How To Clean Your Gun: 10 Essential Gun Maintenance Tips
Article Written By; Chris Browning,
It’s important to constantly clean and maintain your firearm. A dirty firearm could jam, and sometimes even potentially cause you injury or harm.
When cleaning your firearm, it’s always important to utilize the proper procedures, otherwise you could end up damaging your weapon.
In this article, we’ll talk about ten tips to help you do a better job of cleaning your firearm.
Always make sure that you know what you are doing before attempting to clean or disassemble your firearm, otherwise you could damage your weapon, lose parts, or cause yourself injury.
1. Prepare the Right Workspace
First, let’s talk about choosing the right workspace.
You should always set up in a well-ventilated area, not a stuff garage or attic. You need to make sure that air flows in and out of the room, otherwise you could become sick or pass out from the fumes of the cleaning solvent.
Make sure you protect the surface of your workspace with newspaper, plastic, or trays, otherwise you could end up staining your workbench.
Make sure the area is clean and well-lit. If you clean your guns in a dusty or dirty area, this could end up damaging the parts in the process.
Make sure you use a study table and chair, rather than a wobbly table or swivel chair.
2. Keep your ammunition stored safely away
Unload your gun completely. Moreover, always make sure that you double check the chamber before picking it up.
And of course, make sure you not only remove the magazine, but any chambered rounds as well. Visually inspect the chamber for rounds, and look through the barrel (safely!)
You should physically take all ammunition to another location, storing it away safely.
You don’t want loose ammunition lying around while cleaning, especially if you have young children who might treat your weapon as a toy.
Remember that, statistically speaking, a gun in your home is more likely to injure a member of your household than anyone else.
Always exercise every precaution. Many children die from accidental shooting deaths each year, 89 percent of whom were killed in their own home. In the majority of these cases, these children died while playing with their parent’s loaded gun.
3. Read the owner’s manual (duh.)
Before you do anything, read the owner’s manual for your gun. This will tell you how to properly assemble and disassemble your firearm. Not every part needs to be removed to properly clean your firearm.
The owner’s manual will tell you exactly how to disassemble and clean your gun. Make sure you read it, or you could end up damaging your firearm.
4. Use the Right Tools
Now let’s talk about the tools you will need for cleaning your gun. For starters, we would recommend buying a gun cleaning kit from online retailers or a local store. As an alternative, you can assemble the components your kit yourself, purchasing the various tools separately.
A typical gun cleaning kit includes:
- Lubricant, or special oil
- Cleaning solvent or solution
- Nylon cleaning brush
- Bore brush
- Cleaning rod
- Flashlight or adjustable lamp
- Microfiber polishing cloth
- Cotton swabs
- A patch holder and patches
However, you can also find a number of tools lying around your house, or improvise with the materials available.
For starters, we would recommend placing a rubber mat with a non-stick surface on your workspace. This protects the parts from flying everywhere, and keeps them sturdy while you clean them.
Another useful tool is a cleaning cradle. These are designed to keep your gun stable while you clean, which keeps it safe and sturdy while you get your weapon ready for action.
If you don’t want to purchase a cleaning cradle, you can also use your shooting rest to steady your weapon during the cleaning process.
We would strongly recommend against using a bench press or vice, however, which can cause serious damage to your firearm, causing it to crack.
You should also find a cookie sheet for your kitchen and use this to store the small parts as you disassemble your firearm. Using two cookie sheets, in fact, is ideal. One of them can store the dirty parts, keeping them separate from the already cleaned ones.
Always make sure you have a flashlight on hand, in case you end up dropping a part. Replacing such parts can be extremely expensive. Make sure you don’t lose anything, or you could end up putting your gun out of commission — permanently.
5. Choosing the Right Brush
Make sure the bore brush fits the diameter of the barrel, otherwise you could run into some serious problems.
There are many different kinds of brushes, made of various different types of material, including those with bronze, steel, and nylon bristles.
A steel brush will be highly rough on the inside of your gun, so only use them for more difficult cleaning jobs.
Nylon, by contrast, is softer, meaning that it often doesn’t quite do the job.
In the majority of circumstances, we would recommend using a bronze brush, as it’s not so abrasive that it will damage the inside of the barrel, yet strong enough to remove the toughest debris.
6. Use the Right Size Cleaning Rod
Cleaning rods come in a number of different diameters, measured according to the caliber of your gun. The most common sizes are .22 and .30 caliber, as well as different sizes for shotguns and muzzleloaders.
If you have too big of a cleaning rod, it won’t fit in the bore. If it’s too small, it might bend inside, making it difficult to proceed.
7. Tips for Cleaning the Bore
You should start by loosening the fouling with wet patches. Then start soaking the bore with cleaning rods and patches soaked in solvent. Start from the back of the bore and work forwards.
If the shape of your gun prevents this, we would recommend using a muzzle guard, which will keep the cleaning rod from damaging the muzzle, causing potential malfunctions.
Push the solvent soaked cleaning rod or patch through the bore from one end to the other. Remove from other end, or the gunk could get stuck back inside on the way out.
Alternate between using your brushes and your solvent-soaked patches and thoroughly clean the barrel.
To use the brush, thread it to the end of your cleaning rod. Apply solvent until it’s damp. Take the rod and gentle pass it through the bore. When the brush sticks out the other end, remove the head of the brush from the cleaning rod.
Do this about 11 times. After finishing, run a couple cleaning patches through with the rod, cleaning out anything that got loosened by your brushing.
Always wipe down your cleaning rod after each pass.
Finally, put a cotton mop on the cleaning rod. Soak this cotton mop with several drops of lubricant or other gun conditioner, and run this through the bore.
8. Tips for Cleaning the Action
When cleaning the action, start by lubricating it with a solvent. Do this with your gun brush, cleaning the entire action, and then wiping it clean with a cloth.
When this is finished, lubricate the action.
9. Tips for Cleaning the Exterior
A luster cloth can be used to polish the exterior of your gun. These cloths are pre-treated, and use a silicon lubricant to remove debris, fingerprints, and to make your gun bright and shiny.
Old T-Shirts or socks work if you lack a luster cloth.
Take the cloth and polish the surface of your gun until it’s shiny. Make sure to cover the complete surface area of all of the parts. Look for places you might have missed while cleaning.
10. Oil Bore for Overnight Storage
If you are firing your gun right away, you don’t always need to oil it. However, if you plan on storing it overnight, make sure you oil it to protect it from potential rust.
Always make sure to clean this oil out of your gun before shooting it. Otherwise, this can create increased pressure in your gun, which is very dangerous.
If you will be firing your gun soon, it’s better to leave it completely dry.
That’s it folks. Keep these 10 tips in mind when cleaning your pistol, rifle or shotgun and your gun will be back in action, ready to shoot again.
Did I forget any crucial steps? Please let me know in the comments.