Chore Boy

  • Last Post 03 March 2024
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max503 posted this 16 July 2021

I know we are not suppose to let our firearms lead but sometimes it happens.

When it does I use Chore Boy copper pads to clean them.  

Any tips on working with that stuff?  Specifically, what do you use to cut it, and how do you wrap it on a brush or jag?  I try to pull strands off the pads, but that doesn't work well.  It's hard to cut with shears, and it will ruin a pair of scissors.  I usually pull it apart with pliers.  At best I end up with a ball of it on an old brush. Then I have to "swage" it down with some degree of force to get it into the bore.  

There must be an easier way.

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Bud Hyett posted this 16 July 2021

I've used "Bronze Wool"; that is also slightly messy with extra strands falling off as you work it into the brush. The grade is "0000", the finest commercially available. A worn nylon brush and the bronze wool strands embedded in the bristles will work.

You cut it following the wrapping of the wool into the pad. Cut a thin strip on the side of the bundle and then wrap. You probably will need to cut if shorted for length also. 

Bronze wool also works well for removing surface rust, that is why I had it handy. Gentle rubbing with Ed's Red, Break-Free or similar compounds on the rust spot will remove the rust without removing the bluing. 

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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Tom G posted this 16 July 2021

Max,   I tried Chore Boy years ago and it worked.  Later, I found that I could use Bronze Wool and it was sold on local hardware stores like Ace and others. They usually don't have it in stock but they can order it for you and it comes within a week. Bronze wool is what I use and it comes in different grades. I use the "fine" grade and it is fine enough that I can cut it with an old discarded pair of scissors.  You can also pull it apart and wind it around a used bronze brush and then use a variable speed hand drill to turn it in the chambers of revolvers to get the lead and powder fouling out. 

I'm currently in the process of cleaning up the chambers in a S&W 586 revolver. It's 38 years old and I don't think the tapered lead in the cylinder holes has ever been cleaned down to bare metal. I have a borescope that lets me see the fouling so I know it's there. This pistol has some potential as two days ago I shot it on my Ransom rest with a light load in 357 cases. I was testing powder coated bullets to see what diameter shot best. The first 6 shots out of it went into a 1.2 inch group at 25 yards. That includes the first shot out of a clean barrel.  Wow!  I'm hoping it will really respond to load development once I get the lead out of the cylinder throats. Sorry for the size of the following pic. I couldn't figger out how to resize it to fit this program.   Tom 

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Tim DeMarais posted this 16 July 2021

I use 0000 Bronze Wool as well and find it easy to work with. I bought mine many years ago from a marine supply, but you might find it at woodworking supply stores.

You might be able to cut the chore boy pads by holding it flat using a straight edge then running a utility knife along the straight edge to cut a strip off. It might take a few passes depending on how thick the individual fibers are. 

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John Alexander posted this 16 July 2021

I hope the following comments doesn't cause some shooters suffer heart palipations or other distress.

I have tried Chore Boy, but as noted, it is a pain to use and it never seemed particularily effective to me.  I have found steel wool wrapped abount an old bronze brush much easier to use and more effective..  I wouldn't use it on a 100 year old gun with maybe a soft steel barrel.  But I have used it for a long time and I have high mileage on some of my rifles that still shoot well. 

I will get some bronze wool and try that.


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sghart3578 posted this 16 July 2021

I find Chore Boy easy to use.  It cuts easily for me.  I like to wrap it around a bore mop instead of a brush.


Check your Chore Boy with a magnet.  There is a lot of "copper" scouring pads that are actually copper washed steel.

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RicinYakima posted this 16 July 2021

I have stopped using "chore boy" because they were steel that was copper plated. And like John, I have used 0000 steel wool on guns made after WW2. But it will polish the chamber throats of 1890's Colt SAA.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 16 July 2021

i have used 0000 steel wool forever on all barrels, for mj or lead fouling ...  shooting full loads and steel wool cleaning in my 222 ... after 50,000 rounds it finally went over 1 moa ... so i figure heck maybe steel wool polishing may even help barrel life ... 

...and yes i used it in my match grade 22rf competition guns.

the reason steel wool is blue is because it is tempered to a very soft state ...


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Little Debbie posted this 16 July 2021

Yes it’s important to make sure your chore boy product is all copper and not plated. I prefer it to bronze or any other type of “wool” for lead removal.I wrap it around a caliber appropriate bore brush and scrub the bore until it doesn’t feel like it’s “sticky” . The ribbons of sharp copper remove lead quickly. I then clean as normal. I dislike the lengthy scrubbing to remove lead using bronze and steel wool. But it does remove lead. However a rusty/pitted bore can sometimes be saved by boiling and then scrubbing or “carding” the bore with 000 or 0000 steel wool. I’ve never seen any evidence that judicious use of 000 or 0000 in alloy steel bores does any damage. Any old barrel that I don’t know is alloy steel and .22s get chore boy and/or JB bore paste. Chore boy and JB brought a leaded and frosty bore to “good enough” in my 38/40 New Service. It’s great to have a lot of options.

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Boschloper posted this 17 July 2021

I have used steel wool (not really worried about wearing out a barrel) chore boy (take a magnet with you when you go shopping, if the magnet sticks, it ain't copper) and bronze wool.  I have stuck with bronze wool because for me it just works better. It does cost more and it can be hard to find, but when I do my part, I don't need much.

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lotech posted this 17 July 2021

I've tried Chore Boy and bronze wool, but prefer Brownell's Double Tuff brushes. They work very well at removing leading. I buy these in batches of a dozen. I've had some of these brushes lose bristles, but they still work effectively through several cleanings. 

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max503 posted this 05 March 2022

My local True Value hardware store has Copper Chore Boy.  It says "100% Copper" clearly on the box.  You get two little pads in a small box for about $3.29.  My guns are worth it and that's cheaper than brushes.

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jtcarm posted this 03 March 2024

Funny story about Chore Boy:

Several years ago, I was forced to stop for gas in a somewhat seedy part of Fort Worth.

While the gas pumped, I went inside for coffee. On one shelf, I noticed a 12x12x12 cardboard box full of unpackaged Chore Boy pads.

Strange, but I grabbed a few, as I hate plastic wrapping.

Thinking about it later and the neighborhood the store was in, I decided it must be drug related, and was probably lucky no one was lurking outside offering to sell me drugs me to go with them.

Sure enough, this was confirmed by a former narcotics cop. IIRC, he said they’re used to make crack pipes.

With that many in hand, store clerk probably thought I was crack dealer.

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