Muzzle Crown Protection
Dr. John Woods 10.15.17
A firearm’s muzzle crown is one of its most critical components. Why? Because it is the final exit point of the bullet from the barrel. At that point, everything has to be as nearly perfect as possible. Any deformity, chip, notch, scratch, or abrasion can cause the bullet’s flight to be erratic to some degree (sometimes extreme). The crown must be protected at all costs.
It seems ironic that most crown damage comes from the owner not using proper care when cleaning the barrel. Ideally, every gun should be cleaned from the breech (or rear) end, pushing the cleaning rod down the barrel and out the muzzle, then not dragging the jag or patch back through the barrel. Just remove the dirty patch and ease the rod back out.
What often happens, especially when using a cheap rod, is that the cleaning patch tip does not fit precisely in the end of the cleaning rod. This leaves a bit of a sharp edge exposed at the tip of the rod. When the rod is then inserted into the muzzle, that exposed edge can mar the end of the rifling right at the crown. That’s all it takes.
Likewise a 2-or 3-piece segmented cleaning rod can also scratch or mar the crown as the segment joints contact it. This is a clear argument for the use of one-piece gun cleaning rods. Good ones are expensive, but ruining a barrel is too.
I realize that some guns cannot be cleaned with a cleaning rod insertion. For example, a semi-auto hunting rifle like the old popular Remington 742. Just put one cleaning patch on the patch holder. Using your thumb and forefinger, ease the rod tip into the barrel, slowing guiding the patch in. Then slowly pass the patch through and remove the dirty patch in the open action before carefully drawing the rod back out.
Today, there are also flexible cleaning rods made of plastic-coated heavy wire or cable that can be fed through the open action of a semi-auto rifle. Handguns can be cleaned this way, too.
Another tip for in the field hunting is to stick a piece of black electrical tape over the gun’s muzzle to keep moisture and debris out of the barrel.