One of the things that really annoys the heck out of me is when someone saves up and spends a good deal of money on an excellent gun or rifle and then fails to take proper care of it. Accuracy is a combination of the shooter and the gun, if either isn’t properly maintained chances of you hitting what you aim at such as the buck of a lifetime standing 100 yds. away, can be significantly reduced. We won’t even begin to go into how if your gun is for protection, the chance of it failing when you need it most to protect you or your family are significantly increased. The value of your weapon also decreases much like that of a car if it is not properly maintained. Here are some great gun maintenance habits you need to remember and perform to ensure both you and your weapon work at maximum efficiency.
I always like to start out my gun cleaning procedures the same way, with a stable platform or table that has good lighting and is well ventilated. Have all the tools, solvents and oils laid out in front of you. There are some really great and inexpensive gun cleaning kits that can be found online or at your local sporting goods store that will serve most of your needs. Remember that most of the solvents and oils you will be using are toxic so make sure you keep them away from pets or food. Notice we did not mention children, if you are cleaning your guns near small children, just close out this page and sell your guns, you shouldn’t have them to begin with. At some point they will be old enough to take gun safety courses, wait till then to teach them. Safety first, always.
No matter how many times I take apart my gun, especially when I do a season’s end cleaning before I put away certain guns and rifles until next year, I always like to keep my owner’s manual on hand to refer back to as I go. Although I generally know my guns intimately, it doesn’t hurt to keep a manual or guide on hand as reference just in case it’s needed. You can probably find some good videos on the how to clean your specific gun on YouTube as well. Just be sure the person who posted the video actually is qualified to give this instruction. Another great tip for gun cleaning is to keep some small containers on hand to place small screws or parts as it is really easy to lose them but hard to find them. It’s also for this reason that I like to work on light colored backgrounds.
Okay, we are now ready to start cleaning a rife, depending on the type of gun or rife you are cleaning you should start by cleaning the bore. If the barrel is removable, clean from the breech end, if not removable then the muzzle end will have to do. Make certain you are using the right size cleaning rod and bore brush. If you have to use too much effort or it is difficult to push through, you are probably using a brush that is too small. Correct size is imperative to probably clean the barrel without damaging the rifling.
Rifles and guns collect residue each time they are fired so in order to loosen this residue you need to begin cleaning by passing wet patches moist with the proper bore solvent for the type of bullets you have been firing. By type of bullets we are referring to the type of metal such as lead or copper. Your gun cleaning kit will have attachments to the cleaning rod that will allow you to attach a cotton or cloth cleaning patch for the specific size bore you are cleaning. Once attached, moisten the patch with the proper solvent and pass it through the bore and full length of the barrel several times. Use a long stroke and avoid herky jerky scrubbing motions. Each patch should only be run through the barrel one time and a fresh patch used on each pass through.
After several passes through the barrel in order to loosen residue and other fouling it’s time to use a bore brush. The bore brush should be one that is designed for the specific caliber of gun or rifle you are cleaning. They are made of different types of materials and many people have preferences with bronze brushes being among the most popular. With older or more expensive guns many owners prefer nylon bore brushes as they offer a gentler cleaning but require a bit more work.
When you have the proper size brush on the cleaning rod moisten it with solvent and pass it through the barrel. Remember as we mentioned with the cleaning patches to use one full stroke through the entire length of the barrel. Repeat this process 6-10 times. Now repeat the process with the wet patches to remove any particles loosened by the bore brush. At this point you should pass several dry patches through the barrel with each patch coming out the other end a bit cleaner than the one before. If they are still looking pretty dirty start this entire process from the beginning until the dry patches are coming out clean.
If you are putting this gun away for the season then you should run a patch with gun oil down the bore to protect it from rust. Remember that if you use oil in the bore you must run a dry patch or two through the barrel before you use it again.
Part of your arsenal for your gun cleaning kit should be things such as clean rags, old tooth brushes tips and a good general gun cleaner such as BreakFree CLP Gun Cleaner, I prefer the aerosol but the squeeze bottle is fine too. This is used to loosen and clean any residue or build u in the action and on other moving parts. Once this is all done and the gun is reassembled and deemed in perfect working order it can be oiled to protect it from rust and stored.
Being able to tear down, clean your firearm and reassemble it is all part of proper gun maintenance that is the task of every responsible gun owner. Clean firearms are safer and more accurate, combine this with your acute knowledge of your gun and when that Buck of lifetime presents itself on that cold and dreary morning, you know that your firearm is in the best shape it can be for that task!