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How do I clean my guns?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by LarryD1130, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. LarryD1130


    Aug 31, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I have a couple of different guns that were handed down to me and ones that I purchased and I need to know how to clean them. My collection includes but is not limited to a:lever action 30-30, bolt action 16 gauge, some older semi-auto pistols, some older revolvers, glock 23, colt 6920, mossberg 500, .22 semi-auto rifle.

    How do I clean these weapons? What do I need to buy to clean them and what do you use? Where can I watch videos on how to clean them?

    I have a free gun cleaning at Gander Mountain from when I bought my Mossberg JIC the other day. I think I might use it for my 30-30 because it's old and I tried sighting it in the other day and it wasn't working at all so I want somebody to look at it and tell me if the scope is broke or not. How much does it normally cost at Gander Mountain or somewhere else to get your gun cleaned?
  2. SnowOxx


    Nov 18, 2008
    Clean the .22 after every shoot. .22lr is know for being very dirty. 12 gauges dont usually need to be clean for at least 200 rounds. I have a Mossberg 500 and went through that in one sitting and it didnt seem that dirty. Your AR should be lubed more than anything. I always like to check to make sure nothing is blocking the barrels and maybe break down the bolt carrier group every 200ish or so (I usually only shoot 200ish at a time, otherwise it would probably be higher). It mostly depends on the gun and types of ammo. Some are cleaner, some are dirtier.

    It will be alot cheaper if you learn how to do it your self. If you dont get bore snakes, you can probably get most of the stuff for like 40-50 bucks total. You need some kind of solvent to break the carbon up. I personally like to use Hoppes 9. After you get rid of all the carbon, then you gotta lube the parts the manuals tell you to do. Don't over lube or under lube. Usually just a drop or a q-tip will do the trick. For bolt actions or your AR, it would probably be smart to get a one piece cleaning rod. Some people say that if you have a sectional cleaning rod, you can damage the rifling in the barrel. Get a universal kit, they usually come with all the brushes and other heads you'll need. For how to's check youtube, it will be your friend.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010

  3. LarryD1130


    Aug 31, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I love GT but sometimes people never answer your questions. I guess I need to start asking about motor oil and bodyguards to get peope to reply.
  4. Ya know, I bet there is a good video on general gun care, even Youtube, although I would tend to go DVD, as there are a lot of people on Youtube that do not know squat other than how to put themselves on Youtube.

    If you are really interested, look at the AGI videos. I bought one recently that was quite good, and although I have had and shot guns most of my life, I really got a lot of good information from it.

    Take care.
  5. LarryD1130


    Aug 31, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I shoot all the time but nobody really taught me how to take care of my guns. I learned much of my gun knowledge by myself.
  6. SnowOxx


    Nov 18, 2008
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
  7. JohnKSa


    Sep 8, 2000
    DFW Area, TX
    You’ll need a cleaning rod, I like to use two for cleaning pistols since pistol cleaning rods tend to be pretty cheap. Get a jag and a couple of brushes that fit your gun. When I clean, I put a jag on one rod and a brush on the other so I don’t have to swap back and forth. The brush is to break up loose deposits so they can be flushed out with solvent or pushed out with a patch; the jag is to push patches through the bore, both to apply solvent and to push out the loosened/dissolved fouling.

    Forget about jointed rods unless you are absolutely unable to store one piece rods. Jointed rods have a tendency to break or bend. Neither of those is a good thing—either one can damage the bore and when a rod breaks there’s also the potential for injury.

    You need a nitro/powder solvent and some sort of bore cleaner. I like the foaming bore cleaners available these days. They’re quick, effective and easy.

    You’ll also need some sort of gun oil. There are several CLP formulations available these days and they’re all pretty good. In a pinch you can use motor oil or other general purpose oils, but the better firearm specific products have additives to help protect your investment. Oil, even the best gun oil is cheap compared to your investment in a firearm.

    Cotton swabs are very useful. Nearly everything else can be done with paper towels. I tear paper towels into roughly the right size and fold them over to add a little strength and use them for patches. I put a bit of oil or solvent on them and use them for cleaning other parts of the gun. The “shop style” paper towels are tougher and work even better than the typical paper towels.

    You will need eye protection. Firearms have springs that can occasionally get loose and make a run for an eyeball. Safety glasses are cheap insurance against that and against solvent splatter.

    A set of small screwdrivers and a nice pair of small long-nose pliers will come in handy for various aspects of the job.

    Screwdrivers that REALLY FIT any screws you have to remove to accomplish cleaning. Improper screwdrivers will damage screws. That makes your gun look ugly and tips off anyone who sees your gun that someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing has been taking it apart.

    You’ll need an area that is solvent proof, or some sort of working mat that will soak up solvent and prevent it from going where you don’t want it.

    To clean a firearm
    Put all the ammunition for in another room.

    Go get your manual.

    Put on safety glasses (flying springs and solvent splatter aren't good for eyes) and think about using some vinyl or nitrile gloves. The solvents aren’t particularly human friendly under the best of circumstances, add in some lead compounds from the fouling left in the gun after shooting and it only makes things worse.

    Find a good place to work and put down some sort of protection to prevent the solvent from making a mess. Old newspapers are good, but solvent will soak through them—put something underneath them to prevent damaging a table or soaking a workbench with solvent. I tend to do most of the really nasty work on a section of phone book. When it gets too messy, I tear off a few pages and toss them.

    Make sure the gun is unloaded.

    Remove the magazine if it has a detachable magazine. Wipe the magazine with a clean rag or paper towel until no more fouling residue comes off on the rag. Do not oil the magazine other than leaving a sheen of oil on the outside of the magazine body if it's blued. If you can feel the oil on it then there's too much there. If it has been many rounds since the magazine has been disassembled and cleaned or if it is showing signs of excessive fouling you may want to disassemble the magazine per the instructions in the manual and clean the internals. Be sure not to leave oil or solvent inside the magazine to attract and hold dust and crud. Now SET IT ASIDE. Do not put it back into the gun until you are completely finished cleaning.

    Open the action. Check the chamber (chambers on a revolver) visually to insure the gun is unloaded.

    Put your little finger into the chamber(s) to verify the gun is unloaded.

    Field strip or disassemble your firearm per the instructions in the manual. Some firearms require little or no disassembly for normal cleaning.

    Sray some solvent in the bore or run a solvent-soaked patch (mop if you’re cleaning a shotgun) down the barrel. Better yet, spray some foaming bore cleaner in the bore--these products are VERY nice, use a foaming bore cleaner if you can find some. Set the barrel aside (or just forget about it for a moment if you’re cleaning a revolver).

    When you run a cleaning rod down the barrel do your best to keep the rod from contacting the bore. Only the patch or brush should touch the rifling. Do NOT reverse the direction of a brush while it’s in the bore. At best you’ll ruin the brush (by bending the bristles) and at worst you could get a brush stuck in a rifle’s bore. Run it all the way to the end and then pull it all the way back through.

    Some people believe that brushes and patches should only be pushed one way through a rifled bore and should be removed when they poke out of one end and then reinstalled on the rod for another one-way trip down the barrel. I think that’s a bit extreme and I’m not aware of any compelling reason to get that picky.

    Use a toothbrush, paper towels, rags or cotton swabs to remove fouling residue from the various parts of the firearm. You can tell it's clean when you don't see fouling residue coming off on the swabs/rags/paper towels. It helps to put a small amount of solvent or CLP on the cleaning materials to help break up the fouling. Avoid getting solvent inside the firing pin channel or into the “works” of a revolver. If you feel the firing pin channel needs to be cleaned, use a spray-type guncleaner like Gunscrubber that leaves no residue and spray it into the firing pin hole until the liquid runs clear around the extractor and firing pin. USE SAFETY GLASSES unless you like the feel of this stuff in your eyes. You shouldn’t need to spray out the works of a revolver, they’re protected by the frame of the gun and really don’t accumulate much fouling.

    Run a dry patch through the barrel to push out the solvent/cleaner & fouling. Put some solvent on a bore brush and run it through the barrel a few times and then follow with a dry patch. Run a solvent soaked patch through and then another dry patch. If the dry patch comes out dirty then put another solvent soaked patch through (or spray it full of foaming bore cleaner) and leave it until the next commercial break on TV and repeat this step. When the dry patch comes out clean the bore is clean.

    If you shot lead (unjacketed) bullets that have left lead fouling in your pistol bore you can purchase a Lewis lead remover and follow the instructions on it. Or, you can unravel some copper “pot scrubber pads” (such as “Chore Boy”) and wrap some of it around an old bore brush. That will help scrape the lead out of the bore. If you see evidence of jacket metal fouling in the bore of a pistol or rifle you can use a copper solvent (such as Hoppe’s #9 Benchrest formula) an abrasive cleaner (such as RemClean or JB Bore Paste) or a foaming bore cleaner. An Outers Foul Out is a more elegant, and more expensive solution which will effectively (and effortlessly) remove copper or lead fouling.

    Using a nylon toothbrush to remove fouling from the breechface, the boltface of a rifle or shotgun, and around the forcing cone and cylinder face of a revolver. On a matte finish stainless gun you can use a bronze or brass brush instead.

    Use a toothbrush, paper towels, rags or cotton swabs to remove fouling residue from the exterior of the firearm, particularly anywhere gas escapes such as at the muzzle and around the chamber area. You can tell when it's clean when you don't see fouling residue coming off on the swabs/rags/paper towels. It helps to put a small amount of solvent or CLP on the cleaning materials to help break up the fouling. Now run a patch with a small amount gun oil on it down the bore to put a VERY light coating of oil in the bore. Using a paper towel make sure that the chamber is absolutely free of oil. That’s chambers if you’re cleaning a revolver.

    When everything is clean, lightly lubricate any wear spots (evidenced by worn finish or shiny spots) with some good quality gun oil. Generally less is more in this case. If your manual specifies any spots to oil, follow those instructions. Wipe off any excess oil. Avoid getting any oil in the firing pin channel in a semi-auto or into the “works” of a revolver.

    LOOK down the bore to make sure you haven’t left a patch or other object inside. Foreign objects in firearm barrels result in damage to the firearm when it is discharged and can cause serious injury to the shooter.

    Reassemble the firearm and function check it per the instructions in your manual. If your firearm is blued, wipe the exterior of the firearm with an oily rag to put a very light coat/sheen of oil on the finish.
  8. Marc1956

    Marc1956 CLM #66

    Dec 13, 2005
    Atlanta, Georgia
    LarryD, It is good to be self taught and self sufficient, but when dealing with machines, especially potentially deadly machines, it is wise to seek training from other experienced folks. Of course, GT is a good place for some information, but you need hands on experience. Telling someone how a banana tastes is entirely different than tasting it for yourself. Reading how to clean a firearm can be helpful, but spend time with someone who has cleaned many firearms and your task becomes much more enjoyable and informative. It is not like washing clothes or a car. Different firearms must be stripped down in much different fashions. I own a Ruger MKII and when you read the manual on how to strip it, you think you can do it! But, having a person show you the proper application of a soft hammer, etc. makes the job infinitely more rewarding. Good for you in wishing to clean your firearms. That will make them safer, better functioning and, well, cleaner! Have fun and enjoy your firearms! :wavey: