Cleaning a gun and the associated maintenance that comes with owning a firearm is not something most people relish. However, the cleaning of any firearm is an integral part of the process for those who are involved in competition shooting as well as anyone who simply shoots for leisure and when it comes to gun maintenance, as with most gun care-related matters, it is very much an essential task for those looking to get the most out of their gun no matter its type. Done correctly, it is reasonably simple and a quick routine task to complete. But, use the wrong equipment and it could end up making the cleaning particularly difficult and time-consuming.
In some cases, poor cleaning and maintenance may even cause damage to your firearm or shotgun, making them less safe and not as reliable or accurate to use. With this in mind and if you are unsure as to how to go about maintaining your firearm, here is a guide on the best ways to look after and maintain a rifle, shotgun or other firearm.
Using a cleaning rod as part of your regular gun maintenance requires a degree of awareness and you need to be particularly careful when using this equipment due to the potential damage it can do to your gun if used incorrectly. If the cleaning rod accidentally nicks the end of the barrel – however small, it can affect the accuracy of a rifle. As a result, and to prevent damage to the gun whilst cleaning, it is recommended that you use a rod made of material that is softer than the gun’s steel. It is also advisable to check with your gun shop or supplier how to use cleaning products properly.
Similar to cleaning rods, it is important to use a cleaning brush that won’t potentially damage the inside of the steel barrel. Bronze brushes are recommended, as are brushes made of nylon for lighter duty cleaning. Ultimately though, it is important to check manufacturer recommendations as to what is the best brush or rod to use for cleaning purposes for your firearm.
It will come as no surprise that gun-cleaning fluids have to work in tough environments. The inside of the gun utilises and experiences extreme heat on a regular basis. This is in addition to friction and a distinct susceptibility to rust and fouling. As a result, attempting to use general household products for gun maintenance is not recommended. It is advised that you use specialist and specific cleaning products for gun care and cleaning, depending on what exactly you want to achieve:
Degreaser – This helps to remove any existing dirt, residue and oil in the moving parts of a gun
Lubricant – This helps to lubricate parts of the gun and protects your firearm from rusting
Solvent – A solvent is used to remove lead, carbon from the bore
Protectant – It may be worth investing in a protectant if your gun is likely to be in constant contact with very wet environments, as a protectant can help prevent rust and corrosion from occurring
It is also important that you store gun barrels facing down and not lying down or upside down, which would otherwise not allow excess oil to safely drain away from the stock.
Remember Copper Removal – If you have a rifle, it is important to remember to regularly clean specifically for copper removal. If a copper layer builds up within the barrel, it restricts the size of the bore. This could affect the accuracy of your shot as the copper inside the bore will make it harder for the bullet to be pushed through. Consequently, the point of impact will move, increasing the pressure.
Remember to ensure that your weapon is unloaded, as the last thing anyone wants is to accidentally discharge their weapon, injuring oneself or others whilst cleaning your gun. Keep your ammunition in a completely separate place to where you clean your gun. Cleaning your gun involves using products that may emit very strong fumes too, so remember to keep the room well-ventilated and always make sure to keep the windows open and any extractors on.
Experts recommend not putting any lightbulbs or heaters into your gun safe, as they can both potentially overheat your stock leading to cracks, rendering the associated guns unusable. It is also advised to not put your gun into a slip when it is in the gun safe in order to allow sufficient air. However, you may choose to store your gun in a silicone treated gun sock as this prevent moisture build up and the onset of rust, additionally the gun sock will prevent knocks if you are storing more than on gun in the safe. You should also regularly remove and clean chokes and rifle moderators. It is important to lightly grease or oil any thread before tightening and refitting in order to make sure chokes and rifle moderators stay in optimum condition.