Some days, 'Ol Carteach understands he exists solely as an example to others. On occasion, a good example, but more likely a bad one. This weekend was one of those times....
We were at the range shooting some old military boomers (7.62x54mm Mosins, if you must know), and on coming home they needed to be cleaned. Surplus military ammunition is typically quite corrosive, and a thorough cleaning is always in order.
This means pulling the bolt, naturally, and numerous trips through the bore with patch and brush. Windex to cut the corrosive salts, Hoppes to break loose the powder fouling, and Sweet's 7.62 to melt away the copper fouling. In between, a bronze brush to stir things up and let it know we were still interested.
As the pile of used and filthy patches grew, and grew, and grew..... there was plenty of time to consider other options. This thought went through the mind: "Hey, ammonia melts away copper fouling... and is also a good cleaning agent... and only costs like eight cents a gallon.... why don't I just fill the bore and let it soak a few minutes?".
Friends.... that became one of those times that Carteach takes the hit, and tries something for the team. My advice is simple.... don't do what I did. It took longer, made more of a mess, did a lousy job cleaning, and yes.... ammonia will strip stock finish very nicely, thank you.
I plugged the muzzle by simply tapping in a lead slug that was a few thousandths oversize to the bore. Sadly, I forgot that it was only the driving bands that were oversize, so it did leak a bit.
To pour the ammonia cleaner into the bore, I used a small powder funnel at the breech. This itself presented a problem, as the funnel blocked the view of the chamber, and whether or not it was full. Yes... I overfilled the bore, and yes... ammonia will soften and attack shellac, much like the hand rubbed shellac finish I had applied to this rifle's stock a few years ago.
(Not to worry, as a little alcohol and a brisk rub repaired the finish later....... Shellac can be wonderful stuff to work with.)
So.... with the bore full, and a very slow leak at the muzzle, the rifle was stood aside for a timed ten minutes. Then... more hilarity ensued. The lead slug refused to be pulled from the muzzle, and instead snapped off with the effort. That left only one choice, pushing it from the bore with a cleaning rod. Now... Archimedes was not a fool, and perhaps 'Ol Carteach should have paid closer attention to his teachings.
Dropping the cleaning rod down the barrel from the chamber end, physics took over as it always does. Dirty ammonia solution fountained from the rifle's barrel, and once again proceeded to rearrange the stock finish into new and interesting patterns. Knocking out the plug, the bore full drained, leaving behind...... a still dirty bore.
Okay, the fouling was softer and did clean out with fewer passes of the rod and brush, but all of Carteach's grand thoughts of "I'll just push all the nasty out in one swipe!" were a sham, and the whole operation ended up taking twice as long as a standard cleaning process.
There's are times when a full bore of cleaning solution may be the answer to a tough situation, or an application of electrolysis cleaning may be the way to go. That said... neither is worth doing for everyday cleaning.
Take it from 'Ol Carteach.... king of the bad examples.
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