Brownells 75th Anniversary - A Shooting Heritage

Cleaning Maintenance FAQs


I have a bulge in the 30" barrel of my Remington 870 approximately 5" from the muzzle. Can this bulge be swaged back?

Technically the bulge could be swaged or pressed back. However, we would not recommend this as it would result in the barrel being weakened at the point of the bulge. A more appropriate repair would be to cut the barrel below the bulge and have screw-in choke tubes installed.


Why is it a good idea to put a heat source inside a gun vault or cabinet?

Placing a heat source inside a gun cabinet or vault will keep the air in it a few degrees warmer than the outside air. This will raise the point at which moisture condenses and collects on the surface of the guns. It generally does not take much heat to do this. You can use a small twenty-five watt bulb or a specially designed cabinet heater such as the Golden Rod #111-002-018.


What's the best way to store my firearms from season to season?

This is a question that has several possible answers. Probably the single biggest variable is the climate in the area where you live. Shooters living in the Desert Southwest have a completely different situation than a shooter living in Central Florida or for that matter a shooter living in Northern Canada. What they all want to accomplish is the same, just perhaps a little different way of accomplishing it and different things to watch out for.

First, remove all traces of firing residue from the action and barrel. This can be done with a judicious once-a-year cleaning at the end of the shooting season and just prior to putting the firearms “to bed” for the months to come. I recommend a fairly complete disassembly and the use of good penetrating solvent to loosen and wash away the residue followed by a light oiling of your favorite lubricant/preservative. Your favorite Gun Oil should do a good job here.

For long-term storage or if high humidity/temperature or salt air is present, you may want to consider additional protection in the form of corrosion preventative grease, such as RIG. A light coat in the action, in the bore and on the outside metal surfaces gives excellent long-term protection. Black powder firearms should be gone over lightly again about two days following, to make sure all traces of black powder residue have been removed. The residue from black powder (and Pyrodex also) draws moisture from the air and can severely corrode firearms if not removed.

At this point, the best way to store the firearms would be in a temperature and humidity controlled gun safe. If you don't have a gun safe, we recommend that you stay away from corners and closets that are located next to outside walls. Avoid temperature variations as much as possible. This is particularly important in more Northern climates. The changing temperature of the metal can cause the precipitation of moisture, which of course can promote corrosion damage. Closets located nearer the center of the house are much more temperature stable. If the decision is made to utilize some sort of case to enclose the firearm, I recommend the type of case that can “breathe”, or a sock of some sort, preferably the silicone impregnated ones. In high moisture areas, some form of desiccant protection in the closet may be in order. These are available in canister and pack form, and can usually be re-activated for extended life. To be on the safe side, and especially in high humidity areas, I recommend a periodic inspection of AT LEAST a couple of the firearms that have been stored in each storage area, to see if additional protective measures may be called for. Usually if the above procedures have been followed your firearms should weather fine from season to season.


When I wipe down a gun I just bought, with a white rag, it turns red with rust stains. Only under very bright light can you see the actual rust. I have heard that this is normal for 60's Browning A-5. I used steel wool and oiled it. Should I return it or can this be dealt with?

Well, it sounds like rust that you're removing, and rust is not normal. Apparently whatever the previous owner put on as a preservative is not adequate. We recommend that you rub the barrel briskly with a coarse towel and a penetrating, neutralizing, protecting product like Brownells Rust Preventative No. 2 #083-019-016 . The barrel might have been reblued using a cold blue. Most cold blues will leave a residue on an oily rag, however it's often blackish, rather than red, although we've seen red residue if the bluing solution is not completely neutralized. The rub down with Rust Preventive No. 2 will neutralize cold blue's action.


I have a small, 3 gallon, bench top parts washer that has an electrical pump in it. I was thinking about using it for cleaning gun parts. My question is, what kind of solvent can I put in it that will clean sufficiently and not cost much. Hoppes No. 9 would run about $100 a gallon! Do you have any suggestions?

The kind of solvent you can use in your cleaner depends on what it was designed for. If it is made for petroleum-based solvents, we suggest Brownells Tank Solvent #083-034-640 for 5 gallons. If your system was designed for water-based solvents, try d'Solve #082-010-128 . d'Solve is concentrated and is mixed with water.


I bought a container of J-B Bore Bright to use on a Ruger .22 LR target pistol and a Ruger .22 LR rifle. The label says Bore Bright is good for polishing the bore and throat but that you should avoid polishing the chamber. I've got a cleaning guide which fits the receiver of both the Mk II pistol and the 77/22 rifle, and I've been cleaning both of them from the breech end. I can't see how I can push a patch coated with Bore Bright through the guide and into the gun without touching the chamber. Do you have any suggestions?

You are correct, since the case diameter of the .22LR cartridge is almost the same as the groove diameter of the barrel, it is difficult to clean the barrel without contacting the chamber walls. The warning is directed primarily at shooters with rifles firing bottle-neck cartridges which operate at much higher pressures than rimfire cartridges. Since the .22LR operates at much lower pressures, any slight polishing shouldn't cause a problem.


Which is better, a jag or a loop?

When used properly, there is less chance of the jag contacting the bore than a loop. For this reason we recommend using jags rather than loops.


What is the best bore cleaner?

All name brand bore cleaners will do a good job if used properly. The important thing is to use a bore cleaner that is designed for the job you have. For example, some are specifically designed for removing lead. You would not want to use these for removing copper fouling and vise versa. Pick a good name brand solvent designed for your specific application, follow the manufacturers directions, and the results should be quite satisfactory. The one bore cleaner that we recommend on a consistent basis is J-B Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound #083-065-012 .


Which are better, round or square patches?

Both are equally effective. If you use a jag and wrap the patch around it, a square patch will provide more coverage and be more effective. On the other hand, if you place the patch on the point of the jag, a round patch has less tendency to jam or fold unevenly around the jag. Be sure to use the proper size jag and patch combination for your specific bore.


Why would you use a nylon bore brush? I would think that they are too soft to really scrub out a barrel.

Nylon brushes are not designed to be abrasive. They are designed to carry and apply modern, aggressive, bore solvents, many of which will attack and desolve traditional, phosphor bronze, bore brushes.


Is there a quick and easy way of removing Cosmoline from an old military rifle?

We have never found an easy way of cleaning Cosmoline from old military rifles. However, we have found that after removing the stock and taking the rifle apart, washing the parts down with boiling, soapy water will remove a great deal of the Cosmoline. You will still have some that will need to be scraped out of the various nooks and holes but the boiling soapy water will help speed up the process tremendously.


I want to order an Ultra Sonic Cleaning System for handguns. I have an allowance of about $800.00. What would be best cleaner to order?

We would suggest the L&R Quantrex Series Complete Q-140 Gun Cleaning Package #515-311-002 . This kit includes a heated tank with timer, an auxiliary pan, an accessory basket, a gallon of non-ammoniated L&R Gun Cleaning Concentrate, plus one gallon of the L&R Ultrasonic Gun Lubricating Solution. The interior dimensions of the cleaner are sufficient to easily clean most sidearms quickly and effectively, and the non-ammoniated cleaning solution helps keep odor down. This new heated version should work extremely well for regular maintenance.


I have been using Sweets 7.62 Solvent for several days on a Swedish Mauser. The patches are still coming out blue even after numerious applications of the Sweets. Am I doing something wrong?

If you are using the Sweets according to the manufacturers instructions you are not doing anything wrong. It may simply be that your barrel is severely fouled with jacket material. Many military rifle barrels while cleaned of carbon fouling never actually had the jacket fouling removed. It is not unusual to encounter a situation like this. It may take some time, but stick with your cleaning program and you will eventually remove all of the fouling.


What are the best uses for stainless steel bore brushes?

Stainless steel brushes are extremely aggressive and they are not recommended for everyday bore cleaning. The best use for them is to remove corrosion or heavy leading in badly neglected barrels in the attempt to make them shootable again.


What is the best way to use the J-B Bore Cleaning Compound?

The response from our customers to our recent introduction of J-B Bore Cleaning Compound #083-065-002 has been nothing short of fantastic. The unique combination of ingredients in this product give J-B Bore Cleaner some special characteristics. One of them is that it liquefies when you use it. Several recent magazine articles have explained to readers how effective the combination of J-B Bore Cleaner used with Kroil Penetrating Oil #471-100-008 is in cleaning fouling and restoring rifle accuracy in many instances. We can make the following recommendations for the use of J-B Bore Cleaner:

First, use a good solvent, bronze brush and patches to remove powder and primer residue from the bore. You can use a copper solvent if you wish, but it is not necessary. Note: you can also use Kroil oil alone for this stage of the bore cleaning process. NOTE: IT IS NECESSARY TO USE A ROD GUIDE AND CLEAN FROM THE BREECH WHEN USING J-B, OR ANY OTHER ABRASIVE BORE CLEANER!

Second, roll a clean patch around a wrap-around style jag or a worn bore brush and lightly coat the patch with paste. If desired, the J-B can be thinned with Kroil oil, but this will dilute the effectiveness of the J-B Compound somewhat, resulting in even less abrasion. The patch should pass thru the barrel easily. Don’t try to make a really tight fit. Make complete passes from one end of the barrel to the other. After about 10 strokes remove the rod and wipe the rod down to remove any J-B that may have stuck to the rod, and then run a dry patch down the bore. This will remove the J-B that has broken down during use and is no longer helping to clean the bore. NOTE: THIS RESIDUE WILL BE BLACK. IT WILL ALWAYS BE BLACK, REGARDLESS OF HOW CLEAN THE BORE IS. Repeat this second process several time. When finished using the J-B Compound, run several dry patches down the bore (one way), then a patch with a light coat of Kroil oil. If you are continuing to shoot at this time, one last dry patch should be run thru. Regular use of J-B Bore Cleaner will help maintain the gilt-edge accuracy necessary for target, varmit and other sporting purposes.


Do you have cleaning brushes for the SKS and the Moisin-Nagant rifles?

You can use a .30 caliber bore brush #084-401-029 . We do not have brushes that are threaded to fit the original cleaning rods provided with these rifles, but by using an aftermarket rod, the rifles may be easily cleaned. We recommend cleaning from the breech end, which is possible with both of these rifles.


Do you have any rods suitable for .50 caliber BMG rifles?

Yes. While not specifically listed as .50 BMG rods, the Dewey Large Bore Rods are well suited for this. This rod will accept standard 8-32 brushes and accessories including the adaptor for the .50 caliber rifle bore brush #084-401-049 .


I live in a very humid area and have problems keeping my tools from rusting. Any suggestions?

Keep your tools coated with a water displacing oil, like Brownells Rust Preventive No. 2 #083-019-016 , and always wipe them down after each use. If possible, store them in air tight containers, such as old ammo cans, and put one or two Brownells Rust-Blox Vapor Tabs #084-058-012 in each container.


Recently my favorite .22 rifle does not seem to shoot as accurately as it once did. I clean as normal with some patches and some Hoppes Number 9. What might be causing this?

If you are just using patches and Hoppes Number 9 you may not be removing any lead fouling that could have built up ahead of the chamber. We suggest that you use some lead solvent or a phosphor bronze brush to remove any lead deposits. Once you have removed these, you can probably keep the barrel clean with a commercial lead solvent and some patches.