to PO the wife haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Sorry I missed responding to: Between this thread and your previous posts on carbon, It looks like there are worst-wear rates of fire. IIRC, you'd said some full auto barrels lasted a large number of rounds because, you hypothesized, the carbon stayed soft. Obviously if you went full auto for too long you'd burn the barrel out, and that would bring you back to short life again. Then again, the snipers and other guys with very low rates of fire and more frequent cleaning seem to get much longer life than service rifle match guns, which shoot about 40%-50% rapid fire, depending on the course of fire. So, if I have all that right about the full-auto, it should be possible to plot a curve of round-life as a function of rate of fire roughly in the shape of an "S" layed over 90°. It could be useful to know where the first dip occurs.



Full auto barrels lasting longer???? Evidently I didn't make something clear but don't remember which thread that was?????

I think it was the ammunition acceptance test barrels (Mann Design) that go 15,000 to 17,000 rounds and their whole life is spent in rapid firing ten shot strings in about 15 seconds and they are fully cleaned before another test lot is run.

The test for the Army sniper rifle was 10,000 rounds with shots fired at one minute intervals and cleaned every 25 rounds. The spec allowed for replacement of barrel and original barrel went 10,000 rounds and was still in acceptance spec. These same barrels last I heard at the Army Sniper School at Benning had passed the 15,000 round mark and still shooting acceptance accuracy. That was many years ago and I would be interested in learning how many rounds they did see before the opened up. These barrels are 5R cut rifled barrels.

For sure what we called a hot schedule was not good and in my testing of shots at 1 minute, 30 second and 15 second intervals showed erosion gage movement in as little as 30 rounds ! ! ! ! !

In the match a couple weeks ago I wished I had taken my barrel thermometer with me to see how hot my barrel got in the schedule we fired.

Maybe I will run across a good IR thermometer on ebay that I can afford and I can have something else to put in shooting stool.

Oh by the way in shooting ball propellant I have noticed the barrels get very warm on the muzzle end. Then again if the ball propellant has not been subjected to the propellent qualification testing at Aberdeen running it in your reloads may not be conducive to long barrel life as many of the ball propellant formulations are extremely rough on barrels.

For this reason the ONLY ball propellant I use is WC852 Milsurp and the lot I have was one of the cold lots that delivered acceptance velocity at a very low pressure rate. Only problem is the slow lot WC852 could only be loaded in ball ammo going in Browning MGs because using it in M1 Garand exceeded the port pressure and wrecked the gas system.

Jeff Bartlett had tons of it about 20 years ago and by the time guys found it was excellent for 6.5X284 he had run out. It was also excellent for magnums.

I doubt there will ever be any more as we don't load 30.06 at arsenals any longer.

To be sure ball propellant for the average loader that only shoots his rifle a hundred rounds a year most likely won't notice any problems. There was a industry study back in 50s I was told about when I got to the Army Small Cal Lab and basically it was determined the average deer rifle saw 200 rounds in 20 years so that was the clue for the industry to make rifles that would last not much longer than that.

An active highpower competitor will go through a barrel in two years and many change barrels at end of every season as the rate of firing won't get it through two seasons.

I have a number of rifles and I switch around and save my best tubes for Camp Perry and Regional matches. I have target rifles for the 100/200 yard walking pace matches and others for 200-600 yard matches.

1000 yard rifles will last a number of years as there aren't that many 1000 yard matches even held for most folks to get to.

I have data books on every rifle recording every round fired so I know where I am at any point in it's life.

The name of the game generally is to set them back BEFORE they go out.

With this latest set back I will probably run it rest of season just to see how the new schedule will work out in relation to seat depth.

If anyone is in to 30.06 (my favorite round) and wants to get a chamber reamer that will give phenominal case life send me a PM and I will send a chamber print. The reamer was designed by Ray Steele who was chief armorer for the Secret Service,(built all their counter sniper rifles and rilfe team rifles for years) outstanding high power/smallbore shooter and one **** of a great guy but he died two years back and I miss him. I also have similar chamber prints he designed for 308.


Now on the other end of the world are the combat rifles. 10,000 rounds is generally the bench mark for the system and 6000 rounds is the QA acceptance requirement. On the M16A2 the Marine Corps speced 12,000 rounds and they were right on rejection at 12,000 rounds. But you gotta remember acceptance is 4.5" at 100 and rejection is 7.2" at 100. Neither of which is acceptable for a target shooters requirements unless your target is a 55 gal drum ! ! ! ! !

In testing at Aberdeen we cleaned every 600 rounds or at the end of the day's firing whichever occurred first. It got to be a hectic days when ran 10,000 rounds a day but we never overheated a barrel except in the cook off testing. On the M16 it was 500 rounds in 500 seconds. That sports fans is a smoker ! !! !

Hope I cleared up any confusion I may have generated?

 
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