Mar 10, 2015

Don’t Get Screwed!

As this issue gets to you, we are either breaking out into the initial, glorious stages of a new spring, or still buried in a winter that just won’t let go. In any event, “shooting season” is just around the corner. Time to start prepping for 2015 and any “deferred” gun maintenance and repair should be done NOW.

One of the most ignored pieces of shotgun maintenance, that I see, involves screw-in choke tubes. They are so simple and convenient, you just forget about them.

I know more than one shooter who has unintentionally “converted” his gun from removable chokes to a “fixed” chokes because they are so rusted in, they can’t remove them. This is especially true of waterfowl guns with their tendency to get wet occasionally. If you find yourself in that situation, before giving up and/or taking it to a gunsmith, try soaking the choke tube end of your shotgun barrel in some Kroil. It’s a creeping, penetrating oil that works great.

The container must be deep enough to reach the back end of the choke tube. If it works and the chokes come out but are rusty, I’ve had good success with a non-toxic product called Evapo-Rust for removing rust from metal (careful, follow instructions, it can remove bluing). Even if well maintained, make sure you still pull them out of your gun.

To clean the threads in the barrel, I use a soft metal bore brush, sized for the gauge, run on a cordless drill at low speed in the “dry” barrel  threads. I haven’t had any thread issues and it cleans them up nicely. A “Tico” tool brush works when “hand spun” in lightly fouled threads.

I use the same drill/brush set up to run at high speed inside the choke tubes themselves, again dry, to remove powder and wad fouling. If the brush you used for the bore is too tight, get the next size or gauge smaller. I’ve found that this process works better and faster than soaking, spraying and scrubbing the tubes.

I have ported barrels so I use an extension on the brush to get it down the barrel far enough to clean the ports on the inside. Then run soft patches or the “Tico” tool through the barrel a few times for “dry” clean up.

Finish the inside with a lightly oiled patch down the entire length of the barrel. Then, use some cleaner on the threads on the chokes themselves. I use spray brake cleaner, as it does a good job and evaporates off cleanly. Once that’s done, I use a little aerosol Rem-oil on the chokes with a light burst down the barrels.

Then, reinsert the chokes and you’re done.  If you are going to leave the chokes in for a long time, a little dab of anti-seize compound on the threads before you reinstall will save you a headache later. Complete the job by giving all metal a quick wipe down with your favorite anti-rust product or Rem-oil.