Now that another deer season has come to a close, most of us will stow our rifles away for a good part of the year.  But before you do so, be sure to give it a proper cleaning and a thin coat of oil to protect your baby while she sits under your bed, in the closet or hopefully in a gun safe.  I wanted to share the method that I've been using sucessfully for many years.  Now, I know that there are a hundred ways to skin a cat, I just wanted to share what I've been doing and what has always worked for me.  Feel free to post your technique or comments in the comment box at the end of the article.  I would love to hear from ya.

It took 18 patches to clearn my 300 Win Mag from only 7 shots at the range.  Before I broke in the barrel, it propbably took twice as many patchs to clean using the same method.  The cleaning solvents, patches and tools to do the job are a minimal cost compaired to the cost of the gun.  A little time spent cleaning my gun after the season closes ensures this rifle will continue to be a shooter year after year and something that I can proudly pass down to my son.

The method

Brush - Use correct size bore brush and put a few drops of powder solvent on it.  Push it through your barrel and back again.  Repeat 3-6 times.  Whatever you think it needs. 

Clean Powder – Screw on your jag, put on the patch and put some drops of powder solvent on it.  (I actually use a cheap syringe because it’s easy to suck solvent out of the bottle and apply to patch without much mess.  It also tells me that I like to use about 4mls of solvent per patch.)  Run the patch through the barrel. It should be snug to tight.  Let the solvent sit and do it’s work for about 2 minutes.  Run a dry patch through.  Wet another patch with solvent and run it through.  Wait 2 minutes.  Run a dry patch.  Repeat until satisfied.

Clean Copper – Always do this second.  Why?  Most bullets are lead with a copper jacket, so with copper on the outside of your bullet, it gets pushed into the tooling grooves and defects in your barrel first, then the powder and other fouling builds up on top of it.  So, you use the exact same process as powder solvent.  Push a wet patch, wait 2 minutes, clean.  Repeat until satisfied.

Oil – Run an oily patch through with your jag or slotted tip once or twice after cleaning to leave a thin film. This will protect from rust.

See the links below for my recommended brands of cleaning solents and oil.


Ok, so I varied my method a little here.  I ran 3 wet patches first THEN brushed.  The point is that I wanted you to see the benefit of brushing.  In the beginning, you should see a good amount of fouling come out.  The progression is from left to right.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I don’t get as much copper out as I used to.  When the barrel was new, a lot would come out.  It took many more patches of copper solvent than it did powder solvent to clean.  I believe this is because as you shoot and break in a new barrel, you smooth down a lot of the tooling imperfections left from the factory.

By the way, after the 5th patch–the really dirty one– it was significantly easier to push patches through the bore. Normally, I don’t notice this change if I have scrubbed that barrel first, but thought I’d just make a note of it.

I have used many different brands of bore cleaners and oils over the years and they all seem to work pretty well. I always seem to find myself going to back to good ole Hoppes No. 9.  Which ever brand you choose, stick with the manufactures instructions.   For this demonstration I used the following.......