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 Post subject: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:05 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:57 pm
Posts: 89
Location: UK
Recently I have read quite a few articles about cleaning guns and the need to do so after every shoot as they get very dirty.

Over here in the UK everyone I shoot with only use manufacturer made cartridges from companies like Hull, Gamebore, Fiocchi, Lyalvale etc whether they shoot clays or game. The guns seem to stay quite clean with very little residue in the barrels or action.

Mostly they shoot 28gram (1 oz) for clays but quite a few shoot 24g and even some shoot 21g.

In general with my O/U and my inertia semi auto I don't have to strip clean after each shoot, just pull through the barrel. Generally the guns are only cleaned after about 500 cartridges or if they get wet. My guns have only ever shot fibre wad as most places I shoot are over farm land or land which has conservation orders placed on them.

My question is really in 2 parts:
a] are home loads dirtier and therefore need guns cleaned more regularly?
b] is gun cleaning after every shoot just good practice and a habit or do I get the sense that in the USA you are more fastidious about keeping your guns clean?

And finally, after nearly a month in Covid lockdown I can't wait to get out and shoot again. Didn't realise just how much I would miss shooting.




Last edited by R1100 on Tue Nov 24, 2020 7:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:44 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5530
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
Are home loads dirtier?
No, not necessarily, but they can be. I am not an expert on commercial target loads but logic tells me that the bottom line dictates that they offer efficient ammunition that makes efficient use of the propellant. Many home loaders pick safe but not so efficient loads. Also, some of the older powders don't burn as clean as the more recent powders but that doesn't mean they don't produce good loads. Concerning gun cleaning, many people neglect that aspect of gun care & seem to suffer little or no consequences. However, I clean mine everytime I shoot them because that is what good gun maintenance dictates. Powder fouling attracts moisture which leads to rust & corrosion. Yes, you can get away from gun cleaning for a long time if you are lucky. It's your gun, I clean mine!


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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:50 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:58 pm
Posts: 3632
Location: Sag Harbor, New York
All depends on the powder you load with. As pointed out, some are dirtier than others.

Bob

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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 7:24 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:12 am
Posts: 5721
Many (not all) reloaders use data that is low in pressure and velocity for many reasons. As such they can be anemic and not get a really good burn. The ammo companies use different types of powder than those available to reloaders for the most part in the US.


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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:11 am 
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Posts: 6831
Yes, many reloads are dirtier than factory loads. Factory does a better job of loading to full pressure. I try to load to lower velocities.

Yes, I clean my gun more than it might actually need to be. I put patches and cleaning fluid through the barrel every time I shoot it. When I pick a gun up and look at it I want to see a mirror bore. Maybe a habit from my 2 Brownings that would bloom rust overnight.

Mostly if I shoot it I clean it. One shot or a couple of hundred.

Yes, it would be good to get out shooting.


Last edited by Bill M. on Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:07 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:56 pm
Posts: 7689
Location: Central ND
Reloads, as others have stated, depending on powder used, reloading practices and requirements can burn very clean or leave a fair amount of residue. Not sure you can reload stuff that burns as clean as factory ammo, but you can get real close.

I shoot only modern guns and I use loads that are more towards the sweet spot of chamber pressure @ 10,000 PSI and up. I shoot clays with an inertia shotgun and clean it every 500 rounds or so. i use 700-X powder.

If I was really intent on a clean burn, I would change to Clays, Clay Dot, e3, Solo 1000, American Select. Some of the Vectan powders are clean burning also....not sure we can get them any longer. I think of all the powders I have tried for 1 oz. loads that Vectan AS was the best at keeping the gun clean.

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aka Mr. Tactful. Common sense no longer appears to be common.
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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2020 5:00 pm 
Shooting Instructor
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Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 12:16 am
Posts: 2394
Like it has been said. It just depends on the powder you use. There are several brands of factory ammo on the market that are far dirtier than many reloads. I have found that Autos should be cleaned more than O/Us. Another tip when shooting a gas gun is not to use a wet lubricant. (0r petroleum base) A dry moly one is much better. If you use one of the wet aerosols the oil in it will clog gas ports and gum up the other moving parts. Stay dry and don't cry. I have put around 300,000 rounds through my Beretta and never had much trouble with it. I always shoot it dry or with a dry lubricant.

Mike McAlpine


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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2020 6:07 pm 
Tournament Grade
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Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:11 pm
Posts: 141
My 1 oz. loads are with Clays or Clay Dot and I'm using Vectan A1 for my 1 1/8 oz. loads. Both loads with velocities over 1200 FPS. If anything, these loads are as clean or cleaner than some of the factory shells I've tried.

My O/U shotguns get cleaned less frequently than my Autos. I don't like to let the autos go much more than 500 rounds before cleaning, whereas the O/Us don't get near as much love.


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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:30 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2005 11:25 pm
Posts: 2383
Location: Attica, Mi
First off, I feel sorry for you not shooting. I run the shotgun venue at my club and we never shut down. We shoot three times a week and never miss a beat. I take a different view about cleaning. At one time I shot a lot of black powder and that demanded cleaning every day when done shooting. It also accumulated in the bore with each shot so it was quite shall I say piled up after a 100 or 150 shots. Where as with nitro powders the only dirty powder residue you see is from the last shot. The next one blows the last one out. And nitro powders aren't as bad as BP if left in the bore or action. They don't rust anything like BP residue. For those reasons I'm kinda lax about cleaning a shotgun. I shoot old SxSs and about all I do is run a cleaning rod through the barrel with a fuzzy material attached to the entire rod. Then a quick wipe with a patch sprayed with Rem Oil on the barrels and action and I'm done. Are my reloads dirtier than factory ? Ya, but nothing to worry about. I'm not shooting a auto where it might matter. I shoot a gun. That is what you British fellows call a SxS, isn't it ? There's only guns and rifles, the rest don't make no never minds.

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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2020 3:52 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:57 pm
Posts: 89
Location: UK
bladesmith wrote:
First off, I feel sorry for you not shooting. I run the shotgun venue at my club and we never shut down. We shoot three times a week and never miss a beat. I take a different view about cleaning. At one time I shot a lot of black powder and that demanded cleaning every day when done shooting. It also accumulated in the bore with each shot so it was quite shall I say piled up after a 100 or 150 shots. Where as with nitro powders the only dirty powder residue you see is from the last shot. The next one blows the last one out. And nitro powders aren't as bad as BP if left in the bore or action. They don't rust anything like BP residue. For those reasons I'm kinda lax about cleaning a shotgun. I shoot old SxSs and about all I do is run a cleaning rod through the barrel with a fuzzy material attached to the entire rod. Then a quick wipe with a patch sprayed with Rem Oil on the barrels and action and I'm done. Are my reloads dirtier than factory ? Ya, but nothing to worry about. I'm not shooting a auto where it might matter. I shoot a gun. That is what you British fellows call a SxS, isn't it ? There's only guns and rifles, the rest don't make no never minds.


My O/U and Franchi need next to no cleaning.
The Remmy 11-87 I have just obtained is another matter. Been out shooting for the last couple of weeks and played with wet and dry mag tube. The dry tube took a while to soak, scrub and clean and the wet mag tube was a virtual wipe off and it was clean. I only put on a faint amount of Rem oil and it seems to work.

Now we are in Covid lockdown again, can't see me shooting until mid or late Jan at this rate.


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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:23 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 4:41 pm
Posts: 579
I noticed that my reloads with Titewad left much more black stuff in the bore than Fiocchi factory ammo, which theoretically had the same shot weight and velocity. I asked about this on the Reloading forum. Two suggestions were to (a) up the powder charge from 18 to 19 grains or (b) use Clay Dot instead of Titewad. So far I haven't done either. With a semi it might be a bigger deal.

I clean the bores after every shoot.

Sorry you can't shoot. The clubs I shoot at are open but take social distancing precautions.


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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:43 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:32 am
Posts: 55
Is this a shotgun specific question? Pure factory copper coated lead bullets are much better than the bullets I'm casting from scavenged lead.


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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 6:13 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 4:14 pm
Posts: 26
Reloads tend to be dirtier. The issue is plastic wad residue. Powder residue is easy to clean - plastic wad residue not so easy. As far as wads, I found Downrange and Duster to be the cleanest when they were available. I have tried pretty near every cleaner and find WD 40 to be as good or better than any for removing plastic residue. A good chamber brush for cleaning the forcing cone is very useful.


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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:54 pm
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Location: Kansas
Winchester stated in their now discontinued reloading pamphlets that the slower burning powders left more residue behind regardless of the pressure. This has been my experience. The .410 bore requires slow powders and I have found all of them to be dirty if not outright filthy. This is even the case with factory new ammunition. But, the residue in the barrel is completely swept away with each succeeding shot; plastic residue notwithstanding, but I have never found it to be a problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Are home loads dirtier ?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 7:19 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:32 am
Posts: 636
Location: Eastern VA
IME, I believe I could use my 1 ounce, 1200 FPS, E3 loads to clean my bore. I’ve never shot a factory load that was so obviously clean.



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