What is the functional difference between carbon deposition and copper deposition in a new barrel?

want2learn

Private
Belligerents
Sep 7, 2013
310
56
34
I do understand that there are a lot of different opinions regarding how to and whether to implement a cleaning/break in procedure. Furthermore,
I know this is probably a very basic question but i'm really interested in learning more.

The reason i ask this question is that i recently purchased a new barrel and the break in instructions are rather specific regarding cleaning out copper after the first few shots.

So why the very specific concern regarding removing copper early on in the break in phase?

Why not just use both a copper and a carbon cleaner or a CLP for example?

thank you.
 

Huskydriver

You gotta want it....
Belligerents
Minuteman
Apr 17, 2018
1,660
1,920
119
SLC, Utah
Dude... Just shoot it. Break in is snake oil voodoo.

Barrels are like tires.... Cleaning them does not add tread back. Sure eventually it can change accuracy but it's been my experience it takes a long time before I see it on paper. I shot out my last 6.5 Creed barrel and I ran 0 patches through it.

Barrels start eroding from shot #1. Alot of guys will disagree with me but I don't have time to be cleaning my barrel every 5 shots, turn around three times while hoping on one foot nonsense to magically make it shoot better.
 
Last edited:

ShtrRdy

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Sep 17, 2011
2,085
367
189
65
High Plains
I think of barrel break in as a process that is done to make it easier to clean in the future.

You can do whatever you want for your first 20 shots. If you have a new barrel with 0 round fired, fire a shot and then run a patch to wipe out the powder fouling. Now look at an angle into the muzzle. What you will typically see is a layer of copper in the bore.
 

want2learn

Private
Belligerents
Sep 7, 2013
310
56
34
I understand and certainly value you're point and experience....
and yet as a matter of academic interest i wonder what the the effects and implications are of each type of deposition in a barrel.... copper vs carbon....and why would it be of specific note to rid the barrel early of copper
 

flyright

Sergeant
Belligerents
Feb 14, 2017
455
150
49
Call the manufacturer. I'm sure everyone here would like to hear their answer.
 

Diablo

Road Warrior
Belligerents
Aug 29, 2009
773
22
22
You have asked about two different types of fouling.

Carbon fouling is from the products of combustion, the powder, primer, and volitization of oil/grease (and any other stuff) that may be in the chamber, cartridge, or barrel when the round is fired. Deposits can vary from soft and easily removed to tightly adhered.

Copper fouling is from the gilding metal on bullets (bullet jacket material) that scrubs off at rough places in the bore. Over time it may affect accuracy if copper keeps accumulating. Your bright, shiny, new barrel is probably not as smooth as it looks. Barrel roughness may be due to poor manufacturing, hasty production, worn tooling, and other factors.

My opinion --

Carbon build up can be removed with most any of the common cleaners, and some brushing if necessary (only use brushes that are softer than the barrel steel, don't overdo it)

You will need a solvent for copper removal. Copper solvents left too long may pit the barrel, so use them when needed, and remove them thoroughly. Brushing requires some consideration. Bronze brushes will be affected (attacked) by copper solvents. At some point you must quit using the brush, and clean only with patches until the blue-green is gone. Run an oily patch or two (or three) after cleaning, and a dry patch or two.

More opinion about "barrel break in" ---

Run a clean patch or two through the barrel before shooting to get crap out.

Do not subject barrel to long strings of firing that heats barrel excessively.

If accuracy begins to drop off, then clean.

Repeat.
 

want2learn

Private
Belligerents
Sep 7, 2013
310
56
34
Thank you...that helps a lot. Didn't realize that copper would pit the barrel...and the fact that the copper remover would also help clear the carbon makes perfect sense as to favoring a particular option.

The barrel maker did similarly strongly advocate against using bronze brushes....they said if i felt i needed a brush to only use a nylon brush.

I was recommended to a product called Eliminator....i'll see if i can find some, supposedly it's safer than many other products and rather effective.
 

gnochi

Sergeant of the Hide
Belligerents
Minuteman
May 6, 2019
301
132
49
Orange County, CA
The copper *solvent* (dissolves copper, doesn’t contain copper; it’s typically ammonia based) will pit the barrel, not the copper itself.

The only reason not to use bronze brushes that actually has evidence behind it is they react with the copper solvent and dissolve themselves, giving you false positives on copper in the barrel and making you buy new ones more frequently. Why go to the hassle, especially when the barrel maker says don’t do it?
 

want2learn

Private
Belligerents
Sep 7, 2013
310
56
34
oh i see, thank you for clarifying. still have so much to learn. really appreciate everyone's help.
 

Nik H

Constantly Learning
Online Training Access
Belligerents
Jan 22, 2014
6,279
5,268
219
Rhode Island
If you really want to learn about it scientifically, go to the resource area and download the paper I posted there. The paper was written by Steve Boelter who is in charge of the Anschutz custom shop in the US. He provides excellent guidance on why clean and how often and dispels many of the "myths" that are continuously propagated. The paper is specific to rimfire but most of it applies to center fire as well.
 

Daryl licht

Long Range Savant
Belligerents
Nov 22, 2012
106
3
22
Texas Hill Country
I’m a firm believer in the equilibrium method of bore maintenance except on the very finest of barrels. Keep the carbon out of it but let the copper build until your round is leaving as much in the barrel as your pushing out. You’ll be amazed at the results.
 

Culpeper

"Goodbye, Rutten"
Belligerents
Nov 25, 2006
3,821
2,272
219
60
Roswell NM
Too much emphasis on cleaning. Hoppes #9 has been around since 1903. 27 years after Custer's Last Stand.
 

rydah

Moons out goons out.
Belligerents
Minuteman
Feb 12, 2019
237
154
49
Just shoot it and keep shooting it.
Dude... Just shoot it. Break in is snake oil voodoo.

Barrels are like tires.... Cleaning them does not add tread back. Sure eventually it can change accuracy but it's been my experience it takes a long time before I see it on paper. I shot out my last 6.5 Creed barrel and I ran 0 patches through it.

Barrels start eroding from shot #1. Alot of guys will disagree with me but I don't have time to be cleaning my barrel every 5 shots, turn around three times while hoping on one foot nonsense to magically make it shoot better.
This.
 
  • Like
Reactions: seansmd

seansmd

In a minute man
Belligerents
Minuteman
Aug 8, 2018
781
478
69
San Jose, CA
90 seconds 10-12 shot stages in desert heat conditions in matches are fine, will not hurt your barrel, chamber, or accuracy.
 

308pirate

Gunny Sergeant
Belligerents
Apr 25, 2017
7,672
7,183
119
Copper left in the bore has the potential (literally) to set up an electrochemical reaction called galvanic corrosion with the steel if sufficient ambient moisture is present.
 

want2learn

Private
Belligerents
Sep 7, 2013
310
56
34
Blacksmith....i understand much of what you've alluded to having worked in and subsequently directed a lab for many years. I recall a mentor telling us that something like 50% of all research articles are ultimately proven mistaken....not necessarily intentional though tragically this too has sometimes been the case.
 

spife7980

Luchador
Belligerents
Feb 10, 2017
6,304
3,558
119
Central TX
Buy one of those trailing bite scopes. Plug it into your phone, I bought an old pixel xl, and look at it and see what’s happening. See what’s building up, how much and then see if your accuracy suffers at some point. Then use the scope to examine the results of your cleaning procedures.
 

fx77

Sergeant
Belligerents
Nov 29, 2005
1,157
261
189
ny state
Cleaning the barrel

Good Ol Boy from Huntsv. Alabama once told me, "Boy there is that you don't know, and that which you don't know and think is so."