Do you shoot copper out of your CB rifles?

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max503 posted this 04 January 2019

I was packing to take my Tikka 223 to the range for some CB development and I tossed a 20 pack of cheap, Russian FMJ rounds in my shooting bag to maybe do some plinking.  Then I got to wondering if the copper would affect CB performance.  My old reloading book, written by John Wooters says not to mix them.  

I could see not shooting copper in a benchrest gun, but do you avoid mixing the two in your other rifles?  

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John Alexander posted this 05 January 2019

Lotech,

You are right our knowledge on the subject is probably based on conventional wisdom which may or may not be true.  All the more reason to see if we can't drag it out of that category and  some decent experimental backing -- one way ot the other. 

I don't believe there is any valid reason to believe that to do a worthwhile study you have to have nearly perfect (extremely accurate rifles) to find valid results. Few research labs in any field have the very finest and most precise equipment. They have budget restraints just like everybody else.  Still such labs produce a lot of valid research.  If it isn't true in other fields why does the idea keep popping up that to find out anything useful about cast bullet behavior it takes extremely precise equipment.

It is probably true that if you get statistically significant  results with a 1 MOA rifle that copper fouling doesn't affect accuracy it might not be assurance that such fouling might not affect accuracy at the .5moa level but people with rifles less accurate than 1moa (95% + of CB rifles) could quit worrying, thus useful information for most shooters.

On the other hand if you got statistically significant results that copper fouling affected accuracy at the 1moa level it surely would be valid for more accurate rifles.  Of course you might then wonder if it affects rifles that will only average 2moa.  You could even argue that you would need results with a less accurate rifle to find the answer.

There is nothing wrong with either outcome.  All research results have limitations on where they can be applied.

John 

 

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John Alexander posted this 27 January 2019

I finally got around to loading and shooting a small test today to see if shooting 20 rounds of jacketed bullets degraded CB accuracy afterward and if so how much.

To minimize labor I scrounged around and found 37 left over sized and lubed bullets from a lot that didn't quite shoot up to snuff. Hate to throw things away that take labor to produce.  This was enough for three 5-shot groups before 4-5 shot groups of factory level JB and 4 5 shot groups of CBs after. CB load was 85 grain spitzer bullet of 25:1, Remington 71/2 SR primers, and 5 grains of TiteGroup.

For jacketed I found a box of Herter's 55 gr. Semi Pointed World Famous rifle bullets that were more accurate that any other rifle bullet or your money back. Additionally, these had been seasoning for about 60 years.

Resits:

CBs before: .90, .64, and 1.52 MOA -- Average 1.02 MOA

Jacketed : 1.82, 1.68, 1.64, 1.96 MOA -- Average 1,77 MOA

CBs after: 1.06, 0.78, 1.84, 1.86, MOA -- Average 1.38 MOA

This shows an enlargement in groups of 36%. Using Joe's statistical charts for dummies and extrapolating a bit, indicates a confidence level of maybe 75 -- 80 percent.  Not a sure thing but a pretty good chance that if we do more testing it will still show a loss of accuracy tending to confirming the conventional wisdom and remarks by Glenn, Brodie, and others.

John

 

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Glenn R. Latham posted this 05 January 2019

I did a little test on this back in 1990.  I was shooting both jacketed and cast from my Shilen barreled .223 prairie dog gun.  I shot 5 rounds with the Hornady 50 gr. SX bullet and 28.0 grs. of T-2208.  I then fired two groups with the RCBS 22-055-FN bullet and 13.0 grs. of IMR4227 (2049 fps) which measured 1.58 & 1.51.  Cleaned the bore with Sweet's 7.62 Solvent.  This was all done at the range of course, and even with Sweet's I find it takes numerous patches over several days to get all the copper out of a barrel.  So running a handful of patches thru at the range isn't going to get all the copper out, even from just 5 rounds, but a lot of it came out on the blue patches.  Fired another group  that went 1.35".  Then I cleaned the bore with LBT bore lap, and fired a .78" group.  I don't have the patience to do a long, drawn out test, so this was good enough for me.  Remember, I did preface this by saying it was "a little test"....

Glenn

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Brodie posted this 15 January 2019

Having shot a lot of lead through barrels formerly used for jacketed bullets I have  several observations:

1. If you want gilt edge accuracy (ie. match accuracy) clean the barrel first.

2. If you want to shoot high velocity (with cast over 2000 fps) clean the barrel first.

3. If you want to shoot cast occasionally through a copper fouled barrel who cares as long as you aren't shooting no. 1 or 2.

4. I haven't noticed any real degradation in accuracy in my handguns where I have occasionally used jacketed bullets. This may be due to my insufficiency with handguns any more, but I never did notice any real drop in accuracy.  

I am not trying to "settle" this discussion only to give my personal observations.

B.E.Brickey

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 16 January 2019

i know nothing about this... but

i have had some very knowledgeable zero-shooters in mj benchrest tell me not to put ammonia in a good barrel ... maybe be worth another review....

***************

further trivia is that i had a friend here in farmerville stick his head in an an agricultural ammonia tank to see how much was in there ... one whiff got him into a hospital and out of the army .... 28% is pretty close to that ...

ken

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R. Dupraz posted this 31 January 2019

John:

I have had the long time continuing opinion ever since I started shooting competitively in 1966 that any shooting match is and should be a pure test of the competitor's marksmanship skills and not their ability to read conditions or anything else. We are talking about a physical impairment in this case, that likely everyone will be confronted with at some time in their life if they continue shooting long enough. Not a mechanical aid to gain some kind of perceived advantage. Two different things.

Getting kind of off topic here I fear.   

R. 

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John Alexander posted this 21 March 2019

This thread started with the question by max503 – does JB fouling degrade CB accuracy?  It has wandered a bit with detours for cleaning elixirs and target cameras but I think the original question is worth working on.  This warning of JB fouling is another conventional wisdom “we all know” that is supported by only anecdotal evidence as far as I can find – a very weak stick. In a 1-29-19 post I reported that my first try to test this old rule was questionable because of bore leading and said I would try again with bullets that fit better to avoid leading.

 

Our local range opened yesterday after a two-week closure by a 30” snow and today I shot another test. The CB load was a different lot of the 85 grain 25:1 spitzer bullets, Mag Tech SR primers, 6 grains of Blue Dot giving approximately the same MV as the earlier load with the same Tikka 223 rifle and no evidence of leading this time. The twenty rounds of jacket bullets were from the same box of Herter 55 grain wonders with the same load as before.

 

CB 5 round groups starting with a clean bore. -- .97, .84, 1.26, 1.08 moa  -- Average 1.04 moa

 

Jacketed 5 round groups – 2.20, 2.48, 1.34, 1.76 moa – Average = 1.95 moa

 

CB 5 round groups after JBs -- .46, .80, 1.50, .92 moa – Average = .91, moa

 

For a person who believes that small differences in even two groups prove things (Joeb’s statistics be damned) this “proves” that a bit of guilding metal fouling improves accuracy of cast bullet loads by 14%.

 

But usually such conclusions are jumping the gun.  It seems to me that these results give a hint, but not much more than a hint, that a bit of JB fouling may improve accuracy (in complete opposition to what most of us have been told). Consulting Joe’s tables this 14% improvement for eight 5 shot groups has a confidence level of much less than 70% -- far from certain. As usual, more groups need to be shot if we want to be more certain.

 

It would be interesting to see this experiment replicated with other calibers, alloys, muzzle velocities, increased JB fouling, etc.  I hope someone will jump in and try it.

 

John

 

 

 

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M3 Mitch posted this 04 January 2019

You can prove this by shooting cast from a copper-fouled bore, then clean it, and see the groups improve.  Most/many used centerfire rifles will come to you already copper-fouled and ready to do this experiment.

I don't have reams of well-organized data, like an old guy like me really ought to have, but I have seen this several times myself and am convinced that Wooters is correct.

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max503 posted this 05 January 2019

So....I get to the range and get out my bullets and find that I grabbed a box of 44 magnum reloads instead of the 223 45 grain pressure series I had loaded up! Good thing I brought a box of Wolf ammo or else I would have had nothing to shoot. Bad thing is, now I have to clean the copper out of the barrel. By the way, that Wolf metal case ammo is some crappy stuff.

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John Alexander posted this 05 January 2019

This is the sort of question that should have been settled 35 years ago by the time the CBA was 5 years old but like Scearcy I have never seen the results of a well controlled test that gave hard evidence one way or another.  Why don't we make it a forum project to gather data and see - does it hurt accuracy of the CBs, if so how much, how much copper fouling does it take to do how much damage to accuracy (there may be a difference for a heavily fouled old military rifle and a CB rifle that has had 20 JB shots through it) bore roughness may, or may not affect the outcome.

We may not be able to pin it down to a simple definitive answer but we should be able to learn something about the issue.  It's another excuse to shoot and help keep us out of the bars in the afternoons. This may or may not be as interesting as lobbing CBs and a paper coyote but it won't take a 200 yard range.

Mitch has already done some experimenting and if he can find some of his old notes that would be a start.

Lotech make a good point it may depend on the rifle as well as other factors but pinning it down a bit would be a contribution to what we know about cast bullet shooting beyond old hand-me-down pronouncements.

Wooters was a smart guy so I am betting that he was right if somebody offers the right odds, but let's either support his opinion or cast a bit of doubt on it.

If we get enough data to propose conclusions it would make a good TFS article giving the results a bit of durability instead of vanishing into cyberspace when this thread ends.

How about it? Any skeptical or curious shooters without a winter project?

To kick things off, I will produce the results of a short test -- clean bore -- twenty shots with CBs -- no cleaning -- 20 shots with factory level JB loads -- no cleaning -- 20 shots with CBs (from the same lot as the first 20 CBs.) These will be fired through a modern cold hammer forged barrel that is quite smooth, but not lapped.  I won't promise exactly when because it it too darned cold for me to shoot some days here in the high desert.

John

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max503 posted this 12 January 2019

See if this works.

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joeb33050 posted this 13 January 2019

Why are we taking about cleaning copper out of gun barrels? Hoppes #9 cleans copper out of gun barrels, and has done so very well since 1842, when it was invented by Jeremiah Hoppe. Put #9 on a patch, push it thru, back and forth about 5 times, throw the patch away. Another #9 patch, another 5 X push, throw it away. Keep on until patch is clean, about 3-5 patches. Leave barrel with #9 in. Come back in 2-24 hrs, do it again. Keep doing it until there's no blue/green on the patch. Done.

This is NOT a secret, hasn't been since 1842. Why are we/you talking about it now?

  

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Paul Pollard posted this 13 January 2019

Hoppe’s No. 9. “Since 1903”.

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John Alexander posted this 14 January 2019

This is NOT a secret, hasn't been since 1842. Why are we/you talking about it now?

====

The question being asked isn't how to clean copper out of bores but rather -- is it necessary to clean copper out of bores.  Some of us are lazy and don't like to do things unless they are needed.  Also sometimes it might be handy to shoot both JBs and CBs during one trip to the range (see the original post) and copper removal with most elixirs requires soaking.   

 If a few, or many, shots with JBs degrades accuracy, how much does it degrade accuracy? Will I miss a deer or only miss winning a match.

John

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Eutectic posted this 15 January 2019

The ammonia is also important. The ammonia complexes the copper and helps bring it into solution. The copper ammonia complex, called Schweizers Reagent, is well known in the textile industry. 

I have used Sweet's 7.62 cleaner for many years. If you leave the cap off the ammonia evaporates and the stuff does not work.

My experience is in pistols and revolvers. If the cast load has good lube and does not lead, shooting cast after jacketed shows no effect. If the cast load is "on the edge" and perhaps leaves some leading, shooting after jacketed makes the leading worse and accuracy falls off.

Ransom Rest testing with 45 ACP target loads showed no difference. Important because I wanted to use a jacketed load on the 50 yard line and there was no time to clean the barrel in the match.

44 magnum loads showed a difference - sometimes.

My answer: It depends on the gun and the load. To be sure remove the copper.

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max503 posted this 15 January 2019

"More barrels have been ruined by cleaning than by shooting."  This makes sense to me.  Even with a bore guide and a high dollar coated rod I still want to keep strokes to a minimum.  That why I'm going to try the Blue Goop.  (I just haven't got around to using it yet, but its done brewing.)  It won't be in the bore more than a couple of minutes and I won't be abrading the rifling with multiple passes of the rod.  If the patches come out blue I'll know it's working.

Anyway, that's what I'm thinking.

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John Alexander posted this 27 January 2019

Ken sez:... funny thing ... the herters bullets were bad, but consistently bad ... if bullets are randomly bad, shouldn't they give highly varying groups ??

Ken,

I think the four similar groups with Herter's bullets is just the way the lottery came out and probably doesn't tell us anything about the bullets except that they don't shoot too well. A month ago or so I had a string of many groups stretching stretching over a couple of days that all measured within a very narrow band. This amazing string of same size groups was shot with the CB load used in this experiment. Yesterday groups with the identical load varied by a factor well over 2.0 in strings of only 3 and 4 groups. 

I think we often underestimate how much just flat depends on chance, and Lady Luck sometimes serves up amazing strings of tails without a single head -- especially when I am betting on heads.

John 

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John Alexander posted this 31 January 2019

I have had a camera suggested several time. I have always assumed that would be an excellent way to draw a protest because my neighbors, all shooting 30 caliber of course, tell me that they also sometimes have trouble seeing the bullet holes at Pioneer when conditions are wrong.

I'm sure that issue is going to rear it's ugly head so the Board should probably get ahead of the issue before a protest and decide how much technology we want to have.  Electronic wind gages are not allowed.  It seems to me that allowing cameras would be one more hurdle to attracting new shooters, especially for Production and Hunting Rifle classes. But I'm sure there is an argument for allowing cameras.

It would remove one of the real disadvantages of competing against the usual 30 calibers with a 22 so I should be all for it.

This might make a good topic for another thread but hopefully not here.

John

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dbarron posted this 08 February 2019

Well, you aroused my interest.  On 6 Feb, a test of whether metal fouling degrades cast bullet accuracy was attempted.  The details of the load are irrelevant except to say that before and after were identical.  The bullets were all from the same run, and were Accurate 31-215 LG, their version of 311284.  Alloy was COWW + 2% SN.   Velocity from a 24" barrelled Rem 700V .308 Win was 1600 to 1640 (1640 previously chronographed at about 28 degrees).   Range conditions were adequate.   It was cloudy, wind 5 MPH or so, blowing directly towards the target.   Range temperature was 13 degrees at the start of the test and didn't go up much, if any.  Two ten round groups were fired from a squeaky clean barrel, and two from the post-jacket fouled barrel.  Twenty rounds of home swaged 180 grain .308 dia bullets were fired between the test loads.   These were in commercial jackets of gilding metal.  Don’t know what the velocity was as I didn’t chronograph (hey, it was 13 degrees), but they were a near-maximum load of H 4895, so probably 2400 to 2500 FPS.  I did not measure the size of the jacketed groups, but just shot them as quickly as possible without over heating the barrel. (again, 13 degrees.)  I wazgonna attach a target, but one side of the target has disappeared from the pictures, and now I can't find the hard copy.   I am NOT a techie.  Nor, apparently, particularly organized.  Group sizes, as measured by On-Target were:

 

                                             Spread                                 Mean Radius

Before                                                                             

  Group 1                            1.654                                   0.641

  Group 2                            1.388                                   0.358

  Ave                                   1.521                                   0.489

After

  Group 3                            1.436                                   0.481

  Group 4                            1.189                                   0.371

  Ave                                   1.313                                   0.426

Difference (ave’s)               0.208                                   0.063

% (After/Before)                 86%                                     87%      

The “After” groups were slightly less than 15% smaller than the “Before” groups. Based on this, it would seem that there might be a slight edge to the “After” condition, but I suspect that it’s a non-result.   I don’t think the barrel was particularly fouled.  I cleaned the crud out with Ed’s Red and a dry patch, added accelerator and soaked with Wipe-Out for two hours.   The first patch came out only very faintly blue.  Nothing at all thereafter.  I’ll plead ignorance on this.  Of the heaven knows (I’ll not take the time to count) how many rounds have gone down this barrel in the last seven + years, these are the first jacketed rounds.   Apparently, it takes more than this to thoroughly foul the bore.   It looks as though this one is going to be time consuming to test, as it would seem that small amounts of fouling don’t have a major effect on accuracy, at least for 1 to 1.5 inch rifles, at frigid temps. Based on this and comments above, it's beginning to look like small amounts of jacket fouling don't really matter for most shooting.  The deer would be dead with either condition.  While these would not likely win Production class in a local match, it's as likely that they wouldn't finish last.

 

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John Alexander posted this 21 March 2019

dbarron writes: "John .Odd that in both cases, fouled groups were 14 percent smaller. Probably coincidence, but I don't trust coincidence.  Maybe someone else will jump in with a different number and put it to rest."

===============

I assume you are talking about your test and my test showing similar improvements after jacketed bullets.  It seems we agree that neither test is enough to claim a significant improvement.  However, if further testing were to continue to show improved accuracy at some point it would become significant with a high degree of confidence -- who knows?

If enough future testing did show that a bit of guiding metal fouling did improve accuracy we should open minded about it.  Who's to say that cast bullets like to slide over steel better than steel coated with guilding metal? 

Of course we are only talking about the fouling from 20 rounds so far.  At some point JB fouling may become harmful I hope testing will continue.

John

 

 

 

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