When it’s Real Dirty

As much as we all enjoy guns and shooting, the clean up after a range session is never exactly pleasant. Even with modern solvents and tools, the residue left by shooting is difficult to remove. It’s even worse with lead bullets and a real pain when blackpowder is involved. A good bit of the gunk that is produced by the combustion of gunpowder can be at least softened and sometimes removed through the use of solvents. The old, traditional and still effective solvent is Hoppe’s No. 9, complete with that odd, banana oil smell. But when all the stuff that can be chemically removed is gone, you are stuck with the stuff that is mechanically imbedded in the barrel. This stuff has to be scraped from the bore. So what is the most efficient scraper? Long ago, old time gunsmith George Matthews introduced me to a product that is nearly miraculous. It is called Big 45 Frontier Metal Cleaner (or B45FMC for short).

The nastiest cleaning job I have ever faced came from one of those “10,000 rounds in one day” shoots of not so long ago. The gun was a brand new Sig P200 in .45 ACP and the ammo was Black Hills 230-grain ball. With a crew of a half dozen equally enthusiastic shooting buddies, we started early and ended with a barrel of brass, a great deal of interesting data and one very dirty gun. After an hour or so of conventional cleaning with bore brush, patches, tooth brushes and solvent, we had a generally clean gun, except for the ugly streaks of plated-on fouling down the bottom of every groove in the bore. It had been deposited on that good Sig bore by 10,000 fast shots, along with heat and pressure, and it wasn’t coming out.

Then I remember that I had some B45FMC on hand. Using this product, it took about 10 minutes to restore that bore to better than new condition. I can say that because I had a Ransom Rest 10-shot group fired at the beginning of the shoot and another after the cleanup. The latter had a visibly different size. This product looks like a hardware store pot scrubber with tight coils of thin metal. You use it by snipping off two or three strands about two inches long, then winding them into the bristles of a bore brush. Put this on a rod and go to town—everything comes out. 

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2 Responses to When it’s Real Dirty

rsoMark wrote:
August 12, 2012

I'm constantly battling leading in my .357 Mag. bore, despite hand loading to various velocities with various bullets available on the market. I've found two helpful items similar to the B45 for the task: "Chore Boy" copper scrub pads, and simple 0000 steel wool. I keep an old brass brush handy for loading up with either, then scrape out the lead. Usually the first few passes produce a lot of material removed, and a few trouble spots take a few tens more passes to polish out.

Mack Missiletoe wrote:
August 09, 2012

Thanks for the info!