Cleaning a 22

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by 45flint, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. 45flint

    45flint New Member

    Aug 13, 2009
    I have bought guns at auction and I look at them an don't thing they have been cleaned once. I clean them and they look new. Is there any real harm to a gun with modern powders by not cleaning it as long a it functions normally.
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    No, there isn't.
  3. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Thoughts on cleaning (and the actual need for it) have varied greatly and changed somewhat over the years. Cleaner is usually better; or at least it does no harm.

    The short answer is that if you are shooting a modern firearm with modern commercial smokeless powder ammo (that is marked non-corrosive on the packaging) you do not have to completely clean it every time you fire it. It is good practice to at least clean the bore and chamber(s) out with a light rust inhibiting oil dampened patch (eg WD-40, Break Free, Kroil, etc.); and wipe off the exterior with the same. The chamber and breech face should be wiped dry, while leaving a VERY LIGHT oil film elsewhere to guard against rust. The better and cleaner you maintain you guns the longer they will likely stay in near new condition. However, if you shoot you gun a few shots every day; you may only really need to clean it every 200 shots. A well known Federal Agency is believed to have deliberately not cleaned one of their training pistols for over a year and 6000+ shots, with no malfunctions or undesirable effects to the pistol !

    The foregoing does not apply to Black Powder (Gunpowder) arms that are often called muzzle loading. They are treated almost the same as arms using corrosive priming.

    There are two types of primer chemistry commonly used and encountered in the 20th century and today. They are usually termed "Corrosive" or "Non-Corrosive".

    Corrosive primers put and drive (under high pressure) very corrosive salt deposits (typically KCl or NaCl) onto and into the steel of you barrel and other firearm parts. These salt deposits start attracting water from the humidity in the air as soon as they cool down. Now you have saltwater in and on your gun. Rusting starts almost immediately in hot, humid weather. The firearm needs to be thoroughly cleaned as soon as practical after firing and every other day for at least a week. {The salt keeps oozing out of the pores in the steel bore.}

    If you can not promptly and properly clean a firearm shot with corrosive ammo, at least get a coat of penetrating oil everywhere in and on it to inhibit the rusting. Salt does not dissolve in oils. Boiling hot water followed by ice water followed by boiling water is it the time tested solvent method for removing the salt from bores. {The very hot water expands the steel and dissolves and washes salt away. The very cold water contracts the bore steel and squeezes more salt out. The hot water does the same thing again and makes the bore dry quickly. Of course, the bore has be cleaned and oiled in the usual manner, afterward, to remove other fouling and prevent rust.

    Today corrosive priming is found mostly in surplus military ammo from non-Nato spec. countries like Eastern Europe, India, Pakistan, some Korean, and China. However if the packaging on any ammo does not state that it is non-corrosive, you should assume that it is corrosive until you can absolutely determine otherwise.

    Hope this is informative.
  4. Gabob

    Gabob Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2005
    I do not clean my .22 s . The bullets are wax coated and the powder is non-corrosive. I just wipe down the outside of the firearm and brush out action

    I do always clean centerfire firearms after shooting. Use different cleaners. Hoppes #9, Kroil,Butch's Bore Shine, Sweet's, J-B Bore Cleaner, Rem Clean or a homemade penetrating oil made from Auto Transmission Fluid/Acetone 50/50 mix. Usually if not planning to fire soon I run a patch tru the bore with 2 Cycle engine oil after thorough cleaning
  5. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Gabob makes valid and useful statements. I do not disagree with what he says.

    Fifty years ago some knowledgeable persons opined that it was really not necessary to clean .22RF bores.... that frequent cleaning was more likely to do more harm than good.

    That thinking has pretty much gone away among the serious match target and bench-rest crowd. The bores of .22 RF do accumulate lead/powder deposits that are detrimental to "Gold Medal" accuracy.

    Also, a clean rim fire bore with a light film of a high quality (acid free) rust preventative firearms oil (on or in it) is less likely to start growing microscopic rust spots over time than an uncleaned bore. At least this seems to be the basic thinking of top competitors who are capable of wining matches.

    Better to be safe than sorry.

  6. fergie

    fergie Former Guest

    Aug 17, 2009
    Hi Steve, If I bought used 22's and they were dirty I would clean the bore's and actions thoroughly. After that I would use a .22 bore snake once in a while. fergie
  7. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Thats what I did when I bought my 1976 model 70 Marlin.

    The first owner shot it until it would not cycle, then put it in the cloest for 30 years. I stripped it, cleaned it. and it works just dandy
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