Dealing With a Barrel Obstruction

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  1. GrumpyOlMan
    Dealing With a Barrel Obstruction
    by "GrumpOlMan"

    In my 40+ years of reloading and working with firearms I've made my share of mistakes and learned from others . I've been pretty lucky to never be seriously hurt, but I've had a couple close calls! Too many of us get caught up in trying to push performance to the max. thinking it will make the gun more accurate. It usually doesn't!

    The smart way to try a new load is to start at the low end of recommended charge/ bullet combo. If you don't have the exact bullet you try to find something as close to weight and profile as possible, then start low. When you don't have a match for the bullet you want to try you get as close as you can and drop the powder a bit more ( we all want to think we found the magic load!)

    I'm currently trying 10 different projectiles for a pistol that has very limited options! The FN5.7x28mm.

    1-FN 5.7.jpg

    One of the bullets I'm trying out is a Nosler Balistic tip 35gr. which I tried a bit too low on the powder and it got stuck half way down the barrel! I can't stress enough that if you notice ANY difference in sound and/or recoil in a firearm regardless of ammo, STOP, unload the firearm, get to an area you can safely check the barrel for an obstruction (NOT by looking down the muzzle!).

    You're not going to just push the bullet out (if you can you've got the wrong bullet in there!) . If you try to tap it out especially on a small bore like .22 you're probably going to break the rod. A brass rod will just deform and metal may drift and damage the barrel, so now what?

    The first step in correcting this problem after removing the barrel is to put into the freezer if the bullet is out of the breech and fully in contact with the rifling. This will cause the metal molecules to shrink by moving more tightly together and if left overnight, will transfer that same effect to the bullet.

    The next step is to find a sturdy rod to push the bullet out when your ready. I happened to have an old Outters wood handle cleaning rod section with the threads broke off in it from another section (who doesn't?).

    2-cleaning rod.jpg
    (I broke the wood handle tapping on it with a hammer). Next up you need to put the barrel in a padded vise. I use Homasote for padding, it's basically super compressed cardboard used in shipping. I got mine from work but you can find it pretty easily dumpster diving near any shipping and receiving dock. The stuff is VERY tough and will conform to almost any shape.

    3-homasote.jpg

    It's also flammable so keep that in mind for the next step!

    4-barrel in vise.jpg

    Now is where patience is required! You want to slowly heat the barrel, you can use a hairdryer, heat gun, or torch, just go slow and BE CAREFUL. You'll note the spray bottle and fire extinguisher in the back ground.
    It's going to take a little while but gently tapping on the bullet towards the breech should free the bullet as the metal heats and expands. Barrels tend to taper down towards the muzzle so it would be much more difficult to push the slug out that end.

    5-barrel and slug.jpg
    A quick check with a borescope shows a copper buildup and what looks like scratches.

    6-bore scope.jpg 7-Photo_2 dirtybarrel2.jpg

    After a few passes with Hoppes #9 a recheck shows the barrel is just fine!

    8-Photo_5clean barrel.jpg

    There you have it! Much better than overcharging the load and blowing up a $1000+ gun and losing parts! This heating and cooling works on joints , lug nuts, you name it! As long as you use common sense. It doesn't work with water though, it's a non- compressible liquid that expands whether you heat or cool it which is why hot water freezes faster than cold. If you're home schooling the kids or grand kids you can teach them that with an ice-cube experiment so they can impress their teachers when they go back to school!

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