This months blog post is about barrel cleaning, muzzle brakes, barrel crowns, and turbulence. I am not a ballistician nor a gunsmith . I am not a physicist, nor do I own any high-tech gizmos, cameras with ridiculously fast shutter speeds to capture slow motion footage of a bullet exiting the muzzle. This is simply an anecdotal account of my personal experience with muzzle brakes and carbon fouling near the crown of a rifle barrel.
Anyone who has frequented the internet forums dealing with precision rifle knows the arguments about barrel break-in, cleaning procedures, frequency, chemicals, and what not; some based in reality, some based in pure myth. Personally, I love to shoot, but hate to clean, and only do it when absolutely necessary. So when is it necessary? Well that depends on who you talk to, and the purpose of your rifle. For my purpose, I’m talking about a match gun that needs to be sub 1/2 minute and run. The barrel will probably not make it past 6 months with the round count of training combined with 200 rnds per match. My cleaning regimen consists of only cleaning when the whole rifle is filthy, or when I notice a degradation in accuracy. The only thing is, I never noticed a degradation in accuracy. I could shoot 2-300 rounds and then I would just clean because the whole rifle was filthy.
Last week was different. Went down to the range and couldn’t shoot a group. There was no discernible pattern to the POI on paper. Came back and asked the resident experts here at OTM. “It’s you.” “Maybe you just can’t shoot groups?” Typical, no love for the new guy, lol. Ok, so I was on my own, and just decided to clean thoroughly. Now, my brake was loc tite-ed (I didn’t do it) but figured I’d do my own experiment. So I decided to remove the muzzle brake. Well, let’s just say I probably should have cleaned the crown sooner, but after soaking in chemicals overnight all the crud came off. I put a new Insite Arms Heathen brake on the rifle and off to the range. Groups tightened back up to the low .2s and that was without cleaning the inside of the barrel at all.
Conclusion? Turbulence is not a myth, it’s real… or at least that’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it!