Reading up in my Garand manuals I learned a detail about cleaning all guns I never knew before. Something absolutely vital. You have to look close at the business end of the barrel, so if you are inspecting your Garand remember the first rule (all guns are always loaded). So after clearing the chamber, checking the magazine is empty, leaving the bolt back, shining light down the barrel from the receiver, and totally removing the trigger assembly…. I eyeballed the muzzle closely. At the tip there is a little inside bevel before the grooves and lands of rifling starts (or ends, depending on your perspective.) This beveled area is called the crown. Rifle barrels aren’t tempered to too great a Rockwell hardness so it is relatively easy to ding this crown if a joint on a cleaning rod bumps against it. Or the shoulder on the patch holder. Ding the crown and you will destroy all hope for accuracy.
Luckily for me, my inexpensive cleaning kit with a section bore rod came with a little conical rod guide that goes on the rod, and it protect the crown and centers the cleaning rod. I need to get a fancy one-piece rod some time. In the meantime, I will be careful.
I also got a bore snake type cleaning system to see how it works. I needed to get one for the shotgun, so I just ponied up for the .30 cal kind too. The way it work is, it is a rope with a weight on the end is dropped down the barrel from the receiver end. You pull the rope through and you get a lot more surface action from the rope, compare to a patch, that you wipe down the inside more effectively. There is even a brass wire brush IN the rope that precedes most of the rope. I ran that through a few times but still ran a few patches through til they came out clean.
The way I clean, I have the rifle on a rack on my bench, level, and upside down. I then spray the lube/cleaning-solvent Break-Free into the barrel and let it sit for a bit while I prep the other cleaning tools. It’s upside down so the solvent doesn’t drip into the gas tube hole too much. Too spread the solvent around I’ll push a patch through (I’d prefer to push form the breech end, but you can’t do that with a Garand). Once through I’ll soak it with solvent and pull it back out. Then I run the wire bore brush through a few times. The bore handle lets the brush spin with the rifling lands and grooves, so it gets into all the nooks and crannies. I then use the chamber brush to scrub out the chamber. It’s too tight and hard to remove, so I may need to look for an alternate for that. The one that was issued with the M-14 is better than the Garand milsurp ratchet type, probably. Next step is running the patches through (and/or that new rope) until the patches come out clean. The solvent is also a lubricant, and in the course of getting the barrel clean it gets all over the magazine well and the internals. I go nuts with a paper towel and cotton swabs on the receiver end, but a light coating of solvent/lubricant stays on the parts, and that is fine by me. Loose oil is fine on internals. Not too much. For metal to metal contact on expose parts I coat with a cheap gun grease from Hoppes. I will get a silicone based grease, some day, from Tetra. It’s supposed to pick up less grit and still work well with a thinner coat.
The regular gun cleaning solvent is good for powder residue and leading, but Full Metal Jacket Rounds leave copper on the inside of the barrel. This is called gilding. There is a separate solvent type for copper, and you have to leave it on longer before wiping off, so this is a once a year proposition that I haven’t done yet.
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