The Lazy Man’s Guide to Cleaning Revolvers

Getting the Lead Out

“Show me a lazy man and I’ll show you the easy way of doing something” is how the saying goes. But is it really? Perhaps we sometimes confuse lazy for smart. Sometimes it’s a little of both, but whatever you call it, I’m going to show you the easy way of cleaning your wheelguns if they happen to get fouled with lead.

Indecent Exposure

As a rookie copper in 1985, we shot roughly 6,000 rounds of ammo during our academy class. It was here I became well versed in the cleaning of guns. I even learned about the Lewis Lead Remover when my bullets started tumbling after my bore had become so fouled from the soft lead practice ammo we shot.

I’m sure it was low-bid factory fodder. I don’t even remember the name of it, but I do remember how dirty it shot, leading something fierce. It provided a target-rich environment for learning how to properly clean a revolver after each shooting session.

It wasn’t long before my fellow classmates started complaining about having to scrub out six — count them, six — chambers in the cylinder, plus the barrel. This point was really reinforced when we transitioned to 9mm semi-autos 5 years later and saw how easy they were to clean.

The method I’m going to pass on to you is so ridiculously easy, you’re going to say, “Now why didn’t I think of that?” For you old-timers, you’ll just nod your head in agreement and say, “Yup, been doing that for years. Tell us something we don’t already know.”

Everything you need for easy lead removal of your shooter.

Spray, Lube, Relax

The first thing you want to do is spray your barrel and cylinder with a good lubricant/cleanser. I like Ballistol for this step — it’s non-toxic and does a great job. Give it a chance to soak into the fouling and loosen it up. Let it do the work. the longer the soak, the easier it is on you.

Then, simply grab a used bore brush and screw it into an old piece of range rod that has been shortened to about 6 inches. Cut some Chore Boy copper scrubber into a strip and wrap it tightly around the bore brush to a diameter just big enough to enter your cylinder mouth.

Spray your bore and cylinders with a good lubricant and let it set to break down the powder fouling.

Chuck the 6-inch piece of range rod into a hand-drill and simply use the rotating chore-boy wrapped bore-brush to scrub out your cylinder chambers. In just 20-30 seconds your chamber will be sparkling clean, free of powder residue and lead. Repeat five more times, or a needed, and you’re cylinder chambers are finished.

Then, use the same Chore Boy wrapped bore-brush and attach it to one of your cleaning rods. The Chore Boy will remove the worst fouled bores within 20 strokes. You can see the lead drop from the bore. Finish with a dry patch or two and you’re done.

See, wasn’t that easy?

Working your bore brush, the lead will scale right out of the barrel.

What To Avoid

Having your revolver dimensionally correct will stop lead fouling while also improving accuracy. Your cylinder throats — the hole your bullet comes out of — should be larger than your forcing cone, the part of the barrel the bullet enters. The forcing cone should be slightly larger than, or the same as, the barrel dimensions.

Once your wheelgun is dimensionally correct, along with using properly sized cast bullets, you won’t have to deal with lead fouling again. But if things go wrong, fret not. Using this method makes getting the lead out fast and easy. It’s the lazy man’s way of doing things, and even kind of fun!

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