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And unless you are just pulling your guns out and pretending to clean them when your daughter brings her boyfriend home to meet you, you're probably going to need some high-quality instruction.
Most people overcomplicate gun cleaning. They buy too much stuff, they over clean, and they clean too often.
Really, you don't need to clean your gun as often as you might think. Most recommend only cleaning your gun every 1000-5000 rounds. Now, if you are carrying concealed, you should clean it after each trip to the range or every week.
Now that you know how often to clean a gun, let's take a closer look at how exactly you accomplish this.
As we said before, most people over-supply themselves with gun cleaning equipment.
All you really need is a simple cleaning kit along with some lubricant and solvent for most rifles and handguns.
What is in this cleaning kit?
Most have a cleaning rod, a bore brush, a patch holder with cleaning patches, a cleaning brush, and a polishing cloth.
Now, I mainly use either an old towel or newspaper to protect the surface where I'm cleaning the gun. But I recommend you use a cleaning mat with anti-slip and anti-solvent properties to keep all your parts in one place.
You are going to have to look down the barrel of your gun when cleaning it. And what is the number one rule of safe gun handling? Yes, don't look down the barrel unless you've made sure it's unloaded.
If it's a handgun, pull the clip and slide the chamber open, locking it in place.
Again, whichever gun you have, make sure it isn't loaded before you proceed with anything. Although accidental death by gun is rare, we don't want to add to those numbers.
Also, it's good to know that solvents can damage ammunition and cause them to fail. Remove all ammunition from the area before cleaning.
Before you do anything else, grab the manual for your gun. To clean your gun properly, you are going to disassemble as much as the manufacturer recommends.
Guns are fairly simple devices. Yet some are easier to disassemble than others. I, for one, find a Glock 9mm easy to disassemble and clean. While others, not so much.
Also, some guns require less disassembly than others and rarely do you need to fully disassemble a gun to clean it. Know your gun thoroughly before disassembling.
Now that you know your gun and disassembled what you need, it's time to actually look down the barrel of your gun.
You don't see 007 at the end, I hope. If you do, please put down the gun and get sober.
What you should see is the rifling of the barrel, the spiral grooves that cause the bullet to spin and keep its trajectory. Among these grooves, you will most likely see bits of debris and flecks of metal from the wear of the bullets on the barrel.
The inside of the barrel is the most important part of the gun to clean. If you don't clean this part of the gun, your accuracy will go down, and eventually, the gun will cease to function properly.
Take your bore brush, attach it to the cleaning rod, add some solvent to the brush and push the brush through the barrel. Run it in and out several times, adding a little solvent every once in a while.
Now, remove the bore brush and replace it with the patch holder. Add a patch and slide it through the barrel. You should come out with a fairly dirty patch.
Replace the patch and repeat a few more times.
Check the barrel again with a flashlight at the other end. If you see debris still in your barrel, repeat the process until you see no debris.
Lastly, put a few drops of oil on a patch and run that through your barrel. The oil is meant to protect the barrel from corrosion.
If you are cleaning a revolver, you will need to clean each of the six chambers in the same manner.
It's time to use your nylon brush. Put a little bit of solvent on the brush and clean the other parts of the gun.
Don't over-use the solvent. A little goes a long way. Remember, the solvent is there to separate the debris from the gun to make it easier to remove with the patches.
This is a sponge bath, not a flea dip.
Clean the rest of the gun with patches and solvent until the patches come away clean.
Just like the engine in your car, the gun has moving parts. Those parts need lubrication if you don't want them to eventually lock up on you.
Before applying lubricant, make sure you've wiped all solvents from the gun.
How much and where you put lubrication depends on the gun.
Single-action will need some oil on the cylinder, pin, and ratchet. Double-action will need some on the ejector rod and cylinder ratchet. Revolvers need little lubrication as they are fairly simple.
Don't over lubricate. If you do, you will only attract more dirt and debris.
Reassemble your gun, rub a little bit of protecting oil over the whole with your cloth, and clean up your space.
You are now an expert in how to clean a gun. It's fairly simple once you break it down, and a regular cleaning will keep your gun accurate and in working condition for the rest of your life.
Now that you've given your gun the once over, get to the range and practice. If you don't use it, you lose it. Stay sharp, stay safe, and happy hunting!