The problem usually occurs when the barrel blank is initially bored.
That is when a hole is drilled or reamed down the center of the solid blank.
This reaming process will usually leave horizontal cutting marks across the
width of the hole thatís just been drilled. If the reamer isnít razor sharp, the
results can be very ugly. Just for fun, get a good magnifying glass and take a
close look at the tops of your gunís rifling lands right at the muzzle. Youíll
see what I mean.
Then comes the rifling process, which can be done with a tungsten
"button" which is pulled through the bore (button rifling). The button has the
reverse of the rifling pattern cut into its surface so as itís being pulled
through, itís impressing the rifling into the boreís surface. The bottomís of
the grooves are now fairly smooth, but the tops of the lands will still retain
the original reamer marks.
Some custom rifle makers will pull a cutting blade through the bore
to, in effect, scrape a land into the bore one at a time (cut rifling). On the
other hand, factory barrels are often produced using a broach, which has several
blades, and cuts all the lands simultaneously. However all these methods will
leave the original reamer marks on the top of the lands. The only way to remove
them is to polish them out. Actually, even when polished, they are never
completely removed for the entire length of the barrel.
As a bullet passes over the lands, these reamer marks will scrape off
material from the jacket. As more bullets are fired, marks will be covered over
but a "lump" of ripped off jacket material will build up scraping off even more
material than before, and so the "lump" will get even larger. Those wonderful,
super concentric bullet jackets are now being scratched and torn and are no
longer the beautiful polished projectiles they were before. Result? Degraded
As important as it is, barrel cleaning is a hassle. If youíre a rifle
shooter, you probably use one of the many rifle cradles that are sold for that
purpose. The advantage of a cradle, is that rifle is held in place while youíre
running the cleaning rod back and forth. Thereís no juggling around while trying
to simultaneously hold the rifle, manipulate the rod, getting the patches on,
trying not to spill that big $20 glass bottle of cleaning solution, etc. The
cleaning process becomes a lot easier when the rifle is held in place in a
Iíve often wished for something like that
for my silhouette handguns. Well, now itís here - The Dewey TC barrel cleaning
cradle. Made by Don Dewey of Christiana, PA, (not to be
confused with Mike Dewey of California), the cradle is a
simple, robust, and very effective tool for holding any TC or Encore barrel in
place for cleaning. As you can see in the image, the cradle consists of three
main parts: a base, a breech support, and a muzzle support.
The base is made from very heavy aluminum channel that is well over a
quarter of an inch thick. This base has two small 17/64" holes cut in the bottom
and two larger 1/2" holes cut in the top directly over the lower holes. The
bottom holes are meant to be used to permanently mount the base to a reloading
bench using either 1/4" round head machine screws or hex head bolts. The large
holes in the top allow overhead access with a screw driver or whatever to
tighten up the mounting screws below.
If you donít want to permanently mount the cradle on your bench, there
are a couple of options. You could simply use a a "C" clamp or two to hold the
the base to the bench. When youíre finished, release the clamps and un-mount the
base. If you donít want to mar the bottom of the base with a "C" clamp, mount
the base on a piece of wood and then "C" clamp the wood to the bench. However
you do it, you want to be sure the base is firmly secured.
On top of the base at one end, is a "U" shaped delrin plastic muzzle
support that is held in place with two beefy allen head screws. Youíll notice
that the "U" shaped opening of the support is more narrow at the top than at the
bottom. The narrow opening, which is smaller than the diameter of the barrel,
will prevent the muzzle from swiveling upward while vigorously passing the
cleaning rod through the barrel. However the opening is still large enough to
accept barrels equipped with a Ken Light type sight rib and hood.
At the opposite end, is another delrin support for the breech end of
the barrel - also held in place with two screws. The breech support is very
different than the muzzle support in that it has a large hole in itís side. The
purpose of the hole is to accept a large two diameter delrin horizontal pin. The
pinís dimensions are an exact match with the dimensions of the steel TC factory
lug pins that are used to secure the barrel to the frame. In this case, the
delrin pin is securing the barrel to the breech support. As I mentioned before,
the pin is a two diameter type so it can be used for both Contenders and
Encores. Itíll also fit any aftermarket barrel as well. Now that I think of it,
thereís no reason that you couldnít mount a Contender or Encore carbine barrel
in the cradle either. I really like the fact that delrin was used for the breech
and muzzle support as it is an ideal material as itís not going to scratch your
barrels and the fact thatís itís very strong and impervious to cleaning
I really like this barrel cleaning cradle. With my Contender or Encore
barrels mounted, I feel that I can do a much better job of scrubbing with the
cleaning rod. If you shoot a TC or an Encore, you need this. The cradle retails
for $40 plus shipping. Don Dewey is also a supporter of the Internationals.