Keeping your firearm well-maintained is a crucial part of responsible gun ownership. Refer to this beginner’s guide on gun maintenance so you have what you need to keep your gun in tip-top condition over the long-term.
A Basic Beginner’s Guide on Gun Maintenance
Keep a Good Workspace
The first thing you should always do is find and keep a clean and organized workspace for your gun maintenance sessions.
Plan to head to this workbench at least once every two weeks to tinker with or otherwise clean your gun (unless you don’t use your firearm, in which case you can perform preventative maintenance once every month or so).
The reason a clean and organized workspace is so important is that it makes gun maintenance easier and more consistent.
You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches if you have a designated maintenance table or area instead of trying to clear off the kitchen table every time you need to oil your handgun.
Use Your Manual!
Every firearm that you purchase new, and even plenty of used firearms, will come with a user manual. Use this!
Crack it open and use it to understand how your firearm works until you have all the material memorized.
It’s an invaluable resource when it comes to breaking down your weapon and cleaning various parts.
More importantly, manuals can give you cleaning tips for specific segments of your weapon or even provide advice regarding the types of solutions or chemicals you should use.
These tips will be specific to your firearm, so they’re more valuable than any general online guide can hope to be.
Always Unload and Disassemble Your Guns
Whenever you’re performing maintenance on your gun, unload the weapon and take it apart.
Never try to perform firearm maintenance with a loaded weapon. This should be a no-brainer, but plenty of yahoos have tried doing it before with bad results.
Disassembly is also key because you’ll often need to get to the interiors of major parts to clean things thoroughly.
This is part of why having a user manual is so important. There’s always a right way to take your handgun or rifle apart instead of just wrenching various pieces off of one another.
Taking things apart correctly is a good way to avoid accidentally damaging your gun.
You’ll need to clean parts separately in many cases. This sounds like it’ll take a while, and it will! But this leads us to our last tip…
Take Your Time
No gun maintenance session should take five minutes.
Instead, expect to spend at least a half-hour thoroughly taking apart, examining and cleaning your weapon each time.
Take your time and do things correctly, and your maintenance will result in a more consistent and safer weapon to wield.
A Quick and Dirty Gun-Cleaning Breakdown
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- Start by removing your magazine and ensuring your gun is unloaded.
- Use a dry brush to clean the chamber and barrel of your weapon. This gets rid of carbon and metal shavings from the bore.
- Use a cleaning pad dipped in a special cleaning solvent to clean the barrel and push it out the other side. Most firearm cleaning kits come with a rod specifically for this purpose.
- Do this over and over until the patch comes out clean.
- Clean the exterior of your barrel, action, and other pieces using lubricant and other cleaning pads.
- Your action should be cleaned using a nylon utility brush and some kind of action cleaner solvent.
- Don’t forget to clean your magazines. Empty and disassemble them fully before cleaning them, then reassemble them according to the manufacturer’s manual.
- Reassemble your firearm entirely and perform a test check before loading it with ammunition.
These tips should help you get through basic gun maintenance. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section!
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As a former US Army armorer, I keep abreast with firearms maintenance and get the DVD’s from American Gunsmithing Institute. In one of the first DVD’s the gunsmith recommended using SimpleGreen to clean with, which I thought was crazy! Then while cleaning one of my guns I decided to try it. Now it is all that I use to clean my guns!
1. It is biodegradable and harmless to you
2. It not only cleans your guns parts but it ALSO cleans all your brushes, thereby leaving you. a clean brush for the next gun. And those brushes in the M16 cleaning kit that are getting hard to find, you can now just clean them as you clean.
3. The carbon, oil and debris runs right off within a few seconds, even the baked on carbon, let the barrel or part sit in some SimpleGreen for a few minutes then brush away.
4. It flat out just cleans better than any of the commercial cleaning products. I even used to use carburator cleaner but SimpleGreen works better.
1. for the barrel, wrap a patch around your barrel brush and saturate with the SimpleGreen and run thru, it will only take 2-3 times and you’ll come out clean.
The only caveat is you have to rinse your parts in very hot water and I put the parts in a small tray and have a blow dryer turned on for about 5-10 minutes, the parts will be dry. Then reassemble.
And I use Frog Lube also biodegradable and have had great results in extreme cold and hot weather. I also do the same with the Frog Lube to the barrel as with the SimpleGreen, just in case there is any dirt left, 9 x out of 10, it comes out clean.
To me, cleaning and caring for my guns a an exercise in Zen meditation. I have a dedicated room for my guns and other gear, and the time I spend in there with my guns is like a complete escape from the everyday world. I enjoy dissembling them, inspecting all the parts, cleaning them and reassembling them, then doing a function check. It gives you a chance to get to know each of them, their wear points, springs, and the way they feel when they are cleaned and maintained. Trust me, take your time and get into the experience and you will see just how relaxing it can be, not to mention the fact that it’s a valuable way to detect potential problems before they happen.
Like simple and easy to figure out!