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How to clean a fouled rifle bore

Bruce Potts talks a reader through the solution

clean a fouled rifle bore

Q: I am having real problems removing copper from my old 6.5x55mm stalking rifle. I use copper solvent on wet patches, but it’s still there. How can I remove it?

A: Copper fouling in a rifle barrel is one of the chief reasons for deteriorating accuracy. It is important to remove as much as possible, and I agree — it can be tough. Not all copper solvents are equally as effective. So I thought I would put together a step-by-step guide on how to clean a fouled rifle bore. (Read our guide to different rifle calibres here.)

  • A build-up of fouling can happen even if you clean your rifle bore regularly
  • Second-hand rifles will probably need attention too

How to clean a fouled rifle bore

First, try Bore Tech Cu+² Copper Remover. I use this for really stubborn copper fouling, especially on older barrels where fouling can be worse. It is quite aggressive and you will need a non-bronze jag for wetted patches, otherwise it will eat them. You can tell it is working really well because the cleaning patches come out bright blue, indicating the presence of copper.

Alternatively, I still use J-B Bore Compound or Bright, which is a paste that you use as you would copper solvent on a patch. You run it through the bore, back and forth, to remove the copper. It’s a micro abrasive, but won’t damage the bore. It really gets in between the rifling lands and grooves to remove the copper build-up and also helps to polish the bore to reduce fouling in the future.

Even if you clean your rifle bore regularly you can still get a build-up of fouling and the same is true of a second-hand rifle if its bore has been neglected.

Normal copper solvents are good, but sometimes a rubbing compound is called for. (You’ll find useful cleaning equipment at Brownells.)

Step by step guide

Clean a fouled rifle boreHow to: Clean a fouled rifle boreHow to: Clean a fouled rifle boreClean a fouled rifle bore

You’ll find more information on how to maintain and a rifle here.