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View Full Version : Cleaning your AR-15 barrel?


dg29
05-16-2010, 7:57 AM
I'm curious as to how many of you out there actually clean your barrels after taking them out and shooting them. When you clean them what steps do you take? Do you go as far to remove the muzzle break, or flash hider? If so, were you surprised to see the build-up on the end of the barrel and crown? The reason I ask is because I've picked up a couple of slightly used uppers on the board and I was shocked to see the amount of build-up deposits on the end of the barrel. It has to result in a less accurate rifle if not cleaned properly IMO.
So my main question is, what do you folks use to clean off the build-up? Do they make any kind of tool to perform the task with that will not damage the barrels crown? Have any of you had your barrel crowns re-done so that they are more receptive to less build-up and are now easier to clean? If so, are they now more accurate?
Thanks in advance,
dg

Blacktail 8541
05-16-2010, 8:09 AM
I've never taken the muzzel device off for general cleaning. Wouldn't even think of it.
If not put on exactly the same it will affect your zero as your barrel harmonics will change ever so slightly. Could throw you zero off a little or a whole lot. I have re indexed muzzel devices before for various reasons and have experienced this. If you must clean the crown use a faceing tool specificly designed for this and go with a very light touch.

The best way is to use a powder solvent and q-tips after each range session.

I haven't gone to that extent in many years.

reidnez
05-16-2010, 8:16 AM
I agree with the above, I think you could do more harm by removing the brake/FH than good. No cleaning instructions I've ever read have recommended it. You should be able to get the crud out with Q-tips, pipe cleaners and solvent. The small end of an AP brush can get in there, too.

As far as using something hard to scrape the crown, I would advise against it. Even a minute scratch will cost you down-range. Stick to nylon brushes, Q-tips and solvent.

Beelzy
05-16-2010, 8:33 AM
Dental pick or Dremel with the wire brush attachment.....Do not remove F/H or brake.

Mail Clerk
05-16-2010, 9:04 AM
I'm curious as to how many of you out there actually clean your barrels after taking them out and shooting them. When you clean them what steps do you take? Do you go as far to remove the muzzle break, or flash hider? If so, were you surprised to see the build-up on the end of the barrel and crown? The reason I ask is because I've picked up a couple of slightly used uppers on the board and I was shocked to see the amount of build-up deposits on the end of the barrel. It has to result in a less accurate rifle if not cleaned properly IMO.
So my main question is, what do you folks use to clean off the build-up? Do they make any kind of tool to perform the task with that will not damage the barrels crown? Have any of you had your barrel crowns re-done so that they are more receptive to less build-up and are now easier to clean? If so, are they now more accurate?
Thanks in advance,
dg


If the barrels are not chrome lined then I clean them just like any other rifle I have. Clean chamber first and them 4 soaked /solvent patches down through the barel and allow the solvent to do the work.

NEVER run the rod from the front! Always clean from the back.

Last year when I bought my latest upper from the show it's accuracy was lousey!!!! I then discovered it was heavily coppered although it appeared clean. It took me almost 3 weekends....one bottle of Birchwood Casey solvent...... and three shooting secession to get the groups decent. Then I descovered it wans't chrome lines. OH well I still like it.

Mail Clerk

NorCalSJ
05-16-2010, 9:19 AM
I never take the flash flash hider off for cleaning. I just use a rod and solvent for the barrel and Q-tips to clean the flash hider among other general cleaning.

NiteQwill
05-16-2010, 9:19 AM
Cleaning? Who cleans their rifles? I sure as heck don't.

anniepoks
05-16-2010, 10:04 AM
removing FH or MB to clean your AR would be a disorder or hardcore i say.
important is the barrel, upper receiver and BCG cleaned, oiled - thats all i do.
BUT, its one's rifle so they can do whatever they want....... more work though.

ocabj
05-16-2010, 10:40 AM
When I started shooting competitive High Power a few years ago, I thought about whether or not to go A2 FH or naked as far as barrel (since after various AWB, Federal and individual States, NRA and CMP allowed barrels without an A2 FH in Service Rifle).

I opted for no FH based on the concept that I didn't want the added muzzle attachment. While FH will not degrade accuracy (if properly installed), they won't increase accuracy either. I've actually had a FH come loose on another gun during live fire.

I also don't want the added issue of having to clean a FH.

Thus, my competition Service Rifle AR-15s don't have A2 flash hiders.

Though, the one significant benefit of the FH is that it serves as a crown/muzzle protector. I've hit the front end of the barrel against the ground before when in prone. While the target crown negates any possible damage, the FH does give you peace of mind as far as accidentally hitting the muzzle against something.

xxINKxx
05-16-2010, 11:12 AM
Leave the FH on, it doesnt get in the way.

I first run a rod with a copper brush through the barrel (i dip the brush with Hoppes #9)

1) I run the rod through the champer section, and out torwards the end of the barrel to avoid dinging the crown. If you ding the crown of the barrel, it can cause major accuracy issues. I do that a couple times to loosten up any big debri.

2) Then I put some patches on the rod, dip the patches in Hoppes #9 solvent, and run a few patches through til you notice its not as dirty. Youd be suprised how black and gross the patches are after even just a short shooting trip.

3) After that, I do the same thing agian with the rod, and patches. But I run the patches dry. This will dry the inside of the barrel, while still cleaning.

Takes maybe 10 mins of my time, And ide rather have a clean ready to go gun, then sit on my *** in front of the TV

Ripper
05-16-2010, 5:44 PM
Yea I use the OTIS 5.56 SYSTEM. It is a Flexable Plastic covered Cable, with all the attachments. It is so compact and it is top notch system. I seen them for sale here on the for sale forums. Any way I always clean the barrel after a range session. The Bolt carrier and bolt I will clean after 50 or more rounds, unless I am bored. But it is a good habit to at least clean the barrel after a short or long Range session. :)

pyromensch
05-16-2010, 9:27 PM
has any of you used carburator cleaner?
i tended to use it in the marines, even though it wasn't allowed, just after breakfree, was issued. dries out the weapon, but then you lube it up. saves alot of time and cleans well

Donk310
05-16-2010, 9:58 PM
Cleaning? Who cleans their rifles? I sure as heck don't.

HAHA... I clean my AR(s) after about every third outing. Call me lazy or whatever.. its what I've been doing for many many years. And guess what.. it still goes pow, and lead still hit its mark. I only put about 100 round through per outing though. Any more and I might clean immediately. Just one quick question... has anyone ever had a problem from running patches trough the front? Cause I do that too.

stitchnicklas
05-16-2010, 10:01 PM
clp and qtips......

Army
05-16-2010, 10:13 PM
Careful with Qtips. Chunks can catch on FCG parts, and the whole thing can pull off inside the gas key.

I occasionally run a Boresnake, when I feel up to it. I rarely detail strip and clean any of my AR's.

ArkinDomino
05-16-2010, 10:31 PM
I only use bore snakes after every session. I'll do regular field strip to wipe BCG down with a rag and slather it with Weaponshield CLP only after the chamber looks real nasty (which has been every couple thousand rounds). My Noveske is at a high round count and I still havn't had ONE problem.

xxINKxx
05-17-2010, 12:12 AM
has anyone ever had a problem from running patches trough the front? Cause I do that too.

Its not bad, just be carefull when inserting so you dont ding it up.

dilligaffrn
05-17-2010, 10:12 AM
field strip, clp, boresnake, toothbrush, q-tip, reverse, done..














..maybe a kiss goodnight :winkiss:

DITTO!

Barabas
05-17-2010, 10:52 AM
No q-tips or carbon solvent here. Use brass picks and scrapers if you have carbon build up, there's a reason why they're described in the military training manuals. Brass can't scratch the barrel but will remove the carbon fouling.

You can pick up a brass pick kit for the Otis for $20, or if you need a new kit, grab an IWICK off of ebay for less than the cost of a regular 5.56 kit plus brass picks at the gun store. It's a multi-caliber kit and you get the gerber multi-tool to boot.

Barabas
05-18-2010, 10:45 AM
I'm trying to find the early Armorer's guide I saw linked over on arfcom. It clearly described using a brass scraper and picks to remove carbon fouling from the BCG and lugs and not using cotton swabs.

Sorry if this civilian pissed you off. I only bought the otis kit because it came with a reasonable facsimile of nearly every tool described in that manual and everything I would ever need to clean ALL of my pistols and rifles except for an infinite supply of disposables. The price to value ratio was too good to pass up considering you are the first person I've ever heard describe the otis as useless.

Barabas
05-18-2010, 12:19 PM
I'm the guy who took a toothbrush to his motor after teardown and before rebuild. Every single part that didn't get replaced got blueprint clean. They even told me that header paint won't stick beyond the first run in. It's all about the prep.

Anyways, it's not rocket science, don't over clean either. The picks were probably only described in the armorer's manual as part of the refurbishment process. If I recall correctly, it was an AF manual and we all know how they are about tearing everything down to nuts and bolts every single time something stops moving. I'll never have the support of an armorer for my builds, so I like being prepared for every eventuality.

Mail Clerk
05-18-2010, 1:09 PM
I'm curious as to how many of you out there actually clean your barrels after taking them out and shooting them. When you clean them what steps do you take? Do you go as far to remove the muzzle break, or flash hider? If so, were you surprised to see the build-up on the end of the barrel and crown? The reason I ask is because I've picked up a couple of slightly used uppers on the board and I was shocked to see the amount of build-up deposits on the end of the barrel. It has to result in a less accurate rifle if not cleaned properly IMO.
So my main question is, what do you folks use to clean off the build-up? Do they make any kind of tool to perform the task with that will not damage the barrels crown? Have any of you had your barrel crowns re-done so that they are more receptive to less build-up and are now easier to clean? If so, are they now more accurate?
Thanks in advance,
dg

dg,

I never remove my MB at all when cleaning my barrels. If you have any build-up near the crown I use solvent and a twenty two brush and very lightly hand twist the brush/brissles against the crown making sure only the copper brissles touch the crown.

Mail Clerk

Cire 5th
06-08-2010, 1:29 PM
Brass can't scratch the barrel but will remove the carbon fouling.

You can pick up a brass pick kit for the Otis for $20, .

I am wondering about this. I picked this up at riflegear:

http://riflegear.com/p-730-otis-22-30-caliber-micro-cleaning-kit.aspx

It has a plastic covered flex cable. On one end there is slotted brass tip and the other end there is also brass connector that allows for accessories like brush to be screwed in. It didn't come with any other accessories except for the brush. But anyway, when I clean with a patch I am instructed to put the other end (connector) in through the lug shoulder area so that it may come out through the muzzle then pull so that the patch comes out.

My question is when I put the other end through (connector that allows accessories to be screwed in) it of course will touch the barrel. Due to the flexible cable it probably keeps touching the barrel until of course it comes out and I am ready to pull the patch through.

Will my barrel be safe from scratches from that brass (connector threaded side to screw in accessories)?

I also got a boresnake that I haven't used yet. When that gets dirty it says wash with a wash bag. How do you guys clean your boresnake when it gets dirty?

Barabas
06-08-2010, 3:35 PM
The brass itself CANNOT scratch your barrel, it's softer than the softest steel. If you grind the brass ferrule into some alu-ox grit, you might pick up enough to scratch your barrel, but most people don't go around sandpapering their cleaning rods/pull throughs.

Someone else will be along shortly to tell you to follow the cleaning instructions found with your boresnake. I don't use them since I don't want to contaminate my washing machine or dishwasher with lead styphnate or its decomposition products.