Re: how often should i clean my 22
I clean my rimfires every 11 years whether they need it or not. And that's just how long it took before my old Marlin 60 took before it stopped cycling and forced me to clean the action. Once in a great while I did run a rag (hillbilly style - a piece of cotton tied on a string with a nail tied on the other end to get the string through) through it once a year or so. There were no bore snakes in those days.
Lots of barrel makers will tell you NOT to over clean the bore. They say it will just clean out the lube your rifle needs to be more accurate. I'm talking to quality barrel makers say that.
Every rifle is different. Some need to be cleaned often. I would never let a handgun go a long time between cleanings. I generally clean those every time. Same goes for shotguns. Now those things are dirty. But a .22 doesn't have that much powder even if it is dirty powder. The thing to avoid is using oil on the action because it collects powder residue and that will make you have to clean the gun a lot more often.
That old 60 I have - I've probably cleaned it less than 10 times since I bought it 24 years ago. It's got probably 150,000 rounds through it. It still works perfectly. My new 60 (a 2009 model) needs to be cleaned more often though. I've probably cleaned it 10 times or more. It gets to where it won't cycle. Every rifle is an individual.
Generally it is true for most people that cleaning too often decreases your accuracy. I know it takes me about 50 rounds to foul a barrel so that it shoots right if I clean a rimfire really well. Some of the bench rest shooters will clean after every 10 rounds though. They use very tight bores and they can still maintain accuracy if they clean really often. But keep in mind that the fastest way to wear out a .22 barrel is to clean it really often. I know a guy who is a world class rimfire BR shooter. He replaces barrels after about 800 rounds. I can shoot that much in a day easy.