AR Cleaning


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miamivicedade
December 31, 2009, 01:50 PM
Hello!

Today I got back from the range and cleaned my AR-15. At first, after the bore brush and solvent, the first dry patch came out filthy. After a few more patches 95% of the fouling has been removed, but no matter what, a little fouling appears on the next patch, and the next. When I hold the barrel up to a light, it looks very clean with no fouling. Am I okay?

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DMK
December 31, 2009, 02:04 PM
You don't need to worry about a perfectly clean patch in any rifle. You'll just wear out the barrel trying.

Don't forget to take the bolt/carrier apart and clean that too. Oil it up and you're good to go.

miamivicedade
December 31, 2009, 02:07 PM
Sweet! Thanks!!!!!

Joeywhat
December 31, 2009, 03:17 PM
You really don't even need to clean it...maybe once every 10,000 rounds if you're bored or something.

Just keep it lubed, and run a patch or boresnake down the barrel if there's a lot of crap in there - there shouldn't be unless you're shoving the muzzle into dirt or something.

HOLY DIVER
December 31, 2009, 03:27 PM
i clean and lube the bolt after each range trip run a boresnake through and call it a day

DougW
January 1, 2010, 12:11 PM
+1 on the boresnake and clean/lube the bolt. Basic wipedown inside and out too.

mp5a3
January 1, 2010, 12:12 PM
You should have seen my Mosin M44. I ran probably 25 patches through it.

sammy
January 1, 2010, 12:25 PM
You don't need to worry about a perfectly clean patch in any rifle. You'll just wear out the barrel trying.


I have never served in the military but know 2 Marines that have. They would tell me stories about cleaning their rifles for 5+ hours. Taking them back for inspection, the superior officer would almost certinaly find more crud and send them back to reclean the weapon. I assume this is just basic training but if it would wear out the rifle why would they make the recruits do this?

briansmithwins
January 1, 2010, 01:26 PM
I have never served in the military but know 2 Marines that have. They would tell me stories about cleaning their rifles for 5+ hours. Taking them back for inspection, the superior officer would almost certinaly find more crud and send them back to reclean the weapon. I assume this is just basic training but if it would wear out the rifle why would they make the recruits do this?

Because that's the way it's done.

We don't care that scraping the crown with the end of a cleaning rod will the destroy the accuracy, we DO care that there be no carbon anywhere on the rifle.

The actual manuals are better about being realistic. http://www.box.net/shared/tlxri3l1ic

BSW

W.E.G.
January 1, 2010, 01:39 PM
You need to at least inspect your weapon for fouling after EACH outing.

Dont over-clean the bore of your rifle.

A half dozen strokes with the brush
A half dozen patches with CLP

Wipe excess CLP from chamber and bore

...and you're done

Disassemble the bolt/carrier assembly, and wipe the carbon off with a rag soaked in CLP.
You do NOT have to get it completely clean.

Wipe the locking area of the barrel extension with a few Q-Tips or a rag with CLP to remove most of the carbon and brass shavings.

Make sure the buffer tube and buffer/spring assembly is cleaned of any debris or fouling.
A little CLP on the buffer spring is OK.

Keep an eye on the trigger assembly.
If there is loose crud in there, a little compressed air does wonders.

Keep your magazines reasonably clean.

It pains me to hear the wrong-headed stories about the idiotic OCD/Domination games played "in the military" when it comes to over-cleaning weapons.

mljdeckard
January 1, 2010, 01:50 PM
I absolutely agree with briansmithwins. The military in general is much more concerned with how clean a gun is than how it actually works. They do much more damage to their weapons by constant stripping and cleaning than they do from actually using them.

The main thing I worry about is carbon building up in between the moving parts of the bolt, carrier, and locking lugs of the chamber. But constant lube and occasional cursory cleaning is enough to prevent any failures. Remember, AR like to run wet. Sloppy wet. Especially if you're somewhere as humid as Miami-Dade, think 'wet' with your AR.

taliv
January 1, 2010, 01:51 PM
If you want accuracy the most important thing is to clean it the same way each time. If you want reliability then just hose the sludge out of the upper about every 2000 to 3000 rnds

drvasctii
January 1, 2010, 02:00 PM
After being in the active military for 8yrs, I can say that we spent several hours cleaning the weapons. I agree that all of the cleaning and breaking down of a weapon will destroy it in the long run and the military wants a "clean" weapon for show and tell. Everyone has their own way of shooting and cleaning a weapon, so pick your way that you feel most comfortable with. If you want a shinny weapon, then clean the hell out of it; if you want a weapon that is reliable and accurate, then wipe all of the moving parts, give amble amount of lube, then run a couple of patches through the bore.

wishin
January 1, 2010, 02:16 PM
I'm with the group that says do not clean it often, however you couldn't possibly run enough cloth patches through a bore every minute of your life to get any negligible wear! Stay away from bore brushes though - if you must, use it sparingly.

AR-15 Rep
January 1, 2010, 02:18 PM
And don't forget to clean the bolt carrier...

DMK
January 1, 2010, 03:33 PM
I assume this is just basic training but if it would wear out the rifle why would they make the recruits do this? "busy work" and for discipline and inspection.

Don't ever assume that the government does the things they do because it is best.

AR-15 Rep
January 1, 2010, 03:42 PM
"Attention to detail" is the term often used.

RockyMtnTactical
January 1, 2010, 03:46 PM
Cleaning an AR15 is easy. I just wipe everything down and oil it up again. Takes me 5-10 minutes. AR15's really don't even need cleaning as long as they are properly lubed.

mljdeckard
January 1, 2010, 03:50 PM
Within the military, there is a degree of accountability for firearms cleanliness that no one person could ever do on their own. There are situations coming to mind, such as, You are the armorer in a unit that is switching out M-16 A2s for new A4s. So you go to the depot to switch them out, and their guy looks your weapons over and says; "I can't accept these weapons, they're dirty." They weren't dirty enough to make them malfunction or harm them in any way, but this guy's policy says that all weapons he accepts for turn-in must be clean. Not mostly clean. Not 'clean enough'. CLEAN. Common sense has no authority over written policy. This means that the guy doing the turn in has to either clean them all RIGHT NOW, or take them back, set up the paperwork and appointment for the turn-in all over again, and get a ten-man detail from the first sergeant to clean them all. And when he goes back, you know the guy accepting them is going to give them even MORE scrutiny than he did the first time. This creates a culture where no armorer will ever let a non-pristine rifle back into the arms locker.

When your unit goes to the range, you will be spending a few hours cleaning. Period. (And blanks are dirtier than regular ammo.) You might be an expert in cleaning and get done first, but if you are the first guy to try to turn it in, they will dig with their pinky until the find some black and give it back to you. If you go in at the END of the night, everyone wants to go home, and they are much less careful. Don't be the first guy in line to turn it in.

janobles14
January 1, 2010, 05:11 PM
wow i guess im just on the other side of this. i absolutely cannot stand for any weapons i have to be dirty. i break down and clean all of them each and every time they are fired. this includes my .22's as well.

i just dont think it can ever hurt to clean them. there is no such thing as over-cleaning imho. just dont use harsh chems and youll be fine. for me, cleaning is a bit of a zen exercise and i dont dread it one bit.

mljdeckard
January 1, 2010, 05:19 PM
Overcleaning of ARs/M-16s causes things like dinged crowns and rifling which will kill accuracy, premature wearing of protective coatings, rattle and play between the pieces of the trigger group that control fire, bristles of cleaning implements lodged in various parts of the rifle, things like this. I THINK, that the army UNNECESSARILY strips and cleans weapons so much, (particularly in training units,) that they cause much more wear and breakage than just shooting them does.

You cleaning your guns every time your shoot them doesn't mean you are causing that kind of damage.

W.E.G.
January 1, 2010, 05:40 PM
http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/rkba2da/M16%20comic%20book/008.jpg

http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/rkba2da/M16%20comic%20book/001.jpg

tju1973
January 1, 2010, 05:48 PM
Because that's the way it's done.

We don't care that scraping the crown with the end of a cleaning rod will the destroy the accuracy, we DO care that there be no carbon anywhere on the rifle.

The actual manuals are better about being realistic. http://www.box.net/shared/tlxri3l1ic

BSW
Yeah, they used to make us use our firing pins to clean the crown. One recruit asked a Drill Instructor what the purpose was and also mentioned it killed accuracy. The DI asked him "How the -expicative- do you know?"-- the recruit responded back that he builds Match Grade M1A/M14s for his dad's company...
The DI ended up buying a match rifle from him-- never saw it in person, but we did get to see pictures of it, and the DI picked it up (we were told) graduation day outside of MCRD..
We were more worried about rust on deployment, because our armory on ship was literally a small conex box that leaked saltwater...

RockyMtnTactical
January 1, 2010, 05:54 PM
there is no such thing as over-cleaning imho.

You absolutely can over clean. Many people do more damage to their rifles cleaning them than they do shooting them.

fyrfytr
January 1, 2010, 06:19 PM
Wasn't lack of cleaning partially responsible for the problems that GI's were experiencing in Vietnam? That and non-lined bores? If so, I'd understand why they'd want to keep their weapon clean, to make sure it fires when they pull the trigger. If clean is good, extra clean is even better.

mljdeckard
January 1, 2010, 06:21 PM
Not if you clean to the point of damaging it. Read ALL of the comic page.

RockyMtnTactical
January 1, 2010, 07:36 PM
Wasn't lack of cleaning partially responsible for the problems that GI's were experiencing in Vietnam? That and non-lined bores? If so, I'd understand why they'd want to keep their weapon clean, to make sure it fires when they pull the trigger. If clean is good, extra clean is even better.

Dirty AR15's work fine when they are properly lubed.

taliv
January 1, 2010, 07:43 PM
currently, yes, rockymtn. i think he was asking about vietnam era though, in a mistaken attempt to compare the problems of that day (when they were screwing with the IMR vs ball powder, etc) with today.

wishin
January 1, 2010, 09:23 PM
Damn that sure brings back memories. They had those for vehicle maintenance too!

fyrfytr
January 1, 2010, 10:06 PM
Just thinking that with failures in the past in mind, and cleanliness issues as part of the problem, the solution became to clean the rifles excesively. That was all. When has the government ever bothered with facts?

Avenger29
January 1, 2010, 11:24 PM
Wasn't lack of cleaning partially responsible for the problems that GI's were experiencing in Vietnam? That and non-lined bores? If so, I'd understand why they'd want to keep their weapon clean, to make sure it fires when they pull the trigger. If clean is good, extra clean is even better.

Just thinking that with failures in the past in mind, and cleanliness issues as part of the problem, the solution became to clean the rifles excesively. That was all. When has the government ever bothered with facts?

Overcleaning has pretty much always been part of the military's routine, even dating back to the days of the musket. They'd use brick powder (softer than today's bricks, though) to scour the muskets to shininess. This also caused excess wear.

W.E.G.
January 1, 2010, 11:53 PM
Wasn't lack of cleaning partially responsible for the problems that GI's were experiencing in Vietnam?

Time magazine
Friday, Sep. 08, 1967
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,899755,00.html

Despite repeated denials, the Pentagon reversed itself last week and admitted publicly that its new lightweight rifle, the M16, does indeed have jamming troubles beyond those caused by lack of proper maintenance by G.I.s (TIME, June 9). Though the jamming is less severe than some of the rifle's critics claimed, its malfunction is serious enough for the Defense Department to order modification of all of the services' rifles, including approximately 135,000 in Viet Nam, where it is the basic infantry weapon.

The root of the trouble is the powder for the M-16's .233-cal. ammunition.

Small but magnum-loaded, the round is one of the most cantankerous in the history of American small-arms. Since 1964, when the Army was informed that Du Pont could not mass-produce the nitrocellulose-based powder within the specifications demanded by the M16, Olin Mathieson Company has supplied most ammunition for the rifle with a high-performance ball propellant of nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine.

Known as Olin WC 846, the new powder is capable of firing an M-16 round at the desired 3,300 ft. per sec. and has unexpectedly increased the rifle's automatic rate of fire from about 850 shots a minute to 1,000. The result is that the "little black rifle," as the M-16 is fearfully called by the Viet Cong, tends to jam because the powder leaves behind a dirty residue that clogs the faster-moving automatic parts.

To solve the problem, the Army for the past nine months has been outfit ting all M-16s with a new buffer system that slows the rate of fire back to 650 to 850 bullets per minute, thereby reducing the propensity to jam. In closerange fighting, a jam can be fatal. Tests with the WC 846 ball propellant show that a buffer-equipped M-16 now jams approximately only once every 4,000 shots. According to the Army's criteria, one jam every 1,001 rounds is acceptable. To compensate for the debris left behind by the new powder, all M-16s now being produced have chromium-plated chambers that are less likely to cause jamming and are easier to keep clean.

Generally, the M-16 rates high praise from the men in Viet Nam, who find its light weight (7.6 Ibs.) and rapid rate of fire ideal for jungle warfare. With proper maintenance, which will always be necessary to prevent jamming, the fighting men in Viet Nam should also find it a lethally reliable friend in need.

scythefwd
January 2, 2010, 01:22 AM
You can clean an M16 so that your glove comes out white. Then you hit it with CLP and a week later the glove will come out black.

I cleaned my M16 and M249 till I got a CLEAN patch every time I fired it, took it to the field, and every couple of days down range. I still had jamming issues down range, but that was from improper lube, not dirt. My rifles had a lot of rounds through them, and were cleaned a lot. That didn't stop me from making a 196/205 <? on second number> for my SAW quals and a 37/40 on my M16 quals. You MAY damage your arm by cleaning it improperly, but cleaning it every time till it is clean will not guarantee that your rifle will be damaged by cleaning.

EDIT - My unit issued otis cleaning kits, so we didn't run the risk of damaging bore or crown with a cleaning rod.

noob_shooter
January 2, 2010, 01:39 AM
AR's don't need cleaning.. It's like an AK.. put it in dirt and will fire fine.. hahaha j/k

hatchetbearer
January 2, 2010, 04:00 AM
I guessed that we were taught to clean rifles the way we did in boot camp to teach us attention to detail. if a marine's uniform has to be perfect, so should his rifle. ill be damned i could ever figure out how to clean behind the locking lugs. for the battalion inspection we covered the uppers and lowers in dish soap and blasted them with a garden hose. sure as hell got them clean. afterwards we dried them, oiled them and then hung them on the racks.

scythefwd
January 2, 2010, 04:01 AM
hatchetbearer .... pipe cleaners... lots of pipe cleaners.

hatchetbearer
January 2, 2010, 04:27 AM
if only we rated those... we had to make due with medical q-tips we "liberated" from our doc.

scythefwd
January 2, 2010, 04:27 AM
I brought my own :)

skidooman603
January 2, 2010, 04:56 AM
+1 on Q-Tips and Otis. I NEVER EVER clean ANYTHING from the muzzle.

scythefwd
January 2, 2010, 05:02 AM
skidooman - if only otis came with a good chamber brush and a rod stiff enough to use it :)

Oh, and a stiff bristled nylon toothbrush

skidooman603
January 2, 2010, 06:01 AM
Point taken :)

caveman379
January 2, 2010, 09:40 AM
I use breakfree as a cleaner/lubricator sparingly before and after a day at the range. Less than 10 minutes and put my babies back in my safe. No one ever tought me I just assume keep everything lubed to prevent rusting our fouling and keep the bolt group working smoothly. I figure in a system that blows gas around the gun who gives a turkey if it becomes black. Just keep everything lubed. That is only my opinion.

jdh
January 2, 2010, 10:29 AM
Call me a cheater. I left my squad in front of the arms room scrubbing away with the issued nylon brushes, pipe cleaners, tooth picks, and cotton swabs while I went back to the platoon office (RHIP) and blasted away with the spray cleaner on hand at the time then lubed it up with LSA (yes I said LSA not CLP). It took the grease monkeys from the motor pool awhile to figure out where their break/carb cleaner sprays were disappearing to. I passed the armorer's inspection first time every time and if he knew how he never said a word.

DMK
January 2, 2010, 10:44 AM
Call me a cheater. I left my squad in front of the arms room scrubbing away with the issued nylon brushes, pipe cleaners, tooth picks, and cotton swabs while I went back to the platoon office (RHIP) and blasted away with the spray cleaner on hand at the time then lubed it up with LSA (yes I said LSA not CLP). It took the grease monkeys from the motor pool awhile to figure out where their break/carb cleaner sprays were disappearing to. I passed the armorer's inspection first time every time and if he knew how he never said a word.I use brake parts cleaner on my guns all the time. It works great.

It will strip every bit of oil and paint off too(doesn't seem to hurt GunKote though). Use carefully and make sure to relube the gun well. It's my understanding that AR15s like to run a little wet.

GRIZ22
January 2, 2010, 11:09 AM
You really don't even need to clean it...maybe once every 10,000 rounds if you're bored or something.


I am not an advocate of overcleaning but advice like this is what got the M16 a bad reputation early on.

545days
January 2, 2010, 01:34 PM
Over cleaning will not damage a weapon.

IMPROPER cleaning has destroyed untold thousands.

janobles14
January 2, 2010, 01:54 PM
Over cleaning will not damage a weapon.

IMPROPER cleaning has destroyed untold thousands.

this is what i was trying to articulate! i want my weapons spotless but i dont ding crowns or drop out trigger groups. but you can eat off any of them.

Joeywhat
January 2, 2010, 02:08 PM
You really don't even need to clean it...maybe once every 10,000 rounds if you're bored or something.


I am not an advocate of overcleaning but advice like this is what got the M16 a bad reputation early on.

Funny, because that same advice has given others incredibly reliable rifles with VERY few failures in 10,000+ rounds.

A local trainer ran over 10,000 through his M&P 5.45 shooting ONLY corrosive ammo and NEVER cleaned it. Didn't have any issues short of a couple hard primers.

I think it's safe to say that the AR's we have in our hands today are not built exactly like the M16's built 40 years ago.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 2, 2010, 08:07 PM
Here is the typical military cleaning regiment I experienced.

1. The armorer wants a "white-glove" clean weapon, for the reasons already outlined above and because while defining "functionally clean" is difficult to do in an objective manner, everybody knows what "white-glove" clean is.

2. It is a direct impingement weapon. Getting it functionally clean is no problem. Getting it white glove clean using something like CLP and nothing else is a major chore because CLP pulls carbon out of places you never knew it existed.

3. The way we fixed that is to use brake/carb cleaner or Tide and hot water to completely degrease the weapon. We would also use really aggressive and unsanctioned cleaning techniques (bore/chamber brisjes in a drill chuck, etc.)

4. After this, we would not relubricate the weapon because that would just pull more carbon out and cause it to fail inspection. The weapons would be stored dry as a bone.

When the dry, improperly cleaned weapon was pulled from the armory next, it might occasionally fail to work well because of damage, corrosion (no protectant) or no lube (and because most often it was being used with blanks which are a whole different category of dirt and function issues). The solution for this was typically even more fanatical cleaning.

The other thing to keep in mind is that a weapon being used hard can be maintained with a pretty minimum level of attention; but a weapon being stored for several months after being used hard is probably going to need a little more love.

Sport45
January 3, 2010, 12:36 AM
The military has a bigger budget than I do. They probably don't care if they have to replace parts or a barrel or three because they were worn out by overzealous cleaning.

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