How To Clean A Gun Correctly
How to clean a gun may seem like a pretty standard process to gun owners, however, a striking number of people who own firearms simply don’t understand just how important keeping your gun clean is as a whole. It is not only pertinent to ensure that your gun works at its maximum efficiency, but it is also a vital process that all gun owners need to go through on a regular basis. In order to clean your gun with ease and success, there are a number of things you need to understand, and in this brief article, we will be delving through the gun cleaning process in its entirety to keep yourself safe and to also be successful and thorough in cleaning all of your guns.
How Often Should You Clean Your Gun?
It is crucial to clean your firearm after each time it is used. This has less to do with simply keeping it looking nice, but a clean gun actually significantly reduces the risk of an accidental discharge. Each and every time you shoot your gun, residue builds-up on the surface of your firearm, which can lead to rust and/or corrosion. Furthermore, that build-up can also cause inconsistencies to occur within the mechanisms of your firearm. This is why you should clean your firearm after each time you use it.
What You Need To Get Started
To start the process of cleaning your gun, you will want to make sure that your work area is well-ventilated, well-lit, and you have plenty of room to spread out and keep all of your tools and parts of the firearm organized. Be sure to avoid cleaning your side piece where people tend to eat as well in order to avoid contaminating any food that may be around.
Hopefully, you still have your original gun manual. The manual is loaded with helpful information, safety tips, and even details on how to properly take apart and clean your firearm. If you have misplaced or tossed out your gun manual, be sure to visit the NRA’s website for a guide to firearm assembly. You can also look up your exact firearm model online and should be able to find and download your firearm’s manual as well.
Before you start, you need to double check that your gun isn’t loaded and the magazine is removed. You will then want to gather all of your cleaning tools as well. Though every gun is a little different with regards to what tools you’ll need, for the most part you will want to have the following on hand:
- Cleaning rod
- Cleaning swab
- Cleaning jags (form fitting and slotted)
- Bore brush (must be caliber specific)
- Cleaning patches (lint-free, fiber-free, and caliber specific)
- Double-ended brushes
- Bore snake
- Luster cloth
- Cleaning chemicals (bore cleaners, lubricants, and action cleaners)
- Cotton swabs
- Disposable drip pan
- Safety goggles (protects you from both debris and chemicals)
If you aren’t sure exactly what tools you will need, you may want to consider purchasing a caliber specific cleaning kit to save you the hassle of trying to gather everything separately only to find that you’re missing something you need.
Gun Cleaning Steps
- First things first, you will want to clean the barrel and chamber. Insert a copper-phosphate or nylon bore brush, dry brush the barrel and chamber to loosen and remove any debris, including metal fouling and larger pieces of carbon.
- Next, dip a cleaning patch in a bit of bore solvent and place on the tip of the cleaning rod. Push the patch and rod straight through the barrel of the weapon, ensuring that you completely saturate the surface of the bore and the chamber. Don’t pull the rod back through the same direction as that will only redeposit the debris you just cleared out of the bore. Let the solvent break down the bore fouling for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
- Using the bore brush alone with a dry, clean patch scrub to remove any remaining debris. Keep scrubbing the bore until the cleaning patch comes back out free of debris.
- Using a bore snake and a light lubricant (do not use gun oil), treat the surface of the bore to help combat against corrosion. If you are planning on storing your firearm for an extended period of time, you can opt to treat the bore with a heavier lubricant, but you must remove the lubricant by cleaning the barrel of the gun before shooting it again.
- Finally, clean the exterior of the feed ramp, barrel, barrel lug, and barrel hood.
- Now you’re ready to clean and lubricate the action. The action (bolt, slide, or pump) needs to be cleaned with either a dry brush or a nylon utility brush and a solvent of action cleaner. Starting at the top of the receiver/frame spray the action and allow any metal carbon and debris to get washed out into a disposable drip pan. Let the sub-assemblies dry and be sure to properly and responsibly dispose of the residues that came from cleaning.
- Using a needle applicator, apply drops of lubricant at the specific lubrication spots on the action/frame, exterior of barrel, and slide assembly as recommended for your model. Be mindful to not over-lubricate your gun, which only attracts further accumulation of contaminants and can lead to issues of reliability in your firearm as well.
- Magazines need to be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s directions as well, and there are special brushes that are required for safe and proper cleaning as well. Be sure to always wear safety glasses and be careful handling these spring loaded gadgets when you are disassembling and reassembling them. Never clean your magazine with a petroleum-based product, and never lubricate them, opt instead to clean your magazine using a residue-free cleaning agent or solvent.
- Reassemble your firearm and be sure to give your gun functionality check to ensure that your gun is in proper working order. Make sure to check the trigger mechanism, slide operation, locking, safety (or safeties), ejection systems, and the magazine retention.
- Once your gun has been totally cleaned on the inside, all of the moving parts have been lubricated, and your firearm passes the functionality check, go ahead and clean the exterior of your gun using a luster cloth or gun/reel cloth (these are nice to have on hand because they’re specially treated with a silicone lubricant and remove leftover prints and debris while adding a nice shine).
Be sure to always follow proper safety measures when handling your firearm at all times, including when you are cleaning it. More information and learning more about gun ownership options, including weapon accessories can be found at HydraTactical.