Barrel Lapping Made Easy

Bill Boggs

Iím a stickler on a good barrel break-in and have used Kimberís method till recently when I found a better way; barrel lapping.  A well broken-in barrel will keep your barrel leading to a minimum, or virtually eliminate leading with good quality bullets like Penn Bullets sells, shoot more accurately and last longer including more accurate longer.

Lapping is typically done by coating bullets with a recipe of abrasives and firing them through the gun. It can also be done with a good jag and a patch smeared with the same abrasive recipe.  I use the Wheeler Engineering Bore Lapping Kit available through Midway USA at and a good brass jag that is as long as you can find for your caliber; this is what I used for my 9MM from Midway  Spend a couple of extra bucks then  have a good jag for cleaning too.

The process I used was starting with the coarsest abrasive, obviously; after following the directions on preparing the abrasive for use smear the abrasive to coat most of a patch, and then run it through the bore 50 times; change to a new coated patch and repeat.  Run a clean patch through he bore till it come out clear of abrasive then repeat on the next finer grits till the finest grit then wash the barrel with warm soapy water and check out the bore which should now shine like a mirror. If you desire run an additional patch with the final grit if youíre not satisfied with the results of the first process but you should have a fine looking, shiny bore ready for some good shooting. Lube the barrel as though youíre done cleaning and youíre finished.

The alternative Kimber process is; with a clean dry bore fire 1 jacketed round through the barrel then clean to remove all carbon fouling then with a good copper cleaner till the patch comes out with no signs of blue from copper.  It is important to always fire a bullet through a clean, dry, oil free barrel as the burning gun powder will burn any oil left in the barrel and cause carbon fouling in the microscopic barrel flaws making them impossible to polish out with subsequent shots, which is what youíre doing firing jacketed bullets through a new bore. Reassemble the gun and fire another 1, repeat for 10 rounds.  Then just like the 1 each rounds, repeat the process firing 2 rounds each cleaning in between repeating 10 times; then 5 rounds between cleanings 3 or 4 times; than fire no more than 50 rounds before cleaning as stated above till youíve fired 500 jacketed rounds through the bore.  It does do a good job and is worth doing but the lapping process eliminates all that shooting and cleaning.  I find the choice obvious.

An end note; you can take a gun out of your closet that wasnít broken in properly and still lap it.  I did this to several of my guns but only ran the second finest grit through the bore 50 times once then the finest grit 50 times twice and still saw a mirror like bore.  So donít be afraid to go back and clean up the bores in older guns.

Thank you for letting me be of service to you,
Bob Palermo / President.

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