Shoot It Clean!

Pull The Trigger And Huntego’s
CleanShot Shell Does The Rest

By Holt Bodinson

Imagine, if you will, a day at the range or out in the field or in a blind, you’re tired, your gun is dirty, maybe wet. The last thing you want to do is to go home and clean it. So you load the magic shell, pull the trigger and your barrel is sparkling clean.

Dream no more. The “de-fouling shot” is here. Only available in 12-gauge at the moment, Huntego’s CleanShot is just the beginning of what I believe will be a tsunami of “de-fouling” developments revolutionizing gun cleaning.

Yes, you can go down to Walmart today and buy a box of four, 2-3/4-inch 12-gauge CleanShot shells for $8. The advantage of a “de-fouling shot” is it will clean most of the moisture attracting fouling out of your bore right now, until you have an opportunity later to get in there and apply some type of preservative to the bore.

The Technology

The image of the shell and Huntego’s explanations given for each stage and component of the new round are pretty self-explanatory. The CleanShot shell pictured is already protected by three US patents assigned to the inventor, Curt Whitworth of Michigan, with additional US and international patents pending. For the fun of it, I researched Whitworth’s patents. His patent, listed as US 9,212,879, is an interesting read.

The abstract states “A bore cleaning device is disclosed including a propellant providing a force to push the projectile down the bore of the firearm, a frame including a plurality of collapsible legs, and a cylindrically-shaped cleaning agent installed around the legs. The frame further includes a lower charge cap configured to receive the force of the propellant and a rigid front-end cap. The provided force creates a crushing force upon the frame. The crushing force causes the legs to collapse and provide an outward force upon the cleaning agent, wherein the outward force causes intimate contact between the cleaning agent and the bore as the device travels along the bore.”

Love that “intimate contact” bit! Who said patents are dry and boring?

The CleanShot shell, like all shotgun shells, is a system. The interior ballistics of a shotshell are among the most complex in ballistic science, and the CleanShot shell ranks right up there as an extremely complex system. Rifle and handgun ammo pale in comparison.

A shotshell is large and cylindrical and can be packed with a lot of interesting loads. It’s a system made up of a series of subsystems—a variety of case volumes, wads, primers, powders, shot and crimp styles—that must work in concert to deliver the charge within very strict, industry pressure criteria required by relatively weak-breeched shotguns. That’s exactly why shotshell reloading manuals repeatedly warn the handloader to “Never change any component of this listed load.”

Packaged four-to-a-box, “CleanShot” is currently available at Walmart.

Does It Work?

To test the CleanShot system, I chose a scattergun without a slick, chrome-plated bore to maximize the accumulation of fouling. It happened to be a Chinese knock-off of the Remington Model 870, imported by Century several years ago. In spite of its lineage, it’s the most accurate cylinder-bore slug gun I’ve ever owned.

First I cleaned the bore using conventional methods, which in my case included the use of Outers’ battery driven, rotating cleaning rod with a 10-gauge bronze bristle brush attached.

Then to foul things up a bit, I fired half a box of inexpensive, promotional No. 7-1/2 dove and game loads, which are notorious for being loaded with the industry’s softest lead shot. Visually examining the bore afterward I could see it was loaded with unburned powder particles and faint signs of lead. I handed the gun over to one of my shooting partners, Cyrus McKeown, to examine as well.

Next I fired one CleanShot shell. Opening the breech and looking down the bore, things appeared almost spotless and shiny, without any powder fouling or visible leading. McKeown concurred.

Taking the shotgun back to the shop, I ran a tight, dry cotton patch down the bore. It came out with some faint carbon markings. I then ran a wet patch down the bore moistened with Bore Tech Eliminator solvent. It came out thoroughly covered with carbon fouling, which didn’t surprise me since even the CleanShot shell burns powder, producing carbon. Several wet patches later, the bore was clean and set aside with a final patch of Break Free Collector preservative.

Does the CleanShot shell deliver as advertised? Yes, it does with a few caveats. The end results will depend upon a bushel of variables—the original cleanliness of the bore and the perception of “cleanliness” by the owner, the material and interior finish of the bore, the type and construction of the shells fired, the number of rounds fired, ad infinitum.

What the CleanShot shell offers is a breakthrough in the cleaning cycle of either smooth or rifled shotgun bores. At the end of the day, one shot will wipe away most fouling and give the shooter time to follow up later with spot cleaning or, at least, an applied preservative. To shooters who don’t clean their guns (and there’s a lot of them out there), one shot of “CleanShot” will prove to be a godsend.

Huntego, Ltd., (248) 897-0688

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