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Maintenance Lubrication and Copper Questions

18 Apr 2015
@ 06:11 pm (GMT)

Timothy Good

While maintenance and cleaning are critical aspects of gun ownership, they are not my favorite parts. I, therefore, keep looking for the magic bullet which for me is less cleaning time, more shooting and reloading time, and still very well maintained firearms. Both of the following questions I pose are in pursuit of streamlined cleaning. But first a small bit of background.

I have read Nathan's books and searched the forums and I only see FrogLube mentioned once in this forum. FrogLube is clearly NOT for copper removal nor is it a polisher but does seem to both reduce fouling and to provide short-to-medium range rust protection. In theory, you apply hot, it penetrates the metal pores, where it provides 'deep' protection bleeding out again when the gun becomes hot.

I started using in a 6.5mm bolt action I bought last year and it has so far seemed to work extremely well. Very little fouling and--after the initial time-consuming application--cleaning that amounts to little more than pulling a bore snake through a couple times which I usually complete at the range.

I found this video which is not scientific, but certainly is intriguing called The Plate of Truth on FrogLube's ability to protect against corrosion:

So my questions:

1) Am I placing the long-term health of my gun's bore in jeopardy with this method rather than my 'old-school' methods that much more closely resemble what Nathan details in his book on maintenance? Has anyone else gone the FrogLube route?

2) As for copper, everything I have read in Nathan's book is about getting rid of it (unless I missed something). So what about those who argue for copper fouling as a good thing which reaches an equilibrium once the barrel is properly copper fouled and provides a long sweet spot for a significant number of rounds. I have seen accuracy graphs which seem to back this up.



18 Apr 2015
@ 08:05 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Maintenance Lubrication and Copper Questions
Hi Timothy, you may have to re-read sections of the Accurizing book. I was quite clear that very low fouling can at times be a bad thing. A measure of copper fouling can greatly aid bullet stability to the point of effecting perceived BC.

There is a fine line. Heavy copper fouling will cause poor accuracy, zero fouling can also cause poor accuracy depending on bore dimensions. The discussion continues in book 4 (Reloading) regarding slow foulers.

Cleaning regimes need to be set according to the individual barrel. However generally speaking, I notice that many folk do not understand how to properly clean a bore.


I trick up a garden variety SPS .270 rifle. With very little load work, the rifle is shooting between .3 and 5" at 100 yards, a combination of good fortune and good management.

About 4 months later, the client turns up, the same rifle is shooting around 2-3" groups. I clean the bore as per the Accurizing book, send the client off to our range, the rifle is back to its previous accuracy. All from one cleaning session.

Those who state that too much cleaning is bad are speaking from their own experience of slow fouling bores which may include bores of less than ideal internal dimensions. Regardless, some form of throat polishing regime must still be adopted to prevent rapid throat wear from gas cutting. If the barrel is chrome moly, long term storage methods must be considered with great care.


Forum member Jon Short has such a rifle. This rifle takes 12 shots to foul. Accuracy is around 1 to 1.5" up to around shot 9. BY shot 12, the rifle produces optimum long range accuracy.

To prevent excessive throat wear (7mm Rem Mag), the rifle needs a set polishing routine. This will occur every 100 shots (1 box projectiles).

Example 2:

Forum member Peter Bjerregaard has an ex target rifle, he is the second owner and it has a chrome moly barrel. The rifle was never given a deep clean and produced very low copper fouling. Instead, cleaning methods were the often typical swab with Ballistol, then dry pull prior to shooting.

The bore looked mint when Peter purchased it.

When Peter went to clean the bore, he discovered that it had a very heavy layer of carbon fouling (quite typical). Unfortunately, the carbon simply hid corrosion throughout the bore which was revealed after a deep cleaning session. Carbon is after all hygroscopic.

The barrel has since been re-fouled and will have to serve Peter for sometime as gun smithing prices in Europe are not for the faint hearted.

As for Frog lube. I believe forum member Mike Neeson tried to use this for long term storage and in short, the barrel rusted and had to be replaced. There is no substitute for a heavy anti corrosion layer.

18 Apr 2015
@ 09:17 pm (GMT)

Timothy Good

Re: Maintenance Lubrication and Copper Questions
Thanks, Nathan for the thorough reply. My questions and your answers come in the middle of a spring gun prep & cleaning day.

I will go through the book again; they are always ready to hand. When reading about 'fouling' in general, though, I find I am often a bit confused about the referent of that term in a given context; that is, it is not always clear if the issue is powder residue, carbon build-up, or copper fouling or all of them?

As for the FrogLube, I do not use it for long-term storage and do use a heavier lubrication as you describe. I guess my hope for FrogLube is that it serves as sufficient CLP for periods when the gun is in fairly active use and that it shortens post-range clean-up.

One tool you suggest in your book does alleviate the guess work in all of this when coming up with a cleaning regime for an "individual barrel"--a bore snake. It is a hard call for me though when the cost is justified since I am not consuming extremely high-end barrels at this point.

I am always looking for a better, quicker way because time is the dearest commodity to come by. Thanks again.
19 Apr 2015
@ 07:47 am (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: Maintenance Lubrication and Copper Questions
Hi Tim, as Nathan said, I had a barrel rust out on me that was treated with froglube. I blame myself for this due to having too much faith in it's proclaimed corrosion inhibition abilities. Also I don't get to shoot as often as I would like with shift work etc. While I did use it, I did notice less fouling and good "cold bore" accuracy from the first shot. I have had friends notice that velocities can change a little after a few shots. The barrel heats and causes more lube to start flowing? I certainly wouldn't recommend it's use in a 22LR barrel as it can take quite a few shots before the lube kicks in and POI can be seen to shift. I have a new stainless barrel now and use Lanolin grease exclusively. If you're shooting often, froglube will probably work for you. But it may be hard to predict when the lube starts to kick in when shooting a string. To be honest, I think the stuff is better suited to high capacity semi autos that are designed to run hot most of the time, but that's just my opinion.
19 Apr 2015
@ 02:27 pm (GMT)

Timothy Good

Re: Maintenance Lubrication and Copper Questions
Hi Mike. Thanks.

Interesting....that about the POI shift. Should that turn out to be the case, FrogLube would not be a good candidate for precision long-range hunting/shooting unless the behavior was 100% predictable and one could work with it (which would probably be easier at the range than follow-up shots in the field).

In any case, I would really like to run this one to ground for my own satisfaction. I suppose it would be possible to do this by taking a rifle with which I am fully familiar in terms of cold bore shots. If I converted it over to FrogLube I might have a fair apples to apples comparison at least for that particular gun.
20 Apr 2015
@ 01:59 am (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: Maintenance Lubrication and Copper Questions
It will be interesting to see what results you do get get Tim, please keep us up to date on what you find.
30 May 2015
@ 06:56 pm (GMT)

Timothy Good

Re: Maintenance Lubrication and Copper Questions
I know this thread is a little long-in-the-tooth but I just ran across this test of a bunch of lubrication products that seemed relevant. Very interesting and seemingly comprehensive.

Mike, still sorry about your lost barrel--about any lost barrel--but it sounds that based on this study that you might have done worse a lot sooner than with FrogLube. But the heavier grease you are using now sounds like the best medicine for longer stints when the gun is unused.

Also, Nathan, regarding my comment that started this thread about 'missing something' on fouling in your books, did I ever! I guess I must have read something in one of the books and extrapolated. I just read the whole section on this in the Accurizing & Maintenance book and it is EXTENSiVE. You makes patently clear that even generalizing in this arena is difficult since each barrel must be treated as its own adventure and each barrel must be 'read' to get it right.

Finally, I have absolutely no connection to FrogLube other than hoping beyond hope that it might simplify maintenance. Still experimenting.


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