May 18th, 2010

Recently I was working to resolve cycling issues on a Taurus TCP 380. First one I have seen with issues by the way.

Customer reported that the gun simply would not eject consistently no matter what ammo was being used. You gotta start somewhere so I suspected a rough chamber. With the barrel in hand I decided to clean the barrel thoroughly first.

Literally, 2 hours later I finally got all of the copper out. I'm no engineer and no expert by any means but it made sense to me that quite possibly the excess copper was causing increased pressure and "over expanding" the brass causing it to stick just hard enough that the extractor would not pull it until it cooled slightly.

With a 10X eye loupe, I could not detect any major issues with the chamber but figured lightly polishing it could not hurt anything. So with a tight patch and a small amount of IOSSO Bore Cleaner(my new best friend) I proceeded to polish the chamber by simply rotating the prepared patch in the chamber maybe 15 or 20 turns.

I wiped that mess all up and then blasted the inside and outside of the barrel with Gun Scrubber. Then ran a new tight patch lightly oiled, through the chamber and barrel.

Not wanting to waste any precious 380 ammo, I dug out my never before used 380 dies and a bag of fresh brass and loaded up 50 rounds. I used the starting load of 231 powder behind a 95 grain FMJ bullet.

Grabbed a box of factory ammo for backup and headed for the range. I fired 4 full mags of the reloads through the little Taurus and did not have a single issue. Granted the starting load would be low pressure, I doubt that factory ball ammo would be much higher pressure so I didn't try the factory stuff. I felt safe with the assumption that the problem had been found with the excess copper.

Which brings me to a firmer conclusion that I had arrived at years ago, not everyone knows how to clean their firearms. I have been using Sweet's 7.62 for over a decade now and will always have a bottle of it on my bench. You do not have to use it all the time and of course there is the "horrifying risk of pitting" associated with the use of any product containing ammonia. However, years ago I read that simply applying oil to any surface that the ammonia had contacted would neutralize the ammonia. Personally I have never been concerned with the risk of pitting but I'm not big on conspiracy theories either. Follow the directions on the bottle.

Ammonia is a strange product and I do not even begin to understand the chemistry of it but, the chemist by trade that wrote the article about applying oil certainly seemed to know what he was talking about. I can't even tell you where I read the article or when but it made sense to me.

There are lots of copper removing products on the market. To date, I have used 2 or 3 different ones. Sweet's 7.62 will always be on my bench, right next to the bottle of oil.

Further, I am conviced there are a zillion "methods/routines" for cleaning firearms. Everybody has their own approach and their own opinion of "what clean is". But standing on the back side of the gun shop counter I can tell you that what I see first is "blame the gun." When the reality is more often than not, the firearms worst enemy, DIRT is the culprit. And the term DIRT includes but is not limited to: powder fowling, un-burnt powder, excess oil, excess grease, rust, neglect and COPPER.


Back to CenterFire Central

Last Modified: January 3, 2012