Effective Gun Cleaning Techniques For A Happy And Clean Gun

typical shotgun rifle pistol cleaning kit gun cleaning techniques feature ss 1

 A Clean Gun is a Happy Gun

As a Prepper, one of our greatest tools besides our mind is our firearms.  It can defend our property and loved ones from bad guys. It can put food on the table and just be all around fun to use.

No matter what we use them for, if you need to depend on your gun, it needs to be well-kept and in good shape.  One of the quickest ways for a gun to fail you is if it becomes dirty.  If your gun fails, you instantly go from having a high-powered, ranged weapon to a large club.

You cannot afford to stake your life on a dirty gun!

So many people forget the simple act of cleaning a gun and think that it will fire every time, no matter what.  This simply isn’t the case.

A clean gun runs smoother, shoots more accurately, and lasts longer.  Cleaning your gun takes more time than effort, but it is extremely important knowledge to have.

Let’s talk about the easiest and most thorough way to clean a gun and keep it in tip-top shape.

To get started, you really don't need to spend a lot on supplies.  Go to your local hardware, sporting goods, or department store (such as Walmart) and pick up a cleaning rod and a hard brass barrel brush to attach to your cleaning rod.

The wire brush needs to be the right caliber (diameter or gauge) for your weapon. If you have a pistol, a small pistol cleaning kit has all the tools you need in it. It is available most places including here for not much money and fits in a very compact case you can slide into your pocket.

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You will also need a brush with nylon bristles to scrub your gun with in those hard to reach places.  No need to go buy the typical three brush set you find in the sporting goods department, as an old toothbrush should do the job nicely.

If you own shotguns or rifles, it would be in your best interest to pick up a universal cleaning kit.  A full kit should also give you cleaning patches and some different cleaning tips as well.  Having access to one of those should give you all the brushes and cleaning rods for MOST common weapons out there.

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44 1/2 Magnum anyone?

If you have something unusual, you might have to pick up a brush for that caliber. In my own personal cleaning supplies I have an Outer's kit with cleaning rods, but instead of using the provided cleaners and lubricant I use others.  I also have a special brush I was given during my time-serving in Law Enforcement called a “Tornado Brush.”  It tends to clean a bit better than the plain bristle brush.

I also use Hoppes #9 Cleaning Solvent, Hoppes Gun Oil, and Winchester Gun Scrubber.  I feel these clean and lubricate the best out of all the products I have used.

Lastly I have a silicone gun & reel cloth I picked up at Gander Mountain.

Break it on down

Getting your gun clean is not very difficult.  Once you have gathered the above supplies, you need a nice flat workspace away from pets and kids.  You don’t want to harm them with any harsh chemicals or lead particles.  I usually put down a rubber mat, but an old towel will work fine.

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Lay your weapon on the mat or towel and break it down by field stripping it.  If you are not familiar with exactly how to do that, it is OK.  Consult your owner’s manual or just do an internet search on “your weapon” field stripping replacing the part in quotes with the name or model you are trying to break down.  You should come up with numerous articles and/or videos of how to do it.

Once you have broken your weapon down, it is good to inspect it for wear and see if there is anything unusual.  If everything appears normal, you want to open up your cleaning solvent and dip the nylon brush into it.  Start scrubbing all your metal parts with the solvent to remove lead and powder buildup from firing the weapon.

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If I am cleaning polymer or all metal weapons, I usually clean the stock or grip too, as residue can build up in there also.  Be very careful about using the solvent on wooden stocks and grips, as it can wear or mar the finish.

I found that out the hard way, but more about that later.  Once you have cleaned the gun completely as possible, attach your hard bristle barrel brush to the cleaning rod.  Dip that into the cleaning solvent and scrub, scrub, scrub the barrel until the bristles run clean and smooth

You can dip the brush into the solvent again through the process if needed, but usually one dip will get it.  Now, if you bought a kit that came with patches and plastic tip, attach the plastic tip and insert a patch into it.

Run this patch through the barrel and repeat the process with a clean patch until it comes out clean (no black residue).  Inspect your gun and all of its parts for any spots you might have missed cleaning and touch up as needed.

Scrub a dub

Once you are ready to move on, you want to get your can of gun scrubber, which will remove all the solvent.  Be careful using the gun scrubber on any wooden parts.  If it has a finish on it, it could take it off, and you don’t want that.  I am going to have to pick up a different product that is less harsh on my weapons with wood finish than what I am using now.

I found out the hard way this can happen while cleaning the first gun.  If you have a polymer or metal gun though, this should not be an issue, and you can spray the gun scrubber over the entire weapon with no adverse effects.

It is best to set the parts out in your towel or mat to air dry for 10–15 minutes.  Once the parts are completely dry, you can get your lubrication/gun oil out.  I shake my oil bottle for about a minute to mix it well.  Each weapon has its own specifications for lubrication, and it's best you consult your owner’s manual.

You certainly don't want to over or under lubricate it, as that could cause malfunctions and unexpected wear.  Once you have lubed your weapon, you are ready to put it back together.  When everything is back in its right place, make sure and work the action to get the lubricant into the spots you may have missed.

You want to be careful about dry firing the weapon.  Some manufacturers say not to do it as it can cause damage.  Once you have worked the lube in you can use your silicone reel cloth to wipe down all exterior surfaces of the weapon and make it like new!

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Cleaning your guns is not difficult or expensive, but it is an essential part of gun ownership.  By following these procedures, you should be able to help make your weapons last a very long time and make sure that they are ready when you need them most.

Thanks for reading and happy prepping!

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Jan 16, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

18 Responses to :
Effective Gun Cleaning Techniques For A Happy And Clean Gun

  1. kevin says:

    I gave up all that for boresnakes and militech. Works great, much lighter to carry, more compact to store and can’t bend or scratch a muzzle crown. Add a rag, and your kit’s complete.

    Also, if you don’t know where or how much to lube, get an owners manual – they’re pretty knowledgeable about that!

    1. Dean says:

      Watch the Boresnakes! Especially for small caliber rifles. If the pull string breaks, you will NOT be able to get it out of the bore unless you can hook the end somehow and pull it out. Trying to push the boresnake through w/a cleaning rod will only compress it.

  2. Rex says:

    Keep all your worn out cloth, such as socks, bed sheets, etc. and cut them up for cleaning rags and bore patches.

  3. William says:

    Solvent and Gun scrubber? That is like taking a bath before your shower. It doen nothing but waste time and money. Use one or the other they are the same thing. Bore snakes. Ok for a quich clean in the field but constant use destroys guns FAST. The rub of the cord riding on the muzzle can trash a crown in a few cleanings, After one pass the snake is a hazzard as it puts back and grinds in everything it just cleaned out on the first pass. So unless you are fully washing and drying it between each pass throught the bore you are causing damage, avoid snakes and any pull through. There is a reason the US military stopped using pull throughs 60 years ago. Except perhaps the otis system and it is just grossly over priced and a waste of time.

  4. Garycw says:

    I agree with William. Gun scrubber is good, but seems like a lazymans way. I guess if you didn’t have time to break down & clean properly, it would be s good, quick temporary fix till cleaned properly. If you have broke down and have a unused away hard area to get too & don’t have gun scrubber, carb cleaner works good. (metal only). Q-tips work wonders too. I prefer synthetic EEZOX for cleaning & oiling with a very small amount of synthetic gun grease on slides & high friction areas.

  5. james fiske says:

    thanks for the good information!!!

  6. wayne says:

    If you do not have gun scrubber, starting fluid is good and usually cheaper both are mostly compressed Either. i alway’s keep a can in my kit spraying the gun down will remove any oil and you should be sure to put a light coat on everything when you are done personally I use silicone. not the type you by at an auto store which really doe’s not have a high quality silicone putting a gun away for storage wiped down well with silicone oil and /or silicone high vacume grease will last year’s but it should be wiped OFF of all the heavy silicone again before use but it will store good for year’s without worring about any rust

  7. Irish-7 says:

    I have only been using one solvent to clean, lubricate and protect my weapons for years: Breakfree. In fact, it is called CLP. I realize that you made mention of using the manual, which is good. But, I always emphasize CLEARING the weapon before disassembly. In magazine fed firearms, this includes: 1) Drop the magazine. 2)Pull the bolt to the rear, extracting any potential chambered round. 3) Visually inspect the chamber to make sure it is clear. 4) Ride the bolt/slide forward. 5) Squeeze the trigger with the gun pointed in a safe direction.

  8. Smilinjak says:

    A small amount of solvent should be poured into a container to dip brushes in. Dipping directly into the bottle contaminates the entire supply rendering it unusable in a short time. A patch saturated with bore cleaner will deposit more solvent in the bore than a dipped brush. Allow the solvent to soak in about as long as it takes to switch to a brush then scrub in one direction by pushing the brush out the muzzle unscrewing it then reattach for another pass from the chamber end. If you run the brush back and forth the wires break off very quickly. Prove that to yourself by taking a small wire and bend it back and forth to see how long it takes to breake it. If you want to scrub use a nylon brush.
    Just some observations from 60 years of cleaning guns.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Good points about the solvent container and running the brush in one direction

    2. Michael A Marquis says:

      Some points to consider regarding cleaning:
      Most cleaners remove copper fouling from bullet jackets sliding down the bore. The cleaners will also attack the brushes since they are made of similar material. Use nylon brushes for most cleaning, and the bronze brushes for stubborn spots – then rinse the metal bristle brush in alcohol to prevent the brush from deteriorating and bristles breaking during the next use.
      Gun Scrubber (carb cleaner, break shoe cleaner, starter spray, etc) works by dissolving oils that keep the dirt stuck to the metal. The spray “blasts” grime loose, but leaves the metal unprotected. (Rust will be more difficult to remove than dirt, so relubrication is important to do in the tight spots.)
      Since dirt sticks to oil, I like using Dry Slide. You apply it and let the fluid evaporate, leaving dry graphite to keep the parts friction free. It doesn’t freeze in winter and because it’s dry it can’t get dirt stuck in it. I have cleaned barrels and chambers with Break Free, but the heat from firing cartridges cooks it into a weird goo. Try to avoid using Break Free in these 2 areas – otherwise, its one of the best. NEVER USE WD-40 as it turns to gum during storage and jams up the workings.
      To protect the outer surfaces of your firearm, use Turtle Wax car polish or equivalent. 2 coats and buffed off will prevent water and air from starting rust. Also good for sealing the wood stocks to prevent the wood from “twisting” due to absorbing moisture from the environment, elevation, or atmosphere – which affects bullet impact.
      Hope my hard lessons will enlighten

  9. ron says:

    thanks to all of you for some good idea’s and thoughts.

  10. James says:

    The only thing I use to clean my guns (and man am I picky about my guns), is Rem Oil. After making the gun safe I break the gun down, spray the parts down and use soft cloths, Q-Tips and brass brushes to clean the parts and the barrel then put them back together.

    I have seen where some of the gun cleaning solvents destroy gun finishes. I have never seen or had problems cleaning all of the powder fouling or lead out of my guns with Rem Oil (yes I reload and shoot lead out of my pistols).

  11. Good comments all. Thanks for the suggestions.

  12. TJ Mac says:

    Latest tests by major gun makers and hobbists; cheap and work great!
    Employ ATF as a small arms cleaning agent, and follow with 20 weight synthetic motor oil as a lubricant.
    Hopes No9 for copper cleaning if needed

  13. Bob M says:

    Just a word of caution, after a field stripped cleaning and the gun is re-assembled make sure it will still go “Bang.” Especially if it is your CC weapon. After I finish practice at the range I clean my CC pistol at the range than I fire it to insure that it will go “Bang”. I don’t want any surprises if I have to use it..

  14. Scrub, scrub, scrub is not a good description of how to use a bore brush. If the brush is not pushed all the way through the barrel before pulling it back it will get stuck and may damage the brush and the barrel. All the way through and all the way back out is the only way to use a bore brush. Also, as another poster said, the first thing you should do is clear the gun before doing anything — make sure it is unloaded INCLUDING the chamber and don’t use live ammo to function check your gun. Otherwise, good article.

  15. M. Hatch says:

    A lot of good comments & suggestions. A word about “dry firing” though. Most all CENTERFIRE firearms (especially newer ones) will alow the dry firing of a weapon, the exception generally is the .22 rimfire…

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