As a first-time gun owner, cleaning and maintaining your firearm is crucial to your firearm’s functionality. Regular maintenance using specialized tools, firearm oil, and chemical solvents can be performed from the comfort of your own home. Proper gun care is a huge responsibility that can preserve the look of your gun and keep you safe on the range or field.

Importance of Cleaning Your Firearm

Firearm cleaning isn’t just meant to restore your gun’s original luster. A poorly maintained firearm can build up excessive fouling, which is a mix of carbon residue, lead, copper, and other debris produced from firing a bullet. Fouling can accumulate in the barrel and receiver and clog up the rifling. Fouling clogs can reduce your gun’s accuracy.

Apart from making you miss the mark, fouling can negatively impact the operation of your gun. Fouling and dirt can be corrosive and cause your gun parts to rust over time. Even worse, extreme cases of build-up can increase the barrel pressure and make your gun explode when fired. If you want to avoid an injurious accident, regularly clean your firearm.

How Often to Clean Your Gun?

How often you clean your gun depends on many factors including where it is stored and how often you use it. Guns can get dirty from getting fired and the environment in which they are stored. If you have a carry gun, you should examine your gun daily. Guns kept for protection at home can be examined for debris and corrosion once a week.

If you have been out on the range or completed a training class, you should clean and field-strip it at the end of each day. When cleaning, check for excessive build-up, wear and tear, and other problems. Even if you rarely use your firearm, cleaning it is important. Try to properly clean and maintain it at least twice a year in cases where you seldom use it.

Gun Safety

Before getting ready to clean your gun, it is important to choose and prepare your work area. Choose a space that is well-ventilated, well-lit, and organized. You want to avoid losing small parts in a messy workspace. Outdoor spaces can work. If working indoors, make sure you have an open window to avoid inhaling any chemical solvents or gun debris.

Choose a work surface that is sturdy to avoid objects falling off. Don’t do your cleaning next to where you eat or cook. Chemical solvents, gun oil, and fouling can get onto your food and dining area.

Once you have chosen your spot, you must ensure your gun is unloaded. Check the barrel and magazine for bullets. Make sure to have the safety on at all times. In fact, always assume the gun is loaded, keep your finger off the trigger, and avoid pointing it at anyone. Remove all ammunition from the area and keep it in a special storage area. 

Gun Cleaning

As you can see, firing your gun releases microscopic particles of gunpowder, metals, and other debris into the bore of your firearm. When cleaning your firearms, refer to the owner’s manual provided by the manufacturer. A manual will tell you the right way to disassemble, clean, and reassemble your gun.

If possible, perform your work over a non-slip surface like a rubber mat or tarp. Keep a container or two to hold the clean and dirty loose small parts. A flashlight can help you find small pieces that fall to the ground. A cleaning kit can contain a range of brushes, rods, and other tools to remove debris stuck inside your firearms.

All cleaning kits will include tools such as a cleaning rod, which is used to clean the bore of the gun’s barrel. It is important you choose the right-sized rod for your barrel length. Cleaning rods are made of metal. You can attach cleaning accessories to its end including brushes and cotton patches soaked in cleaning solvents. Most users choose bronze brushes for their cleaning.

Begin by cleaning the bore of your gun, A bore guide is a sleeve that can protect your muzzle from chemicals and other damage. In some cases, a bore snake can work instead of a stiff cleaning rod. Start by using a wet patch to loosen the debris. Poke the patch on a jag or thread it through a loop before soaking it in the solution.

When inserting it into the bore, simply push it through in a smooth motion. Don’t scrub the inside or change directions when using the cleaning rod. Take out your wet and dirty patch and repeat the process two more times. After this, you can use the bore brush to remove the stuck-on gunpowder.

To do this, thread the brush to the cleaning rod and soak it in the solvent. Push the brush through the bore in a single stroke and remove the brush after it exits the bore. Repeat the process up to 10 times as needed. After brushing, repeat the process up to three times using a wet patch to pick up loosened fouling.

Finish up with dry patches inside the bore. If after a few patches your bore remains dirty, repeat the entire cleaning process. If you are storing your firearm afterward, apply a thin coating of protective oil to the bore. Run a dry patch inside your bore before heading out with your gun.

For the rest of your gun, feel free to use a toothbrush, cotton swabs, or a microfiber towel. A general-purpose cleaner can do the trick. After cleaning your firearms, make sure to reassemble them immediately. After you have reassembled it, ensure it is in proper working order. Afterward, you can apply a protective oil coating for rust. Avoid application on wood parts.

Gun Lubrication

Proper firearm lubrication after cleaning keeps your firearm parts working smoothly. Gun oil options vary from the old-school and military-approved Break Free to more environmentally-friendly products. The key is to apply a thin and even coating. Avoid overlubricating your gun because debris can stick to oil in the chamber, bore, or other gun areas.

Firearm maintenance should be performed regularly to maintain the performance and luster of your firearms. For serious physical damage to the firearm or if your firearm malfunctions, a professional gunsmith can provide full-service maintenance. Maintaining your firearm isn’t the most fun, but it is a part of the best safety practices to keep you and your gun safe.

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June 2, 2022