Gun ownership is a big responsibility. Going to the firing range or out hunting in your favorite spot can be a lot of fun, but there’s more to having weapons than just shooting things.
One of the key factors to being a safe and responsible gun owner is gun maintenance. After all, a dirty gun is a dangerous gun.
This article takes a look at the best way to clean a gun so that it will be as accurate as possible and will help prevent accidents. Keep reading to learn everything you should be doing on a regular basis to keep your gun in tip-top condition.
Buy a Cleaning Kit
The first step to keeping your gun clean is to purchase a cleaning kit at your local sporting goods store. This will contain everything needed to properly maintain each individual component.
A basic gun cleaning kit should contain cleaning solvent, a bore brush, cleaning rod, cotton swabs, patch holder and patches, a mircofiber cloth for polishing, and either gun oil or lubricant.
Use a Well-Ventilated Area
Solvent fumes are noxious and can easily make you sick when inhaled. Be sure to find a room in your home that is well-ventilated so that you have plenty of fresh air. Open a window if possible.
Also, keep in mind that the solvent and lubricant you’re going to use will smell up the house. So do your family a favor by cleaning your gun in a space where they aren’t as likely to be bothered.
The garage is an ideal location if the weather is warm enough. Simply open the door and let the sunshine in while the fumes go out.
For a work area, use a table covered with newspaper, old towels, or plastic bags.
Make Sure Your Gun is Unloaded
Once the work table is ready, take a moment to be absolutely certain that the gun is empty. You’d be amazed by how many accidental shooting injuries and deaths occur because people mistakenly clean loaded guns.
Unload the bullets, making sure to check that the chamber is empty as well. Then double-check just to be safe.
Never attempt to clean your gun until you are absolutely certain there aren’t bullets in it.
Disassemble Your Gun
Now it’s time to disassemble the weapon.
If you still have the owner’s manual, take a look to see if it provides any special instructions for preparing the gun for cleaning. Disassembling the weapon will enable access to each component so that they can be cleaned individually.
Semi-automatic weapons can typically be stripped down so that you can clean the barrel, slide, magazine, guide rod, and frame. Shotguns and revolvers cannot be stripped down into the individual components.
Clean the Barrel with a Rod
The next step is to begin cleaning the barrel. Use the cleaning rod in your kit. Attach cotton patches to the rod and soak the patches in a solvent. Gently work the rod back and forth inside the barrel until it is thoroughly coated.
Once you’re satisfied that the barrel is clean, remove the dirty patch and throw it away. Attempting to reuse it will simply make the barrel gunky again.
Scrubbing the Barrel with a Brush
Your kit should also include a bore brush. Remove the patch holder from the rod, and attach the brush.
Insert the brush into the muzzle and run it back and forth inside the barrel 3 or 4 times. This will loosen any remaining debris. Now reattach the patch holder with a clean solvent-soaked patch and repeat the previous step.
The final part of this step is to run a dry patch through the barrel to check for any remaining build-up or debris you might have missed.
Lubricate the Barrel
Locate the cotton mop in your kit and attach it to the cleaning rod. Carefully apply several drops of lubricant or gun conditioner to the cotton mop. The idea here is to run it through the barrel in order to leave a light coating of the oil on the inside. This will help it stay clean and fire smoothly.
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Cleaning the Action
The action is the part of the gun with all the moving parts. It’s important for them to remain clean and lubricated in order to function properly.
Apply solvent to the gun brush. Gentle brush each part of the action, careful not to damage anything or leave debris inside. Once you’ve brushed thoroughly, wipe the action down with a clean cloth.
Next, lubricate the moving parts. This light coating of oil will help to prevent them from rusting. Be cautious to not make the coating of oil too heavy. This can make the action gummy and attract debris, potentially causing a malfunction when it’s fired.
Wiping Down the Rest of Your Gun
Find the luster cloth in your cleaning kit. This flannel cloth should come pre-treated with silicon lubricant. Wipe down the entire outside of the gun to remove any remaining debris. This will also remove acid by your hands and give the gun a nice shiny appearance.
Keep in mind that if your kit doesn’t include a luster cloth, a pair of old socks or a t-shirt should work just fine for wiping down the exterior of the gun. Just make sure that whatever you use is clean and free of debris that might scratch the metal.
Basic Gun Maintenance
A clean gun is a safe gun. In fact, keeping your gun clean and lubricated could mean the difference between a fun day at the target range or a deadly accident.
Invest in a good cleaning kit and keep it in a cool dry location. You can probably find a kit for as little as $20, and this will be money well spent.
The cleaning process shouldn’t require more half an hour and is the best thing you can do to keep your weapon in ideal condition.
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