You’ve finished your session at the range. Your guns are safely stored away in a locked case, remaining rounds are put away, and your “eyes and ears” are tucked away in your range bag. You’ve just had a blast at the shooting range, but as you walk out you can already hear that little voice in your head saying, “Now, don’t forget…you have to clean those guns when you get home.” Cleaning your pistols, rifles, and shotguns after every use is important. A properly cleaned and maintained firearm will provide a lifetime of safe and dependable service. Here’s how to make sure it gets done right without spending all evening on the project:
STEP ONE: SAFETY FIRST
Gun safety should be your main priority. Before cleaning any weapon, make sure you set up in a clean, well-lit, and well-ventilated space. While many of us in the shooting world love the smell of Hoppes #9, the fumes from harsh cleaners can be overpowering in small spaces. Always ensure your guns are completely unloaded, chamber empty, and ammunition is nowhere near the cleaning area. Then, you’ll be ready to get started.
STEP TWO: PROPER GEAR
These cleaning tips are applicable to virtually any firearm, but we’ll assume you’re cleaning a semi-automatic pistol for simplicity. You’ll need a bore rod that is at least two inches longer than the barrel of the gun you’re cleaning, a bristle brush, a bore swab brush, a patch holder, cleaning patches, solvent, and an assortment of lint-free rags. A bore light can help you see any remaining debris in the barrel, and a stable work surface makes the entire process easier and safer.
STEP THREE: CLEAN THE BORE
Once you’ve field stripped the pistol to the extent suggested in the user’s manual, give the barrel bore a good scrubbing. But remember, just because it is made of hardened steel doesn’t mean it should be treated roughly. Begin by wetting a bore patch with cleaning solvent and then run it down the bore in the direction of a bullet’s travel. Continue to do this until the patch comes out clean. You can follow this up with a bristle brush cleaning, and then use a cotton loop brush to remove any remaining fouling. Be gentle, but deliberate, and keep going until the barrel gleams.
STEP FOUR: CLEAN ACCESSIBLE AREAS
Unless you’re qualified to do so, don’t take the gun apart beyond the manufacturer’s suggestion. Once you’ve field stripped the gun, though, take time and clean out any of the reachable places with a can of gun scrubber and a cleaning brush (looks like a toothbrush but designed for guns). Clean what you can reach, and then thoroughly pat dry with a clean, lint-free cloth.
STEP FIVE: LUBRICATE SPARINGLY
Trust us, a well-oiled gun is a lightly-oiled gun. Putting too much gun oil on a semi-automatic firearm, or any gun for that matter, is a recipe for disaster. Apply a quality gun oil to the areas specified by your owner’s manual, and then wipe the entire gun down after application of the oil and reassembly. Upon putting the gun back together, ensure that the action cycles properly and that all parts move freely. If you’re not sure if it is assembled properly, bring it to your local gunsmith and have him or her check it out.
A clean, well-oiled gun is a wonderful thing to behold, and it isn’t as hard to achieve as one might think. Protect your investment each time you go shooting by following the cleaning tips above. Better yet – book an experience at Range 702 and try out one of our guns. You’ll find everything from simple revolvers to military-spec, full-auto machine guns, and everything in between. Best of all, you don’t have to clean any of them. Visit us today for the shooting experience of a lifetime.