Maintain your gun's firing condition with these gun cleaning techniques and let it not fail you in times of defense.
In this article:
Gun Cleaning Techniques to Keep Your Gun in Tip-Top Shape
A Clean Gun Is a Happy Gun
It can put food on the table and just be all-around fun to use.
No matter what we use them for, if you need to depend on your gun it needs to be well kept and in good shape. One of the quickest ways for a gun to fail is if it becomes dirty.
If your gun fails, you instantly go from having a high powered, ranged weapon to a large club. You cannot afford to stake your life on a dirty gun!
So many people forget the simple act of cleaning a gun and think that it will fire every time, no matter what. This simply isn’t the case.
A clean gun runs smoother, shoots more accurately, and lasts longer. Cleaning your gun takes more time than effort but it is extremely important knowledge to have.
Let’s talk about the easiest and most thorough way to clean a gun and keep it in tip-top shape.
To get started you really don't need to spend a lot on supplies. Go to your local hardware, sporting goods, or department store (such as Wal-Mart) and pick up a cleaning rod and a hard brass barrel brush to attach to your cleaning rod.
The wire brush needs to be the right caliber (diameter or gauge) for your weapon. If you have a pistol, a small pistol cleaning kit has all the tools you need in it.
It is available in most places including here for not much money and fits in a very compact case you can slide into your pocket.
- Attractive aged-oak finished wood construction
- Universal components to cover cleaning duties for a Large variety of firearms
- Strong, solid brass rods with high-quality tips, mops and brushes
You will also need a brush with nylon bristles to scrub your gun within those hard to reach places. No need to go buy the typical three brush set you find in the sporting goods department as an old toothbrush should do the job nicely.
If you own shotguns or rifles, it would be in your best interest to pick up a universal gun cleaning kit. A full kit should also give you cleaning patches, rifle cleaning rod, and some different cleaning tips as well.
Having access to one of those should give you all the brushes and cleaning rods for MOST common weapons out there.
- Large field case offers deep storage, a lift-out tray, and a staggered yoke system to hold your rifle
- Staggered yoke system holds your rifle securely for cleaning and maintenance
- Equipped with a handle for comfortable carrying
44 1/2 Magnum, Anyone?
If you have something unusual, you might have to pick up a brush for that caliber. In my own personal cleaning supplies, I have an Outer's kit with cleaning rods, but instead of using the provided cleaners and lubricant I use others.
I also have a special brush I was given during my time serving in Law Enforcement called a “Tornado Brush.” It tends to clean a bit better than the plain bristle brush.
Lastly, I have a silicone gun & reel cloth I picked up at Gander Mountain.
Break It on Down
Getting your gun clean is not very difficult. Once you have gathered the above supplies, you need a nice flat workspace away from pets and kids.
You don’t want to harm them with any harsh chemicals or lead particles. I usually put down a rubber mat but an old towel will work fine.
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Lay your weapon on the mat or towel and break it down by field stripping it. If you are not familiar with exactly how to do that it is OK.
Consult your owner’s manual or just do an internet search on “your weapon” field stripping replacing the part in quotes with the name or model you are trying to break down. You should come up with numerous articles and/or videos of how to do it.
Once you have broken your weapon down, it is good to inspect it for wear and see if there is anything unusual. If everything appears normal you want to open up your cleaning solvent and dip the nylon brush into it.
Start scrubbing all your metal parts with the solvent to remove lead and powder buildup from firing the weapon.
- All brass. Tips and Cleaning jags are made of high quality brass. Sets from other brands use cheap plastic tips that can easily break after use. With this set you will not experience the frustration of having a broken Jag/tip inside your gun barrel.
- Resistant Cleaning rods. Rods and extension are made of brass, strong enough to avoid excessive bending or breaking. Just be sure to apply the proper amount of force and you will swipe through the barrel without problems.
- Universal kit. 6 brass rods, 9 bronze brushes: 17Cal, 22Cal, 270Cal, 30Cal, 9mm/38Cal, 40-45cal/10mm, 410ga, 20/28ga, 10/12ga. 5 mops: . 22-25cal, . 38-357cal, 410ga, 20/28ga, 10/12ga. 6 brass jags: 17Cal, 22Cal, . 270/7mm Cal, . 30-32cal, 35Cal/9mm, . 40-45cal/10mm.
If I am cleaning polymer or all metal weapons I usually clean the stock or grip too as residue can build up in there also. Be very careful about using the solvent on wooden stocks and grips as it can wear or mar the finish.
I found that out the hard way, but more about that later. Once you have cleaned the gun completely as possible, attach your hard bristle barrel brush to the cleaning rod.
Do you know how to clean a gun barrel? Dip that into the cleaning solvent and scrub, scrub, scrub the barrel until the bristles run clean and smooth.
You can dip the brush into the solvent again through the process if needed, but usually, one dip will get it. Now if you bought a kit that came with patches and plastic tip attach the plastic tip and insert a patch into it.
Run this patch through the barrel and repeat the process with a clean patch until it comes out clean (no black residue). Inspect your gun and all of its parts for any spots you might have missed cleaning and touch up as needed.
Once you are ready to move on you want to get your can of gun scrubber which will remove all of the solvents. Be careful using the gun scrubber on any wooden parts.
If it has a finish on it, it could take it off and you don’t want that. I am going to have to pick up a different product that is less harsh on my weapons with wood finish than what I am using now.
I found out the hard way this can happen while cleaning the first gun. If you have a polymer or metal gun though this should not be an issue and you can spray the gun scrubber over the entire weapon with no adverse effects.
It is best to set the parts out your towel or mat to air dry for 10-15 minutes. Once the parts are completely dry you can get you lubrication/gun oil out.
I shake my oil bottle for about a minute to mix it well. Each weapon has its own specifications for lubrication and it's best you consult your owner’s manual.
You certainly don't want to over or under lubricate it as that could cause malfunctions and unexpected wear. Once you have lubed your weapon, you are ready to put it back together.
When everything is back in its right place, make sure and work the action to get the lubricant into the spots you may have missed.
You want to be careful about dry firing the weapon. Some manufacturers say not to do it as it can cause damage.
Once you have worked the lube in you can use your silicone reel cloth to wipe down all exterior surfaces of the weapon and make it like new!
- FAST-EVAPORATING CLEANER - Cleaning your gun just got a whole lot easier and faster thanks to Birchwood Casey’s gun scrubber gun cleaner. This cleaner is pressurized, fast evaporating and cleans internal metal gun parts effectively
- EFFECTIVE CLEANING - Birchwood Casey Gun scrubber eliminates gun jams while improving accuracy and reliability. Always test in an inconspicuous area to ensure product will not harm surfaces!
- NOTE - While safe for gun usage, the Birchwood Casey Gun scrubber solvent may harm finished surfaces, plastics, laminates, composites, rubber grips or other materials used in the construction of today’s guns
Check out this video from CaliGunNCar about basic gun cleaning tools and supplies:
Cleaning your guns is not difficult or expensive, but it is an essential part of gun ownership. By following these procedures you should be able to help make your weapons last a very long time and make sure that they are ready when you need them most.
Thanks for reading and happy prepping!
Do you have gun cleaning techniques to tell us about? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 16, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.