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Cleaning a 40X 22 Rimfire barrel (or killing it maybe)







#1
My wife and I each own a Remington 40X in .22 RF caliber. Both bought basically as a "pig in a poke"...in other words I never got a chance to shoot either one. Hers is a 1965 Rem 700 based heavy barrel and, luckily, shoots very well...nice groups and she is kicking my (and other guys' butts with it in our 100 yard Mini Palma Matches.!). Mine is a 1964 Rem 722 based rifle and is not too much different visibly from hers other than one having a straight bolt handle and the other a "swept" bolt handle. Barrel measurements are ALL the same and both have had Calvin Elite triggers put in them (we both like 2 stage triggers) and are both in their original stocks (as far as I can tell). Mine shoot shotgun groups (as luck would have it) and I figure that somewhere in its long life someone has ruined the barrel with a cleaning rod, so I decided to do an experiment on it. What I decided is to either ruin it completely by cleaning VERY HEAVILY ( I am kind in the market for a good replacement anyway) OR maybe just find out how clean I can actually get it. BTW, after spending literally ALL DAY (stuck in the house here due to COVID 19 and bored to death!) on cleaning with patches, bronze brushes and nylon brushes using several brands of bore goop (another experiment, I guess). I am still getting white patches that come out REALLY BLACK from the groove areas---which I figure must mean the thing has NEVER been really cleaned and likely has 56 years worth of lead in it. BUT, it does have me wondering if there is ever going to be any end to the black (lead?) gunk and the patches will come out looking fairly pristine! Have any of you ever messed with something like this that started out with really black patches? And if so, how long did it take before the patches looked like the rifle was clean? Since I am planning to rebarrel this thing anyway, I am likely going to clean it to the point of just totally ruining it....either that or the patches will start coming out looking OK and the accuracy will (dreaming here maybe??) come back. Who knows? Anyone ever done anything like this? I'd like to hear from you!!
 

MAC702

LEGEN...wait for it... DARY!
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#2
Might be a good candidate for electrochemical cleaning, like the Outers Foul-Out system? I bought one off Craigslist in Montana for a yard sale price and put it away. Have still never used it.
 

SixshooterSam

What, me conspiracy?
#3
I've soaked metal parts in mineral spirits before.. gun barrels, bolts and such to loosen up firing pins, etc.. it works pretty well. Done so with a bunch of surplus rifles packed with cosmoline, works great. Might be worth a try in your case.

I have a few dedicated bore snakes that I use just for that purpose. Run it through the barrel a few times while soaked in mineral spirits and it cleans it right out.
 

TexasJackKin

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#5
Good luck, I'm very interested in how this turns out! If you can find some copper wool people have had good success removing lead by wrapping a bit around a bore brush. Just make sure it's really copper, and not just copper plated.
 

NYECOGunsmith

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#6
To remove heavy leading I use a little piece of this wrapped around my bore brush.

http://www.big45metalcleaner.com/
I like the part of their ad where it says "The alloy is effectively “harder than rust but softer than bluing.”"

Guess they didn't know that bluing IS RUST. And this stuff will remove it, IF you scrub hard enough. But inside a bore, no problem at all.

For heavily leaded barrels, I plug one end with a wooden dowel, or a rubber plug if I have one the right diameter, fill the barrel with Ed's Red (equal parts Acetone, Kerosene, Odorless Mineral Spirts and Dextron Type III ATF) and let it sit over night, then take a slightly smaller than bore size (for .22, a .20 or .17 caliber brush works well) brass or bronze bore brush, and wrap it with strands from a copper wool kitchen scrub pad (be sure it is pure copper, not copper plated steel as TJK mentioned above) or if you can find it, bronze wool, soak it in some more Ed's Red, drain the barrel and scrub out the lead. It will generally come out in large chunks and pieces at this point if the leading is that heavy in an old barrel.

By soaking over night, the Ed's red gets under the lead (you could use KROIL as well, or just Acetone and Dextron III in equal parts) and the tight fitting copper wool / brush pushes it out.

I would also, once I got it clean, check the muzzle for dings in the crown, and I would take a good long look at the chamber and throat as well, since all three areas can affect accuracy, especially in a .22LR.

If the rifling is good once the barrel is clean, the barrel can always be recrowned, and if the chamber is suspect, set the barrel back a bit and rechamber it, maybe use a Bentz or a Match chamber reamer depending on whether or not you are going to shoot a variety of ammo (Use the Bentz dimension reamer for this) or only match ammo (Match chamber reamer in this case) and you should be back in business.

Or install a new barrel altogether.
 

Dr. Marneaus

Station Wagon Collector
#7
I like the part of their ad where it says "The alloy is effectively “harder than rust but softer than bluing.”"

Guess they didn't know that bluing IS RUST. And this stuff will remove it, IF you scrub hard enough. But inside a bore, no problem at all.
Yeah, I've used it to remove rust but only on some fairly low value items that I have come across. It worked, but as you mentioned I didnt scrub down with a ton of pressure.

I havent needed to clean up any rusty firearms in quite some time, so I really only use it for de-leading these days. Works well!
 

NYECOGunsmith

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#9
For an electrochemical lead remover, you would need a solution containing both ammonium acetate and lead acetate, as you need the salt of the element you are trying to remove by electroplating, to be part of the solution you fill the bore with.

For a copper remover it would be copper acetate and ammonium acetate, and for either solution you would use distilled and de-ionized water as the carrier.