Rifleman Q & A: Grimy Little Bullets

posted on May 12, 2017

Q: After speaking to the top shooters in my group of friends about bore cleaning, I’ve learned that there are differing views. One cleans his rifle after every use. The other two clean only sporadically, on the theory that if the bore is cleaned it needs to get dirty again before it shoots consistently. Of the two that don’t clean, one shoots only moly-coated bullets. We shoot both .22 rimfire and center-fire. Which, if either, of these practices is correct?

A: As you have found, there is no unanimity regarding this subject. Quality .22 rimfire bores firing quality ammunition may truly never need to be cleaned. The only reason requiring cleaning is a build-up of lead fouling. A dry bore can cause even the best barrels to foul with quality ammunition, so be sure to oil a clean bore.

Jacket fouling in a center-fire bore is inevitable, and significant jacket fouling predictably degrades accuracy. Obviously some competition rifles may have to fire 100 or more rounds without cleaning. And varmint shooters fire hundreds of rounds in a day, seldom stopping to clean. Jacket fouling rarely removes itself. On the other hand, if a well-made barrel shows no tendency toward copper fouling, and accuracy does not degrade from shooting session to shooting session, then frequent scrubbing is not warranted.

One final note: Any anticipated extended storage period should be preceded by a cleaning and oiling, for purposes of preservation.

—John Treakle


Uberti 1873 Cattleman 9Mm Revolver F
Uberti 1873 Cattleman 9Mm Revolver F

New For 2022: Uberti 1873 Cattleman In 9mm Luger

Uberti's 1873 Cattleman single-action revolver is now available as one of three Single Action Army clones available in the popular 9mm Luger cartridge.

Preview: Clamtainer Ammo Buddy Rifleman Value Bundle

Clamtainer has simple organizational products that help make life more efficient. Whether you have a gun room that requires an update or are looking to eradicate mice from the ammunition closet, Clamtainer has a solution, and its Rifleman Value Bundle is one such answer.

Handloads: 16 Gauge Spreader Load

Not that long ago, sporting goods store shelves contained an adequate selection of 16-ga. shells. The last few years, however, barely a box of any 16-ga. shells can be found anywhere. But that’s of little concern to those with a shotshell-reloading press, such as the MEC 600 Jr., close at hand.

RIA Highlights Record Year In 2021

After 21 auctions in the 12 months, Rock Island Auction Company (RIAC), reports record-breaking sales of more than $121 million for the first time in company history.

ARTV Preview: Hornady CMX Bullet, Smith & Wesson M&P12 and Cane Air Guns

This week on American Rifleman Television, we tour the factory of Hornady Ammunition, test the Smith & Wesson M&P12 bullpup shotgun and examine the history of cane air guns.

Liberty: Don Troiani’s Paintings Of The American Revolution

Noted artist and American Rifleman contributor Don Troiani will display some of his original artwork at his first-ever major exhibition, which is being hosted by the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, Pa. The exhibition opened Oct. 16 and runs until Sept. 5, 2022, in the museum’s first-floor Patriots Gallery.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.