Copper in barrel

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by DesertRatR, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. DesertRatR New Member

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2015
    Message Count:
    4
    I've put maybe a thousand rounds of 5.56 thru my MVP. I clean it regularly. Letely I've noticed that the patches were coming out with a greenish hue. So I got some Hoppes copper cleaner. I have been following the instructions on the bottle, and the barrel just doesn't seem to want to clean up. Is copper fouling really a problem to be concerned about?
  2. Keith Moderator

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Message Count:
    1,217
    It can be but, is your patch holder or jag brass? If so, you will get a copper indication on the patch from those since there is copper in the alloy. If you remove the bolt and look down the bore, doe it look clean and shiny?
  3. spamassassin Well-Known Member

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2014
    Message Count:
    1,148
    Copper fouling in button rifled barrels that aren't lapped is always going to be there. Stripping it out entirely would be difficult and probably bad for the barrel. Copper cleaners are corrosive to barrel steel. You should learn on on copper fouling equilibrium. TiborasaurusRex on YouTube put a really good set of videos out covering this very topic.

    is a good place to start. You should watch up to and inclusive of episode 45. It's a bit of time but you really want to understand what you're doing and why, not just go ham handing it.

    Make sure to not let copper remover stay in the barrel too long. You can and will damage it that way. Directions are a must read.
  4. Keith Moderator

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Message Count:
    1,217
    There are some copper solvents out there that do not contain ammonia, which seems to be the largest contributor to corrosion issues. It apparently has a detrimental effect on some barrel coatings as well.

    Regardless, what spamassasin says is good advice and TibrasaurusRex is a fantastic resource. He does go very in depth on things but is well worth the effort of staying focused on what he has to say. Even if the kind of shooting you plan to do is nothing close to what he or spamassasin does.


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  5. Chuck S Active Member

    Member Since:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Message Count:
    221
    We know, of course, that everyone on the Internet shoots under 1MOA daily. Match shooters still worry about fouling affecting accuracy. Unless you're handloading to under 1MOA accuracy fouling is not an issue. Recall the X-ring of the National Match target is 1MOA and I don't think there has ever been a score with all X's.

    Unless you're accuracy is suffering copper "fouling" is harmless -- and will be right back in the barrel before the next magazine down range is completed. Sixty (60) years ago copper fouling was a problem because it plated over the corrosive salts the primer left in the barrel and the barrel would be eaten underneath. Commercial ammo stopped being corrosive before WW2. Unless you're shooting some offshore ammo it's all non-corrosive these days.

    Three components of accuracy. You (the shooter), the rifle, and the ammo. You can never shoot better than the ammo no matter how clean the rifle barrel or how good you are.

    -- Chuck
  6. spamassassin Well-Known Member

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2014
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    ^^^ Pure gold there.

    I shoot most of my rifles pretty regularly and for points and bughole accuracy is on the menu. Non-competitors don't need that performance but the rule still applies. I don't clean my bores thoroughly until groups start opening up. That's usually somewhere well over 200 rounds, often 400 or more. I run a big patch into the chamber to clean it and a couple down the bore every couple hundred rounds or so with some hoppe's #9 on it and keep my action clean and greased. That's about it though. My .243AI is my newest barrel. It's got about 450 rounds through it so far. It's been deep cleaned exactly zero times and since it's printing one hole groups and SD's are single digit still, I'm not inclined to do a deep cleaning. It's had a wet patch down the bore 1 time just to get the dust out after it got particularly dirty at a match.

    A few years back I asked Black Hole Weaponry (now Columbia River Arms); they make all of my long range prone gun barrels, how they recommended breaking in and cleaning their barrels when used as I do. Their response was, paraphrased, "We just shoot the piss out of them. No break-in procedure at all. Clean it when accuracy falls off." So far I've been rewarded with great performance and consistency by following that advice. My factory MVP barrel needed quite a lot of fouling shots down the pipe before it settled down but then went hundreds of rounds between cleanings with great accuracy.
  7. Chuck S Active Member

    Member Since:
    Nov 15, 2013
    Message Count:
    221
    Agreed. If you didn't worry about the accuracy of your last shot today why clean the rifle? Accuracy will be the same tomorrow or next week. Protecting the bore against rust remains a consideration but de-coppering is rarely required.

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