Just how well must one clean the AR15?


February 25, 2007, 09:55 AM
Basically, I'm most concerned w/ taking the bolt out of the bolt carrier for a scrub, and cleaning the gas tube. How well does it need to be cleaned, and how often?

What would one be able to use for good results if that tiny gas tube needs a scrub?

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February 25, 2007, 10:55 AM
I clean my bolt carrier everytime, but use an ultrasonic tank to do it...don't worry the tube... ****** out the upper and lower if needed and swab the bore..easy and fast.

Don't Tread On Me
February 25, 2007, 10:57 AM
Well, the best would be to read the USMC manual. That's a very generic, proved to work procedure for cleaning.

1] Don't clean the gas tube, it is unnecessary. Build up gets blasted out. It is "self cleaning"

2] AR's like to be wet. So lube them up well. Don't drench them, but do not oil them like your daddy's bolt action or lever gun. Carrier and bolt should have the wet look to them.

3] Main areas to focus on are the bolt, and that included cleaning under the extractor, and cleaning the carrier. Also, the barrel (duh!) and special attention to the chamber and the locking lugs. I like to use a shotgun brush or something large which cleans that area out fast.

So, that's the main areas. The entire bolt carrier group, and the chamber. Take care of those and reliability will be good. Obviously, you should clean in other areas too, like the inside of the receiver and the buffer and the lower and everywhere you can. But the critical areas I listed above.

Finally, brake cleaner is your friend. I don't waste time anymore. I put out the parts and blast them with high pressure brake cleaner. All the sludge just cleans off in no time. Then I blast them with CLP from a spray can. Excess is blasted off with compressed air (that also forces the oil into every tiny crevice) ...

I use a lot more fluids, but my cleaning takes 5 minutes flat (not counting bore cleaning) and I get it cleaner than people who sit there for an HOUR or more with brushes, cotton patches and dental picks.

Mr White
February 25, 2007, 10:59 AM
After every shooting session, I clean the barrel, bolt, carrier and upper.

February 25, 2007, 11:09 AM
Clean it every 5000 rounds or six months, whichever comes first.

Run a patch with CLP on it down the barrel a couple of times.

Wipe off bolt and carrier with CLP on a patch.

Shoot until you drop.

El Tejon
February 25, 2007, 11:19 AM
I have a 10 minute limit for cleaning any gun. Have never cleaned a gas tube on an AR-15 in all my decades of shooting.

Break it open and strip it, wipe the filth off, flush out the barrel (be careful with it if you use a cleaning rod), use q-tips to get the hard spots, and the lube it up.

The weapon does not have to be cleaned every 400 rounds (between 3K and 4K for me), it does not have to be treated with kid gloves, it does like to be lubed.

February 25, 2007, 11:54 AM
The gas tube is self cleaning. Don't mess with it.

It takes me a whopping 10 minutes to clean my AR's (15 if I am taking my time).

February 25, 2007, 11:56 AM
Alright, thanks for all the replies. Next question. How exactly do I go about removing the bolt from the bolt carrier. The manual is clear that you just turn the cam pin 1/4 turn and lift it out, but it's IN THERE, I don't think I'm going to be able to get it out by hand. Any suggestions?

Thanks guys!

February 25, 2007, 11:56 AM
It makes cleaning that area fast and easy.

February 25, 2007, 12:27 PM
I used to have to clean mine so it would pass the "white glove" test after every trip to the range. (USMC) Over the last 25 years I have lowered my standards a bit, but not too much.

February 25, 2007, 12:28 PM
How-to by THE guy who would know.

FWIW I have seen guys that have stripped all the park off their bolts because they thought that they needed to be shiny, and seen some try to "polish" their feedramps on an m4 cut reciever. :what: And these guys were 11B2V.

The key is lubrication, you don't need to be able to eat off it.

February 25, 2007, 12:31 PM
How exactly do I go about removing the bolt from the bolt carrier. Pull the cotter pin, drop the firing pin out the back, push the bolt in and turn the cam sideways so you can pull it up/out, and pull the bolt out the front of the carrier.

I rarely pull the bolt. I usually just blurp CLP in the gas/lube ports on the right side of the carrier, work the bolt back and forth in the carrier, and wipe off the excess spooge that oozes out.

February 25, 2007, 01:02 PM
I didn't pull my bolt out at first, but I found that it helped to do it every time or every other time to clean off the build up. I shoot a lot of Wolf though and it is dirtier. With decent ammo, it is much better.

Quintin Likely
February 25, 2007, 02:05 PM
I swab the bore out and clean the chamber after every session. I'll pull the bolt carrier down maybe once or twice a year. Clean the gas tube by replacing it whenever you rebarrel the upper, otherwise don't worry about it.

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