I know this will sound stupid, but how do you clean a gun correctly?


March 4, 2006, 02:14 PM
I was reading an aritcle about disassembling an sks, which im about to get, and the article said some specific things about cleaning the bore. It said dont apply pressure to the cneaning rod so it presses against the muzzle crown, never run a patch back through the bore, and only use patches in one direction. Im really confused becaue Ive never done any of this. Am i ruining my bores when I clean them incorrectly, aka not following these rules?

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March 4, 2006, 02:38 PM
I'm not experenced in cleaning rifles but you do want to run the rod from the breech end.
And put some lube of some sort on the moving parts.


March 4, 2006, 02:41 PM
They are correct in protecting the muzzle crown. Continued rubbing on the mouth of the barrel (at barrel's end) with a cleaning rod will destroy the lands.

I had a Colt Diamondback with this problem. (Bought it used.)

Get a smaller diameter cleaning rod, preferably one piece.

But no, you're not destroying your firearm. It's tougher than that.

March 4, 2006, 02:42 PM
whm, IIRC, he can't clean it from the breech. It's a semiauto. He can only clean from the muzzle.

It just takes a little longer. Hint: do it under a fairly bright light so that you can see clearly. You don't want to abrade the muzzle crown.

March 4, 2006, 02:53 PM

beaucoup ammo
March 4, 2006, 03:04 PM
I wonder the same thing. I'm aprehensive about taking my guns apart to clean them, as my mechanical acumen is on par with that of a hampster..but with swabs, rods, cleaning solutions and oil..it seems you could get a reasonable job done?

Take Care

March 4, 2006, 03:12 PM
Cleaning a semi from the breech isn't difficult. Just carefully insert the cleaning rod from the muzzle, attach the patch inside the receiver, and pull it out.

Boo, as stated, you want to be careful of the muzzle crown. You can do several things to protect it. There are all kinds of rubber/plastic caps you can put over the muzzle that will hold the rod right down the center of the bore and keep the rod away from the rifling. You might also invest in a boresnake. You won't get the thorough deep clean from a snake that you get from a rod, brush, and patch cleaning, and they don't do anything for the chamber, but they'll suffice for just cleaning out powder and copper fouling. You won't be shooting any hard cast with your SKS, so the snake will probably work just fine most of the time.

So, not touching the rifling with the rod is obvious. Running a patch backward through the bore pushes all the fouling back into the chamber. According to my brother the 45B, soldiers who do not observe this rule will quickly draw his ire because his headspace gauges tend to stick in filthy chambers. Also, starting a patch from the breech end reduces your chances of grinding the rod into the crown. You only run the patch in one direction for the same reason you wipe your kitchen counter in one direction. Working the patch back and forth in the barrel is just like wiping a dirty counter back and forth. Nothing gets cleaned up, and you end up just spreading the gunk around.

March 4, 2006, 05:01 PM
I have some new guns and I don't have a clue...:(

Bob F.
March 4, 2006, 08:29 PM
How to clean a gun:

Step 1: load another gun!

(can't take credit for that, saw it in another thread. Good advice!)

Stay safe.

March 4, 2006, 09:16 PM
whm, IIRC, he can't clean it from the breech. It's a semiauto. He can only clean from the muzzle.

Yes, on an SKS, he can clean it from the breech. Once the cover is taken off and the bolt carrier and bolt removed, there is a space between the "ears" that the cover pin goes through just the right size for a cleaning rod.

On an M1A or Garand, you can't, so you need a rod guide to protect the crown, and as has been mentioned, you pull the patch through, not shove it down and gunk up the chamber.

To save some wear on your bore, get a coated one piece rod like a Dewey. I can use the .30 caliber rod in my SKS's, my M1A, my .308, and my K-31, so it's not like you're buying the rod for just one gun.

For my SKS's, I usually run a patch coated with Hoppes #9 down the bore, pull the patch off the rod, and pull the rod back through. I set it aside to give the solvent time to work, and clean the trigger assembly with a brush and some Break Free CLP, scrub the bolt and bolt carrier with Hoppes and then CLP, and then run clean patches through the bore until they come out almost clean. I avoid brushes unless I've put a lot of rounds through the gun.

Don't ruin the gun by overcleaning it, you'll mess up the crown and wear things out faster with improper cleaning than you would've just letting it be.



March 4, 2006, 11:04 PM
Like the man said, it's quite eassdy to clean the SKS from the breach end. Start by "field stripping" the weapon.

With the AK-47, one essentially does the same thing, field strip, then clean, from the breach end.

March 5, 2006, 12:17 AM
There is also a nifty little device called a Patchworm (http://20-20.8m.com/patchworm.html) which is a fancy version of the weed-wacker patch puller. It is a long piece of heavy monofiliment with a small cylinder of plastic at the end sized to fit a .22. You stack on a different plastic disc to bump it up to .30, .40, or .45. Small, light, and simple.

For CLP I've been using Prolix for a while now. No complaints, and you can find it here (http://www.gncsales.com/). FWIW, I wear nitrile surgical gloves while cleaning (cheap bags of them are at large hardware or paint stores). It's not comfortable, but powder residue and cleaning solvents are not good for your health.

March 5, 2006, 12:21 AM
I stand corrected. I assumed the sks was like the semi autos I've owned: (Remington 740, Ruger mini 30, Ruger 10/22, Ruger mini 14, and Remington Nylon 22).

With all of these one could only clean from the muzzle.

March 5, 2006, 12:54 AM
I stand corrected. I assumed the sks was like the semi autos I've owned: (Remington 740, Ruger mini 30, Ruger 10/22, Ruger mini 14, and Remington Nylon 22).

With all of these one could only clean from the muzzle.

I clean my 10/22 from breach to muzzle.
I,ve got a boresnake with a string and brass weight at one end and I can put the brass in the chamber just like a shell. Then Ipoint the muzzle toward the ground and the brass weight falls out the muzzle. I grab the string and pull the snake on through. I also have one with a brush on one end.

March 5, 2006, 10:49 AM
I've never had a problem cleaning from the muzzle, use a small enough rod that it goes down with lots of clearance and just don't mash the crown. You can buy a rubber insert, or just use your fingers and I know a few guys that will use some masking or duct tape but never tried that. Also I use brass rods and plastic tips rather then harder ones since if you do bump the crown a little with a piece of pastic you wont be mashing anything

First step is stripping the gun, and clean the bolt and such, barrel I do last.

As for going in one direction I will go down and up with the same patch, switch to another patch go up down, and so on untill things come out clean. Then I will switch to going down and taking the patch off untill it is clean, normally once or twice and then cap it off with a dry patch to collect any excess oil. Brushes I only use rarly. Every few months or if I notice it is taking a long time for just patches to come out clean I will run a brush down once or twice and then continue as normal.

March 5, 2006, 01:54 PM
can anyone link a spot to get muzzle crown protector guides?

walking arsenal
March 5, 2006, 06:56 PM
If you get one of the original military cleaning kits for the SKS it has a cleaning rod guide built into the cap. The kits come in a steel capsule type dealy (Technical term) and contain a bore brush, jag, loop, a punch and a screw driver (shrugs). The cap has a hole in it and is the same size as the muzzle. Put the cap over the muzzle run rod through hole.

Should work.

March 5, 2006, 08:33 PM
I agree with what Azrael256 said, but I would add that you should pick up a graphite or plastic coated cleaning rod. They are soft and non-scratching, so they are not likely to damage the crown. Definately, stay away from steel sectioned rods. Each joint is like a little metal fine and will quickly abrade your rifling. Shoot safe.

March 5, 2006, 08:51 PM
First off that muzzle crown should be hard enough to not be worried about, just be careful. You can get brass rods if it eases your mind any. Run the rod down into the chamber and screw the brush on and pull out.The best way to clean any gun is from the breach towards the muzzle. Simple reason being is that leftover residue laying towards the chamber end on the rifling will come out with the next bullet. This causes scratches and excessive wear on barrel rifling. Most should pay more attention to this because what generally happens is cleaning is conducted from the muzzle to the chamber.
Use a good solvent to break down the copper in the riflings and the gunpowder residue. Use a good gun oil to insulate and lubricate the gun from the elements.

March 5, 2006, 11:29 PM
I am new to the gun scene also, so IMO there is no such thing as a stupid question. These guys had some good responses. However, don't guns usually come with manuals that show you specific instructions about breakdown and cleaning??? I thought they did. Am I wrong?

March 6, 2006, 01:23 AM
SKS manuals would probably be in russian. While Mr. Volk might not have an issue with that I do. I have owned an SKS for over a year now and I tend to like to clean it after each day of shooting it.

I clean it from the breech end as was suggested. Luckly there are some excellent websites that detail what needs to be done to disassemble and reassemble an SKS.

On a side note, I mixed up my first batch of Ed's Red bore cleaning fluid last week. It worked nicely on my wife's Tauraus .38 special 5 shot revolver. I also cleaned my CZ52 pistol and my Marlin .22 rifle. It seems to do a better job than Hoppes though it does not smell as nice, :) .

I would highly recommend brass bore brushes as they seem like a good choice for removing some of the more resistant films of powder residue than just using a cleaning patch alone.


Taurus 66
March 6, 2006, 02:50 AM
This is interesting! - Brass/graphite cleaning rods over metal rods. And for preventing wear on the crown.

There are three general types of hardness measurements depending on the manner in which the test is conducted. These are:

scratch hardness
indentation hardness, and
rebound, or dynamic, hardness

Scratching may be a minor issue, but for the ballistic inaccuracies being discussed, a scratch or two on the crown isn't going to greatly affect overall accuracy. That's preposterous. This is equivalent to blaming a few flakes of fly dung in the barrel for a poorly placed series of shots on the ten ring at 100 yards.

Actual crown indentation is a separate issue. This goes beyond "Joe's Cleaning Techniques". The phenomenon could be partially to blame on improper reloading techniques resulting in damaging overpressures. Boat tails too could be to blame because of a peculiar design. A tapered edge remains at crown as gases are already venting on escape. Since even modern powders are inconsistent in rate of burn, the gases do not vent with exact uniformity 360 every shot, so slight yaw in the bullet at muzzle could occur and deliver the damage.

My $0.01.

March 6, 2006, 12:23 PM
whm, IIRC, he can't clean it from the breech. It's a semiauto. He can only clean from the muzzle.

Actually an SKS can be cleaned from the breech, Pinned and Recessed.

First, boo17, DO NOT use the cleaning rod that comes with the SKS, it is made of ordnance steel, the same steel as your barrel, and will scratch the barrel.

When you have the SKS diassembled, (as you should for each cleaning, and it isn't difficult as some think.) use a single piece cleaning rod of at least 32", clean from the breech, learn to clean as if all the ammo is corrosive, that way you will never have to worry about it. Use Windex to soak two patches, run them down the bore, then follow with two dry ones. Use another Windex-soaked patch to wipe the bolt down with , and follow with a dry one. Then clean using your favorite solvent, wipe dry, lightly oil all metal surfaces except the gas tube and area.

There is excellent SKS advice and comradarie on Survivor's SKS boards;


You can learn much about the SKS there, I have.:)

March 6, 2006, 12:37 PM
Get a bore snake.

March 6, 2006, 01:44 PM
These kits are what I have used for several years and wouldn't use anything else. I also use a brass muzzle guide, even with the Otis. Otis kits allow you to thread brushes and tips unlike the "patchworm". You can get deals on Otis kits on epay. Use whatever solvent and lube and if you want, you can cut slots in your own patches to use the Otis.:cool:

March 6, 2006, 02:08 PM
DocZinn: Get a bore snake.


These are great and won't ding up the muzzle. My friend brought his with him to OCS (USMC) and It was worth its weight in gold.

6-8 patches on the cleaning rod or 2-3 passes with the bore snake...you do the math:)

March 6, 2006, 04:08 PM

I just went to my local hardware store and bought some nylon inserts (think 1/4 inch thick white plastic washers) that fit over my cleaning rods and would slide up to the handle. I think they were either nine or nineteen cents each.

March 8, 2006, 12:07 AM
thanks, i'll check that out

Red Tornado
March 8, 2006, 03:28 PM
Cleaning an SKS?!? They were designed to be rinsed off in a ditch and keep working forever.:D

Seriously, +1 to all the boresnake answers, those things are a godsend.

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