Bore cleaning older rifles


Jan 5, 2009
With the recent acquisition of a Teslong borescope, I realize my cleaning methods and materials weren't really getting it done. With all the new cleaning agents, I'm curious what others are using and doing - particularly for older guns that show both some copper and carbon. Recently I used Boretech Eliminator, patches, and non-metal brushes. I have from the old days J-B bore paste and bore shine. Anything new and amazing, or suggestions on using what I've got? Thanks. EE2
Love the idea of a bore scope to verify.

I will put a patch soaked with Hoppes or Sweets(copper solvent) on a brass brush.

Nothing new from a cleaning agent, but the method works great. I tend to use old brushes as getting the patch off it is only 90% successful.

Two weeks ago did a 99f that used to shoot clover leafs at a 100 that couldn’t do 6” at 50. We got it down to 1.25inch at 50. He was satisfied. I really wanted to take it home and do it proper.

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I Soak the bore in Wipe Out, usually overnight, dose it again, and then push a patch cover brush through the bore if I think its really tough. Repeat as needed, works for me, dosent stink up the house. CL
I'm partial to BT Eliminator for a one dose, do-all general purpose cleaner. Their copper and carbon specific products are supposed to be really good, too...I've also had a lot of success with KG products (The KG carbon remover helped me with a carbon ring in a Tikka 270 WSM that was a real bear to remove) and Pro Shot IV copper cleaner..Can't leave wipe-out off the list, either! Nowadays it really comes down to your preferred cleaning method, and what your nose likes best (Citrus, Ammonia, or Windex smells)
I suppose that didn't help narrow things down, did it? :?
Gun cleaning seems to be an art as well as a science, especially with an old gun.

Taking a hint from a magazine article that there can be layers of powder and copper. Using a copper solvent back and forth with powder solvent can maybe get more of the crud out.

Using Hoppes Benchrest (copper cleaner) until no blue and not much powder showed on a patch followed with Barnes CR-10 resulted in a nice blue patch. Go figure because I have had the exact opposite occur when starting with CR-10.

In the end I think a combination of chemical and mechanical (JB Bore Paste) is the way to go, but I continue to learn from the community and surely always well.
For many years I used plain old Shooters Choice with one piece coated rods & an O ring boreguide. Patch goes thru once from the breech (where possible) & drops off. Every 20 rounds or so 2 wet patch, wet tight bronze brush at least 10 strokes, 3 wet patch, soak 15 minutes or as long as a day or 2, 2 dry patch. Repeat as necessary. I learned this method from Wally Hart in one of our conversations. In later years I started adding Kroil to the SC & leaving the bore wet. Muzzle down. Premium barrels are easier to keep clean but the same process works. Dont forget to dry your chamber. I use a boremop damp with Brake Kleen, but alcohol should work. A new borescope showed this method was working well.

When I had the shop any used gun traded or bought was cleaned with the above method until it was clean. Sometimes it took a week of this to get down to clean metal & killing a brush or two while watching the copper streaks at the muzzle. Sweets was a last resort. JB was more of a last resort. There was noticeable improvement in accuracy with most of these rifles.

Soon after the borescope came I tried Patch-out & its associated products. 2 wet patches, wet brush for 10 strokes with a drop or 2 of accelerator on about the 7th, overnight soak, & 2 dry patches. Lately 1 dry & 1 Kroil patch before storing muzzle down. It takes time for the chemicals to work, but it's usually once & done. There is some Boretech on the way for a comparison test. I still use bronze brushes with the new chemical cleaners only because there are dozens in bags that were paid for a long time ago. A spritz of brake kleen after use seems to make them last longer & they dont seem to need to fit as tightly with the new cleaners.

It may be my imagination but after removing all copper & carbon it seems that at least some of my rifles take a while to really settle down beyond the usual 2 fouling shots so am starting to go back to Shooters Choice for regular duty & will use the newer stuff for copper & carbon when indicated. Maybe every 100 rounds? Maybe more? The proof is on the paper.

As with everything else, your mileage may vary.
Thanks for all the information, everyone. I did order the other two Boretech products - copper and carbon specific. Not sure what they've got that Eliminator doesn't, maybe just more concentrated, I will try them anyway. I'm not in desperation mode with any of my barrels, but curious and wanting cleaner. Needing to get shooting a couple of them soon. EE2
Have been using Wipeout for a number of years now and I find that it works exceptional well.
A few years ago I cleaned a fellows rifle that had not been cleaned for many years and it took me 4 evenings of Wipeout before I finished it off with Butch's Bore Shine (y).
He exclusively shot Barnes and Berger out of his 7mm mag.

Little late to the party...

The Bore-Tech products should work well for you, EE2, but you might find some bullets / fouling that it just doesn't attack with vigor. If you see that, I would try KG-12 for copper and Ballistol as general purpose cleaner. Wipe-Out or Patch-Out are also great cleaners.

I've had very good luck with leaving straight Ballistol in bores for months and brushing the bore once or twice a month to agitate and cut through what the Ballistol has softened / dissolved - I had an old MilSurp that I had worked on daily for a month with little to show for it and the straight Ballistol route worked great on it.

I prefer to use bronze brushes when needed, the plastic ones above 7mm tend to be a bit wimpy and not rigid enough to really clean out the lands in my personal opinion. I use plastic brushes in smaller bores like 22LR and 5.56 as the bristles are a lot shorter and thus stiffer.

For some insight into my above thoughts: I'm with Cloverleaf, Hunter24605 and Sask Boy when it comes to deeper copper cleaning. For deep cleaning (about once a year on my high use rifles - 150-250 rounds) I use Wipe-Out or Patchout and I'll leave it in the bore overnight or for a few days and then patch it out and leave Hoppes in for long term storage. I think they and the Bore-Tech products work via kelation, as they don't cleanup all jacket compositions. I've found M-Pro7 Copper remover gets the copper compositions that Wipe-Out and Patch-Out don't attack, it also works via kelation but attacks a different part of the jacket chemical mix. I have some KG-12 if I ever get a really nasty copper mine. I don't use anything with Ammonia in it...

358 WCF has good advice and like him for normal cleaning after a range session, I'll use an older general purpose cleaner. For me I use Hoppes #9 or Ballistol and I'll likewise leave them in the bore at least over-night, but usually a few days or even months with Ballistol to allow them time to work. The issue with straight Ballistol is it gels up over time and it really needs agitation to cut through the crud its already softened / dissolved into the gel.