Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning a Gun

If you’re a firearms owner, cleaning a gun safely is a must-have skill. Carelessness can lead to tragedy, turning a useful defensive or hunting tool into an accidental shooting risk. Cleaning your weapon properly, however, is a great opportunity to learn more about your weapon, identify potential damage so it can be fixed, and make sure your gun will be ready for action on the hunt, as an everyday carry weapon, or in the line of duty. When Pennsylvania’s Largest Gun Show comes to town, you’ll have an opportunity to buy not only the guns you’ve been looking for but the firearm cleaning supplies you need to protect your weapon and extend its service life. 

Two Firearms and Firearm Cleaning Supplies Placed on a Black Mat

Gather Your Firearms Cleaning Supplies

The bare minimum you’ll need for a thorough firearm cleaning is a firearm cleaner or solvent, firearm lubricant, protectant, cleaning patches, and a bore cleaning rod with a bore brush, patch holder, and bore swab or snake. The propellant and primer used in cartridges are highly corrosive and the lead and copper from the bullets can leave deposits inside your barrel. 

These firearm accessories are essential for gun owners to maintain their weapons, so don’t skimp on the quality of your supplies. Cleaning a gun is an exercise in patience as you use the right tools and chemicals in the right order to remove residue and deposits without damaging the weapon. 

Safety First

Always make sure your weapon is completely unloaded before beginning the cleaning process. Once you’re sure the weapon is unloaded, check again anyway. This includes removing magazines or verifying an empty cylinder through a complete rotation, clearing any chambered round, and ensuring any internal feeding system is free from cartridges. You should also recheck the weapon anytime it is out of sight or possession until you begin the disassembly process. Accidental discharges of weapons that were assumed to be unloaded are some of the most common and potentially tragic firearms-related events, and most are preventable with basic gun safety practices. 

Stripping Your Firearm

If this is your first time cleaning a gun or you’re still not completely confident with this particular weapon, make sure to read over your owner’s manual first and keep it close at hand. Regular firearm cleaning rarely requires full disassembly. Instead, you’ll just be disassembling the gun to the point of field stripping or possibly a little further.  This usually involves removing the slide or upper receiver from the lower receiver of the weapon. For revolvers, use the cylinder release to divot it away from the frame or, if it’s a cowboy-style cylinder release, remove it from the frame for cleaning separately.

Spray It Down

Begin the process by spraying a liberal amount of your cleaning solvent in the barrel and chamber of the weapon. These are the areas that see the most contact with debris, and the solvent can use a head start on breaking down these compounds. Unless you’re planning a more extensive cleaning, try to keep it out of the gun’s internals–the system of springs and pins that make the weapon cycle and fire.

Start With The Chamber

The chamber is a great place to start the cleaning process as it usually sits close to the barrel and working your bore brush through the barrel can very easily drag debris from the chamber into the barrel grooves. Use a patch or soft-bristled brush to clean surface areas. Replace the patches as they get overly soiled until the patch you’re using stays relatively clean. On revolvers, clean the force cone that leads to the barrel and all the way around the frame, straps, and cylinder housing.

Move On to the Barrel

Your barrel will likely be the dirtiest part of the gun. Fix your bore brush onto the cleaning rod and push it through the barrel in a controlled motion, muzzle to breech. After the brush emerges completely from the breech, pull it back through in a slow, continuous motion. Never change directions in the middle of the barrel, as it can damage the rifling grooves. Repeat this process several times, then swap your bore brush for a patch holder. Feed a patch into the holder, wet it with gun cleaner, and repeat the same process as with the bore brush, changing patches as they become too soiled.  Swabs and snakes can take the place of patches, but often at a higher cost per firearm cleaning.

Clean the Rest of the Internal Surfaces

Use a patch or nylon brush with a little solvent to clean the rest of your weapon’s internal surfaces, like the magazine well, frame, and slide rails. Don’t oversaturate the area, as minimal chemicals and elbow grease should be needed to remove the small amounts of residue present. Pay special attention to areas around the muzzle end of the barrel and slide, one of the few places that see heavier deposits.

Lubricate and Reassemble the Weapon

Man reassembling his gun after cleaning it

When cleaning a gun, resist the urge to over-lubricate it at this step. A little bit of gun lubricant sprayed onto slide rails, the cylinder hinge, and other areas that are required to move will go a long way. Too much lubricant can gum up, attracting dust, dirt, and debris that can harm your gun. When reassembling the weapon, don’t force pieces into place. They may fit tightly together or requires a specific sequence of actions to get them in place. Be patient and refer to your owner’s manual.

Clean and Protect the Outside of the Weapon

Use a small amount of cleaner to wipe down the outside of the gun, then apply a protectant. This will help preserve the finish, protect any wood, and keep out the body oils that can stick to the weapon when the gun is handled.

Find Your Next Gun and the Firearm Cleaning Supplies to Protect It

You’ll find everything you need to clean a gun at your next local gun show, including a new gun to practice on. We bring in the top vendors from across the country, set them up in your local event center, and make sure paid security keeps everyone safe while they shop. You’ll find something for everyone. Order your tickets online to your local Eagle Shows gun show today

Like This Article?

Related Posts