Gun Care Tips
- Getting Your Gun Ready To Go Afield
- “Condition” That Barrel
- Let’s Store That Gun Correctly
- How Much Lubricant is ‘Too Much’
- Prepare Your Gun For The Cold
- Copper Solvent Needn’t Be Caustic
- Tips For Cleaning A Firearm
- Tips On Cleaning Your Shotgun
- Different Cleaning Technique For Backbored Barrels
- What Is Barrel Fouling?
- Stainless Steel Is The Gun Metal Of The 21st Century
- Not All Cleaning Rods are Created Equal
- Solving Copper Fouling Problem
- Moly Coating Must Start With Clean Barrel
- Quality Products Dissolve Fouling And Brushes
- Lead Residue Can Be Harmful
Just prior to hunting season or a day at the range it’s only
common sense to check a few things before going afield. It
can mean the difference between disappointment — or disaster
– and a pleasurable experience.
The experts at Shooter’s Choice suggest the following checklist:
- If the bore is clean and has been stored for awhile, run
a clean patch through to wipe out any oil.
- Work the action repeatedly and, if possible, cycle a few
dummy rounds through the gun. The shop is the place to discover
any problems, not in the field.
- Look the gun over thoroughly. Any shiny surfaces on moving
parts can note wear. A touch of grease on the shiny parts
keeps things running smooth. Rule of thumb: If you can see
the grease after it’s been applied, you’ve used too much.
- Most greases gum up in extreme cold and can cause malfunctions.
In addition to keeping grease to a minimum, use one that
keeps its integrity in extreme weather. Shooter’s Choice
All-Weather grease will function in temperatures from -60
to +350 degrees.
- To prepare yourself, dryfire your rifle or shotgun to
reacquaint yourself with just where the trigger breaks.
In old guns use snap caps to protect the firing pin.
- Check and tighten, if necessary, screws in guards, scope
mounts and other sights. Use a screwdriver ground to fit
the screws. Few things mar the appearance of a good gun
more than screws chewed up by poorly fitting screwdrivers.
Over the years Shooter’s Choice MC-7 bore solvent has established
itself as a favorite among expert and professional rifle,
pistol and shotgun shooters all over the world. MC-7′s special
formulation cuts powder, copper, carbon, lead and wad fouling
faster and more efficiently than any other bore solvent on
But there is another application that can make
your future gun cleaning easier and faster — use Shooter’s
Choice MC-7 before you shoot as well as after. Simply saturate
a patch with MC-7 and run it through an already clean bore,
then follow with a dry patch. The idea is to leave a thin
film of Shooter’s Choice MC-7 in the barrel. It’s called “conditioning”
This practice minimizes fouling build-up and
will assure first shot accuracy, eliminating the need to fire
a fouling shot. In a conditioned bore the MC-7 also gets between
the barrel walls and subsequent fouling, making it easier
to remove after your day of shooting.
For many people a shotgun or rifle is a seasonal tool. When
the hunting season ends, the firearm goes into storage for
months — until thoughts of the next season bring it back
But a firearm needs protection even when it
isn’t being used, and a case or cabinet is not sufficient
protection, according to Joe Ventimiglia, president of Shooter’s
“There is definitely a right way to store
a firearm,” said Ventimiglia, a noted benchrest competitor
and hunter. “Corrosion can work unchecked for months
if the gun isn’t stored properly.”
Ventimiglia notes that a firearm’s bore should
be cleaned prior to storage, “then scrub the action with
a good lubricant-cleaner like Shooter’s Choice MC#7 and an
When the action is clean, Ventimiglia suggests
degreasing it with a quality degreaser such as Shooter’s Choice
Quick Scrub. Follow that with a light coating of high quality
gun grease in wear areas.
Next spray the action with a dust coating of
a quality water-displacent like Shooter’s Choice Rust Prevent.
Run a wet patch of Rust Prevent down the bore and liberally
spray the outside of the entire gun with Rust Prevent. After
a half-hour spray it again and wipe it off the wood before
“This system will give you all the protection
of cosmoline without all the mess and hassle,” Ventimiglia
says. “When you take it out of storage, just run a wet
patch down the bore, then a dry patch, wipe it off and go
When using a top-quality firearms lubricant like Shooter’s
Choice FP-10 Lubricant Elite or Shooter’s Choice All-Weather
High-Tech Gun Grease it is very easy to use too much.
When lubricating a firearm’s action it is very easy to reach
the point of dimmishing returns. An over-lubricated action,
particularly in autoloading firearms, can actually cycle too
fast, failing to feed the round from the magazine to the chamber
after the empty is ejected. The action is, in effect, too
A simple rule of thumb when lubricating a firearm is that
if you can see the lubricant, you’ve probably used too much.
As the hair grooming jingle used to say, “a little dab
will do ya.”
There are few colder places frequented by humans than a wind-swept
late-season waterfowl blind or a bone-chilling mountaintop
Intense cold is not only tough on hunters, but also on their
firearms. Lubricants that provide such necessary function
under normal conditions can freeze solid or turn to a heavy
gel in extreme cold — a fact often unnoticed until that first
flock sets its wings or that big buck bolts from cover.
“Today’s hunters can’t pick what days he goes afield
– he has to take whatever conditions occur on the days he
has free,” says shooting expert Joe Ventimiglia, president
of Shooter’s Choice Gun Care products.
“His guns have to be ready under any conditions. He
can’t afford to use just any lubricant.”
If there is a cold weather hunt in your future, Ventimiglia
suggests taking your gun to a gunsmith to have it degreased
– or do it yourself with a quality degreaser such as Shooter’s
Choice Quick Scrub.
Then use a lubricant, whether it be grease or oil, that will
retain its qualities in extreme temperatures. Shooter’s Choice
gun grease will function in temperatures from -60 to +360F
degrees and Shooter’s Choice FP-10 Lubricant Elite has a range
of -76 to +500F degrees.
It’s not news that many copper solvents, while essential for
removing guilded metal from barrels left by high-velocity
loads, lose their effectiveness when exposed to heat, cold
or get agitated. The ammonia content in many copper solvents
can also etch stainless barrels if left too long.
The good news is that Shooter’s Choice Copper Solvent remains
stable and effective under virtually all temperatures and
conditions. It is also less potentially harmful to stainless
steel, thanks to the additional corrosion-inhibiting packages
the Shooter’s Choice chemists have added to the blend.
The best way is to use Shooter’s Choice Copper Solvent is
to first clean the bore with Shooter’s Choice MC-7 bore solvent.
That removes the powder and carbon fouling and exposes the
copper left in the rifling lands and grooves. Then perform
three 10-minute applications of Shooter’s Choice Copper Solvent,
which is much safer and more efficient than one 30-minute
Neglecting the bore can not only hurt accuracy but also
eventually ruin any firearm. Here is a five-step process for
cleaning a rifle or pistol (shotguns are slightly different),
as suggested by the Shooter’s Choice staff of experts:
- Wet two patches with bore solvent and push them through
the bore to remove loose residue.
- Wet a proper-fitting bronze brush and run it through the
barrel 8 to 10 times – more if the condition of the bore
or number of rounds dictate.
- Wet three patches and individually push them back and
forth to remove loose fouling.
- Run a dry patch through the bore. If it comes out clean,
the procedure is complete. If not, repeat the process until
- Wet a patch with a good rust preventative and swab the
bore to protect it during storage.
Cleaning a shotgun after a day of shooting is like washing
dishes or taking garbage out after eating a great meal. It’s
not the part you look forward to.
But immediate gun cleaning is just as necessary as kitchen
chores. As a shotgun tube cools condensation occurs. Plastic
wad and powder fouling attracts moisture and hardens, trapping
that moisture against the walls of the tube. Rust and even
pitting can occur.
The experts at Ventco Inc., makers of Shooter’s Choice gun
care products, offer these shotgun-cleaning tips:
- Use only phosphorus bronze brushes that are wound on a
core — they are much more durable and flexible.
- An excellent patch rod can be made from a 5/8ths-inch
wooden dowel with a bicycle handlebar grip fastened to one
- An absorbent paper towel (we’ve found Bounty brand works
best) folded and rolled to bore-filling diameter is an excellent
cleaning patch. Soak the towel with a quality bore cleaner
like Shooter’s Choice MC#7 bore cleaner and conditioner
and push it the length of the bore from chamber to muzzle.
Wet brush and wet patch until clean.
- Use a toothbrush to scrub bearing surfaces with MC#7 to
clean and lubricate. Then wipe it off and coat the metal
surfaces (including the inside of the tube) with a quality
moisture displacer like Shooter’s Choice Rust Prevent.
Got a problem getting your new shotgun barrel clean? You’re
not alone. The inability to get new barrels absolutely clean
is one of the most common dilemmas we face.
So what causes this phenomenon and how can be it solved?
“The problem in many cases can be solved by simply using
common sense,” says shooting expert Joe Ventimiglia,
president of Shooter’s Choice gun care products. “Many
new barrels — and usually those that have the problems –
Some call it overbored. Browning, Mossberg and Remington
all have models with backbored barrels. Backboring or overboring
means that the interior diameter of the barrel is increased
to lessen recoil and clean up patterns. That means the interior
of your 12 gauge barrel may actually approach 10 gauge dimensions.
“That’s why your 12 gauge brush and patches won’t do
the job. Get a good quality phosphorus bronze wound 10 gauge
brush and oversize patches — and, of course a good solvent
– and clean that barrel again. I think you’ll solve the problem.”
For exceptional quality cleaning rods, brushes, jags, etc.,
we recommend J. Dewey Mfg. Company, Southberry, CT 06488,
phone: (203) 264-3064.
Heavy fouling has undoubtedly retired more guns than worn
barrels. Nothing destroys a gun’s accuracy or pattern faster
or ruins a barrel sooner than fouling.
Powder residue in the barrel is a curse in any type of firearm.
Rifles add copper or lead fouling. In shotguns powder mixes
with plastic wad residue.
Powder residue gets burnt and ironed into the walls of the
bore everytime a bullet passes over it. Copper and lead are
left in the barrel in the form of a thin, smeared wash. Plastic
wad residue is melted into the powder residue in much the
Fouling starts with the first shot and increases every time
you squeeze the trigger. The result in rifles is a sandwich
effect of powder and gilded metals and in shotguns it’s powder
and melted plastic. The fouling attracts moisture and traps
it against the barrel walls.
If your cleaning solvent does not attack, lift, and dissolve
fouling, you are wasting money and possibly ruining your gun.
Shooter’s Choice MC#7 bore cleaner and Shooter’s Choice Copper
Remover are both specially formulated to dissolve and lift
away any barrel fouling. Test them against any other brand
on the market and see for yourself.
Put a synthetic stock on a stainless steel action and barrel
and you can hunt all day in the rain or wet and not worry
about stock warpage or corrosion. And you only have to clean
the gun when the mood strikes. Isn’t life in the ’90s grand?
Well, hunting in the elements is an individual choice, but
regular cleaning is essential to accuracy in all guns, regardless
of the material of manufacture.
Stainless steel is not absolutely resistant to all forms
of corrosion and should be wiped off after each use and coated
with a good moisture displacent like Shooter’s Choice Rust
“Many lubricants that work well on conventional blued
actions will gall a stainless steel action, so don’t treat
that new stainless gun like others in your gun case,”
says veteran benchrest competitor Joe Ventimiglia, president
of Ventco Inc., makers of Shooter’s Choice gun care products.
For decades stainless steel is the rule rather than the exception
in benchrest competition, and Shooter’s Choice Hi-Tech gun
grease was specially formulated to complement stainless steel
actions and barrels.
“One thing to avoid when cleaning any barrel — stainless
or blued — is a stiff stainless steel brush,” Ventimiglia
said. “Stainless brushes are too hard and will score
virtually any barrel. Stick with bronze brushes.”
There are a few items that are needed to efficiently clean
a rifle or pistol bore.
First is a rest to hold the firearm steady while the cleaning
rod is worked. The experts at Shooter’s Choice suggest you
use one with padding to protect the finish and one that is
built so that the muzzle is lower than the receiver so that
solvents drain away from the chamber. MTM Molded Products
of Dayton, Ohio, makes a dandy portable cleaning rest and
equipment carrier called a Portable Maintenance Center.
Second is a good cleaning rod and the appropriate jag. Many
of your readers won’t know what constitutes a good rod. Vinyl-coated
rods are by far the best and some blackpowder shooters prefer
nylon. Both afford protection for the muzzle and rifling.
A very poor second choice is one of the hardened steel jointed
rods. And stay away from jointed aluminum rods for rifle and
pistol bores. A soft metal like aluminum can pick up grit
and act just like a lap, scratching the tender lands and grooves
of a rifled barrel with every stroke!
Probably the most important factor in efficient gun cleaning
is your solvent. Regardless of what equipment you use, don’t
cut corners on the solvent – use only top-quality like Shooter’s
Choice Copper Remover, or Shooter’s Choice MC#7 Bore Cleaner.
Shooter’s Choice products are American made.
Copper or other gilded metal fouling is a common yet serious
problem in modern firearms, particularly when using loads
faster than 3,000 feet per second.
Immediate and thorough cleaning of rifle and pistol bores
after using copper-jacketed ammo is essential, both to protect
your investment and to assure future accuracy. But how does
one know when a bore is thoroughly cleansed of copper residue?
By using the most effective copper solvent available. The
experts at Ventco Industries, makers of Shooter’s Choice gun
care products, suggest you try a simple test.
Take two copper-plated washers. Coat one liberally with Shooter’s
Choice Copper Remover and the other with a similar amount
of any other copper solvent on the market.
Note which one turns blue (dissolves all the copper) fastest.
There are several excellent copper solvents on the market
but none work as quickly or as thoroughly as Shooter’s Choice
The use of molybdenum disulfide or other coated bullets
to increase velocity and ostensibly to improve accuracy in
rifle barrels is very popular today. The improvement in performance,
however, is dependent on the moly being evenly coated throughout
the barrel, and that takes some preparation.
“It is absolutely critical to start with a perfectly
clean bore before using coated bullets,” said firearms
expert Joe Ventimiglia, president of Shooter’s Choice gun
care products. “The moly must be applied to a clean and
smooth surface. If the coating is deposited over any type
of fouling it will not be even and accuracy will suffer and
it could even lead to increased pressures if the build-up
gets too heavy.”
A heavily used barrel should be treated with a quality copper
solvent, then with a good bore solvent, like Shooter’s Choice
MC-7 Bore Cleaner until patches run through clean. Then at
least two dry patches should be run through the barrel before
coated bullets are fired through it.
Copper and guilded metal fouling left behind by high velocity
jacketed bullets can destroy accuracy if it isn’t removed
from a barrel quickly. But such fouling is very difficult
A thorough soaking in Shooter’s Choice MC-7 Bore Cleaner
will clear the powder fouling and other debris but to remove
copper or gilded metal fouling quickly the next step should
be an application of Shooter’s Choice Copper Solvent or Shooter’s
Choice Xtreme Clean aerosol.
Use only wound phosphorus bronze brushes when cleaning rifle
barrels since stainless and other brushes may scratch the
surface. By the same token, take care to rinse the solvent
out of the brush with Quick Scrubb III Cleaner/ Degreaser
before storing it since a quality copper solvent doesn’t differentiate
between fouling and the strands of a wire brush.
Lead poisoning can be dangerous and debilitating. Some people
who are extremely sensitive to lead should wear a dust mask
and rubber gloves when cleaning a firearm.
“Everyone should always wash their hands thoroughly
with soap and warm water after cleaning a firearm,” says
firearms expert Joe Ventimiglia, president of Shooter’s Choice
gun care products. “The bolt and receiver area are typically
loaded with very fine lead particles that can get into your
lungs and stomach if you eat immediately without washing the
residue from your hands.
“People who shoot at indoor ranges should also be extremely
careful. Lead is present in vapor form after each discharge.
It is also present in most priming mixtures and in particle
form as it shears off from pressure on the driving sides of
the rifling lands.”