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cleaning my .223 Tikka

stevecreastevecrea Member Posts: 486 ✭✭✭
edited November 2009 in Ask the Experts
I have been shooting Fiocchi 40 grain V-Maxes in my Tikka 595 in .223. These are advertised at 3650 fps, and last week, I chronoed three rounds at 3605, 3575, and 3571 at about 45 degrees F. While I am not recommending this practice, I often go several hundred rounds without cleaning the rifle. For my uses, I would rather walk and shoot, than clean.

Yesterday, after walking many miles to bag three jacks, I decided it was time to clean. It had probably been at least 150, maybe 200 rounds. Maybe even 250.

There was no evidence of copper, and not even that much carbon. Using Hoppe's Benchmark, there was hardly any carbon coming after about six patches. I will admit I did not brush, and that may have loosened up more carbon.

Comments

  • beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 12,776 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    >>While I am not recommending this practice, I often go several hundred rounds without cleaning the rifle.

    The horror! [;)]

    Was there a question in there?

    Personally, if you're going to be cleaning, I'd consider at least 1-2 passes with a well-lubricated bronze/copper brush to scrub out the goo from the rifling. Otherwise, you're cleaning mostly the lands, but not the grooves. If you've never tried it, I think you'd be pretty amazed what kind of crud comes out on a clean patch after one pass with a brush after multiple "clean" patches came out.

    Still, if the gun is functioning fine, and is shooting as accurately as you need it to, then its probably "clean enough".

    It IS possible to overclean, and damage either the crown or rifling with careless or overzealous cleaning.

    How often you need to clean depends largely on the gun in question, the AMMO in question, and what you are trying to accomplish, but for the record, I don't think a few hundred rounds without cleaning is a particularly big deal.

    Yeah, accuracy will drop off a bit without cleaning, but again, if its doing what you need it to be doing, so what?
  • stevecreastevecrea Member Posts: 486 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Good points about cleaning the grooves. However, it occurs to me that the bullet is not touching the grooves much, if at all; it is touching the lands.

    My point in starting the thread is that I believe that many of us are conditioned to probably clean much more than is necessary. Also, the .223 is probably not one that especially needs to be babied. My suspicion is that big cases that generate much more heat will probably tend to leave more copper in the bore.
  • beantownshootahbeantownshootah Member Posts: 12,776 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by stevecrea
    Good points about cleaning the grooves. However, it occurs to me that the bullet is not touching the grooves much, if at all; it is touching the lands.

    I believe in motion the bullet locates at the intersection of the grooves and lands.

    Regardless, the carbon fouling within the hot gas that is propelling the bullet out of the barrel embeds itself in the grooves. If they get full of grime that affects how the bullet is "grasped" and that potentially can erode accuracy.

    quote:My point in starting the thread is that I believe that many of us are conditioned to probably clean much more than is necessary.

    Again, was there a question? My take on cleaning is this:

    If you're shooting corrosive ammo, then sure, you need to clean the gun every time you take it out and shoot it, even if you only put a few rounds through it.

    If you're shooting for absolute maximum possible accuracy (eg you're a competitive match shooter), you may want to clean your rifle every so many shots. . .with the caveat that cleaning itself adds to wear and tear on expensive match barrels.

    If you're trusting your life to your gun (ie its a defensive or offensive arm), then yeah. . .maybe its a good idea to make sure its clean to ensure maximum reliablity and accuracy.

    But if you're just a recreational shooter plinking away with a .22 or an AK, you may not need to clean the gun frequently (or even EVER). Once every couple hundred or thousand rounds is probably fine.

    Something like a bolt action rifle is likely to function absolutely fine even if absolutely filthy. Fouling from shooting isn't likely to get inside the action, let alone actually compromise it. This is mostly true of revolvers as well, though some of them will eventually jam up from dirt at the cylinder gap and need a quick wipe, or get dirt inside the crane and need a quick clean there. There are a few semi-automatic rifles and pistols that have earned reputations for running well absolutely filthy and/or with minimal maintenance but despite that I think even those still merit cleaning/maintenance.


    quote:
    Also, the .223 is probably not one that especially needs to be babied. My suspicion is that big cases that generate much more heat will probably tend to leave more copper in the bore.

    My understanding is that the amount of leading, or copper deposit in the bore isn't so much a function of heat generated but velocity of the bullet. The higher the velocity, the more metal tends to get rubbed off.

    Also, the amount of fouling deposited in the bore is a function of how much powder is burned. So rounds with high case volumes (eg magnum rounds) tend to deposit more stuff in the barrel.

    Note that high-velocity rounds tend to use a lot of powder and will consequently generate a lot of heat. . .these three things aren't entirely independent of one another.

    In the case of the .223, it does generate a relatively high velocity, though since the bullet is relatively light, overall powder mass burned isn't particularly high. The result is more fouling than some, less than others.
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