how often should i clean my 22

Discussion in '.22-Rimfire Forum' started by 775barber, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. CJ_56

    CJ_56 New Member

    Feb 24, 2012
    SE Ohio
    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.
  2. Big Shrek

    Big Shrek Well-Known Member

    Nov 10, 2009
    NorthWest Florida
    Depends entirely in what state you reside in...

    If you live in Arizona/dry climates....practically every 10 years...

    If you live in Florida/humid or swampy climates...after every range visit/hunting trip.

  3. cpttango30

    cpttango30 Guest

    I clean the actions when they need it.

    I clean barrels hummmmmmm last time I cleaned a rimfire barrel was hold on a minute oh about 9 years ago.

    For my semiauto pistols I clean the action after every outing. my bolt guns might get it every 4 or 5 outings.
  4. rcairflr

    rcairflr Well-Known Member

    Jul 2, 2011
    Wichita, Ks
    So for us ignorant folk who clean their barrels each time we use our .22 firearms:
    Please explain to me how using a carbon fiber cleaning rod, with a plastic tip and cloth patches will wear out my barrel made of very hard steel.
  5. mr.t7024

    mr.t7024 Member

    My .22 bolt action rifles once a year. They will have about 200 rounds through them and before I put it away

    My Marlin 60 twice a year or after 500 rounds and before I put it away

    My Ruger Mark II and my Buck Mark after 250 rounds.

    If it is too cold outside I utilize my workshop. I use brake cleaner and a little and I mean little bit of oil

    If it is nice outside,above 50 degrees I use a parts brush and gasoline ,it works wonders and cheaper than brake cleaner. BTW when I use gas, the fire arm is allowed to completely air dry and I use oil sparingly.

    This works for me! :) Cliff
  6. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    Many rifles including 22 have the barrel ruined by excessively cleaning them the wrong way. That is, using a steel rod, stainless steel brushes, way too strong of a homemade copper solvent, and using the rod from the muzzle end rather than from the breech end. The common damage is from a steel cleaning rod used from the muzzle end. A muzzle guide helps if there is no other way than to clean from the muzzle (lever gun, some autos and pump guns and others) but a pull through cable like the OTIS, is still better yet.

    Pull through "rods" (actually a plastic covered wire cable like OTIS uses), the correct solvent left in the bore for no longer than the instructions direct, and only nylon or brass cleaning brushes will not hurt the bore.

    The only negative about cleaning the bore after every shoot is that some people think the bore shoots best fouled. I have not seen that in my experience. I often shoot strings of 100 rounds starting off with a clean and lightly oiled bore and have not ever seen a difference in accuracy from the beginning to the end. No one shoots more accurately than Bench Rest shooters and they clean often during a match. But your experience may be different(?).

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  7. CJ_56

    CJ_56 New Member

    Feb 24, 2012
    SE Ohio
    Wow I've seen a LOT of difference. It depends on the rifle. Remember those BR guys are shooting with very tight chambers and bores and it takes a lot less to cause problems from fouling. A number of top barrel makers (including some BR barrel makers) suggest not cleaning the barrel that often because it removes the lube your bore needs to stay accurate. For example I found this comment on barrel maker Lilja's web page:

    "Match quality bullets have a wax coating on them that aids accuracy. It may take 10-50 shots to "lay" a good coating of it down in the barrel and using solvents will only remove this desirable wax coating."

    Well (and this only applies to you "ignorant folks" - everyone else can ignore this) it's easy enough. It's all that pure ignorance energy. It's powerful stuff. Sometimes it can work to your favor but usually it doesn't. So be careful about being so ignorant while cleaning your bore. You could rip right through the side using a toothpick too hard if you aren't careful. Again, it's the ignorance.

    Of course I realize that the non-ignorant out there know that it's really hard to wear out a barrel with a nylon brush and a carbon fiber rod. It's the people using hard steel rods and stainless steel brushes all hooked up to a high speed drill that really wear out their barrels quick. And believe it or not I have seen people do exactly that. But since you're ignorant and all you won't need to worry about this. It's different for you. Watch out for those toothpicks. Even touching the barrel with one that happens to be hanging out of your mouth while you're shooting can spell instant disaster for your barrel. Why it's liable to blow right up in your face if you do that!
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  8. mr.t7024

    mr.t7024 Member

    CJ56 I would never have thunk of using a High speed drill ... thanks for the idea... lol.:) Cliff
  9. targetacqmgt

    targetacqmgt New Member

    Sep 21, 2012
    What he said-:)
  10. targetacqmgt

    targetacqmgt New Member

    Sep 21, 2012
    Good data I will add to my TECH documents:)
  11. markfh

    markfh New Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    I'm in the camp that doesn't clean 22's very often. Here's a target from last year. At the time the Winchester 52C hadn't had the barrel cleaned in almost 2 years. Unfortunately family and work has kept me from doing much shooting this year but other than wiping the bolt it still hasn't been cleaned.

    Attached Files:

  12. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
    Nice shooting Mark, now clean that barrel and see what/ if any difference there is. That target will make a nice benchmark to compare. Post up the results if you like the idea, I think it would be very interesting.
  13. markfh

    markfh New Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    That's the plan. Just waiting for the right combination of weather, work, and family allowing me to spend some time at the range. Luckily the range, Bayou Rifles on Eldridge, is less than 10 minutes from my house.

    Got everything ready to go.

    BTW Thanks for the compliment. It's a great old rifle.
  14. CJ_56

    CJ_56 New Member

    Feb 24, 2012
    SE Ohio
    Wow mark, there's no way in heck I'd clean a bore that's shooting like that. My experience is that if I get one shooting that well then clean it then it doesn't shoot that well for a long time after that.
  15. 775barber

    775barber New Member

    Sep 30, 2012
    Thank you all for the info
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