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April 26, 2006

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Gun Myths, Part I: Coated bullets, barrel break-in methods, and cleaning rod guides

THE MYTH: If you shoot bullets coated with molybdenum disulfide, your barrel will never wear out, you will get more velocity, your barrel will not copper-foul, your kid will do better in school, and your hair will grow back.
THE TRUTH: You will get an indescribable mess in your barrel that you will never be able to clean out.

THE MYTH: If you break in your new barrel by firing a shot, cleaning, doing this five times more, then cleaning every five shots until you’ve got 100 rounds through the barrel, your bore will be glassy smooth even if it wasn’t when you started.
THE TRUTH: You will have wasted a lot of effort, patches, and solvent. Not to mention the time that you could have spent watching Ultimate Fighter reruns on the Spike Network.

THE MYTH: If you don’t use a cleaning rod guide, you will ruin your rifle barrel. And your dog will get the setter bitch across the road pregnant and her owner will sue you.
THE TRUTH: If you’re able to keep your rod straight as you clean, you don’t need a guide. I have rifles that haven’t seen a rod guide in 40 years of shooting, and they’re fine. And since our dearly departed dog would try to mate with a snake if someone was holding its head, we kept the little fellow on a leash.


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Rod M.

The crusty crumudgen strikes again; Dave if you blast the molly shooters, diehard barrel scrubbers and accuracy nuts there, out of the water, what will they rant about on their favorite web site. I think you wake each day wondering how to stir the pot a little. Your a lucky man, crow all you want sitting on your purch and if someone does get hit with a pile then so be it.


I don't use molly, but I do Danzack (sp) most of my bullets. What I do use to clean is called JB Bore Paste. After cleaning with it several times it seams to smooth out the rough spots and makes the bore easier to clean, but what do I know I only shoot about 5000 rounds a year.


I'm glad somebody of authority finally said that breaking in a barrel is nothing but old wives tales. It makes no difference - just clean your gun when it is dirty and life is good.

Guy Miller

Yaaaayyyy! Somebody has said in print what I have decided on my own! I've moly'ed bullets, painstakingly broke in barrels and used all kinds of bore guides. If you have any sense you don't need a bore guide even to (gasp) clean through the muzzle. Barrel break-in instructions usually come from folks selling expensive barrels and moly is messy at best. Thanks Dave.

Ralph Bernieri

To my understanding, the practice of barrel breakin has always been referred to as an "in theory" idea that should make for a smoother barrel.
No scientific,controlled,study to my knowledge has been done to prove(or disprove)any benefit to this practice. AND-if it makes any difference to this discussion, most military, and law enforcement, snipers that I have known choose to preform it when breaking in a new weapon.
So, as a standard practice I don't walk under ladders and I break in new barrels, just in case.


Doesn't the Winchester Supreme line of ammo coat with this moly? Are you saying everyone who uses Win. Sup. ammo is making a mess of their barrels?


The bore guide is a nice way of avoiding a mess in the action.I have one and half the time I don't use it, but when I have a big job to do after a high power gopher shoot the giude keeps the solvent in the barrel rather than throughout the action and trigger assembly.
I am curious to know whether the Winchester/Browning BOSS system is fact or fiction in your view. I have shot many winchester rifles, and believe they shoot as well as any other, but I have found more browning shooters disapointed with accuracy than any other gun owners. Remington rifle always seem to shoot and more and more praise seems to be coming from tikka/sako shooters as well as the "cheap" savage rifles. One precision shooter told me he can't tell the diference between his SAKO TRG and his Savage that costs only a fraction of what the SAKO is worth. Anyway accuracy claims seem to go around in cycles but it has been a while since the BOSS system was praised and no one else seemed to worry about the idea. Theoretically barrel tuning makes some sense, especially when shooting factory ammo but is it an add on to cover up other issues or a realy improvement? Anyone know a sniper or precision shooter with anything that funtions as a barrel tuner threaded on the the end of their barrel? (NOT a brake, a barrel tuning sytem)
I have always wondered what people think about this especialyy people who get paid to think about this.

George L. Dwight

Best way I've found to break in a barrel and make it last.

Clean it good when new. Then go shoot up a big prairie dog town with it. Even IF it's a big brown bear, or elk gun. Take enough ammo along to last all day and you'll not only have the barrel well broken in, but, you'll have lot's of range estimating practice and be a much better shooter too.

Only one major thing you do need to watch. Don't shoot it so often you can't hold your bare hand on the barrel. Let it cool some between every few shots.

Never reload to the max either. You don't drive your car/truck/suv full throttle full time, why would you do so with your fine gun??



Have been using moly for years. what have I missed? I have NEVER seen a mess I could not clean. In fact I started using it because the "X" bullets I was using left copper fouling that was a big mess I could not clean. Yes it took a little more powder but I DID get more velocity & accuracy. This is from various calibers (25 to 50). In fact. one custom barrel maker told me that their warranty was void if I did not use moly.
There are specific procedures used to utilize moly correctly, including cleaning.
As with most other things in life, following directions and being smarter than the equipment you are attempting to use brings the greatest success.
Semper Fi

Dave Petzal

To Brian:

Yes, the BOSS works. I've used it, and I have friends who use it, and there is not the slightest doubt in our military minds. I am willing to bet that if it doesn't work for someone, it's because that person hasn't done a good enough job of cleaning the barrel, which you must do.

Dave Petzal

To Doc: Winchester doesn't coat their bullets with Moly. I believe it's some kind of polycarbonate. It doesn't accomplish anything except to make the bullets look handsome, but at least it doesn't gum up your bore.


Thanks for the reply Dave.


I must be doing something wrong! I have been moly coating my bullets for a very long time. The ONLY thing I get out of my barrel, while cleaning, is just some black soot, and NO COPPER. Oh, year I forgot to mention that across my chronograph I get a deviation of + or - 6 fps. I used to get a + or - of 16 fps pre moly. Moly is designed to work under high heat and pressure at least that's what my buddy that is a chemist and a shooter told me.

charles tatum

I have had a 300 win mag(white gold) with the BOSS system for 6 years. It consistently shoots under 1 inch MOA at 100 yards with Winchester supreme failsafes. I would not hunt deer with anything else in this gun.

I have never had a problem with the coating on the bullets.

Over the years, I have shot a few deer that have dropped in their tracks. I believe it is from the shock of the bullet either impacting the spine or destroying the vitals---not the size of the gun.

Earl Withers

What about cleaners? I have been using tetra for ages and have read and heard about hoppe's new product called elite and something new called M-Pro(?) everyone swears by those but they say they have no solvents and I have also heard they contain water. Do you know if these really work and if you have which is better? Please help a guy who is always trying to find the next great thing. They also claim that you can cleam your brand new weapon and you wont believe the crud that comes out or your money back, there has to be a loop hole inthat somewhere. Thanks in advance. EW.

Jonathan Augustine

I just bought a used Browning Eclipse 7mm mag from Gander Mtn. and topped it with a Bushnell Elite 3200 4-12x40.

In trying to tune the BOSS, my gun seemed to get more inconsistent the more I shot it. THEN I discovered that the two screws in the stock and trigger guard had worked themselves loose.

Easy enough to solve- BUT there is a third screw which is revealed only upon dropping the magazine. This one draws the action down onto the bedding and I remember reading somewhere that it shouldn't be too tight.

Great- does anyone know how tight I should make it?

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