Your Step-By-Step to Proper Gun Cleaning

Every time you fire a gun, it leaves a little more residue inside it. By residue, we mean carbon, copper, and lead. As all that residue continues to accumulate and build layers upon itself, eventually it will affect how your gun performs.

Proper gun cleaning is critical to ensure your gun will actual fire properly every time you need it.

Grab Your Tools

Some gun owners prefer to buy their tools individually while others opt for a complete gun cleaning kit that has everything they need in a convenient case. Either way, before you start cleaning anything, make sure you have:

  • Cleaning rods – These rods should be a softer metal than the barrel to ensure you don’t scratch or ding the inside of the barrel as you’re cleaning.
  • Brushes – You need something that can reliably clear the carbon buildup without harming the barrel. A bronze brush is reliable go-to option, and you can follow it up with a nylon brush.
  • Jags or Loops – These are simple devices that hold cleaning patches while you push it through the bore. Soft materials like brass or plastic work here, too.
  • Solvents – You will need the right oils and solvents to properly clean your gun. There are all-in-one solutions, or you can get individual fluids. If you go that route, you will need a solvent, a degreaser, a lubricant, and a protectant.
  • Patches – You need enough patches to pass a clean one through the bore with every pass of the cleaning rod.
  • Gun Toothbrush – A good, solid brush to clean the outside grooves and trigger parts can also be useful.

Safety First

Set up a workspace where you will be comfortable. Make sure it is well-ventilated because some of those solvents and other chemicals can be fairly toxic.

Cover the workspace with a tarp or plastic bags followed by some newspaper or paper towels. This will ensure that any chemicals are properly absorbed. And you’ll find it much easier to clean up later.

And, while this should be obvious, always make sure the gun is not loaded before you start cleaning it. Too many people are injured (even fatally) when they fail to take a few seconds to double check the gun. Keep all your ammo far away from any of the solvents and oils you will use to clean your gun.

Every Step Matters

Cleaning a firearm is actually a fairly simple process. But like most simple things, every step matters.

  1. Disassemble the fire arm – Don’t do this blindly. When you want to know how to clean a rifle or a pistol, always start with the manual. Read it carefully! Get familiar with the parts, how to take them apart, how far you need to take them apart for a good cleaning, and more. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your gun.
  2. Clean the barrel – First, use your cleaning rod with the cotton patch soaked in your solvent of choice. Push the patch all the way through the bore so it exits the other side, pushing as much of the debris out as possible. Second, use your brushes to clean any remaining debris. Put another patch through the barrel. If it comes out clean, you’re good to go. If not, return to the solvents and brushes.
  3. Lubricate components – Lubricate the barrel with a few drops of gun oil. Also, clean and lubricate the action.
  4. Clean the exterior – A quick wipe with a pre-treated flannel cloth will clear off any bits and debris that may be remaining on the exterior of the gun.
  5. Dry fire it – Once you’ve finished cleaning everything and reassembled the firearm, set up a safe place and doublecheck to make sure the gun is unloaded. Now, dry fire the gun. Go through all the motions of shooting to make sure the trigger and slide are still performing properly.

How Often Should You Clean Your Gun?

In general, you should at least give the gun a quick cleaning every time it’s fired, though if it’s only seen a few shots, a bore snake should be enough to clean it out. If it sees regular shooting, you will need to follow the steps above to make sure it is properly maintained.

At the very least, even if you don’t shoot very often, you should still give your firearms a deep cleaning at least once a year to ensure it’s in peak condition for when you do need it.

No Time Like the Present

Has it been a while since you’ve cleaned your gun? Have you just purchased a new gun? Either way, there’s no better time than now to make sure you’re fully prepared and have everything you need to properly clean your gun. At Kiehberg, we stock a wide range of gun cleaning products so you can maintain your gun and make sure every shot is as accurate and safe as possible.


Gun Cleaning Infographic


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