Why is Firearm cleaning important?

Why does a firearm need cleaning?

Over time, firearms can be damaged by buildup, corrosion and rust, and even just regular friction as parts rub together. Regular cleaning can help maintain all the moving parts inside your firearm, stop it from jamming, and keep it functioning for years to come.


Every time a firearm is discharged, minute particles of carbon, lead, copper, steel, or plastic are deposited inside the bore and chamber of a gun. Over time, these particles build up inside the bore. This buildup, also called fouling, causes reduced accuracy and increases the chance of misfiring. How much it affects the gun depends on the type of ammunition used and the quality of the firearm. Too much buildup can cause interruptions in shotgun shot patterns or reduce accuracy in precision rifles. The more often a firearm is discharged, the quicker buildup will accumulate inside the firearm.


Moisture is not your firearm’s friend. Firearms are susceptible to rust especially if stored in a location where moisture can be trapped or attracted. Firearms that are put into storage after use in the field could develop significant amounts of rust in a short period of time. If your firearm doesn’t use stainless steel parts inside, that rust and corrosion could cause a firearm to seize and become completely inoperable. The parts inside could be so damaged that the firearm is never functional again. A proper cleaning removes moisture and coats your firearm in oil, protecting the metal parts from oxidization. Some older types of ammunition are corrosive. They have salts inside that react with the metal of your bore resulting in pitting and rusting. Without being cleaned, these types of ammunition can do significant damage to a firearm in a short period of time, permanently reducing accuracy or making it unsafe to fire.


Firearms are machines and without proper lubrication, the moving parts grind against each other causing them to wear out faster. Firearms have lots of small internal parts like springs and pins that are critical for the firearm to function. Without proper maintenance, those pieces will wear out faster or even break completely. Forgetting to lubricate a firearm can result in costly repairs or firearms that need serviced sooner than otherwise necessary.

Cleaning Methods:

Manual Cleaning

Manually cleaning your firearm can take many forms. Sometimes it means giving the firearm a quick wipe down with a boresnake and some oil. Other times, it involves following the take down instructions in your firearms manual to disassemble and manually clean each section.

BoresnakeHoppes boresnake

A boresnake is a great tool for giving some light cleaning and oiling. A little bit of oil and some quick pulls through the barrel will help remove buildup from inside the bore. Boresnakes are amazing to have for a long day on the range or in the field where water or other contaminates might sneak into your gun. However, a boresnake lacks the deep cleaning power of a cleaning rod.

Cleaning Rods and Bore brushesHoppe's Tornado Brushes

A cleaning rod is normally made of a metal softer than a firearm, most often copper or aluminum, although there is a growing market for carbon fiber rods. Bore brushes attach to the cleaning rod to help you get a deeper clean than a boresnake can provide. Hoppe’s has a line of tornado brushes made in stainless steel but designed without the sharp-edged bristles that could scratch the surface. Many other bore brushes are made of copper or nylon. The last step is to use a jag or loop attachment to push patches down the barrel until the patches come out clean.   Two sided cleaning brush A cleaning rod and its attachments can help remove more stubborn buildup inside of a barrel, but to fully clean your firearm, you will need to pay attention to other areas, especially ones with moving parts! It is essential to clean and oil these parts in order to keep the firearm working at its peak proficiency. Small soft brushes and cleaning patches help with detailing your firearm.    

Solvents and OilsGun 3 in one cleaning, lubricating, protecting

When cleaning your firearm, it is important to have the right cleaners for the job. A good solvent can help dissolve the buildup inside your barrel. Products like Rem Oil or G96 will clean and oil your gun, but for more severe buildup, a specialized solvent may be required.  

Ultra-Sonic Cleaning:

We’re fans of ultra-sonic cleaning. The process involves disassembling the firearm and putting all metal parts into a heated bath full of solvent. While the parts soak, the bath is vibrated with ultra-sonic waves. These waves help the solvents penetrate further into the internal workings of each part. This helps strip away more buildup, rust, and other debris than is possible when manually cleaning a firearm. The hot solvent helps loosen up more difficult deposits and the vibration gently shakes the debris loose from the firearm parts. Once the parts are done their solvent bath, they’re transferred to a hot oil bath where they enjoy another long, vibrating soak. The oil, like the solvent, penetrates deep into all the moving parts, coating them more evenly than can be accomplished manually. This helps keep all moving parts of the firearm well lubricated which, in turn, stops parts from rubbing together. It also provides protection from rust and corrosion- two of a firearm’s biggest enemies.

Benefits of regular cleaning:

Increased reliability Longer lifespan Improved accuracy Not interested in deep cleaning your firearm? Bring it to us! Our ultra-sonic cleaning tank is big enough for rifles and shot guns. Let us do the work for you so you can go back to having fun with your firearms.