.22 Revolver Cleaning

Discussion in '.22/rimfire' started by NickyTyler, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. NickyTyler

    NickyTyler G&G Newbie

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    Hello all,

    Decided to splurge a bit and pick up a S&W 617 revolver. Heard great things about it and felt great in my hands, and as with the other couple firearms I now own, intend on keeping it forever... so figured it was worth spending a little more dinero in the long run.

    One of the great things I've heard about the 617 was it's accuracy. I'm primarily shooting paper, so I wanted something more accurate than just shooting holes through cans (while that still is great fun). This is the first revolver I've owned and in searching youtube videos for cleaning revolvers, it appears that it is inevitable that one must enter the brush through the muzzle end. Apparently you can potentially damage the crown or rifling and deteriorate the accuracy of the firearm with improper cleaning...and from what I gather that is more of a risk cleaning from the muzzle end. Definitely something I want to avoid.

    Having just purchased the 617 and being a bit apprehensive, I called S&W and a rep stated that while you could use a bore snake, a real cleaning requires a brush, which you would have to go through the muzzle because of clearance. He stated he personally just uses a bronze brush and rod and just does it carefully. He also mentioned if you really wanted to preserve the accuracy and protect everything, to go with a muzzle guard/guide.

    So I call around a handful of places, and only one had any clue what I was talking about. I ended up finding a couple things on MidwayUSA / Brownells that seem to be what he was talking about. This is all new stuff to me and I may very well be getting a little anal retentive here, but figured it was worth asking before potentially causing harm to my new firearm.

    I assume the biggest issue is the rod itself scraping against the crown or rifling, however was also under the impression that brass wouldn't do harm. Clarification on this matter and cleaning suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  2. cjleete

    cjleete G&G Enthusiast

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    THe idea is to use something that is softer than the barrel. As brass is significantly softer than stainless steel, you should have no problem. Most cleaning rods are brass, aluminum, steel, or plastic coated steel. I've seen some fiberglass rods too. Stick with the softer metals , also fiberglass can be pretty abrasive. Bore brushes are usually bronze or nylon. Bronze is better for removing lead. There are also stainless steel brushes, which are useful for removing heavy copper fouling in centerfire rifles, but overuse or improper use can mess up your rifle.
    Don't be stingy buying gun care products. I suggest a good quality brass rod, bronze bore brushes and a brass jag to push your patches through. A boresnake is fine for light duty cleaning, but now and then you need to really work it over to get out the fouling.
  3. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

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    Nicky, one word for you: BORESNAKE. They are available in .22 LR. Open the cylinder, feed the snake through from the forcing cone, pull through six or eight times. You can do this with the chambers too, but I have found for them a cleaning rod works better. That's how I clean my inherited Colt Officer's Target Model. It has no crown wear at all.
  4. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Newbie

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    A muzzle mounted bore guide is very helpful in cleaning the .22 LR revolvers. I use it for my S&W 617s, and my Ruger Single Sixs.

    BTW, congrats on a fine selection of revolver!
  5. Jay

    Jay Old man, no tact... Staff Member Forum Contributor

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    Disclaimer... cleaning firearms is a very subjective process...

    Over the last 40 years or so, I've rarely seen the need to use a brush of any composition on my rimfire revolvers. I've used a pull through device of some sort, beginning with an athletic shoe lace with a knot tied in it, pulled through from the forcing cone. For the last handful of years, I've used a patchworm ( Shooting accessories ).... it's cheap, small package, and it works. On those rare occasions where I felt a brush was needed, I simply cut down a brass bore brush to a length that would fit inside the cylinder opening, inserted the rod in the muzzle, and then screwed the brush on in the cylinder opening, and withdrew it. Then take the brush off, and repeat. I'm a proponent of using a brush only in one direction, regardless of caliber. Many ammunition makers incorporate a lube of sorts on their rimfire ammunition. I've found that if I remove all of that lube while cleaning, it takes a dozen or so rounds to replace that lube before the accuracy of the gun (pistol, rifle, or revolver) re-appears. The lube on Wolf MT is a rust inhibitor, as well. Try it... take some lube off the nose of several rounds with a patch and put it on a piece of carbon steel, and immerse the steel in salt water..... I was pleasantly surprised. As a result, I draw a single patch ( wet with Gunzilla ) through the bore, follow that with a dry patch, and I'm done with the bore. .... (uhhh rimfire, not centerfire) The action is where I get really anal.

    I don't like the Boresnake, because I feel that the fabric can hold carbon and fouling, and abrade the bore with trapped particles, until it's washed. Again.... just my opinion. I shoot with folks that swear by Boresnakes, and that's terrific.

    Disclaimer #2.... this works for me and has for some time, but it may not suit anyone else, and it doesn't have to ... always open to alternatives
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  6. Purdy

    Purdy G&G Enthusiast

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    Ditto the lube info. I have a Remington M37 that I shoot until the accuracy noticably drops off, then I clean the bore. To my knowledge it has been cleaned less than a dozen times since it was new in 1956. I know the topic was rtevolvers and admitedly some do tend to lead up the forcing cones with a lot of shooting.
  7. TXplt

    TXplt Gun Toting Boeing Driver Forum Contributor

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    Bore snakes--drawn from breech to muzzle--work great. If you use plated bullets -- like the Federal or Remington bricks -- or any of the higher performance CCI ammo -- you will never have any type of leading or metal fouling to speak of. I`d hazard a guess the same would be true of lead bullets as well but I usually shoot the Federal champion bricks because these give me great accuracy and are under 20 bux for 550 everywhere. So there is just fouling and the lubed bullets usually can be fired a very great deal before this becomes a problem. When it does, hoppes or most any other solvent or CLP works just fine. Although Hoppes is great stuff it is UNSUITABLE for some types of plating (nickel, etc.) if not wiped dry and left to soak.

    I do wipe off my bore snakes which have essentially become somewhat soaked with frog lube and the carbon comes right off. Bore snakes also can be washed off, or soaked in Hoppes and wrung dry to get any dirt out of them.

    I think you can do more damage from overcleaning, but I don`t think an occasional scrubbing with a bronze or aluminum (or fiberglass which would be better) rod will do any harm expecially if done carefully. Otis also makes a flex kit with cables and you could use this.

    I have treated most of my short guns with Frog Lube which for me--although pricey--has been great stuff in just wiping off fouling and ease of cleaning. American Handgunner had a pretty article on cleaning by Taffin a few months ago which said simply wipedown (obviously getting salt and stuff off) and put away. I usually just run a little Frog Lube paste thru and a couple pulls of a bore snake, wipe, and put away.

    My MK3 has also funcitoned flawlessly doing this with 3000+ rounds thru and nary a hiccup. If you don`t like frog lube Break Free or Hoppes works just fine. Some use Miltec and this is fine as well. Bottom line is I get guns to shoot and overcleaning takes the fun out of the sport without any real gain.

    Good luck and congrats--enjoy your new gun :)
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  8. NickyTyler

    NickyTyler G&G Newbie

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    Thanks for the input everyone, I greatly appreciate it!

    Question regarding a bore snake...

    I went to Dick's sporting goods today since they are down the street and they had one that seemed like it would work...

    "Hoppes 24011 - M-16,.22,.222,.223,.225,.22 Hornet, Etc. Rifles Boresnake (UPC: 026285240115 )"

    The guy behind the counter said otherwise however. He states it would need to specifically say intended for .22 rimfire as opposed to centerfire, otherwise it wouldn't work due to sizing. I was a bit confused, since .22 is the diameter, so I was not seeing how it mattered. He went on about it...I don't know enough to debate the matter, so I didn't get it. He said to try Bass Pro for something else that would work. I call BassPro - they suggest the same item and tell me that .22 is .22 - it will work and the other guy didn't know what he was talking about.

    So question - will this item work for my .22 SW 617 and MK III?

    One other question...assuming it will do the job, will I need to get the one designated for handguns or will the rifle one be fine? "Hoppes 24000 - .22 Cal. Pistol & Revolvers Boresnake (UPC: 026285240009 )" Dick's is convenient, but only stocks the "Hoppes 24011 - M-16,.22,.222,.223,.225,.22 Hornet, Etc. Rifles Boresnake (UPC: 026285240115 )". I assume the only difference would be that the rifle bore snake is longer? I also have a Marlin 60, so if I could buy the one to use for all of them, even better.

    Thanks again!
  9. jerry

    jerry G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

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    .222 vs .224 on the rimfire vs centerfire. I doubt there is a difference. The longer rifle boresnake will give more surface area going down the tube.

    I'm not head over heals or against bore snakes. I do agree with above where they may collect debris. Keep them clean. Dirt on the boresnake and or cleaning rod, etc may cause more damage than the equipment itself.

    I do believe that more good .22 rimfire barrels have been ruined by over cleaning more than shooting them, regardless of the technique.

    I have a High Standard Sentinel .22 Revolver that dates back to the 50's that shoots great still. When I shoot it, I clean the cylinder chambers, brush around the forcing cone and top strap and the rest of the interior frame. Wipe it down with an oil rag, and put it up.

    Only when accracy drops off, does it get a bore cleaning. After 50 some years, the rifling is pristine, no pitting etc.
  10. Jay

    Jay Old man, no tact... Staff Member Forum Contributor

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    The gent from BassPro is correct..... period

    A .22 cal Boresnake will work fine on a .223 AR-15, as well as a pistol chambered for .22 LR

    The only difference between the snakes designated for rifles, and those for handguns, should be the length. I'd get the one for rifles as you can use it for both. The one for handguns would have to stretch some to be used in a rifle.

    IF you or anyone should decide they don't want the brass brush in their Boresnake, the brush can be removed by simply compressing the woven fabric, (like releasing Chinese handcuffs) and pulling the brush out through the weave....
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  11. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

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    When my boresnakes get dirty, I just flake them down in the upper rack of the dishwasher and run a short cycle, then take them out and run a regular cycle to get rid of the odor. Doesn't seem to hurt the boresnakes any.
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