Friday, July 10, 2015

Gun Maintenance: Steps Of Cleaning a Gun

I like to clean my guns. Most people don’t say that but I do. When I clean my guns I have to watch the movie “The Green Beret” starring John Wayne. I don’t know how it happened but many years ago before cable and DVD’s and internet, I was watching that movie and had a hankering to clean a gun. I don’t know if it’s the John Wayne mentality or the Viet Nam war that got me thinking that way. But now I have the need to watch that movie when it comes gun cleaning time.
Cleaning your weapons should be a ritual that you do on a regular basis. It should be enjoyable. I love my guns and I appreciate them more by taking them apart and seeing how all those parts work together in one common goal. I think there should be a little more “reverence” for shooting. (see blog A “Reverence” For Shooting, 11/20/14) This is a quote from EC.E. Ed Harris, competition shooter and hunter: “The cost of sport shooting has been driven out of reach of most ordinary working people and is surely killing our Second Amendment heritage just as certainly as if the cursed liberals had done it legislatively. The "gentleman good guys" such as the late John Amber, Bud Waite and Col. E.H. Harrison are surely rolling in their graves.” Maybe I’m getting old but it seems that the tactical is trying to take over. Or should I say Tacti-cool. I like Ed’s reference to gentleman good guys. I hope that young people getting into shooting will understand that term and try to emulate the good people in shooting.
Here are the six steps to cleaning that I’ve come up with.
One. First and foremost is safety. Do not break the 4 rules of gun safety:
Every gun is always loaded
Never point the gun at something you don’t want to shoot
Keep your finger off the trigger
Know your target and beyond
Clear the weapon. Clear it again. Look and check with your finger to ensure there is nothing in the receiver or barrel. Clear it again.
Clean the weapon without ammunition in the room.
Two. Put together supplies for cleaning.
When you start out you’ll probably buy a kit already put together. This is a good start. Eventually you will put your own kit together. You will also add things like tooth-picks, cleaning cloths, and other items that will do the job.
Three. Clean the Chamber and Action
While there is not much work to be done on the chamber and action, wiping these areas down with a clean rag is a good idea. You can also use a cotton swab to gently pick up any dust and grime in difficult-to-reach places. Be careful that the cotton swab doesn’t leave any cotton wisps behind though as this can cause malfunctions and attract dirt. There are chamber brushes and mops that you can purchase to clean out your chamber, as well. While not absolutely necessary, they do come in handy. Dental picks can be especially useful as well for more fine-tuned cleaning. Add these to your gun-cleaning kit as you’re able.
Four. Clean the Bore
First, you’ll clean the barrel. The first and last inch of the barrel are the most important to avoid damaging. If damaged at all, accuracy will suffer. Keep that in mind as you approach your gun. While there’s nothing tricky about cleaning a gun, they do need to be handled with some care.
If at all possible, you want to clean the bore in the direction that the bullet travels. Some guns don’t allow for straight access, but for those that do, this is the best option. If you have a gun that won’t allow for straight rear entry, you’ll clean from the direction of the muzzle to the chamber. Or you can choose to use a bore snake. Whichever option you choose, soak a patch or a portion of your bore snake with cleaning solvent and run it down through the bore. If you encounter substantial resistance with your rod and patch, remove the rod and trim the patch before running it again. Allow the weapon to rest for five to ten minutes to give the solvent time to dissolve the fouling.
Next run a bore brush through the bore to loosen any grime. If you can, once the brush pops out the other end, unscrew it and pull the cleaning rod back out. Be gentle during this step. The solvent should have done most of the work for you. Don’t “scrub” away at the bore as this can damage the lands and grooves of the bore. Run the brush through and then move onto the next step.
Push another patch wet with solvent through the bore and let the gun rest for a few more minutes. One to three minutes is plenty. Next grab a dry patch and run it through the barrel. This one should pick up plenty of carbon residue, depending on how dirty the rifle is and how long it’s been since it was last cleaned. Continue to run dry patches through until they come out completely clean and dry. If you continue to see dirty patches, you can repeat the above process again with more solvent.
Five. Clean the Stock/Grips and Barrel
When you are finished cleaning the gun and readying it for storage, take a clean rag and wipe down the barrel with a very light coat of gun oil. Very light. This helps remove any water or fingerprint residue that may have gotten on the weapon during the cleaning process. CLP works well, but any kind of gun oil should do the trick. Stocks don’t generally need cleaning if they have a waterproof finish (all synthetics, and sealed wooden stocks). You can wipe them down with a clean rag and brush off any dirt that may have accumulated. Before you store the gun, wipe off any excess gun oil from the barrel. Close the action and safely drop the firing pin to release any tension before storage.
Six. Store in a Dry and Safe Place
Perhaps even more important than proper gun cleaning is the safe and dry storage of your guns. Rust can be an ever-present enemy to all guns, and proper storage is essential to keeping it at bay. Choose a gun safe that fits your collection. It is also a good idea to place some sort of dehydrator in your safe and check it periodically.
A thorough cleaning every once in a while should be more than enough to deal with moisture-attracting carbon buildup and keep rust at bay. Using the proper tools and supplies will ensure that you don’t damage your guns and should make cleaning a quick and simple process. Storing guns in a dry and locked area ensures that they will be ready for use for years to come.
Cleaning your guns doesn’t have to be drudgery. If you are organized and thorough cleaning can be quick and easy on you and the gun. Take care of your weapons and they will take care of you.
Plus you might see a good movie!
Semper Paratus
Check 6