Tue, 26 Sep 2023

How to properly clean a gun

26 May 2023, 19:24 GMT+10

Cleaning the firearm after discharge constitutes an essential and pivotal practice that warrants attention. Furthermore, during prolonged periods of storage, the periodic lubrication of guns is imperative.

Such a discussion engenders a multitude of inquiries. How does one effectively cleanse a firearm? Which tools are optimal for this endeavor? And which specific components of a handgun necessitate the cleansing and lubrication ritual? The elucidation of these inquiries awaits within the confines of this article.

How does a handgun get dirty?

Post-firing maintenance of the firearm is obligatory, as this is when it becomes most tainted. The ignition of powder generates immense pressure within the barrel, leaving behind residues of combustion, unburned powder, and other detritus that settle and accumulate within the chamber and barrel. Such deposits pose a detrimental threat to the structural integrity of the firearm. Furthermore, these post-shot remnants mar the barrel's aesthetic appeal, eroding its coating, luster, and ornamental finish. To safeguard the sanctity of this valuable possession, it is imperative to acquaint oneself with the art of meticulous firearm cleansing.

Potassium chloride, an additive found in the primer, emerges as one of the most pernicious substances, capable of wreaking havoc upon all elements of firearms. Upon discharge, minute particles of this substance collide with the barrel, resulting in the erosion of the original properties and robustness of the gun steel.

The combustion gases arising from the rapid incineration of the powder within the cartridge case liquefy fragments of steel, propelling them outward. Consequently, the chamber, lands, and grooves of the barrel gradually assume a coarse texture, marked by the presence of deposits and minute abrasions. This phenomenon, often referred to by shooters as "barrel rash," gradually takes its toll.

Moreover, the potassium chloride liberated after each shot has a proclivity for attracting moisture into the inner recesses of the firearm, inducing corrosion upon the metallic components of the barrel, bolt, and firing pin.

Furthermore, certain primers contain traces of mercury, capable of permeating the metal. Over time, such infiltration gives rise to microfractures in the barrel, culminating in the gradual degradation of the weapon. The chemical processes that initiate barrel deterioration post-firing persist for up to five days.

Intensive daily firing expedites the degradation of the metal components of firearms. Additionally, the friction between the bullet and the barrel bore further contributes to metal deterioration. Hence, a thorough comprehension of the art of proper firearm maintenance assumes paramount importance.

You might also be interested to know - What are the recommended steps and techniques for effectively cleaning a rusty gun and restoring its condition?

Stages of cleaning

To acquire the art of properly cleansing a smoothbore firearm, it behooves us to delve deeper into this ritual. The purifying process of both military and civilian firearms encompasses three fundamental tenets, which we shall now enumerate:

  1. Commencing with a partial disassembly of the weapon's primary components, it becomes imperative to immerse their metallic essence in alkaline oil.
  2. Subsequently, with an ardent touch, every trace of soot must be meticulously eradicated from the metallic surfaces using a dry cloth.
  3. As the denouement nears, liberal application of lubricant upon the intricate mechanisms becomes indispensable.

It is worth bearing in mind that each variety of firearm harbors its own distinctive intricacies that warrant careful consideration.

How to clean a rifled weapon?

In online forums, inquiries frequently arise concerning the proper techniques for gun cleaning and the underlying necessity of this practice. By diligently anointing rifled firearms, pistols, and carbines with rifle oil following each discharge, one ensures their steadfast longevity.

Novices often ponder the art of cleaning rifled guns. To avert malfunctions, hindrances, and the insidious corrosion of metal, a series of principles ought to be embraced:

  • Methodical cleansing of the rifled barrel should be observed, commencing with the eradication of fouling and deleterious deposits within the breech, followed by analogous treatment on the opposing side. Ergo, the cleansing endeavor shall proceed in alignment with the bullet's trajectory during the act of firing.
  • The same guiding principle should be applied when navigating the ramrod, ensconced with a pristine cloth, along the barrel's path. Employing a cleaner-equipped ramrod is also deemed acceptable for clearing the barrel channels.
  • Discouraged is the movement of the ramrod in the reverse direction, as this may yield unsightly scratches upon the metallic visage of the firearm.
  • Following each procedure, the cleaning implement must be purged of carbonaceous residue and metal sediments that may have adhered to it.
  • A gun cleaner sporting firm bristles is advised, for softer hairs tend to swiftly amass residues from the combustion of gunpowder, rendering their elimination arduous.
  • The rifled weapon necessitates prompt cleansing upon the conclusion of firing; failure to do so shall inevitably undermine its serviceability.
  • Even during periods of inactivity for their intended purpose, the barrels and components of rifled guns warrant periodic cleansing, often sufficing with a sporadic cadence of a few days. Even when ensconced within closets, firearms ought to undergo periodic lubrication and cleansing rituals.
  • Should the gun be discharged, it is prudent to initiate the cleaning process without delay. Within two days, it is recommended to repeat the procedure. Only then shall the rifled weapon be deemed prepared for protracted storage. Let it not escape one's memory that even during long-term periods of storage, shotguns, and pistols must undergo the cleansing ritual.
  • The muzzle and the exit point of the barrel, where the bullet takes its leave, emerge as the most susceptible elements of a firearm. They warrant scrupulous cleansing and anointing with gun oil.
  • The utilization of compounds and lubricants ill-suited for gun cleaning is highly inadvisable. Applying homemade alkaline concoctions upon the metal is strictly prohibited. To disregard this counsel risks jeopardizing the integrity of a valuable firearm.
  • Once the barrel has undergone thorough cleansing, all metallic constituents and mechanisms ought to be anointed with a specialized oil, offering defense against the perils of corrosion.

Cleaning tools

Inexperienced marksmen often find themselves in contemplation regarding the post-firing gun cleaning process and the assortment of tools at their disposal. Given their diminutive nature, pistols grant the ease of disassembling their components onto a petite surface, enabling the meticulous cleaning of each constituent separately. Conversely, long guns warrant a dedicated stand to firmly secure the firearm during the cleaning ritual. Alternatively, specialized tables complete with compartments for vials of gun oil and alkaline compounds grace the market. These compact stands prove highly convenient for outdoor excursions, be it traversing untrodden paths, engaging in hunting escapades, or participating in competitive shooting events. Indeed, resourceful hunters oftentimes fashion their very own gun racks.

How do I clean smoothbore shotguns?

Numerous neophyte hunters seek enlightenment on the art of cleansing their smoothbore firearms. Indeed, akin to their brethren in the realm of civilian weaponry, these hunting and sporting rifles necessitate regular maintenance and lubrication. Should these implements of pursuit lie dormant, a monthly cleansing is deemed imperative. However, under the following circumstances, immediate cleaning of newly acquired smoothbore guns becomes an undeniable obligation:

1. Upon acquisition from a store or fellow enthusiast.

2. Subsequent to firing to ascertain accurate aiming.

3. Post-hunt endeavors, particularly during prolonged ventures, wherein the firearm demands daily attention during intermissions.

4. Upon conclusion of the hunting season, when the cherished armament is entrusted to the sanctuary of a secure abode for an extended hiatus.

Upon procuring a fresh firearm from an emporium, the discerning hunter must acquaint themselves with the art of meticulous cleansing, for such a ritual must commence forthwith. Shedding the factory grease that enrobes the metal, plastic, and wooden components, a complete disassembling and subsequent reassembly ensue. This method serves to unveil any potential flaws or imperfections that may compromise the safety of the wielder in their civilian exploits.

During the intricate process of "sighting," the effervescent choreography of cleansing smoothbore barrels assumes paramount importance, with each discharge mandating immediate attention. This fastidiousness bestows the shooter with unparalleled accuracy in comprehending the precise technical attributes of their cherished arm.

Given the innate propensity of shotguns to accumulate an abundance of grime whilst in pursuit of quarry, regular and swift cleaning is imperative, even amidst the untamed wilds. Not unlike their rifled counterparts, smoothbore firearms demand meticulous maintenance during protracted periods of storage within fortified enclosures, for within their cavernous depths, the menace of moisture looms, poised to corrode and rust.

Barrel Cleaning Sequence

Once we have acquired the wisdom of cleansing a smoothbore firearm devoid of rifling, it becomes imperative to grasp the meticulous order in which this ritual must unfold.

The sanctity of cleaning smoothbore barrels lies within a prescribed sequence. Firstly, the barrel must be separated from its receiver, and secondly, a prepared ramrod, adorned with a brush featuring resolute bristles, must be readied. Thereafter, the ramrod should be cautiously inserted into the barrel from the chuck end, initiating the cleansing process.

Upon vanquishing the malevolent residues, the brush must yield its place to a wisp, to which a disposable patch is affixed. With this instrument of purity, one must diligently continue purging the gun until nary a trace of soot or carbon residue remains within the confines of the barrel. As the cleaning ensues, the patch shall be periodically replaced to prevent contamination.

Should any impurities persist upon the metal's surface following this procedure, a rag, saturated with the essence of turpentine and kerosene, must be tenderly wrapped around the ramrod, ensuring the perpetuation of the cleansing rite.

Upon the completion of barrel purification, a bespoke brush, embraced by the ramrod's tip, shall be anointed with the divine elixir of universal grease, thus enveloping the inner sanctum of the barrels in its protective embrace. During this sacred task, vigilance must be maintained to shield the metal from the perils of moisture. Should a gun necessitate cleansing after winter field firing, it is prudent to bestow upon it a gentle warmth by enshrouding it within a tender cloth for a duration of 30 to 60 minutes, preceding the commencement of this revered ritual.

Care of the outside of the gun

A cotton rag shall be employed to diligently cleanse and dry the exterior of the firearm, while a modest measure of lubricant shall grace the metal components that grace its outer visage. Wooden and plastic elements shall be bestowed with tender care, their surfaces cleansed of the accumulated grime and dust through the gentle embrace of a pristine cotton cloth. Once the sacred rites of purification and anointment have been performed, the firearm shall be reassembled with reverence and bestowed within its sacred abode, nestled within a case. Should the need arise for prolonged slumber, the firearm shall find its sanctuary within the protective embrace of a secure vault.

What should I do if my firearm is rusted?

In the event that rust has seized hold of the noble metal surfaces of the gun, despair shall not be our companion. Behold, within the hallowed halls of gun stores, one shall find an array of remedies to rectify such a blemish. However, ere we embark on this remedial path, let us first banish the rust through the diligent employ of hard brushes and metallic brushes. Verily, it is prudent to moisten them with the essence of kerosene aforehand.

Should the inner sanctum of the barrel bear witness to a profusion of rust, obstinate and resistant, a vessel shall serve as its baptismal font. Into this sanctified vessel shall we pour the elixir of kerosene, embracing the corroded metal within its gentle embrace. The barrel, adorned with a seal of snug propriety, shall prevent the sacred nectar from spilling forth. Thus shall the gun abide, in solemn contemplation, for a span of no less than twenty-four hours. Thereafter, the rust shall yield, succumbing with ease to the coaxing touch of the brush and metallic bristle.

Preparing a rust remover

To banish rust from the outer realm of the firearm, we shall embark upon the following noble quest:

With a cloth drenched in a solution of baking soda, let the ensnaring grease be cleansed from the resolute metal.

Next, let us dilute waterproof adhesive in the cauldron of boiling water and anoint the afflicted area with this alchemical elixir.

In the passage of a few fleeting moments, the adhesive shall harden, and upon the completion of its crystalline transformation, let the protective embrace of gun grease be bestowed upon the sanctified surface.

Should this noble undertaking prove fruitless, we may find solace in more audacious measures. Let us prepare an elixir of alkaline nature, guided by the following ingredients:

  • 100 grams of aqueous ammonia,
  • 28 grams of ammonium sulfate,
  • 13 grams of ammonium carbonate.

Within a vessel of noble metal, let these constituents blend in harmonious union. Then, with great reverence, immerse the rusty metal into the alchemical concoction for a duration of thirty minutes. May the rust be entirely enshrouded within the embrace of this homemade solution. Upon the completion of this sacred rite, withdraw the metallic relics from their immersion, diligently wiping them dry. Finally, anoint them with the sacred oil of lubrication.

Liquids for quality gun cleaning

The minds of fledgling hunters often ponder upon the matter of cleansing and anointing their cherished firearms. A myriad of methods, ranging from primitive antiquity to modern chemical marvels, have been devised for this purpose. Among the former, the crushed red brick stands as a testament to bygone eras, for it served as a tool two centuries past. Alas, modern rifles and shotguns cannot be graced by its touch. Let us now unveil the esteemed products favored by hunters and marksmen alike, cherished for the diligent care they bestow upon personal armaments:

1. German gun oil Gunex 2000, a splendid offering available in a spray format, with a generous volume of 200 ml. It not only cleanses but also bestows preservation upon the barrel.

2. Robla Solo MIL, an elixir designated for purging the inner sanctum of the barrel, post-combustion. It also serves as a guardian when long-term safekeeping beckons. This liquid grace is contained within a 100 ml vessel, a creation of German origins.

3. Ballistol, a refined oil crafted to anoint and safeguard civilian and service weapons. It emerges from the German realm, contained within a 50 ml bottle, its essence flowing with fluid grace.

4. The Birchwood Casey Value Pack, is an American treasure trove encompassing a triumvirate of gun cleaning, lubrication, and preservation aids.

5. Armatech foam, an agent hailing from the Russian domain, residing within a 210 ml vessel. Its destiny lies in the lubrication and purification of barrels, a loyal servant to hunters.

6. Schmeisser, a German marvel encased in a 200 ml can, crafted with utmost care and dedication.

7. Ballistol Robla Solvent, is a magnificent substance renowned for banishing soot and grime from metal. It safeguards against corrosion, and its virtues are contained within a cylinder. Many hunters have grown enamored with its ability to cleanse barrels with remarkable efficacy, particularly when tainted by the embrace of a black powder charge.

8. A specialized kit from the United States, tailored exclusively for the cleansing of 12-gauge hunting rifles. The included ramrod takes the form of a serpent, ensuring meticulous application of the cleansing alchemy.

Beyond the realms of the aforementioned treasures lie an abundance of options, catering to diverse preferences and varying purses. They stand apart not only in composition, but also in the ease they afford during employment. Thus, the decision of which path to embark upon, to bestow immaculate purity upon one's cherished firearm, rests solely in your hands.

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