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Cleaning during a match

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Jon Eulette
SaraiEsq
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Cleaning during a match Empty Cleaning during a match

Post by SaraiEsq Mon Oct 03, 2022 1:52 pm

New shooter question...

I shoot a 1961 Ruger Standard .22 pistol.  She's adorable.  She is also a bit finicky.

In a recent match, I was having issues with jams and the like.  I noticed how much crud had built up and so, after firing my Slow Fire string with my usual haste (I am working on slowing down -- honest!), I pulled her apart and did a quick cleaning.  I had enough time but I was a little nervous that I wouldn't which made me a bit fumble-fingered which prompted one of the other shooters to check and make sure everything was okay with me and my pistol.  After spiffing her up, she performed much better.

My questions are --
1) Is there a time and a place to clean one's pistol during a match?  Or, is that Just Not Done?  I am assuming the rules really don't allow you to play with your pistol during lunch, even if she is safely in pieces.... 
2) What cool little tools are there to scrub out the gunk on the bolt face and receiver without disassembly?
3) Is there any value to using "canned air" for blowing out the bits? Or does the moisture content really just not make it worth it?


Thanks for your help!

Sarah
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Post by Jon Eulette Mon Oct 03, 2022 2:14 pm

Sarah,
Show up to match ready to shoot, not clean……yeah had to be said.
Having said that, some pistols need a little brushing/cleaning during a match. So for keeping chamber clean use .25 caliber bore brush bent at 90 degrees so you can easily reach in the ejection port and brush the chamber if necessary. Dental picks and toothbrush is helpful as well.
Typically we learn how dirty is too dirty for our pistol so that we know if it should be cleaned before a match or if it’s good to go. It’s frowned upon at matches to clean guns. Compressed air is ok, but be careful of the moisture. Depending on where you live it can cause rust pretty fast.
So be ready for the match before the match and focus on your shooting, not whether your pistol is going to be a problem.
Jon
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Post by chiz1180 Mon Oct 03, 2022 2:23 pm

In addition to what Jon said, if you need to take your gun apart (cleaning, swap a conversion, ect.) let the match director know what you are doing and be sure to do it safely.
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Post by robert84010 Mon Oct 03, 2022 4:32 pm

I regularly use an M16 cleaning brush to clean the breech face during a match. It seems to help since I rarely have problems even with the dirty Aguila ammo I use on the shortline.

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Post by SonOfAGun Tue Oct 04, 2022 12:29 am

SaraiEsq wrote:...

In a recent match, I was having issues with jams and the like.  I noticed how much crud had built up and so...

What 22LR ammo are you using?
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Post by SaraiEsq Tue Oct 04, 2022 3:03 am

SonOfAGun wrote:

What 22LR ammo are you using?

This time, CCi Standard and CCi Mini Mags.

The match ended up being an ammo test: the first 900 with Mini Mags, the second with Standard, and the third alternating between them every ten shots on SF, TF & RF (NMC was all Mini Mags).  

I had just gotten my pistol back from Ruger; they used the Mini Mags for function firing after replacing the rebound spring & support and the recoil spring assembly, and repairing the ejector & rivet.  So I hoped using the same ammo would give me better results with respect to jams and misfeeds.  

I still needed at least two alibis with the Mini Mags.  The Standard was better in that regard but I think I also did my quick clean during the first SF.  (My notes are a bit sketchy.)

Prior to sending her to the Ruger spa, I had tried Aguila, Federal Lightning, Norma Tac, CCi Standard, CCi Mini Mags, Armscor, Winchester Wildcat, and a little Eley 🙂.

And... that's probably way more info than you needed or wanted...
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Post by SonOfAGun Tue Oct 04, 2022 3:55 am

SaraiEsq wrote:
SonOfAGun wrote:

What 22LR ammo are you using?

This time, CCi Standard and CCi Mini Mags.


I use CCI standard velocity as well. I have found that the waxy coating used by CCI can accumulate in the chamber, eventually causing malfunctions. To eliminate these malfunctions (as well as the alibis, and lost points during matches) I've adopted a routine that has almost completely eliminated such problems.

1. I keep the gun, specifically the chamber, scrupulously clean. (Get a couple of those .25 cal bronze brushes that Jon Eulette mentioned.)

2. I also clean most of that wax off my match ammo. Dampen a cotton rag with CLP, wipe the bullet of each round to remove most of the wax. I have found that some batches, some boxes, of CCI SV have more or less wax. Sometimes quite a bit of wax. You'll find a gray/black stain from the wax remains on the rag. This process also leaves a slight residue of lube on the case. The CCI, without wax, and with a tiny bit of residual lube, runs very well in both my old High Standard and my Nelson conversion.

3. Make sure your magazines are clean.

With the gun and magazines clean, and having removed most of that wax from the cartridges I also find that I don't have to clean the magazines (or the gun) anywhere near as often. For me, this has resulted in very few jams/malfunctions over the last couple years. Wiping each round is a somewhat tedious process, but I've worked it in to my match preparation routine. The results increase my confidence in the reliability of my equipment. It works for me.
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Post by -TT- Tue Oct 04, 2022 10:44 am

SonOfAGun wrote:... You'll find a gray/black stain from the wax remains on the rag.

That's not wax, that's lead! Handle that rag carefully.

+1 on cleaning/checking the mags. A little stickiness keeps the nose from tipping up and causes the round to chamber inconsistently. I've seen some CCI lately with an absolute goober of wax at the tip. Don't want that inside the mag.
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Post by SonOfAGun Tue Oct 04, 2022 11:03 am

-TT- wrote:
That's not wax, that's lead! Handle that rag carefully.

+1 on cleaning/checking the mags. A little stickiness keeps the nose from tipping up and causes the round to chamber inconsistently. I've seen some CCI lately with an absolute goober of wax at the tip. Don't want that inside the mag.

Of course... it bears mentioning.

I've had some CCI that has been so waxy the rounds don't easily drop out of the plastic holder.
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Post by SaraiEsq Tue Oct 04, 2022 1:10 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:Show up to match ready to shoot, not clean……yeah had to be said.
...
So be ready for the match before the match and focus on your shooting, not whether your pistol is going to be a problem.
(nods)  Yes, mea culpa on not double-checking everything the night before.  I had planned to borrow a 1911 for part of the match but managed not to get the details worked out so I ended up shooting my .22 for the whole 2700... with just barely enough ammo for the day (hence the impromptu ammo test).  I need a better checklist, for sure!

Jon Eulette wrote:
...So for keeping chamber clean use .25 caliber bore brush bent at 90 degrees 

On the list of things to get now!

Jon Eulette wrote:
... It’s frowned upon at matches to clean guns. 

These are the bits that are most valuable and hardest for me to find -- the etiquette of matches and the bullseye community in general.  Most of it, I suspect I'll learn by doing it wrong... But I like this way too much to give up so soon.
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Post by SaraiEsq Tue Oct 04, 2022 1:13 pm

chiz1180 wrote:In addition to what Jon said, if you need to take your gun apart (cleaning, swap a conversion, ect.) let the match director know what you are doing and be sure to do it safely.

I never would have thought about doing that, even though it is so obvious now when you say it.
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