Does anybody ever really clean their firearm?


July 12, 2009, 09:01 PM
I shoot lots and lots of handguns. Revolvers expecially. After a range session I clean them, and clean them, and clean them .... No matter how hard I try, I always manage to get something more out of them! I've reached the point where it's "good enough".

Since I reload my own, and cast my own also, the guns tend to get dirty. This is mostly because of the lube (I make my own here too). The bores always have something left in them - they look immaculate, however a patch with Hoppes on it will manage to find more fouling to remove. Putting Rem oil in the patch, it comes out relatively clean. Put Hoppes on it - not so clean.

So the question is - do you clean till no more fouling or for "good enough"?

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July 12, 2009, 10:17 PM
I try to get any moving parts on the firearm as clean as possible, like the bolt or slide etc. With the bore, I generally get it a few times with a brush, then alternate between Hoppes patches and dry patches until it comes out relatively clean. I'm not picky about getting the patches to come out completely clean though. I have a Yugo mauser that has some pitting in the bore and it is quite literally impossible to get a clean patch out of it. With guns like this, "good enough" is about the best you can hope for. As long as the functioning of the gun isn't impaired in any way, meticulously cleaning until there is no fouling left at all probably isn't necessary.

July 12, 2009, 10:22 PM
Most of the time I just clean the bore and oil the outside maybe just spray some oil in the action. After about 3-5 sessions I completely strip the gun and thoroughly clean everything.

July 12, 2009, 10:24 PM
i agree with rugbyer it doesn't have to be perfect but you do want to get it the best you can

July 12, 2009, 10:29 PM
i keep my guns so clean they look unfired, however you dont have to keep them super clean like me i just keep everything i own perfectly new looking

July 12, 2009, 10:35 PM
Nope don't fret too much about it. A couple wet patches, fifteen times back and forth with a bronze brush, some more wet patches, then some dry ones. In the meantime I wipe down the the rest of the gun with hoppes then wipe it off, maybe scrub the breech with a nylon brush. 20 mins tops, any longer and the chemicals make me nauseous.

After about 1,000 rounds though I take the gun completely apart and give it a bath in mineral spirits. Afterwards, it looks brand new.

July 12, 2009, 10:56 PM
It depends on the mood I'm in. In a usual cleaning after a range session I settle for good enough. If I get home from a rough day at work I'll sit down with a beer and a cleaning rod and make that bore sparkle.

July 12, 2009, 10:58 PM
I clean primarily for reliability, and secondarily for corrosion resistance. I'm not going to eat off the gun or enter it in a show, so good enough for flawless function is good enough for me.

For the bore, I usually use foaming bore cleaner, let it sit 10 minutes or so, use a bore snake, repeat 2 or 3 times, followed with an oiled patch if gun will be stored for a while. More bores are ruined by overcleaning than by undercleaning, IMO, unless you are shooting corrosive ammo.

July 12, 2009, 11:06 PM
You bet! I have been known to fully strip mine every now and then but I do shoot a fair amount.

July 12, 2009, 11:13 PM
I run mine through the dishwasher on the "pots and pans" setting.

I figure if it can clean yesterday's meatloaf, it can clean a fouled barrel no problem.

July 12, 2009, 11:17 PM
I do what I can. Translation: clean until good enough, then keep cleaning until my perfectionist self gets irritated.

Seriously thinking about dropping some things off at a local place for some of that hydrosonic cleaning stuff, though; for the life of me, I can't think of an alternate or easier way to get all the grime out from around the forcing cone/in between that and the frame on my revolvers.

July 12, 2009, 11:19 PM
I clean all of my firearms.

For rimfires, mostly barrels.

I clean hunting rifles before every hunting season.

I fully clean semi-automatic rifles every few hundred to 1000 rounds. But, in between the full cleanings I'll do a really quick paper towel wipe down and lubing.

For pistols, every few hundred rounds I'll do a full cleaning.

July 12, 2009, 11:26 PM
I'm terrible at cleaning. It just never gets done. Although lately i've been tryin harder, I know I don't get em really clean but I get em pretty clean. This also depends on my mood, i'm tryin to make the effort to do it when I get home. I have noticed that my newer guns tend to get rusty faster then my older more well used ones. Which I may start a new thread with that in mind.

July 12, 2009, 11:33 PM
I don't clean my range guns more than is required to protect the guns and ensure reasonable functionality. With my duty weapons, I clean them until they look like new... When your life is on the line with a weapon, I consider it a whole new ball game. I know that my duty weapons can handle a lot of abuse, but I still like to stack Murphy's deck in my favor whenever possible!

July 12, 2009, 11:35 PM
I field strip and clean my guns after every range trip. I try to put my guns up "wet" with just a little bit of Hoppe's # 9 which will actually continue to draw the fouling out of the bore. Go back a day or so later and run a patch through the barrel and it comes out green.

July 12, 2009, 11:57 PM
I clean after every trip to my local range, generally within one hour after shooting.

When I shoot in BLM lands, I take a minimal cleaning kit w/ me and do a quick, non-detailed wipe down after shooting as I generally camp O/N and squeeze out a few more rounds in the morning. Then a detail cleaning when I get home. Usually while enjoying a beer or three.

Arms I dont shoot get cleaned once per year and I inspect them all bi-monthly, regardless of when they were last used/cleaned.

To be honest, I find cleaning my firearms quite relaxing....almost Zen-like. Gives me a chance to become one with them. Weird, I know, but its what I do.

July 13, 2009, 02:22 AM
22's I clean with a Bore Snake after shooting. If they get really messed up (in accurate) I use my Outers electronic lead removal system.

Center fire rifles I clean with Bore Tech Eliminator with nylon brush and patches per instructions. It has worked better than anything else for me. Once in a while I will do about 50 passes with JB Bore Paste changing patches every 10 passes (a pass is once forward and once back).

Handguns I usually clean with Eezox and patches unless they are lead fouled in which case I use a Lewis Lead Remover and Eezox.

Has worked well for me for a long time.

July 13, 2009, 06:57 AM
The bores of 22 long rifle firearms I will generally wipe out with a wet patch followed by a couple dry ones. Wipe the breech face, wipe outside metal with oiled cloth, and store.

Centerfires get the bronze brush and Mpro7 treatment. Very rarely will I use a metal solvent such as Butch's or the like to get copper fouling. Oddly enough, the Mpro7 must do something to the bores as they don't seem to metal foul very much.

Glock? It has been a year or so since I cleaned it. Very bad of me.

Shotgun? For some reason a very clean shotgun bore is important to me. Important, but apparently unattainable. I always find plastic wad remnants in the bore. It is quite frustrating. I take the action apart if it is easy to do so (Rem 870), but leave it alone if not (1920's Browning A5), clean and oil.

July 13, 2009, 07:24 AM
Herohog, what kind of pump-action rifles are those in your photo?

July 13, 2009, 07:40 AM
I shoot XD's about 3 time a week and gone 3~4 mths without cleaning the guns. I also carry carry a .40 sub all the time and that thing gets "dust bunnies" in just about every part of the gun, I just usually take the air hose and blow it out. When I do clean them, I do all of them at once and it usually takes most of the day because I detail strip them. I guess I'm not every anal about cleaning and they're not that expensive. I've also accumulated a number of spare parts including barrels over the years and check the guns for wear.
I will say the guns are pretty rugged and a lot of parts are interchangeable. :)

July 13, 2009, 08:43 AM
If I cleaned my guns after every range session, that's all I'd do is sit around, cleaning guns.

July 13, 2009, 09:13 AM
I shoot usually a minimum of every weekend. Sometimes twice a week. After shooting, I take some canned air and blow out any physical debris such as sand or dirt that got collected while shooting. I then spray some lube on the moving parts and put the gun away. I might clean the barrels twice a year. This includes my carry gun.

There are some that think a dirty barrel or some powder residue can somehow have a chance of malfunctioning the weapon when needed. It can't, but some think it's better to not take a chance. Some are just clean freaks. Others simply find it enjoyable. To each their own.

One word of advice; of all the things that cause a malfunction or any problem with a gun's reliability, is stripping down the parts and something not going back together the way it was suppose to. (Obviously not as big a deal with revolvers). I suggest if you feel you just have to clean your guns all the time, that you do a basic field strip. Don't go too deep. I've seen some people who actually become compulsive and are actually risking the gun not working.

1. Go out and shoot their guns. Had lots of fun.
2. Bring gun back, completely strip it down.
3. Clean all the parts and make it look just like new. (They are happy)
4. Realize the only way to make sure it all went back together correctly is to shoot it.
5. Take it back to the range when possible to shoot it and ensure it works.
6. Now it's dirty again, so they take it back home and clean it again.
7. Repeat steps 3-7 in a never ending loop.

Some of these people will not shoot their carry/home protection weapon at the range on weekends because of this exact reason. If you feel you must clean regularly after shooting, simply field strip; blow it out; clean the barrel; lube it; and put it back together again. Work the slide and Dry fire it a few times to ensure it's functioning properly. And no, Dry Firing isn't going to hurt the vast majority of guns.

July 13, 2009, 09:19 AM
I'll do a quick patch or two through the barrel & a wipe-down, followed by a lube job, more often than not.

When I breakdown my semi-auto pistols, I soak my barrels in Hoppes while I scrub & clean the frames & slides; I usually start this off with Powder Blast, which gets a lot of the loose stuff out, followed by a scrubbing with Hoppes. After everything else is cleaned, the barrels get a brush & patches through them.

When I reassemble them, I lube with Tetra grease.


July 13, 2009, 09:32 AM
Once a year i go balistic on my guns and try to get every spec of everything out of them everywhere. Of course, that is totally impossible, but i try. The rest of the year, i get them to "good enough". For me, good enough means that the action is clean enough to function properly for the next session, no matter how many rounds i go through, and clean enough not to corrode. The barrel gets cleaned until the patches come out just a little dirty, then i run the bore snake through it three passes, oil it, and put it away. The only exception to this is if i find copper or lead fouling. That is just one thing i can not leave in a gun. I do not know why, but i just can't.

July 13, 2009, 09:35 AM
I only shoot pistols and revolvers for target practice. I was trained to completely clean my gun after it's fired. So, I field strip each gun down to the springs and clean everything everytime I shoot. The patches from the barrel have to come out white, with no residue whatsoever.

When I shoot my shotguns, I'm not as thorough, mainly the barrel, action, and the outside.

I don't get to go shooting as much anymore, probably once per month, at the most. To me, cleaning is part of shooting, of which I enjoy in doing both.

July 13, 2009, 09:38 AM
The old saying is, "Never let the sun set on a dirty gun". Granted this is from the olden days with black powder, where if you left a dirty gun overnight it might be rusted out the next morning. I still clean guns right after a range trip as soon as possible. Ya never know when you will need it to absolutely positively go bang.

Just my .02,

July 13, 2009, 10:07 AM
I'm a former Marine. When I clean them, they are near perfect.

July 13, 2009, 10:08 AM
I was always taught "A Clean Gun Is An Accurate Gun".....I clean mine after every trip to the range including springs, extractor and firing pin...ya never know, my life could depend on it.

July 13, 2009, 10:12 AM
rezin - a former Marine who says "... near perfect". I'm ashamed at you!:)

July 13, 2009, 10:15 AM
If I cleaned my guns after every range session, that's all I'd do is sit around, cleaning guns.


I enjoy cleaning guns, but I really just can't take that kind of time. I probably clean whatever pistol I'm using for competiton about once a month. Maybe every 500-700 rds. Rifles, are a bit different. Corrosive ammo stuff gets cleaned immediately. Others get cleaned depending on how much they've eaten. 50-100 rds, I'm likely to clean it. Just a few shots? Not likely.

I do wipe most blued guns down with a little oil to keep the fingerprint rust away, but otherwise, I've come to believe that more wear and tear ocurrs during the stripping and cleaning process than ever happens through shooting.


Joe Demko
July 13, 2009, 10:25 AM
More bores are ruined by overcleaning than by undercleaning, IMO, unless you are shooting corrosive ammo.

To that I will add that more parts have been lost and screws buggered through unnecessary disassembly than through necessary disassembly. I do not strip beyond field strip unless there is a really good reason to do so. Routine cleaning is not a really good reason. Some guns, like the Savage Model 99 for example, you shouldn't attempt to strip at all unless you actually_for real and for sure_know what you are doing every step of the way and have exactly the right tools. Talk to any real gunsmith who's been in business for a while. He'll tell you there are certain guns that he most often sees show up at his shop as a bag of parts because getting it back together proved more difficult than taking it apart for the owner. Also look at all the used guns next time you are at a gun show that have buggered up screw heads, scratched finishes, and other damage.

More guns get ruined by taking them apart than by not taking them apart.

July 13, 2009, 10:52 AM
There are varying degrees with which I clean everything.

AR-15: I will mainly focus on the bolt and bolt carrier. Give it a healthy does of oil afterwards, and put it back together after every range trip (on average, I put about 100 rounds down range). I will clean the bore every other range trip.

1911: Clean the bore and slide every range trip. I'll detail strip the slide about twice a year and clean the firing pin and extractor channels. Oil the rails and barrel and it's good to go.

Glock: About the same as the 1911. Clean the slide up and clean the bore. A couple of drops of oil in the prescribed areas.

Flame Red
July 13, 2009, 11:56 AM
I run mine through the dishwasher on the "pots and pans" setting.

I figure if it can clean yesterday's meatloaf, it can clean a fouled barrel no problem.

If my wife found me doing that she would use the gun on me afterwards! Same goes for auto parts too!

Joe Demko
July 13, 2009, 12:04 PM
Dishwasher detergent contains abrasive silicates which help remove food residue from dishes. I don't know that I want my gun blasted with that material in every nook and cranny.

July 13, 2009, 12:08 PM
you mean you are supposed to clean these things????

July 14, 2009, 12:03 AM
If I shoot my carry gun...I clean it very well. If the LEOs are looking for a guy thats "gray headed, 'bout 60ish, driving a red F-150"...I don't want my gun looking like it has been "recently fired". 'ya know? :D

I do clean when I shoot. That way they are ready to go at a moments notice. Range ready and road tested. Only way to go.


July 14, 2009, 01:24 AM
Herohog, what kind of pump-action rifles are those in your photo?

They are a friend's old Remington amd Winchester. I forget the models. They were filthy as all get-out! This is the Winchester:

Shadow 7D
July 14, 2009, 02:38 AM
No, I prefer the term, polish. When I clean, I end up with a pile of shiny parts I have to learn how to put back together, after the first few times it goes much faster.

Then I degrease the parts, put on some high temp moly lube, that gives a nice dark shine, let them dry for a day, then reassemble and lube.

July 14, 2009, 03:08 AM
I have never been able to clean a barrel until patches come out clean and white. I clean them to "good enough".

July 14, 2009, 04:03 AM
Actually, I treat different guns differently.....

The hunting guns get simple cleaning regularly, detailed cleaning as seen needed (not real often given the limited use).

Plinker guns get cleaned as I have the time and feel the need.....

Black powder right away after plinking... I won't even shoot it unless I have time to clean it too....

SD gun------ well, I will actually be sure to shoot it after a thorough cleaning (anything involving disassembling- safety's, firing mechansim, trigger group assembly etc)..... gotta know it's gonna go bang! I don't have corrosive ammo, and a few rounds down the barrel aren't going to cause any problem (or you have the wrong gun for SD).... I will do a basic field strip clean and reassemble without any worry (brush/swab barrel, wipe down, little oil etc)...

July 14, 2009, 04:18 AM
WD-40 and Break Free CLP wipes

old dish rags, toothbrush, bronze bore brush and patch/jags

For long guns I like the Bore Snake

I clean my guns after each use

And the one I carry maybe once a month

July 14, 2009, 10:21 AM
"A Clean Gun Is An Accurate Gun".....

I've always said "a clean gun is a happy gun".

You can totally clean a gun using Gunscrubber/Brakleen or immersing it in a suitable solvent. You can totally clean the bore with Hoppe's but you need to let it soak in and use multiple applications. First it all comes out black and then green (jacket material) then clean.

The only reason to take a gun totally apart (detail strip) is if the gun is broken. you can do more wear on the gun from taking it apart than you will shooting it.

July 14, 2009, 03:52 PM
I clean as in U.S. Marine Corps clean. Other Marines or X-Marines will know what I mean.

My weapons have to be white glove inspection clean when they are being put away for more than a week. If I am shooting them for a match, I may not clean the bore but I will clean the action so it functions properly.

July 14, 2009, 03:55 PM
+1 to coloradokevin
My carry weapons shines like new, my range guns just get a bore snake and some Rem oil, but can wait a while for a good scrub.

As a matter of fact, I had to buy a new rod sunday because I neglected to scrub my BP rifle. A patch got stuck, I was watchin' the tube, and the OS factor hit right about the time all 3 sections of the rod snapped. But my bolt action I run 10 rounds in it, and I at least run a snake in it.

July 14, 2009, 11:34 PM
I clean as in U.S. Marine Corps clean. Other Marines or X-Marines will know what I mean.

I'm seeing a surprising number of references to "ex" and "former" Marine in this thread; I was under the impression that there were no "ex" or "former" Marines, just Marines. ;)

July 15, 2009, 12:43 PM
Oh Thank God I'm not alone!!!

Recently I haven't cleaned my guns because I'm sick of going insane when doing it!!! When I clean a gun, it must be absolutely positively super duper clean or else I'll cry like a little girl :(
It irritates me to no end to have a dirty gun in the safe. This is why my AR was never cleaned or oiled (which BTW it probably the reason why it never jammed on me :neener:, it runs totally dry for the last 10 months) because I know I can't get it perfect.

When I do, I detail strip all handguns, clean everything with Hoops #9, oil VERY lightly. But it's a pain in the neck trying to get all the burned, pounded into metal, carbon out!!! Exactly why I'm going to give this a try:

July 15, 2009, 12:53 PM
Just cleaned all 9 of my rifles. Took me 3 days. Cleaned up my bench and reloading bench too.

July 15, 2009, 01:08 PM
I have nothing but military-style (and made like it) or super-reliable firearms (AR, AK, Glock). I still clean them thoroughly after each session, since I don't know when I'll get to go again. I'm glad I do, because it's been almost two months since the last trip :(.

July 15, 2009, 01:18 PM
I do a thorough breakdown and cleaning. There is CLEAN meaning the absence of contaminants,anything else is varying degrees of dirty. I want my guns CLEAN,so I completely dissassemble them. I first dislodge grime with brake cleaner or another de-greaser and blast with shop air. Anything small enough to go into the hot soapy water tank is submerged(I use Dawn Dishwashing liquid). Parts coming out of the soap are rinsed with hot clean water and then spayed with WD-40 while still hot and allowed to dry. Guns are re-assemble with Rem-oil(or similar) on wear surfaces. Final wipe down of exposed surfaces with WD-40 on a cloth completes the process. This has worked to keep my guns rust and wear free for over 40 years.

July 15, 2009, 03:59 PM
rimfires get a few patches ran down the barrel until the barrel shines then blast out the action with brake clean then hit it with lube.

centerfires get patches down the bored until they come clean, bolts get taken down and scrubbed with Q-tips and Hopps #9 then dusted with lube.

hand guns get field stripped and scrubbed the best i can and revolvers i clean the cylinder and the barrel and oil.

July 15, 2009, 04:38 PM
I will clean and clean and clean my carry gun like there's no tomorrow.

My 590 will get cleaned to the point of "pretty good", then lubed and put away.

Seriously though, most of the time, I will clean my 1911's bore until every tiny piece of fouling (even in the tiny space between lands and grooves) is scrubbed out.

Honestly, I need to buy a Lewis lead removing device.

July 15, 2009, 09:24 PM
Maybe its because I had an anal retentive armor when I was in the military, but yes I always clean to the point that an oiled patch comes back clean. If you use the right chemicals it won't take that long.

July 15, 2009, 09:50 PM
Clean your firearms ??
Who has the time. I just use them till they do not work anymore,then buy new ones. :neener:

July 15, 2009, 11:55 PM
MPro7 soak for the action, foaming bore cleaner for the barrel. Revolvers get scraped to get all the lead off/out, and Mpro7 plus bronze brush can get almost all the blast rings off the cylinder. A little lead away cloth finishes the job.

I have to say, I find cleaning a semi auto pistol the easiest. Revolvers have more nooks and crannys, and if you shoot lead (or a 22 revolver) they get weird build up everywhere. I feel like a revolver is like a big lobster, there is meat in lots of places besides the tail and the claw, and you need to dig it all out.

I miss Maine.

July 16, 2009, 12:12 AM
If it's a gun I carry, it gets cleaned right away. Otherwise I get to them with a couple days. Every once in a while I put them in my ultrasonic cleaner. Gets them real clean.

July 16, 2009, 01:06 AM
I usually clean my guns very well during the first 500 rounds when they are new every time they are shot.

Every new or old gun I buy gets a stripped soaking and nylon brush scrubbing in Ed's Red for a few hours. Then periodically, every year or two, they get stripped and soaked again.

After my new gun break-in cleaning I just clean on an "average" basis. Not fussy about getting everything out because I don't think it is possible to get everything out.

FWIW, I store all my guns in a heat controlled safe and put them in bore stores.

July 16, 2009, 01:20 AM
If it's a gun I carry, it gets cleaned right away. Otherwise I get to them with a couple days. Every once in a while I put them in my ultrasonic cleaner. Gets them real clean.

I've been seriously thinking about buying one of those, but I'm having a tough time convincing myself to fork over the dough.

July 16, 2009, 04:26 AM
I clean as in U.S. Marine Corps clean. Other Marines or X-Marines will know what I mean.

My weapons have to be white glove inspection clean when they are being put away for more than a week. If I am shooting them for a match, I may not clean the bore but I will clean the action so it functions properly.

During my time in the Corp we sort of figured out that "busy hands are happy hands". In other words they, and I mean the NCO's wanted you to keep busy doing something, and that something was cleaning your weapons. On our way to Vietnam aboard the troop ship, if you weren't on some detail you were cleaning your weapon. After we landed and ended up at the duty stations all of the "cleaning" sort of went out the window and there were times when we didn't/couldn't clean our weapons for 2~4 weeks at a time. It was really up to the individual to decide when to clean, and it was every important and always in the back of our minds for obvious reasons.

Kind of Blued
July 16, 2009, 06:03 AM
I clean my guns when I either:

A) Feel like it (almost never)

B) Malfunction (never)

If a gun malfunctions before I feel like cleaning it, I'd sell it. I also throw them in the dirt from waist height pretty regularly. I understand this makes some people cringe. :)

My Remington 1100 has 1000 rounds through it since I cleaned it and it still cycled ~200 rounds of wussy birdshot the other day. That's a keeper.

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