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Rifle Magazine
September - October 2001
Volume 33, Number 5
ISSN: 0162-3583
Number 197
On the cover...
The Zeglin takedown Winchester (USRAC) Model 95 has interchangeable barrels for the .375 Hawk/Scovill and the .411 Hawk. See "Spotting Scope" for details Photo by Gerald Hudson. Whitetail deer photo by John R. Ford.
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Product Tests

Bore Tech Cleaning Solvents

Bore Tech, Inc. has a complete line of solvents, oils, greases, degreasers and rust preventatives as well as a number of other cleaning aids. I began my review of the Bore Tech line with a conversation with Richard Spruill, Bore Tech’s director of sales and marketing. It didn’t take long to conclude he really understood the subject of bore cleaning, and we decided I would first try the company’s solvents. Shortly thereafter I received a container of bore solvent, copper remover and Benchrest Blend, three of the company’s most popular solvents.

My approach to cleaning firearms is to clean them thoroughly and, to the extent possible, let the chemicals in the cleaners do all the heavy lifting. I use one-piece cleaning rods where possible but don’t worry whether they are coated or not. I use bore guides when- ever I can and try hard to remember to clean the chamber. I use both slotted and pointed jags to hold the patches. My revolver cleaning is almost always done with jointed rods and from the muzzle to boot - I just try to be careful. All others are cleaned from the breech, if possible.

My patches are usually home made. I cut them from outing flannel purchased at stores that carry cloth goods. Some readers have let me know they have been unable to purchase outing flannel because the clerks didn’t know what it was. I’ve had the same problem. Now, I just ask to be pointed to the flannel section. I want white, no prints and no sizing (starch). Flannel is cotton, fairly tightly woven. It’s pretty much what store-bought patches are made from. I buy it because I can control the size of the finished product. It’s also usually cheaper. I have the clerk cut off a yard or two and then I go home and make what I want. But maybe outing flannel is too old fashioned a name and time has robbed it of its descriptiveness. Just ask for flannel - white, no prints, no sizing. You’ll know it when you find it.

As Spruill and I discussed, gun cleaning involves the removal of several types of fouling. Both primer and powder leave a residue that must be removed; we call it powder fouling. The projectile also fouls the bore, whether it’s copper, gilding metal or lead; it’s called metal fouling. Shotgunners have to contend with all this plus other metals these days and also the residue left by modern one-piece plastic wads. This latter is almost invisible, but once you see it being removed, you won’t forget it. The problem one generally encounters is that for any chemical to remove the metal fouling, it must first get to it, and to do that, it must remove the powder fouling. Almost all solvents on the market claim to remove just about anything. In some cases they will, but in all cases they work better on guns that have been fired 10 times, say, than those that have been fired 50 times. In these latter cases, using separate solvents to remove powder and metal fouling can often produce better results.

In working with the Bore Tech solvents, I cleaned several rifles, handguns and shotguns, pretty much covering all the bases. Bore Tech’s recommended procedure for cleaning is slightly different from that which I usually employ. Their approach is to wet the bore with the solvent, always pushing the patches through in one direction and discarding them. All scrubbing is done with a clean, wet bronze brush, moved back and forth through the barrel, followed by more wet patches and finally dry ones. Actually there is merit to this approach, and I used it in my tests. While it is easy to follow the patch procedure, the part about using “clean” bronze brushes should not be overlooked. Most shooters are familiar with the many cleaner/ degreasers available today. Sold in pressurized cans they are ideal for cleaning hard-to-reach areas and such parts as removable trigger assemblies in repeating shotguns. To tell the truth, though, I probably use more of the stuff to clean my bronze brushes than guns. They need to be cleaned to protect them from some of today’s solvents and, even if they didn’t, clean brushes don’t carry dirt into the barrels they’re supposed to be cleaning.

Beginning with Bore Tech’s bore solvent, I used saturated patches to push loose fouling out the bore and a brush to break up imbedded fouling. In some instances, that was all that was necessary. This was true of all types of firearms. In shotguns, the bore solvent removed the powder fouling, the occasional streaks of lead and the residue from the plastic wads. In handguns that had been fired extensively with cast bullets, I sometimes gave the brush a helping hand by wrapping it with a rectangular piece cut from a copper scouring pad, such as Chore Boy, found in your local grocery store. This is standard procedure for me when extra effort is called for, and it works very well. But, anyway you look at it, Bore Tech’s Bore Solvent did its job.

In other guns that had been fired quite a few times, I followed the bore solvent with copper remover, designed to remove metal fouling after cleaning with bore solvent. Copper remover is not formulated to remove powder fouling. One of the things I noticed after the bore solvent cleaning was that the gilding metal fouling remaining in the barrels was brighter than I believe I’ve ever seen it, indicating that the bore solvent had done its job in removing the powder fouling. An application of copper remover took out the remaining metal fouling quickly. For heavily fouled barrels, this combination, repeated as necessary, worked as well as anything I’ve tried.

During our conversations I told Spruill I understood the roles of the bore solvent and copper remover and when to apply them but had to ask just what was the role of Benchrest Blend. Actually the name is a dead giveaway. Benchrest Blend is a mixture of bore solvent and copper remover and is intended for use in those situations, such as benchrest shooting, where guns are cleaned with great frequency. I replicated this by firing guns no more than 10 shots with jacketed bullets between cleanings. In these cases Benchrest Blend did indeed get barrels clean.

One of the things I consider important in evaluating gun cleaning solvents is that they be able to be left in the barrel for extended periods. No product I know of can be left indefinitely, but if you sometimes leave a barrel to “soak” overnight or while you are at work, it’s safe to do so with Bore Tech’s Bore Solvent, Copper Remover and Benchrest Blend. All in all, I have to give the Bore Tech solvents high marks. Using their technique and the appropriate solvent, or solvents, I suspect you will too.

For more information, contact Bore Tech, Inc., 2950-N Advance Lane, Colmar PA 18915-9727; e-mail: boretech@boretech.com. - R.H. VanDenburg, Jr.

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