If you're a gun owner, you know that keeping your firearms in good working condition is essential for both safety and performance. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prolong the life of your guns and ensure that they're always ready when you need them. In this guide, we'll take a look at some of the best practices for cleaning and caring for your firearms, including what tools and equipment you'll need, and how to properly disassemble, clean, and reassemble your guns. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of guns, we hope you'll find this guide informative and helpful. So grab your cleaning kit and let's get started!
Tools and Equipment
First, we'll go through everything you'll need to clean your guns, including what kinds of tools you'll want to pick up. Some essential components of any effective cleaning kit are a cleaning rod, a selection of brushes in varying diameters, a bore snake, cleaning patches, and cleaning fluid. In addition, you will require rust preventatives, lubricants, and solvents. Some woods require special treatments as well. Use only products designed for your particular firearms when cleaning and lubricating them. Lubricants and rust inhibitors are used to protect the metal surfaces from rust and corrosion, while bore cleaners and solvents are used to remove fouling and carbon buildup in the barrel.
Many good videos are available on YouTube that can guide you visually through the cleaning process. Some shoots re-use automotive products in the cleaning process. Be careful of this as those products have not been tested or warranted for safety in the event of damage to finish synthetic parts. One common example is the use of brake-parts cleaner. While this works very similar to GunScrubber and other certified gun cleaning products, it is also too aggressive for many synthetic parts and will dissolve paints or rubberized surfaces, and completely dissolve some styrofoam parts such as stock on rimfire rifles. If you use brake parts cleaner, be sure to use it only on 100% metal parts, and keep a can of GunScrubber around for the risky parts of your firearms.
It is essential to disassemble your firearms in a correct manner before cleaning them. For complete cleaning, like you ought to do before long-term storage, this means taking it all the way apart, from the barrel and bolt to the trigger and stock. Many pistols and semi-automatic rifles were designed with “field-cleaning” in mind. This means that only the larger parts need to be disassembled, while leaving the sub-assemblies alone, merely brushing/rinsing those parts, and ensuring ample lubrication. Most AR-style rifles fall into this category. Never rely on a field-cleaning for long-term maintenance of your firearms, as carbon build up and spent powder accumulation can result in sudden failures if not regularly mitigated.
Now that it's in pieces, you can give each component its own thorough cleaning. As a first step, use a cleaning rod and brush to remove any carbon and fouling from the barrel and chamber. Next, clean the barrel end to end with a bore snake. To ensure that the barrel is completely free of debris, you should repeat this step, finishing with a fine layer of gun oil that ensures no corrosion occurs due to trace humidity in the air during long-term storage.
Clean the Exterior
Next, wipe down the gun's exterior with a damp cloth or brush and some cleaning fluid. The kind of fluid depends on the type of stock (wood, synthetic, metal). Pay extra attention to the bolt, trigger, and other moving parts that are prone to collecting grime and dust. Once the metal surfaces have been cleaned, you should apply a lubricant or rust inhibitor to prevent further rusting and corrosion.
Reassemble It Properly
After you've given your firearms a thorough cleaning, make sure you put them back together correctly. Ensure a snug fit, and don’t force parts. There are very few parts in the whole kingdom of firearms that benefit from force. Proper tools and procedures are almost always the missing component (YouTube is your friend). If you have a complex (read German made) firearm, be sure to note each step during disassembly. You will, after all, be required to repeat these steps during reassembly. There are a few firearms, such as some 1911’s where the reassembly procedures are not merely a reverse of the disassembly steps. Keep your manual handy.
Properly Store It
Maintaining your firearms in good condition requires more than just the occasional wipe-down with a damp cloth. Always keep your firearms in a secure, locked location, out of the reach of minors and other unauthorized individuals, and in good condition. Additionally, it is recommended that you store your firearms in a locked box or safe.
Use specially made UV lights to prevent rust in dark, potentially damp safes. Some states may recommend dehumidifiers to reduce the high ambient humidity relative to the atmospheric norms of southern or coastal states.
In conclusion, your firearm's safety and efficiency depend on your giving it the attention it deserves through frequent cleaning and maintenance. You can keep your firearms in top condition by regularly maintaining them with the right tools and techniques, and by storing them safely and securely. If you own a firearm, it is crucial that you take the necessary precautions when cleaning and handling it.