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Old 09-21-2004, 02:55 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 2,691
Removing rust from a barrel

Some of y'all might remember that I wrote a product review for something called Hunters Extreme CopperMelt a couple of weeks back. While the stuff works like magic at quickly removing copper and powder fouling (about five patches using an Otis kit and not their recommended method of scrubbing with a patch wrapped around an undersized nylon brush), I found that not all of their claims were completely accurate.

In particular, they claim that after cleaning with their product you don't need to use oil to protect the bore except for long term storage. However, I found this not to be the case. A week ago, I went to the range and cleaned Brigid's brand spankin' new Barnett barrel at the range right after shooting. As advertised, I was able to clean the bore in about ten minutes and get clean white patches after two wet patches and three dry patches. I didn't use anything else in the bore and let Brigid go to bed dry.

The next day, after cleaning the bolt, bolt rails and op-rod rail, I decided to run a wet patch down the bore to test to see if it was as clean as I thought it was. Well, the patch came out free of carbon or copper, but with red traces of rust! Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. I cleaned the bore again with the Coppermelt, then ran a bronze brush with Miltec oil down the bore about ten times, then a couple of dry patches until there was no sign of rust. Then I ran a wet patch of Hoppes down the bore and put Brigid away until this last Sunday.

This last Sunday, when I ran a couple of dry patches down to get rid of the Hoppes, I found some trace amounts of rust on the patches again. This of course is unacceptable and even more distressing since my wife had to save up for quite a while to get this barrel for my birthday the other week. So, I decided to do a much more thorough cleaning of the bore this time.

I again cleaned it with CopperMelt to get the fouling out from Sunday's match. I was suprised not to see any more traces of rust and that it cleaned up much faster and easier than the previous two times I'd used the CopperMelt after shooting (they claim that the initial cleanings with CoppeMelt should take longer than subsequent cleanings, so at least two of their claims seem to be true). Still, I wanted to be sure that I got rid of any traces of rust, since rust is like metal cancer and just the smallest amount will spread rapidly (a chemistry grad student told me it has something to do with changing the charge of the Iron molecules so that once one becomes oxidized all the others become more susceptible). I got some Kroil from the local gunstore, and ran bronze brush with Kroil on it ten about ten times down the bore, then ran a couple of dry patches, then another wet patch.

Then I broke out the ol' Dewey rod and some JB Bore Paste and gave it a double dose of the JB. Then more wet patches of Kroil, followed by more passes with a bronze brush, more dry patches and a wet patch with Kroil to soak over night. Then today, I did a couple of more wet patches, followed by a couple of dry patches, ten passes with a bronze brush soaked in Kroil (oh yeah, I also used a chamber brush and Kroil after the the dry patches and before using the bore brush, and a chamber brush with a patch around it to get the Kroil out of the chamber), followed by more dry patches. Then I cleaned it with CopperMelt again, and this time the patches came out pristine from the get go, so after two dry patches I ran another wet patch with Kroil and am letting it soak some more.

Did I go over board, or do I still need to scrub it some more?
TEA is offline  
Old 09-21-2004, 03:21 PM   #2
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if coppermelt is water soluble you should treat it like corrosive ammo residue. when you are done using it, clean it up with water and lightly oil the bore.
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Old 09-21-2004, 03:35 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 2,691
From their Web site:

Hunter’s Extreme CopperMelt® is water based with a small amount of ammonia, which works with enzymes to completely clean and condition the bore of any gun. Hunter’s Extreme CopperMelt® is non-abrasive and inert to steel, stainless steel, aluminum, bluing, browning, etc. Because of the unique chemical and enzyme cleaning system, you no longer have to soak the bore or use abrasive brushes or pastes to try to dislodge the fouling from the bore.

Hunter’s Extreme CopperMelt® works by enzymatic action to dissolve all copper and powder fouling on contact. It easily removes lead fouling by lifting it from the bore and then dissolving it (at a slower rate than copper and powder residue, but it removes it from the bore just as quickly as copper and powder fouling). Because Hunter’s Extreme CopperMelt® dissolves powder residue and copper on contact, all the plastic fouling and lead deposits on top of the burnt powder and copper are completely removed in a very short time.

Hunter’s Extreme CopperMelt® is the most superior non-abrasive product for removing powder fouling, copper, lead, and plastic from bores. Black powder shooters will be amazed at its’ incredible cleaning ability. Because it is a water-based formula, cleaning your black powder rifle no longer requires removing the barrel to run soap and water through it. No more mess, no awful smell. Hunter’s Extreme CopperMelt® will dissolve all the black powder residue and remove all the copper, lead, plastic, and powder fouling, and condition your bore, in only a few minutes. Clean barrels treated with Moly will not be affected, however, Moly bullet fouling will be removed because it is made up of a mixture of powder residue, copper, and moly.

Instructions for use:

1. Using an undersized nylon bore brush (small enough to fall through the bore – see the Nylon Bore Brush Sizing Chart, below), wrap a cotton patch (proper size for the bore, fuzzy side out) around the nylon brush to completely cover the bristles. The only purpose of the bore brush is to hold the cotton patch in place, not to scrub. Do not use a synthetic patch, as it is not as effective as a cotton patch, and you will only waste a great deal of valuable Hunter’s Extreme CopperMelt, patches, and time.

2. Apply a few drops of Hunter’s Extreme CopperMelt® to the entire cotton patch (just enough to dampen it). Soaking the patch in the bottle will contaminate the original solution, rendering it less effective, and the excessive amount on the patch will only be wasted. Because Hunter’s Extreme CopperMelt® is very concentrated, a few drops (just enough to dampen the patch) are all that are needed on a patch.

3. Insert the cleaning rod with the nylon brush and dampened cotton patch into the bore and make about 10 to 30 passes back and forth through the barrel (until the patch cannot absorb any more fouling), then discard the soiled patch. This should take about 20 to 30 seconds, or so.

4. Repeat step 1, 2, and 3, using a new dampened patch, until a dampened patch remains clean.

5. Now run one dry patch through the bore and your gun is ready to be fired. Working an oiled patch through the bore is not required, nor recommended, before firing the gun, as it would only cause flyers in the first few shots.

Because Hunter’s Extreme CopperMelt® does not have a rust inhibitor in it, if the gun will be stored in a humid, damp, or wet environment, we recommend running an oily patch through the bore before storing it (or if conditions could cause rust). Use your own judgement. We have been using Hunter’s Extreme CopperMelt® for several years now, and for the last 3 years have not oiled any bore. We have been using and storing these firearms in climates similar to those found in Montana and Alberta.
I guess I should have "used my own judgement" a bit more and used oil in the bore after cleaning.
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Old 09-21-2004, 03:42 PM   #4
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Re: Removing rust from a barrel

Originally Posted by TEA

Did I go over board, or do I still need to scrub it some more?
No, I don't think so. You did what you had to- to protect your barrel. I just wouldn't use THAT [email protected]#$t again.
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Old 09-21-2004, 05:35 PM   #5
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I think you'd better take a little more action. Methinks a box of 168's would remove whatever is left of your rust problem.

FWIW, I always use a good rust inhibitor (not kroil) after cleaning.
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Old 09-21-2004, 06:00 PM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Someone may correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that once metal has become rusted, it is microscopically pitted, increasing the likelyhood that it will rust again . Rust IS metal cancer...hard to get rid of. Personally I would not use that stuff any more...sounds to me like it should be called "Bore Melt".
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Old 09-21-2004, 09:27 PM   #7
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 894

SOunds to me like you did just what was needed. I'm kind of a fanatic about my barrels as well and I think i would still be scrubbing it--nothing worse than seeing the ugly brown stuff on your baby. Your probablly all set and I would run some form of light oil down the barrel when your done. I've used clp, and tetra lubricant wit hgreat results---just make sure to run a dry patch through before your send one down range. Good luck chief and thanks for the warning---I was going to buy some of the coppermelt stuff but I'm starting to think that I just may stick with sweets.

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Old 09-21-2004, 10:27 PM   #8
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 2,691
I think the problem with the CopperMelt is that its water based and doesn't contain a rust inhibitor. In retrospect, it should've seemed like common sense that if you use a water base cleaner on metal it needs to be followed by some sort of rust inhibitor. The CopperMelt does work like magic on cleaning copper and powder fouling in virtually no time at all. I think its a bit pricey, though, and if you use it you need to disregard their advice not to apply rust inhibitor like CLP down the bore afterwards.
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Old 09-22-2004, 05:12 AM   #9
Join Date: Jan 2004
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First of all, there is something wrong with this picture if you had the barrel clean and rust formed in it overnight. I would recommend you stop using the cleaning solvent you recommended. To get the rust out, that should be easy enough. Just shooting a couple of rounds through it would do the trick. There is a product I use for any rust I encounter called B'aster Penetrating Catalyst. It is an aerosol penetrating lubricant that has been around for a long time. if you spray a little on a patch and run it through a barrel it will take out rust with no problem. This is what I used to get a few rust spots off my T-57 mags. WD-40 will get bore rust off. After your barrel is clean coat it with a light coat of good gun oil like Rem Oil, Break Free, etc.
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Old 09-22-2004, 07:28 AM   #10
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 420

Go easy on the cleaning there TEA, I've seen more barrels ruined by overcleaning than actual shooting.......
That coppermelt stuff is made in Canada, here is a short thread on it on our board. ... coppermelt

Here is a short cleaning guide from our top Canadian gunmaker, formerly prairie gunworks


This is by no means the only method for cleaning a barrel. This is however is what I do and it works for me.

1) Rifle unloaded
2) Disassemble to allow access to barrel
3) Oil O ring on bore guide and insert.
4) With a correct sized brass brush, scrub front to back about 10 times with Hoppes BR solvent. This will remove the powder fouling.
5) Two snug dry patches on a jag.
6) Apply Sweets 7.62 on a half patch on a loop jag at the muzzle end, draw this back and forth slowly about 3 times, re-apply Sweets and remove rod and patch. You could use a nylon brush too.
7) After ten minutes, patch out the bore.
8 ) If it comes out blue, repeat step 6 and 7
9) Once I am happy I got all the copper out, I repeat step 4 but only stroking it 5 times. This removes any residual Sweets.
10) Patch the bore dry, clean all the drips from the muzzle.
11) I then use a .45 cal bore mop and put a patch over top and dry out the chamber. THIS IS REAL IMPORTANT!
12) Moly grease the locking lugs.

It is a good idea to put a small cloth at the rear of the bore guide to catch any drips that could get on the tang area and make its way to the bedding. Also make sure you scope lenses are covered, the copper brush throws lost of mist that will find its way to them.

I don't oil my bores at all, clean bore ready for the next shot. Good time to check the torque on scope rings, action screws.
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Old 09-22-2004, 03:40 PM   #11
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 2,691
Hittzy, thanks for the advice. I usually don't go to this type of extreme for cleaning my barrels, I just wanted to make sure I got every last trace of rust out so that it won't matastacize. In fact, one of the things that I like about the CopperMelt is that I don't need to do a lot of cleaning to get a clean bore. Normally, I use Hoppes and time to clean the bore - a couple of wet patches followed by a couple of dry patches followed by another wet patch and letting it soak 24hrs, then repeat.
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