How to Clean a Gun in a few basic Steps

Here are the basic steps to properly and safely clean most firearms :

Remove the magazine and ensure the firearm is unloaded!

Clean the Barrel and Chamber

Dry brush the chamber and barrel with a copper-phosphate (or nylon) bore brush in a chamber to muzzle direction.  This will loosen and remove some of the large carbon and metal fouling from the bore.

Place a cleaning patch dipped in bore solvent on the tip of your cleaning rod. Next, push the cleaning patch through the barrel and out the other side and saturate the chamber and bore surface.

Avoid pulling it back through – this will redeposit dirt and gunk back into the bore.

Allow the cleaning solvent to break down bore fouling for 10-15 min.

Next, use just the bore brush to scrub the inside of the barrel. Use a new, dry patch to remove any residue and keep running it through the bore until the patch comes out clean.

Use a pull-through tool impregnated with a light lubricant, such as a bore snake and CLP or equivalent to further clean and treat the bore surface against corrosion.  Do not lubricate the bore using gun oil!  For long term storage only, the bore can be treated with a heavier lubricant such as Barricade (or equivalent).  This must be removed by cleaning the barrel prior to shooting the firearm!

Clean the exterior of the barrel, barrel hood, barrel lug, and the feed ramp.


Clean and Lubricate the Action

You need to clean and lubricate more than just the barrel of the gun. The action (slide, pump, or bolt) should also be cleaned using a nylon utility brush, dry cloth, and action cleaner solvent.  Spray the action liberally from the top of the frame/receiver, allowing carbon and metal debris to be washed into the drip pan. Use manufacturer’s recommendations for your particular model. Allow the cleaned sub-assemblies to dry.  Use proper disposal procedures for any cleaning residues.

Lastly, use a needle applicator to precisely apply lubricant drops at the specified lubrication points on the frame/action, slide assembly, and exterior of the barrel, as recommended by the manufacturer. It is important not to over lubricate, as this will more readily attract contaminant accumulation and could potentially cause reliability issues.

Don’t Forget the Magazines

Magazines are the source of ammunition and are responsible for proper feeding of a semiautomatic firearm. Reliable, clean magazines are critical for the proper operation of a semiautomatic.  They can be disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Special purpose brushes are available for magazine cleaning.  Use safety glasses and extra care when working with magazines during the disassembly and reassembly process, as magazine followers are spring loaded.  Magazines must never be cleaned using petroleum products, as these will contaminate ammunition primers.  Magazines should never be lubricated, but rather cleaned with a residue-free solvent or cleaning agent.


Reassemble the Firearm and Perform a Functional Check

Anytime a firearm is disassembled and reassembled, a functional check needs to be conducted in order to ensure that the firearm still operates as designed following the disassembly.  During this check the proper functioning of the trigger mechanism, safety or safeties, slide operation and locking, magazine retention and ejection systems are verified.  Follow the manufacturer’s procedure for your specific firearm and always observe the rules of gun safety!


Wipe Down the Outside of the Gun

Once the inside of the gun and it’s moving parts are clean and lubricated, it’s time to clean the exterior. A gun/reel cloth is perfect for this job.

These cloths are soft and pre-treated with silicone lubricant. This helps to remove any leftover debris, acidic prints, and adds a nice shine of protection to your weapon.

If you don’t have a silicone cloth, individual CLP wipes, or equivalent will also work well.

The Importance of a Safe, Clean Gun

Knowing how to clean a gun is about more than just a pretty appearance. A clean gun is also a safe gun and a reliable gun.

Regular gun maintenance ensures accuracy, reliability, your comfort and confidence level in using the weapon, as well as preserving the functionality and appearance of your investment.

Remove the magazine and ensure the firearm is unloaded!

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