Gun Cleaning

Firearms Ownership is a long and proud American Tradition.
Before you shoot your new firearm for the first time, it’s a good idea to clean it and learn the mechanical functions before you load it. Cleaning guns is also a long and proud tradition. If you plan on shooting a lot, you will be cleaning your gun a lot as well. But don’t worry, this process is simple and enjoyable.

Work in a well lit, and ventilated area that’s safe for gun cleaning. A easy way to prep your gun cleaning area, is to cover your desk, table, or bench with a plastic trash bag. Spread the bag out flat, and then cover the plastic with newspaper or paper towels, or a reusable cloth that you don’t mind getting dirty and stained… like a Washington Redskins T-Shirt.

Make sure the gun is unloaded and clear. Check twice. Take all the ammunition, and make sure it’s well away from the firearm. Check to make sure the gun is unloaded two or three more times. It’s okay to be OCD about this. We recommend putting all the ammunition in another room or secured in your gun safe, a locked drawer, or other designated spot where you wont easily dip into while you are handling your firearm. Check to make sure the gun is unloaded one more time.

Safety Glasses and Protective Gloves are a good idea. Solvents and Lubricants can cause skin irritation. Especially in your eyes.

Now we can Field Strip the gun. This is the basic break down to the gun’s basic components. For a semi auto pistol, the parts are generally the Barrel, Slide, Frame, Recoil Spring and Guide Rod, and of course, the Magazine. Double Action Revolvers, all you have to do is open the cylinder. Single Action Revolvers, pull the cylinder pin and remove the cylinder from the frame.

We like to start with the barrel. The the barrel is going to be the dirtiest, as this is where the combustion happens. Because of this, it’s going to take the most work. Some propellants will leave residues and chemical compounds that can be toxic to humans and can be corrosive to the barrel. Firing residues can also hold moisture which can degrade barrel life and accuracy, so we want to get them out as soon as we can.

Apply solvent to your bore brush or bore-snake at the bristle end. Run it through the bore five or six times with a bore brush, or once or twice with a bore-snake. Always go from Breach to Muzzle. This will break up the fouling in the bore. But we’re not through with it yet.
Quite note: Never dip the bore brush or snake into the solvent bottle. Doing so will contaminate the solvent. Instead, drip or spray the solvent on to the brush or snake. I do this over rags made from cut up political campaign or pop-music shirts.

Wet the bore again with your solvent of choice and let it sit a moment to allow the chemicals time to do some work for you.

After a couple minutes of soaking, give that bore another good scrub with the brush or snake. If using a rod type cleaning kit, switch the brush off for a patch holder and mop out the bore. This is the great thing about a Bore Snake… It does the mopping every time you pull it through. We recommend getting one for every caliber you own a gun in.

Once the barrel is clean and shines like a glass in a dish soap commercial, use a patch to apply a nice light coat of gun oil through the bore to help protect it from moisture.

If you are cleaning a revolver, repeat the above steps through each chamber in your cylinder.

Use a nylon brush with some solvent to scrub the components of your gun. The frame, the slide, and your magazines. If you have removable grips, it’s a good idea to carefully take them off to clean under them. You don’t want dirty solvents and oils to pool up under there. Check all the nooks and crannies for any buildup of gunk. This is like cleaning behind your ears. No short cuts! You want to practice good Gun Hygiene!
For semi-autos pistols make sure you clean the length of the frame rails, matched by the slide rails and under the extractor. For revolvers, make sure you scrub around the forcing cone, the face of the cylinder and the cylinder ratchet and ejector star. With a Single Action Revolver, make sure you clean that ejector rod!

Now that it’s all scrubbed clean, run a cloth over everything and wipe it all down nice and dry. Take a moment to inspect all the cleaned parts. Take time to appreciate the craftsmanship and details. And make sure all the parts look like they are in good working condition.

Your firearm is really a little machine, and all machines run better lubricated. Lubricants are critical to reliable function. Using a good lubricant that’s recommended for your firearm, apply a light coating over all the components. Not too much though, as excess oils can attract contaminants, such as dust and unsolicited advice.

Once all the components are lubed, reassemble your firearm, and give it a good function check it to make sure that the gun is operating as advertised and the safeties and trigger are all good to go. After you cycle the action a few times, it’s normal for some lubricant to seep out. Just wipe it off.
Give the firearm another good wipe down to remove all your oily finger prints and appreciate your having participated in a cherished American Tradition.   Now, all that work done, secure your firearm, clean up any mess, and don’t forget to wash your filthy filthy hands.

11 thoughts on “Gun Cleaning”

  1. New firearms should never be shot without first getting stripped down and properly cleaned & lubed. The oil/grease in new guns is a preservative, not a lubricant and tend to attract debris much more than a straight up lubricant.

    Also the choice of cleaning rod is important as to not damage the rifling. Stainless steel and even the metal sectioned rods (like in the M16/AR15 cleaning kit) are a poor choice as the metal on metal contact will over time can cause wear spots in the bore. A composite, aluminum or even a coated steel rod is the better choice as they are softer than the steel barrel and won’t cause any wear.

    I prefer a good carbon remover for cleaning the bore and don’t even bother with copper removers, especially when it comes to precision rifles. For general cleaning (frame, slide, etc.) I’ll use a CLP and then a high quality oil/grease for lubrication. Not all lubricants are equal.

    It’s important to know how to take apart your firearm(s) to not only properly clean & lubricate them but also learn how all the parts work together in case there are issues. That way you will have a better idea of how to diagnose the problem when it happens.

  2. “Safety Glasses and Protective Gloves are a good idea.” True Dat! Was field stripping my Colt Delta 10mm (Ogre you magnificent bastard, I read your blog.) last night and shot the recoil spring cap across the room hard enough to dent the wall. Its OK though, I moved a picture to cover it so She that must be obeyed will not notice….

  3. A whole article on cleaning and not one mention of Slipstream? Where is George and what have you done to him??

    1. If you noticed, I didn’t mention any cleaning or lubrication product. There’s a reason for that. This has another purpose.

  4. “Not too much though, as excess oils can attract contaminants, such as dust and unsolicited advice.”


      1. Maybe get Tam and some other gun bloggers to provide commentary?

        Snark is at it’s best when the victim is blindsided.

  5. It’s better to have OCD when it comes to checking your gun if it’s unloaded already when cleaning. It’s for your safety after all. It would also be better to use a premium gun oil to increase the safeness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *