Cleaning and maintaining your firearms preserves their functionality and value while keeping them safe and accurate. The effort and attention you put into cleaning your guns will pay off in peace of mind that they will do what you need them to do. Good maintenance and cleaning habits help you get to know your gun better and have more confidence in its performance at the range. For a basic fundamental firearm cleaning, follow these five quick steps:
1. Unload the gun
We may be stating the obvious but before cleaning any gun, make sure it is unloaded. From there, read the owner’s manual for specific instructions on your gun model. Remove any clips or magazines as well. Remove the bolt from the firearm and brush with solvent, clean it, dry it off and then lightly lube it. Make sure that you brush the extractor and/or ejector as well.
2. Swab bore
Set the cleaned bolt aside and start working from the chamber end running a cleaning rod with an attached bronze brush soaked in gun solvent down the barrel and out the muzzle. Repeat this action if your barrel seems to be particularly dirty. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the solvent to dissolve and soften bullet jacket material, lead, and powder fowling.
3. Scrub bore
Run that solvent soaked brush down the barrel again several times to loosen the gunk in the barrel. After ten or so runs, we would recommend running a cloth patch down the bore to push any excess carbon out through the muzzle. Be sure to not pull the patch back out. Rather, take it off the rod, put on a clean one and then pull the rod back out the chamber end. As a rule of thumb, it takes running the brush about 25 times or so for most hunting guns to really get the job done.
4. Run bore with patches
Next, you’re going to want to run several solvent-soaked patches down the barrel and out the muzzle end. Replace each time with a clean patch and repeat this process until you are satisfied with the cleanliness of the patch.
5. Apply light lubrication
After all of that swabbing and scrubbing, the barrel now just needs a light coat of rust protection oil, as does the bolt. Use a clean, soft cotton cloth with oil to wipe down all of the metal surfaces of the gun.
And there you have it. A quick and easy completed basic gun cleaning. Cleaning your gun is part of responsible and safe gun handling. As long as you continue to maintain your guns after each use, they will continue to be ready when you need them. If you need any of the above-mentioned materials, be sure to visit your local gun store, Triggers and Bows, to stock up and learn about other firearm cleaning tips and tricks.