Sunday, August 30, 2009

Biweekly Gun Shots 16 - Tornado Bores Down - Wipes Out Almost Everything In Its Path...

...or should I have said a tornado went down the bore of my Mosin Nagant M44 and cleaned out all of the fouling and all of what I had thought was pitting. Yep, I cleaned my Mosin Nagant M44 barrel once again today making for about the 5th or 6th cleaning this week. Each time prior to today's cleaning I used a normal wire bore brush, Hoppes' #9, Break-Free CLP, a good number of cleaning patches and repeated elbow grease. Each time prior to today's cleaning - when I got done the bore still looked as if it had either rust flecks or pitting inside of it. There was a lot of it too through the length of the bore. I had thought for sure that the barrel was ruined due to use of corrosive ammo that had been sold to me as 'non-corrosive'. Well whatever it was - surface rust, fouling, or whatever else it could have been, it is virtually all gone now and the bore once again looks like it has a mirror bright chromed finish with only a small speck or three that could be pitting or freckling.

It wasn't that the barrel sat for a few days with a coating of Break-Free CLP that loosened anything up, I already tried that when using the normal wire brush. That is - after the initial few cleanings that got out most of the crud but still left it looking pretty bad - I cleaned it again, oiled it with Break-Free, left it sit a few days, then cleaned it again for about the 6th time only to have it look almost the same as before I had cleaned it that last time. So what was the difference in my cleaning method today. Today I used a Tornado Brush. I stopped by Gander Mountain in Middletown, NY yesterday on my return home from a deer scouting trip to upstate NY to look for a steel cleaning brush. I figured steel would get off rust and fouling that the regular bronze brush was not removing. They didn't have any - well at least not the regular type brush with bristles. What they had was a brush that more closely resembled a brush made out of a coil spring wound around the stem of the brush than it did one with bristles. Its design is called a looped wire design. I decided to pick one up in .38 caliber. Yes I realize the bore is closer to .30 cailber than it is to .38 caliber but I wanted to make sure the brush would be a tight fit in the bore of the M44.

Tonight I gave the barrel a swabbing down with Hoppes #9 again. Then I put in a coating of Break Free CLP. I let it sit about 2 hours. Then I ran the Tornado Brush through the bore a few times and gave it another swabbing with a patch soaked in Hoppes. When I then took a look down the muzzle with a bore light at the breech what I saw amazed me. Virtually all of the fouling/rust was gone, and there was almost no pitting apparent; and I am none too sure what I still see is pitting it could be freckling and it indeed looks more like that. What I was sure had been pitting must have been surface rust or some sort of really difficult to remove fouling, because while it did not come off before, there virtually is no evidence of it now. The Tornado Brush effectively wiped it off right down to the sparkling bore surface except in a couple or few minute areas and as I said that could be freckling.

When I checked online tonight I saw that these brushes are touted to remove all fouling without harming the bore. A close up inspection of them shows them to look smooth and indeed they are smooth to the touch, no prickly bristle ends to scratch you or the bore. The brush itself is made from stainless steel, which I imagine could take off some steel in a bore, but my guess is that it took off just enough in my case, rusted steel at that. I have used these when cleaning rimfire rifles that shoot .22LR ammo. I don't think I ever realized how good such a brush probably is at removing lead from a .22's bore. I will check next time I clean the .22s. That ammo is notorious for lead fouling and I imagine this brush must get the lead out considering how it got the rust out of the M44 bore.

Above, I have posted two pics of the brushes side by side (click on them for a bigger view of each). Why two pics? Because in one the Tornado Brush is in focus, and in the other the Bronze Brush is in focus. I could not get them both in focus in the same shot. Note the design differences that I already described, the coils of the Tornado brush and the bristles of the bronze Brush. Note also that both of these brushes were used approximately the same amount of strokes through a bore. The Bronze Brush is obviously showing wear and deterioration after only one gun cleaning. Many of the bristles are bent backwards. The Tornado Brush, on the other hand shows no such bending of bristles because it has no bristles. Granted it is a bit compressed as compared to its original state, putting it down the bore once was enough to do that - but then the same thing happens with a bristle brush too. According to Hoppes the design will not damage a bore despite the brush being made from steel.

Sorry there are no pics of the bore but I'll be darned if I can get my Canon Power Shot A590 to focus down the length of the bore. So let me just tell you, you had to see it before, then see it now as both Brendan and I have done. The result is I and he were both impressed (I just showed it to him when he came home for dinner break from his job). That Tornado Brush was worth every penny of the $2.99 I paid for it; heck I saw it today for $4.99 at another store. Now mind you these things have been around for awhile, I have just not used them before except a few times on my 22s. I did not notice any remarkable results then, but I was not really looking for any as those guns had normal bores to begin with. The job this brush did in cleaning the bore of my M44 was definitely remarkable considering how many times I had already tried to clean it with regular bristle brushes. The results received by using the Tornado brush simply were amazing. I plan on keeping the bore coated with a fine layer of Break-Free CLP, and to use only current production non-corrosive ammunition in it from now on.

Hopefully the bore will remain in as good a shape as it is in now. If that holds true then this rifle will last for years to come. If not, oh well - I am out $75 plus gun show entry fees for the rifle, along with about $50 to $75 I spent on the so called 'non-corrosive' ammo that I now know to be corrosive. I would not have worried about this all that much except for the fact that I truly like my flamethrower M44 and they are about impossible to get now in anywhere near as otherwise as good condition as is this one. Right now I am a happy camper, if the rust stays away this camper will be happy for a long time - at least concerning my M44.

All the best,
Glenn B

A few Short Walks In The Woods

...was about all I accomplished yesterday in my first scouting trips of the year for the upcoming deer hunting season. I went to a couple of tracts of state land I have not been to before. or should say I looked for a couple of them but only found one. That one, Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area is in Schuyler and Tompkins Counties. It is the largest WMA (wildlife management area) in NY at over 11 thousand acres. At that size it should be hard to miss but it took me some time to find - no signs of the road that was supposed to be the access road. As a matter of fact, had I not turned off on a dirt road called Connecticut Hill Road - I would never have found it as all the land I could see from the main road was posted.

I kicked about there for awhile, but not really long enough to find any good hunting spots. That was okay because I will go back a few more times before the start of the deer hunting season in November. In October, I'll probably bring along a rifle in .22LR and do some squirrel hunting - I saw enough of them yesterday to assure me they are in good number there. After that I went to Cascade Valley State Forest in Broome County. It is a place where I have hunted before and where I immediately began to find lots of deer sign in an area I plan to hunt again. What they say about hunting deer in a funnel or corridor is right on in this instance. There is a road to the left and a swamp to the right and they funnel into the woods from the other side of the road walking through a narrow corridor at this point. Hopefully they will be funneling through when Brendan and I hunt the area.

Deer sign is not all that I saw while out and about. I kicked up a few smaller critters like turkeys, grouse, other birds, a salamander or two and a few frogs (the frog in the pic is a Wood Frog). In addition there was a lot of color out in the woods. Being it is August one might not expect to find a lot of reds, yellows and oranges out there, at least not until October, but those colors were there blazing away and saying 'hey look at us'. That hey look at us could well have been a warning shout - you see the things wearing nature's warning colors were all mushrooms. As much as I love em sauteed for a steak, I am not about to pick and eat wild ones not even the white or brown ones that I spotted. Still though, they did look pretty and were deserving of me taking the time to stop to admire them and get some photos so I could share them with you. I am sure the woods' salamanders and toads enjoy their beauty. As for their names, I don't know them, I may check on that yet, but you don't need to know exactly what they are to enjoy how they look.

As a matter of fact, one of them sort of looked appetizing in as much as it looked like a pizza pie covered with cheese and sauce. You take a look and tell me what you think - but to me it even almost smelled like pizza. As I said though, I was not about to eat a wild mushroom, and if I remember anything about wild mushrooms that was probably a good idea. You see I seem to recall this particular one as being deadly.

At least one of the interesting things I spotted had no color, it was as white as the driven snow. I am not even sure if it was a mushroom but am pretty sure it was some type of fungus. Very interesting looking - whatever it was. Again though, I was not about to taste it - especially not this one since it just looked to gosh darned alien.

There was one thing I would have gladly eaten, that is had there been enough of them to make them more than a tease to my taste buds. No its not a lobster although it sure looks like one. I found this crayfish under a stone in a stream. I was hoping to find a lot more and later went to the Susquehanna River to do just that. When I got there imagine the delight of the crayfish, and my disappointment, when I discovered that the river was so swollen with waters from a rainy last couple of days that I dared not venture out to look for the little delectable crustaceans.
All the best,
Glenn B