Why do people consider gun cleaning to be a chore?


May 3, 2005, 10:56 PM
This is something I've never really understood. I hear lots of people talk about shooting, and then refer to the "chore" of cleaning the guns once they get home, like it's some kind of unpleasant couterpart to the fun of shooting. Now I certainly don't get as much enjoyment out of cleaning as pulling the trigger, but I find cleaning to be at worst relaxing.

I shot my XD this evening, about 200 rounds worth, got home and gave it a decent cleaning. That "chore" took me all of about fifteen minutes. So it's not some great time investment. I suppose that it does help that as a student engineer, disassembling anything is enjoyable, since I get to see the inner workings of this fascinating piece of machinery.

So what's your opinion on cleaning? Tedious chore? Not tons of fun, but no big trouble? Or some "get to know you" quiet time with your boomstick?

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May 3, 2005, 11:00 PM
I like it. It is relaxing, and it's so nice to have a nice clean shiny gun :D

M2 Carbine
May 3, 2005, 11:13 PM
I shoot a lot and a lot of different guns.
I usually have one to three guns in the shop waiting to be cleaned.
I get tired of cleaning them but it's got to be done.

May 3, 2005, 11:14 PM
The older I get - the less time I seem to have for all the things I like - shooting is the best bit - cleaning is a ''necessary chore''.

I never relinquish what I feel is ''needed'' re cleaning - only a certain minimum is acceptable but - no way these days can I spend the time I used to - perhaps cleaning guns for 25 and more years makes me quicker - in fact I know it does but - beyond a certain point is gets to ''chore'' status.

I guess too - if I did not take so many darned guns on a range session - as I all too often do - there'd be less cleaning anyways! :rolleyes:

Anyone has to do what they feel necessary for the gun's sake - but sometimes enough is enough! :p

Standing Wolf
May 3, 2005, 11:16 PM
That "chore" took me all of about fifteen minutes. So it's not some great time investment.

There's cleaning and cleaning. When I give a revolver a thorough cleaning, it's typically a two- to two and a half-hour task. When I clean a semi-automatic pistol, I typically spend an hour and a quarter to two hours at it.

May 4, 2005, 12:01 AM
They are kind of like cars - one isn't so hard to take care of, but three gets a bit much; keeping them clean, oil changed, routine maintenance, tires, etc. When I had just one or two guns and only shot once every month or two, cleaning was more enjoyable. Now I always take at least half a dozen to the range with me, including revos, autos, and black powder. It becomes more of a chore. I too usually have 2 or 3 waiting to be cleaned at any given time (except the black powder revos - they can't wait!).

May 4, 2005, 12:05 AM
I only have 2 guns to clean and they're easy guns to clean so I don't think it's a chore for me.

It can be a chance to relax. I can turn on the TV and listen to the baseball game while I clean my guns. :D

May 4, 2005, 12:08 AM
Having been trained in the Military to shoot, and clean weapons, I find it to be a chore. Probably, because someitmes we would spend 10 hours cleaning just our M16's, and upon inspection, they could still find carbon, or a speck of dust in the bore. Under these conditions, I'm sure you could see how I find this task to be chore.

I still usually spend at least an hour on each weapon after shooting, I dont' hate it, but I do find it to be a chore.

May 4, 2005, 12:12 AM
I'd rather be shooting - than cleaning. :D

I ran 2k rds through my P-11 in two days recently. Needed to come down from a Final...and get ready for more fun stuff like more exams and Finals. Ugh. Ick.

Well - not much to "clean" on a P-11- did give this time a more thorough inpection and all.

Now I had just run my SX1 and two 870s in "giving lessons" :p - I took my time and enjoyed the company of folks I was with, cranked up some old tunes, re- hashed some old sentimental times.

One of the kids of whom I am an "adopted Uncle" sent me some cleaning stuff for my 50th B-day. I had to use it. See the kid gets to a "bad word" - in this case it is not. Running Joke with us.

Ox-Yoke makes " Best Dam Solvent" and "Best Dam Gun Oil". :D

With the Rolling Stones and Allman Bros Albums fired up...we had to clean a Model 10, Model 19, and a Model 36...

Gotta be honest with the kid when I tell him his "adopted Uncle" has in fact used his gift now haven't I ?

Whew! Taken a whiff of GI Bore Cleaner lately? Had to play with a OLD Gov't 1911...we had forgotten what that stuff smelled like - we will remember for awhile now... :D

May 4, 2005, 12:13 AM
Why do people consider gun cleaning to be a chore?
Because it is a chore. What is this, a trick question?? :D

Actually, I don't mind the cleaning so much. What I hate is looking for the cleaning supplies, at least one crucial component of which has almost invariably walked off somewhere since the last time I cleaned the guns. The rest of the family emphatically disavows knowledge of this untoward behavior on the part of my supplies, which leaves only one possible culprit. But how could it be? If I'd taken it, I'd remember where I put it.


Have a place for everything, and keep the thing somewhere else. This is not advice; it is merely custom. -- Mark Twain

May 4, 2005, 12:26 AM
pssst...pax check under the Fridge for the cleaning rod.
Amazing how them Fridge " get under and behind" cleaning rods work for bores...someone was smart for designing them that way.

My rawhide pull thru dealie doubles for boot laces...I wear "patches" disguised as T shirts first...I have a new "utility " brush - been meaning to get a new toothbrush...

If they ever quit making Pipe cleaners...I'm in a heap of hurt...

My cleaning kit is a shoe polish tin with a pc of rawhide, some oil, pipe cleaners, and rubber band holding a toothbrush...The Cigar box holds the OX-Yoke stuff.

In storage ( somewhere) is supposed to be Otis kit and some other stuff. I mess up other folks' kitchens and use their stuff most times...

My favorite way to clean is to hand my gun buddy my gun - and go shoot the ones he just built/ or tuned and run 'em while he checks and cleans mine.

"Ya got anymore 9x23 ammo for this here Caspian????" :D

Like I said -I'd rather shoot....

Dave R
May 4, 2005, 12:34 AM
Scraping crud is scraping crud, whether its behind the fridge or in the extractor of a pistol. Granted, its more fun to clean guns than household appliances, but I can think of a lot of things that are more fun than cleaning guns.

Could be because I always have 3-4 at a time to do. So it takes an hour or so.

Or maybe I just have a bad attitude?

May 4, 2005, 09:14 AM
I love the smell of Hoppe's No. 9 in the mornin' ( excuse me Mr. Duvall ) :evil:

May 4, 2005, 09:21 AM
It is a chore only because it needs to be done. I used to clean immediately after every range session, but now I am backing down to after every two or threes sessions.

May 4, 2005, 10:27 AM
It depends on what I'm cleaning. If I'm just field stripping and swabbing out a 1911 after shooting practice, no biggie. If I'm whashing a cap-n-ball down to the last screw, that's a little more involved. If I'm having difficulty getting the :cuss: lead fouling out of a SA army clone barrel, then, yeah, that's a chore.

May 4, 2005, 10:32 AM
It's a chore because I barely have time to shoot, much less clean, my guns. I've backed off my cleaning schedule a bit because of it. I only clean my shotguns once a year or so unless they've been camping with me. I clean my revolvers only if I've been shooting lead or shot more than 100rnds (doesn't include wiping the exterior, that happens every time I shoot them). My semis get cleaned each and every time.

I hate dirty guns with powder residue in all of the nooks and crannies.


Old Dog
May 4, 2005, 10:48 AM
I've never understood this either ... I actually enjoy cleaning my firearms ... and the lingering scent of Hoppe's #9 in the garage later in the evening as I enjoy my post-cleaning beverage helps me revisit the time spent on the range as well as serving to remind me how lucky I am to be able to own a collection of fine guns ...

May 4, 2005, 10:56 AM
Gun cleaning is relaxing to me also.

On the other hand, if your like WhoknowsWho and brings out 50 guns to a shoot, it can be one hell of a chore. ;)

May 4, 2005, 12:35 PM
Because it's a whole lot less fun than getting them dirty?

May 4, 2005, 12:42 PM
maybe working in a chem lab for a while has made me more aware of these things... but man alive the stuff they put in those cleaning solvents is nasty! Talk about your carcinogens, I feel like I'm bathing in a toxic waste bath every time I clean my rifle. Spilling Hoppes #9 on your skin is about as bad as licking the burned fat off your BBQ. Perhaps ignorance is bliss, because if you're going to clean your guns often, you don't want to know the health effects of those solvents. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that several gun guys develop massive problems with their kidneys and liver. Whenever I clean my guns I do it with a gas mask (with cannister filters designed for organics) and nitrile gloves. So yeah... I think cleaning my guns is a chore.

May 4, 2005, 12:50 PM
Not necessarily a Chore, but, a necessity in order to keep the firearm functioning as it should.

May 4, 2005, 12:55 PM
...I always use black latex gloves when using any cleaning solvents. Even if not harmful, I don't want my hands to smell like that for hours. :scrutiny:

May 4, 2005, 01:11 PM
I enjoy it. I sit in front of the tv, lay the weapon out on a designated blanket and clean away. Usually done after the kids and wife go to bed as they don't like the smell of the CLP.

I clean everything in my safe every 6 months, shot or not, BTW.

Larry Ashcraft
May 4, 2005, 01:18 PM

Get one of those $4 plastic tool boxes at Wally World. Bright color (mine's yellow). Put ALL of your gun cleaning supplies in it, nothing else.

Saved me a lot of headaches. :)

May 4, 2005, 01:29 PM

Larry forgot already how I cleaned his new 870 in the hotel room. Stick from Popeye's corn on the cob, bottle of oil, pipe cleaner and paper towel.

I like Simple. I also like handing them to someone else, and shooting their guns.

FWIW Keltec P-11s and Glock 26's scoot across the grass from when you use the garden hose- 1911 styles don't. I didn't have a creek handy...usually what I use when I get 'em all muddy.

You folks have the wrong platforms. Takes me about 90 seconds tops to clean a single shot .22 rifle, or single shot shotgun. Patch chamber, "maybe" a brush, wife off exterior - done. :)

May 4, 2005, 01:34 PM
BR - re contents of cleaning stuff.

IIRC - at least way back - #9 contained nitro benzene - which also IIRC is a cumulative carcinogen/toxin thru inhalation, skin absorbtion etc. Still the case? Or am I wrong on that one?

Also - seems a fair bet with any gun cleaners, to assume cyclic compounds within - even chlorinated HC's ... none of which strike me as over ''friendly''. Maybe it is this also which stops me from unnecessary cleaning and very protracted cleaning sessions. I certainly do my best to minimize contact.

May 4, 2005, 01:41 PM
Probably going to anger some people with this, but none of my guns like being cleaned. The only thing I do to clean my .22 is wipe down the crown, the bolt and extractors, and I'm done. Most of the other shooters in my club are the same way, some haven't put a rod through their guns in the past 20 years. Be warned, these are .22 target rifles I'm talking about and we only do it this way because we know that's what our guns like. I would not even think about not cleaning the 1911 I'm going to get one of these days, or the various other guns. :D

May 4, 2005, 01:51 PM
On the chore scale cleaning guns is one of the best. It is on the chore scale however and not on the entertainment scale.

May 4, 2005, 01:51 PM
Because it is a chore. What is this, a trick question?? My thoughts exactly :)

I absolutely hate cleaning guns. I like shooting. I like looking at them. I like practicing and going to matches and learning about the history of firearms. I like owning guns. I like all of it.

Except cleaning them. It sucks.

- Gabe

May 4, 2005, 01:58 PM
fortunately for me cleaning guns is an evil task. my retardo roommate hates the smell of hoppes so when i want to relax in peace and quiet i just crack open the hoppes and start cleaning guns. good for about 3 or 4 hours of guaranteed solitude.

i dont mind cleaning guns. any of you want to send your dirty guns to me to clean, i'll do it for only the cost of hoppes and a big bag of patches. and just a bit of ammo as well. can't send ya back a gun that i don't know 100% is functioning!

May 4, 2005, 02:01 PM
I enjoy cleaning my gun very much, actually. It's a calming experience.

May 4, 2005, 02:24 PM
So maybe the answer for me is to buy more guns so I can understand the plight of extended cleaning session... I'm not opposed to that. Of course, I may just be odd, too. Consider that I spent two hours polishing my new set of oxfords a couple of days ago, getting a good shine out of them, even though it'll probably be 3-4 months before I'm in uniform again. What can I say, I take motivation from results, whether it's a toe cap I can see my reflection in, or a nice shiny bore.

May 4, 2005, 04:14 PM
I enjoy cleaning my gun. Go to my basement, turn on the stereo and away I go. Never timed myself, doesn't seem like it takes long and it's kind of a bonding time between me and my fire-arm :)

Old Corps
May 4, 2005, 05:45 PM
Years ago as a 18 year old Marine recruit, I learned the value of keeping my gear, and particularly firearms, "squared away". Twelve months in a rifle company in I Corps RVN and my weapons served me well without failure. To me, keeping my weapons in top notch condition it's a point of pride and readiness. Consequently, I don't see it as a chore but rather part of an honorable relationship I have with these deadly tools. "This is my rifle..."

May 4, 2005, 06:02 PM
Cleaning guns is just one of those things you do...

I look at it like this: If I'm just field-stripping and swabbing, that's like throwing a bag of popcorn in the microwave. But if I detail strip and remove every last bit of crud, re-oil, and maybe a bit more--that's like taking the time to season meat, cook it right, make a good sauce or two, boil potatoes, cook some veggies, and open a bottle of nice wine.

It's not the doing that's necessarily the fun part (which it sometimes is). It's what you have after-the-fact that you can sit down and enjoy. :)

It's also the same with sharpening knives. To not do it is just pure irresponsibility. Who likes a knife that can't cut or a gun that won't fire?

May 4, 2005, 06:25 PM
Because it is.

May 4, 2005, 06:33 PM
One time I went to an eyeball/shoot with folks I met online. I brought nine revolvers and used them all.

Cleaning nine revolvers (54 chambers and 6 barrels) IS a chore.

May 5, 2005, 04:32 AM
This thread reminds me of a story my father told about cleaning weapons during WWII.

It seems that everyone was setting around cleaning their rifles and complaining about it when one guy says rather enthusiastically that when he gets out of the army he is going to buy one of these rifles.

Everyone chimes in with the usuall comments etc and someone ask him "What the hell for?"

His answer was "I'm going to set it by the back door and piss on it every time I go in and out and watch it rust."


May 5, 2005, 05:25 AM
P95 - through the power of the interweb, you too can research the carcinogenic and other toxic effects of chemicals. And nitrobenzene as far as we know isn't definitely a carcinogen, though it is probable. More tests are pending.

OK, I'm taking the BR method of cleaning from now on. I always wear some old clothes when I clean anyways - old shirt and slacks, toss in wash when done.

Or alternatively - does anybody know of any low-toxicity cleaners? How effective is that Slip 2000 stuff, and how "safe"?

Commissar Gribb
May 5, 2005, 06:48 AM
with a can of Rem-oil, a good boresnake and a buddy to help, cleaning guns really isnt as much of a chore.

May 5, 2005, 11:35 AM
I've used this procedure on all civilian guns for over 30 years, except that I don't think I had Breakfree and Rem-Oil for the whole time:
1. Clean with Hoppe's #9, one of the smells of freedom, the other being burnt JP-4, or Breakfree aerosol (carburetor cleaner works almost as good), depending on how dirty the gun is.
2. Saturate with WD-40 (no, I've never had a problem) or Rem-Oil, whichever comes to hand first.
3. Wipe off thoroughly with cotton rag and Q-tips and slotted tip/jag with cotton patches. Get chambers bone dry (oil can kill primers).
4. Drip tiny drops of Hoppe's gun oil on points of wear.
5. For autos, put a little dab of a good grease like Rig (or the old black Outers/Garcia stuff) on the slide rails and any bright spots.
6. Apply very thin coat of Hoppe's gun oil in barrel using a wool or cotton mop.
7. Thoroughly wipe off any excess.
For magazines and moon clips, I use only Hoppe's #9 and dry thoroughly. Absolutely no oil, it can kill primers.
In the military we used milspec bore cleaner and LSA. Worked great. If you're on a budget get some of these at a surplus outlet and you'll be OK. Lots of guys have used thin motor oil or transmission fluid for gun oil with good results too.

J Miller
May 5, 2005, 12:19 PM
Why do people consider gun cleaning to be a chore?

In my case because:
> I have less time available to me than I used too. At least it seems that way.
> As I've gotten older I've developed sinus problems and the smells of the solvents and lubes irritate them. (But so does shooting in indoor ranges)
> When I get home from shooting I have to clean the guns, clean the brass and prepare it for reloading. Put up all the shooting stuff. And all that takes time.
> Becasue I'm stuck doing this in the basement with poor ventilation. The house is too small and I have no space available up stairs to do it. (I'm serious.)
> Because I'm in Illinois and if I took it outside for ventilation I'd have every LEO in Sangamon County at my house pointing guns at me.

Other than this, it's no chore at all.


May 5, 2005, 01:02 PM
from the MSDS sheets (online Material Safety Data Sheets):


"Highly toxic. May be fatal if inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through skin. Possible carcinogen. May cause reproductive disorders Skin and respiratory irritant."

Sitting around cleaning guns with nitrobenzene solvents will certainly expose you to inhaled and skin absorbed exposure. Now, to be honest, the MSDS people tend to way overstate the danger of many chemicals... sometimes to the point of absurdity, however it is usually better to be safe than sorry. I do know that lab animals have come down with kindney and liver problems due to expose to nitrobenzene, so use at your own risk. My biggest worry would be that where there's nitrobenzene, there's probably some plain jane benzene around, and that is some NASTY stuff. I've seen experienced organic chemists pause before considering the use of bezene, which is carcinogenic/toxic enough to warrant its replacement with toluene.

I haven't checked on what they are still using in Hoppe's #9, but if it also contains halogenated hydrocarbons, those can be really bad too. They're pretty much all carcinogens and should be avoided.

I don't know how well the nontoxic cleaners work... even if they are a pain to use, it might be more convenient than donning a hazmat suite every time you clean your guns. Seems that every effective cleaning agent out there is toxic... remember good old carbon tetrachloride? Guess why they don't clean your carpets with that anymore. :what: Oh yeah, you know what one of the easiest ways to remove lead fouling from a rifle bore? ... wait for it.... wash it with... mercury. :eek:

May 5, 2005, 01:03 PM
If cleaning your guns isn't a chore, you don't have enough guns.

May 5, 2005, 01:46 PM
Thx BR - all sounds familiar stuff! As for the ''good ol'' CCl4 - not sorry that has been pretty much dropped! Seem to remember early days in dry cleaning industry used that - ouch.

May 5, 2005, 02:11 PM
I used to find it a chore because I expected I could do it quickly and easily when I first started shooting.

Now I found that isn't the case, especially with a revolver. My semi-auto doesn't take as long, but I still take the time to make sure it's done right.

The Break-Free Powder Blast works wonders for me! :)

Since the revolver doesn't get carried daily anymore, it's usually cleaned about once every month or two. The semi-atuo gets carried everyday, so therefore it's wiped down daily to clear any dust and lint, and cleaned every week to two weeks.

All guns are always cleaned after shooting them.

I either do them at work (one of the security contracts I work pretty much allows me to sit around and do whatever), or sit at home in front of a good TV show or movie and relax.

I'd say the revolver takes me about 2 hours. The semi-auto, usually less than an hour.

Either way, the end result is always worth it! :D


May 5, 2005, 02:32 PM
I usee to enjoy it as well. Now it's just a pain. I like to do it right - and right takes a lot of time- which I no longer have. I don't mind it if it's only one or two...but six or seven is a bit much. I shoot them one day and clean them over the course of a week.

May 5, 2005, 03:04 PM
I am meticulous with my cleaning, if the swab is still coming out dirty... I keep going. I restrict myself to 3 guns tops when going to the range... some are easier to clean... a glock takes next to no time, while a 1911 is still a pain for me to strip and clean to perfect condition. I usually do it right after a range trip, but now I put it off for a few days sometimes. my full auto mac 10 .45 gets a good lubing before every outing just cause I think about the sort of beating it gets in every day use.

May 5, 2005, 04:15 PM
If they made an FP-10 air freshener, I'd buy it.

I like to clean guns for several reasons. It's simple & threapeutic. I like clean, well maintained guns. I love the smells.

May 5, 2005, 06:01 PM
I do not consider it work, I think it is enjoyable.

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