To clean, or not to clean... that is the question.

  • I've heard both sides of the argument over the years. Some say never clean the bore on your rimfire. Others say you should clean after every 50-100rnds.

    I'm not sure about which is true myself. What I do know, is that there can be occasions where cleaning a rimfire barrel is beneficial. After 500rnds I cleaned my suppressor yesterday. RWS R50 is remarkably clean ammo in comparison to other brands. Seemed to be significantly less buildup in the can than with other ammo. However just as the last time the suppressor was cleaned, the rifle just wasn't shooting as good as I remember it. The bore probably hasn't been cleaned for nearly 10,000rnds. As of late, the accuracy just hasn't been as fine as I recall this rifle being capable of. So, out came the cleaning products.

    I scrubbed this bore folks. The amount of crap that came out was astonishing. It took me half a day to get the patches to stop coming out gray. All manner of chemicals, patches, brushes, and elbow grease. I must have went through 50 patches and the majority of them were straight up smooshy gray mess when they came out. I finally got it to a fair state in there as confirmed by the bore scope, but midway through the barrel there's one land in particular which just has some stubborn fouling on top of it that won't come all the way clean. Anyway, I called it good enough and fired away.

    Little. Tiny. Knots. This is the best this rifle has shot for a while.

    Having fired the better part of 2 cases of ammo through this one rifle this spring so far... I think I've landed on a cleaning regimen I'm going to try. I'll clean the suppressor and bore every 500rnds... and see how that treats me.

    Some groups from today. I was just holding center and letting the wind push the groups wherever it wanted. Gusty swirly wind today... but one thing is clear; the rounds are significantly more predictable.


    I would suspect the different cleaning intervals required are as varied as the barrels themselves compounded further by the people shooting them and what expectations they have. I think that many people could get by without ever cleaning their rimfire. It would seem that I can not.

  • @orkan

    I know you told me once that you don't clean yours...and I tried that. However I believe that mine shoots best about 10 rounds after the bore has been cleaned. I know center x is really dirty even leaving a powder in the suppressor and bore. Maybe that is some of the difference.

    My bore looks shiny with a scope after minimal cleaning (5-6 patches).

    Now...I am also not always able to tell when I am the problem so I am not a good judge of this. However I can shoot some really tiny groups just after cleaning. Now hitting one dot with one bullet 15 times is another story. :)

  • @dddoo7 said:

    My bore looks shiny with a scope after minimal cleaning (5-6 patches).

    I'd venture a guess that my 40x has about 20,000 more rounds on it than yours does. ;)