Properly maintaining your firearm is an important part of being a responsible gun owner. Not doing so could cause the gun to malfunction and stop working. It can also lead to serious safety hazards.
So if you want to keep your firearm in top condition, here are some tips to follow:
1. Read the gun manual
Proper firearm maintenance starts with reading the gun manual. Guns are complex mechanical devices, and you need to know how yours works before you can expect to use and maintain it properly. Every gun is different.
The gun manual will teach you how to disassemble and assemble your gun, what parts of the gun to pay special attention to, and how often they need to be cleaned.
2. Use quality cleaning materials
Before you start cleaning your firearm, make sure you have the right cleaning materials. You want to make sure you use products specifically made for cleaning your gun so you don’t accidentally do any damage.
Such cleaning materials could include cleaning solvents, lubricants, patches, rods, cloths, brushes, and more.
3. Unload and disassemble
To clean your gun, you’ll need to unload it first. This is a crucial step since you don’t want to accidentally fire a loaded gun while cleaning. It’s gun safety 101.
Once you’ve verified that the gun isn’t loaded, you can disassemble it.
4. Clean the barrel
The barrel of the gun (aka the bore) can be cleaned using a specialized cleaning rod or a pull-through bore cleaner. But first, try to break up any debris in the gun with a nylon brush. From there, you can start at the chamber and work your way down the barrel in the direction that bullets shoot.
5. Spray and clean the action
The action on a gun is the mechanical system responsible for loading, firing, and unloading ammunition. There are different types of actions, including bolt, semi-automatic, pump, lever, revolver, and break actions. All are important to clean to keep your gun in good working order.
To clean the action, use a gun cleaner spray. Carefully apply it to the action—including the bolt and trigger. You can use a small paintbrush to clean difficult-to-reach areas on the action.
6. Discard excess oil and rust
Guns can accumulate a lot of oil and rust over time, which can impact their overall effectiveness. Remove these from the barrel and action with a cloth. You can then re-oil the firearm with lubricant. Make sure to use a rag to apply lubricant instead of putting it on directly. And use only a small amount of lubricant on wooden barrels since too much oil can seep into the wood and soften it.
7. Reassemble and wipe down
When you’re done cleaning the gun, reassemble it and wipe it down one last time. Make sure you remove any excess oil and put all the parts back together properly.
8. Clean any firearm accessories
Lastly, be sure to clean any firearm accessories, such as scopes, sights, mounted flashlights, gun holsters, and cases. Though these don’t affect the gun itself, they can affect how well you can use your gun.
Adding it all up
As a rule of thumb, you should inspect your firearm before and after every use—especially if you carry. This helps you detect issues early to prevent potential malfunctions and make your gun last as long as possible.
Cleaning your gun doesn’t have to be difficult. But you must do it regularly to keep your gun in top condition.