It’s important that shooters properly care for and maintain their guns. This helps ensure peak performance and reduces the possibility of damage and malfunction. Most gun owners understand the necessity of keeping guns free of debris and always placing them in dry areas; however, it’s common for handguns to be regularly fired without proper cleaning. Recreational guns should be thoroughly cleaned and lubricated before being stored. This process can be accomplished in minutes.
- Manual – Before cleaning a gun, it’s critical to review the manual. If the manual has been misplaced, simply search the Internet for an online copy or order one from the gun manufacturer. Generally, handguns must be disassembled prior to cleaning and the manual specifies where lubricant should be applied.
- Tools – Most gun cleaning sets include solvent, gun oil, a patch holder, a bore brush, patches and a cleaning rod. The solvent helps to remove harmful lead and powder buildup. Guns that have tight areas may benefit from a small flashlight or cotton swabs.
- Cleaning – Guns should always be cleaned in well-ventilated areas. Because this process involves oil, it’s best to make sure there are plenty of old towels or newspapers lying around to catch droplets and gun debris.
- Safety – Guns should never be cleaned if they are loaded. Always unload the gun and point it in a safe direction. Everyone hears horror stories of people getting shot or injured while cleaning weapons. Never place ammunition near cleaning products, as they can compromise bullets, causing them to not fire correctly.
- Stripping – Field stripping involves partially disassembling pistols. Major pistol components include the barrel, guide rod, frame, slide and magazine. Semiautomatic pistols have different configurations, which is why it’s important to consult owners’ manuals. Single-action revolvers require that the cylinder be removed from the gun’s frame. Double-action revolvers are easier, as the cylinder swings open into position. Some handguns also require that the grip panels or grip be removed.
- Interior – The barrel’s interior should be thoroughly cleaned to ensure accuracy and prevent corrosion. This is done by detaching the bore brush and applying a patch holder to the cleaning rod. Using the patch, run the brush through the barrel. The first patch will be dirty, so replace it with a clean patch. Continually swab the barrel until it is clean. Using a light, check to make sure the barrel bore is clean. Once the weapon is clean, use a clean patch with gun oil and run it through with the bore. The oil helps to protect the weapon from moisture, which can cause rust.
- Exterior – Using a nylon brush with a small amount of solvent, clean the remaining exterior of the gun. Finally, use rags to wipe the solvent and remove all residues. Lubrication points differ from weapon to weapon, which is why it’s important to refer to the owner’s manual. Apply gun oil to key points and wipe the weapon thoroughly. Reassemble the weapon, cycle the action several times and apply a light preservative coating to the exterior.
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