Break in and Cleaning
The age old question, “Breaking in the New Barrel”. Opinions very a lot here, and this is a very subjective topic. For the most part, the only thing you are breaking in, is the throat area of the barrel. The nicer the finish that the Finish Reamer or Throating Reamer leaves, the faster the throat will break in.
Shoot one round and clean for the first two rounds individually. Look to see what the barrel is telling you. If I’m getting little to no copper out of it, I sit down and shoot the gun. Say 4 – 5 round groups and then clean. If the barrel cleans easily and shoots well, we consider it done.
If the barrel shows some copper or is taking a little longer to clean after the first two, shoot a group of 3 rounds and clean. Then a group of 5 and clean.
After you shoot the 3rd group and 5th group, watch how long it takes to clean. Also notice your group sizes. If the group sizes are good and the cleaning is getting easier or is staying the same, then shoot 4 – 5 round groups.
If fouling appears to be heavy and taking a while to clean, notice your group sizes. If group sizes are good and not going sour, you don’t have a fouling problem. Some barrels will clean easier than others. Some barrels may take a little longer to break in. Remember the throat. Fouling can start all the way from here. We have noticed sometimes that even up to approximately 100 rounds, a barrel can show signs of a lot of copper, but it still shoots really well and then for no apparent reason, you will notice little to no copper and it will clean really easy.
This is meant as guide lines only. There is no hard and fast rule for breaking in a barrel.
Always use a good quality, 1 piece cleaning rod (such as Dewey, Boretech, etc…). Always use a bore guide. Whether cleaning a bolt action rifle or a semi-auto, good bore guides cleaning rods are available from a number of sources (such as Sinclair International, Champions Choice, Brownell’s, etc…).
We prefer to use the Parker-Hale type cleaning Jags. Cut your patches to the proper size. If the patch squeaks going down the barrel, it is to tight. Roll your patches around the jag tip like a cigarette. This gives an even patch versus poking the patch in the center. When you use the latter method the patch doesn’t fold evenly. Using the first method of rolling the patch, gives you more surface area and keeps the tip of the cleaning rod centered going down the barrel.
If you use a brush, we recommend one caliber smaller or an old worn out one. Roll a patch around the brush. Always push the brush, Breech to Muzzle. Remove the brush before pulling your rod back through! NEVER pull the brush back over the crown. More damage to a good barrel is done from cleaning than actual shooting. The first to suffer is the crown. The crown is the last thing the bullet touches when it leaves the gun. Any damage here affects accuracy no matter what.
- Good 1 piece quality cleaning rod.
- Bore guide
- Nice cotton patches
- Don’t drag the brush back over the crown!
- Never mix your solvents! Either in a jar or in the barrel, unless you are a chemist and know how they are going to react with one another and with the steel. Play it Safe.
Good Luck and Good Shooting!