Sep 5, 2013

Breaking In a New Firearm or Barrel

You've just bought your new firearm and head out to the range to use it. As in too many cases, the firearm is fired at the range and back home it is cleaned as usual.
Many firearm owners do not realize that a firearm, as a finely tuned automobile engine, has a break-in period, something important but too often overlooked.
I will go over the basics and then present a four-part video where an expert gunsmith demonstrates proper procedure of breaking in a new firearm [barrel], as well as good cleaning practices and tips …

  1. Clean barrel after three-shot groups for the first 50 shots. Use a Bore Snake [ or cotton bore cleaner with brush attacked] with cleaning solvent [gel best, also available in spray] of choice. Pull bore snake through rifle from chamber to muzzle three times. Follow with a clean, dry bore snake two times. Wrapping 0000 steel wool [super fine] around the cleaning brush helps lap the barrel and speeds up the barrel break-in and removal of fouling. Ensure a liberal amount of cleaning solvent [gel] is on the steel wool. If copper is present in the barrel [bluish green color on patch], use a copper solvent.
  2. Before using the copper solvent, clean the bore snake or brush/mop with automotive brake cleaner because mixing of chemicals from different solvents may cause damage – unless you are using M-Pro-7. After cleaning bore snake with brake cleaner wring it out. Re-apply brake cleaner until completely clean, then dry the bore snake. Brake cleaner dries quickly, especially in direct sunlight, taking about 15 minutes. Remember, brake cleaner is flammable.
  3. Use a clean and dry bore snake and soak with copper solvent, running it through the barrel from chamber to muzzle three times and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Follow with a clean bore snake three more times. Repeat the process until all copper residue is gone.
  4. For the next 30 shots, clean the barrel after a 3-5 shot group following the initial break-in procedure. The barrel should be broken in after 90 rounds. If fouling continues to be present; keep up the break-in cleaning process until fouling is at a minimum. Using Break-Free after cleaning with solvent will help greatly in the break-in procedure. This remarkable cleaning and preserving oil has been used by the US military since the 1980s and has proven to be beneficial. Use sparingly because a little goes a long way. For areas to be lightly oiled, apply, let it soak for at least ten minutes and then wipe with a clean, dry cloth.
  5. After break-in process is done, continue with standard cleaning procedures using solvent when necessary and follow up with Break-Free. Military standard solvent, environmental friendly can be used.

Carburetor cleaner works great for cleaning out bolt/extractor to prevent fouling, dust, dirt build up in hard to reach areas. It works great when sprayed into the hard-to-reach areas like chamber as well :

Don't forget to use Break-Free in areas like the bolt slide in the receiver and areas where wearing occurs like frame channel where bolt slides. A good quality gun grease should be applied to parts of the action system parts. Check your firearm manual.
When working with solvents, it is best to wear quality Nitrile gloves to keep the chemicals out of your pores, as well as prevent your skin from drying out. It wouldn't hurt to use a face mask or goggles to prevent solvent from splashing in your eyes. Face mask shields keep solvent from splashing in your eyes and face. Using the solvent authorized for military weapons is best, although there are quality solvents available.
Whenever you take a firearm to a gunsmith for repair or customization; have the gunsmith give it a full cleaning job.
If you take care of your firearm, it will last a long time and if it is a quality brand/model; it can be passed down for generations. Firearms are costly, so protect your investment.
The following four-part video provides a visual presentation of how to break-in a barrel.

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