It’s true, a clean shotgun barrel means better accuracy. It’s not hard to fathom, either. Imagine shooting a gun with a barrel made of Astroturf, or wax. It would be like shooting a gun after its bullet has already gone through a patch of grass or leaves, and hasn’t even left the barrel! Notice that gun barrels of any gun, from BB guns to shotguns to .50 calibers, are made of hard, smooth materials like steel, titanium or composites. Barrels made of these materials help maximize the velocity of a bullet as it exits the muzzle. The less friction between the barrel and the projectile, the better. This all adds up to one bold point that should stay emblazoned in any shotgun owner’s mind: keep the barrel clean.
Indeed, for the shotgun owner, that very emblazoned point is the lifeblood of happy shooting. Shotguns have long barrels and shoot different types of ammunitions, from birdshot to buckshot, and they are known to be less accurate than things like hunting rifles. Why? Take a six-shot shotgun shell, for instance. When the firing pin punches into the back of the shell, six large BBs are deployed just ahead of the shotgun’s breech bolt (for pump-actions) and down the long barrel, eventually, hopefully, reaching the target. Those six BBs are in a cluster as they slide along the barrel and out into the air. At any given time a BB’s position can be at the top, bottom or side of the barrel right next to its five other friends traveling at around one-thousand feet per second. Any interference with a smooth exit for one of the BBs and the whole pack of them can be affected and thrown off course. With that now said, it should not be hard to understand why a half-inch spot of grime inside a three-foot barrel can cause inaccuracies. And the more interference, or grime, the less accurate the shotgun will fire.
Needless to say, a shotgun cleaning kit is essential to efficient, safe and, particularly, accurate shooting. Since combating grime inside the shotgun barrel will yield a much smoother exit for what’s launching out of it, visiting an outdoors-oriented sporting goods store is key. These stores will gladly provide the cleaning kits at a relatively inexpensive cost starting at around $12.99, depending on the store. A shotgun barrel can be clean with minimal pushes and pulls of the barrel brush.
First, a durable, metallic brush is attached to a long metal rod and is then shoved through the shotgun barrel several times, ten to twenty, in order to scrape any residue—dust, rust, carbon, debris or gun powder—from inside the barrel. Next, that brush is replaced with a cotton end on which a cotton cleaning pad dabbed with bore solvent is applied over it. Most times, use of a few cotton pads with solvent will clean the barrel out enough. After thrusting through the barrel and seeing each cotton pad getting less and less dirty, the barrel can then be dried and considered clean.
After seeing the importance of keeping a shotgun barrel squeaky clean, remember what’s always most important: SAFETY. Always remember safety first when doing any type of procedure with a gun of any kind. Stay aimed in a safe direction away from others, keep the finger off of the trigger, always keep the safety on, and never stay loaded when shooting isn’t in progress.
Best wishes on your next shooting adventure.