Gun cleaning is important to ensure your firearm continues to function properly. Residue from firing can build up over time and could lead to a dangerous malfunction. Cleaning and maintaining your gun regularly gives you peace of mind knowing the firearm is safe.
Here are the steps for cleaning your firearm:
Gather Gun Cleaning Supplies
Depending on your preference, you can either purchase a complete cleaning kit or buy the supplies separately. There may also be some items beyond the basics that you find helpful and the more you clean your gun, the more you will realize what works best for you.
You will need the following:
- Gun oil/lubricant
- Liquid cleaning solvent
- Bore cleaner brush
- Nylon cleaning brush
- Cleaning rod
- Cotton swabs
- Patches and a patch holder
- Polishing cloths
Choose a Safe Working Area
You should work in an area that has good ventilation and lighting. Since you will be using various chemicals for cleaning, this should not be anywhere that you eat. The products may also have a strong smell, so you should be aware of this when choosing a location to clean your gun. If you have an outdoor space or an open garage where you can work, this is ideal, but a large room with a nearby open window is also an option.
Unload Your Firearm
Remove all ammunition from the area that you are working in and then unload your gun. Check to make sure there is no round ready to fire, that the magazine is removed, and that the barrel is clear. Double checking that your weapon is unloaded before cleaning is an essential safety step.
Read Your Gun’s Owner’s Manual
The owner’s manual for your gun will give detailed instructions for cleaning. It is important that you follow recommendations for your specific model to stay safe and avoid damaging the firearm.
Disassemble the Weapon if Necessary
Your owner’s manual will tell you how much to take the gun apart during cleaning. In general, you will strip semi-automatic pistols or rifles into their basic components. These are the barrel, slide, guide rod, frame, and magazine. Revolvers and shotguns do not usually need to be taken apart and you will simply open the chamber for cleaning.
Clean and Lubricate the Bore
To clean the inside of the gun’s barrel (bore), attach a patch holder to your cleaning rod. You should then place the patch in the holder and soak it with your solvent. Run it through the barrel, starting at the back if possible. Always remove the patch after you run it through and wipe down the cleaning rod and patch holder. Then, attach the bore brush to the rod and run this through the barrel as well. This loosens any debris. Switch between patches and the brush until a patch comes through clean. After this, run one dry patch through to ensure it is completely clear.
After cleaning the bore, you should lubricate your firearm using your preferred gun oil. To do this, add a few drops of the oil to a patch and run this through the barrel. This should leave a light coating.
Clean and Lubricate the Action
Coat your gun brush with the cleaning solvent and clean every part of the action. Next, dry it off with a cloth. Finally, add a small amount of gun oil to the moving parts. Using too much can gum up the action, especially if you leave the gun in storage after cleaning, so do not use too much.
Polish the Rest of the Gun
Use a polishing cloth to clean the rest of the gun. This will remove fingerprints, debris, and will restore shine to the firearm to keep it looking its best.
How Often Should You Clean Your Gun?
It is best to clean your gun after every time you shoot it. Some people clean less frequently, but regular cleaning is a great way to ensure there is not too much carbon build-up. If you are going to store your firearm, you should make sure that it is cleaned at least once a year. During the gun cleaning process, check for rust or cracks and if you notice any damage, take the weapon to a gunsmith.
Everything You Need for Gun Ownership
The Hub is your one-stop gun shop and you can find firearms, parts, accessories, and equipment. You can buy cleaning supplies including kits and individual items from The Hub online or by visiting either of our Arizona gun stores. To hear some of our recommendations for the best gun cleaning products, you can check out Episode 266 of our Get on Target podcast.