Gun Solvent and Bore Cleaning


Gun Solvent and Bore Cleaning

Since we recently discussed the merits and purposes of gun oil, we thought it only right to follow up with an equal discussion on gun solvents. More importantly we wanted to share some critical tips that really make cleaning a gun bore after a shooting session much easier.

Gun solvent is of course a chemical or mixture of substances designed to clean firearm barrels, cylinders, and actions of powder fouling, metal and lead from bore rifling including copper or other bullet jacket material fouling. Most of these chemicals not only help loosen these fouling materials, but in some cases it actually dissolves it.

One might think then that gun solvents could be pretty harsh chemicals, and you would be right. First off, they are usually high flammable and should never be used anywhere close to any kind of an open fire or flame. They should be used in well ventilated areas. Prolonged contact with skin or eyes must be avoided. Avoid breathing these materials. Use solvents with caution. Use of chemical resistant gloves recommended.

Gun solvents can be comprised of any number of ingredients. Some of these include kerosene, surfactants or caustic soaps, ammonia, potassium, ethylene glycol, N-butyl ether and other substances. Remember, gun solvents are intended to remove metallic and powder fouling that has sometimes been allowed to sit and harden for extended periods of time after many shooting sessions.

The key to any gun solvent working well is to allow it to sit for a short time. Using a clean bore patch and rod, soak the patch in solvent. Run the patch down the bore fully coating the rifling. Then allow the solvent to sit for 10-15 minutes to help soften the fouling materials. Then remove the solvent with a series of clean well-fitting patches by pushing the dirty patches out the muzzle from the breech end if possible. Repeat several times.

If the last patch out continues to show signs of black, greenish, or copper colored fouling, then use a brass brush dipped in solvent to scrub the barrel. Carefully and slowly work the brush back and forth a dozen or more times for a really badly fouled bore. Allow this to sit for a few minutes, then repeat with the patches until clean. Repeat the whole process if necessary.

Once clean, follow up with a final patch of gun oil to coat and protect the gun’s bore. Clean everything up and wash your hands thoroughly. Dispose of all the dirty patches appropriately.

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Award winning outdoor writer/photographer since 1978. Over 3000 articles and columns published nationally. Field & Stream Hero of Conservation in 2007. Fields of writing includes hunting most game in American, Canada, and Europe, fishing fresh and saltwater, destination travel, product reviews, industry consulting, and conservation issues. Currently VP at largest community college in Mississippi in economic development and workforce training with 40 years of experience in Higher Education. BS-MS in wildlife sciences from MO. University, and then a PhD in Industrial Psychology. Married with two children and Molly the Schnoodle.

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