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How do you clean 'em?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Blackbeard, Jul 28, 2007.

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  1. Blackbeard

    Blackbeard Member

    Jun 16, 2007
    Behind the Daley Curtain (IL)
    Being a newcomer to firearm ownership, I've never really had any instruction on how to clean my firearms. Can someone give me a quick rundown of the basics, or post a link to a good how-to site for newbies?

    Do you use oil or CLP, or something else?
    Do you just clean the bore?
    Do you use a cleaning rod or a bore snake?
    Do you use different things for the bore and the other parts?
    Do you use different cleaners/preservatives for different finishes?
    Do you completely disassemble your guns?
  2. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Richmond, VA
    Ask 100 people how to clean guns and you'll get 100 completely different cleaning routines. And every one of them will use a different mix of cleaning and lubricating products.

    I use Break Free CLP for about 90% of all my cleaning needs --

    1. Field strip the gun. (Check you owner's manual on how to field strip each gun you own. Shouldn't take more than a few seconds.)
    2. Put a few drops of CLP on a patch and wipe everything down.
    3. Repeat the above step until no residue is being picked up by the patch.
    4. Run a CLP soaked patch thru the barrel. Wait a few minutes. Then run a nylon brush thru the barrel a few time. Then run dry patch patches thru the barrel until they come out clean.
    5. Take a final patch and put a 4 drops of CLP on and and give everything (including the bore) a final pass for lubrication.
    6. Reassemble the gun. Done.

    I use a little grease (Mobile 1 synthetic) on the frame rails of my semi-auto handguns.

    Occasionally, I'll use Hoppes #9 and/or Outers Foaming Bore Cleaner to clean the bore if there is a lot of lead or copper fouling. Then I'll use a brass bore brush instead of a nylon brush.

    The only other product I use is G96 Gun Treatment to wipe down guns that have been handled and to periodically wipe down all the guns in my gun cabinet. The only reason I use it is because I love the smell of it. It makes a gun cabinet smell wonderful. :)

    I use Dewey coated cleaning rods for all my cleaning. I've tried Boresnakes but didn't care for them.

    Guns don't need a lot of cleaning as long as you're shooting non-corrosive ammo. Just enough to make sure they cycle properly and to keep 'em pretty. I usually spend 10-15 minutes per gun cleaning them after a shooting session.

    Things to be careful about include keeping powder solvents away from wood finishes. Strong solvents like Hoppes #9 will eat thru a wood finish in short order. Also, don't put too much oil on a gun. If you put too much and then sit it upright in a cabinet, the oil will drain towards the stock and can soften the wood and damage the stock.

    If a gun has not been fired for awhile, remember to lightly lube it before taking it out shooting as the oil has probably long since evaporated. Gun oils are fairly light weight and evaporate quickly.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2007
  3. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Member

    Mar 7, 2006
    I do basically what RNB65 does. I've recently started looking at Slip 2000 products, but the procedure would be the same.
  4. revjen45

    revjen45 Member

    Jul 26, 2007
    Everett, WA
    If it's a .22 cleaning the bore can cause more wear than shooting it. Unless it's going to be packed away for a long time the residue will actually protect the bore. Obviously if the crud biulds up to the point that it interferes with operation it's cleaning time.
    I have not found Break Free to be that good a bore solvent, but other posters seem to find it satisfactory. I remove bore residue with Hoppe's #9 and run a patch with Break Free thru the bore when it's clean to leave a protective coat, and wipe the metal surfaces down with it. There should be just enough to feel it, not big gobs of liquid all over the gun. Run a dry patch thru the bore before you shoot it the next time, as lubricants can cause the first shot to have a different POI. It's also a good idea because it removes anything that may have accumulated in the bore during storage. Never shoot a gun that has been stored without checking the bore for obstructions- spiders have been known to take up residence and then starve to death, leaving their little corpses behind. Most people agree that WD-40 is not a good product to use on Firearms. If you shoot corrosive ammunition clean with Windex with ammonia or household ammonia diluted about 4 or 5 to 1 with water, or with hot water before using the normal cleaning procedures. Corrosive priming salts are not soluble in the same things as non-corrosive primers and powder residue. Wishing you good shooting.
  5. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

    Mar 30, 2006
    Rocky River, Ohio
    WRONG! CLEAR the gun first!

    Gun cleaning is ALWAYS easier WITHOUT a sucking chest wound!
  6. Ohio Rifleman

    Ohio Rifleman Member

    Jul 15, 2006
    My cleaning routine is pretty simple and straightforward.

    1. Soak an old toothbrush in solvent and scrub out the action
    2. Wipe out action with a rag or patches until it comes out reasonably clean
    3. Use appropriate brush and cleaning rod, soak brush in solvent (Hoppes #9) Run through bore a few times
    4. Run some patches through bore
    5. Repeat steps 3-4 as needed
    6. Place a drop or two of Hoppes lubricating oil on a patch and run through bore
    7. Rub lubricating oil into action, especially with semi-autos
    8. Done

    Keep in mind, I'm a pretty low-volume shooter, so cleaning my guns isn't usually a long process.
  7. esheato

    esheato Member

    Apr 8, 2003
    I shoot enough that I can't clean after every range session. On top of that it depends on the type of gun and the use.

    I'm going to assume that you re-lube everything before you store it. For short term storage use whatever you feel is appropriate. For long term storage, RIG is damn near perfect.

    Minimum firearm cleaning equipment: Cleaning rod, bronze brush (in the caliber you're cleaning), patches, solvent, maybe a silicon cloth for the exterior.

    For the varying types of guns:

    Pistol? Hose it out and wipe it down.
    Shotgun? Scrub the choke tubes and wipe out the bore.
    Bolt action? USE A BORE GUIDE and clean the bore; powder solvent then copper solvent and wipe down.
    Lever action? Clean the bore and wipe it down.
    Semi-auto? Hose it out and wipe it down.

    Solvents are a very personal thing. Everyone has a favorite. Personally, I like Shooters Choice. Shooters Choice dissolves powder residue like no other.

    Also, Q-Tips are your friends. ;)

    Big picture; as long as you're not growing rust and maintaining accuracy you are doing alright.

  8. DnPRK

    DnPRK Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    LA, CA
    1. I start with a sloppy wet patch (Butch's Bore Shine) and Dewey rod with the patch pushed through from chamber to muzzle. Then discard the patch.

    2. Next, wet a brush with Butch's, again cleaning from the chamber end. After every 20 brush strokes, I hose off the bore with brake cleaner and repeat #1, then resume brushing until done (one stroke for every round fired). I use a brush that is one size larger than bore size (use 6mm instead of 22, use 35 instead of 308, use 40 instead of 9mm, etc)

    3. Repeat #1, then follow with a dry patch.

    4. Push through 2 patches sloppy wet with FP10 from chamber to muzzle, followed by 2 dry patches.

    5. Scrub down the bolt, magazines and receiver with a toothbrush dipped in Butch's to loosen fouling, then hose off with brake cleaner.

    6. Allow bolt, magazines and receiver to dry and inspect for fouling. Repeat #5 as necessary.

    7. Oil the bolt, mags & receiver with FP10 using clean toothbrush to make sure lubricant is well distributed and gets into tiny crevasses. Wipe off excess oil with a rag. Apply moly grease to things that slide, like bolt lugs, and reassemble the firearm.
  9. CountGlockula

    CountGlockula Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    In a Los Angeles coffin.
    Here's my routine for cleaning my Glock model 35...

    M-Pro 7 to clean and Hoppes #9 to lubricate.
    Not only the bore, but also the reciever, spring and slide.
    I use a flexible cleaning rod with multiple attachments from OTIS. http://www.otisgun.com/
    Just OTIS cleaning kit.
    Nope just the cleaning solvent and lube oil. See #1.
    No. Just basic field strip.

    I hope this helps you.
  10. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Richmond, VA
    See, I told ya. 100 different cleaning routines and 500 different products! :D

    Let's see, so far 8 people have responded to your post and the list of products include:

    BF CLP
    Hoppes #9 solvent
    Outers Foaming Bore Cleaner
    G96 Gun Treatment
    Mobile 1 synthetic grease
    Slip 2000 products
    Windex (for corrosive ammo)
    Hoppes lubricating oil
    RIG grease
    Shooters Choice solvent
    Butch's Bore Shine
    M-Pro 7
    Dewey rods
    Otis cleaning kit

    Frightening, isn't it? :)
  11. esheato

    esheato Member

    Apr 8, 2003
    Frightening, isn't it? Oh yeah!

    BF CLP - Decent at everything, not really good at anything.
    Hoppes #9 solvent - Decent
    Outers Foaming Bore Cleaner - Worked the several times I've tried it
    G96 Gun Treatment - Never heard of it
    Mobile 1 synthetic grease - I use it to lubricate the ram on my presses.
    Slip 2000 products - Super slippery stuff.
    Windex (for corrosive ammo) - I use it for cleaning windows ;)
    Hoppes lubricating oil - Decent
    RIG grease - My personal favorite.
    Shooters Choice solvent - Same as above
    Butch's Bore Shine - Always wanted to try it. Heard good things about it.
    FP10 - Love it as a normal lubricant.
    M-Pro 7 - Heard good things, never tried it though.
    Dewey rods - The one and only.
    Otis cleaning kit - Might be ok for a hunting cleaning kit due to its' light weight.

    This is a very small list......

  12. cracked butt

    cracked butt Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    SE Wisconsin
    I shoot the barrel full of Outers bore foam and let it sit for about 20 minutes. While I'm doing that I wipe down the removeable parts with a rag wet with Hoppes #9 followed by wipedown with a silicone cloth dampened with B_C Sheath. (BTW Hoppes and Sheath are the 2 best smells in the world);)

    Run a dewey coated rod or otis cable through the bore with a patch, followed by a patch with hoppes #9, followed by a few more dry patches. I finish with a patch soaked with Sheath followed by another dry patch.

    If the barrel is particulary full of copper, I use run a patch soaked with Hoppes elite through the barrel and let it sit for awhile. This is good stuff, its thick like runny snot so that it doesn't drip all over the place, and it doesn't have any odor. Butch's Bore shine works about as good as the Hoppes Elite, but has such bad fumes that I can't clean with it in the house.

    Edit: the moving parts get a very light coat of Militech-1 oil, the M1 gets Militech grease. I got a free sample of this stuff a few years ago, it works very well, smells kind of bad, but it was free :)
  13. eltorrente

    eltorrente Member

    Jul 3, 2007
    All I use is Kano Kroil.

    After coming home from the range, I field strip and apply a good amount to a patch and run it through my barrel and let it sit for awhile. I take another patch with Kroil and wipe down the rest of the gun, and use brushes and clean patches to get the crap inside and outside of my gun.

    After sitting for a bit, I run a bore brush through the barrel several times, then another patch with Kroil, then more brushing. I inspect the barrel after running a bore mop through it and see if there is anything left.

    Kroil seeps into the metal and protects/lubricates it (supposedly into spaces 1/1millionth of an inch), so I apply a very light amount to the insides of the gun and the barrel (you don't want the barrel to be wet when firing- it could be bad- so just a very light layer for protection). Before I go to the range, I make sure there is some on the slide rails to keep it moving smoothly.

    Everyone has their own method and they all work.
  14. SoCalShooter

    SoCalShooter Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    That's for me to know and not you!

    Competition shooters will tell you DO NOT dissasemble the weapon unless you have to, the reason being that every time to disasemble your weapon you raise the chance of affecting the accuracy especially in match handguns and rifles.

    1. clear weapon
    2. open action and spray with brake cleaner thoroughly then wipe it down or scrub with a nylon brush as necessary.
    3. use hoppes #9 and swab the bore a couple of times till it shines (do not scrub)
    4.spray action with clp wipe down excess
    5. cycle action to work in clp
    6. move on to next weapon
    As long as the action on your weapon cycles and your magazines drop free or insert properly you do not need to do anymore cleaning, it ain't a Ferrari and besides guns function better when they are dirty.

    1.Clear weapon
    2. Open action insert bore guide or muzzle guide
    3. swab barrel with hoppes #9 several times till clean and shiny
    4. swab barrel with sweets 7.62 solvent 3 times (usually) until shiny
    5. spray action with brake cleaner and wipe down or scrub with nylon brush
    6. spray action with CLP and wipe down excess
    7. swab barrel with tetra gun oil only 1 time.
    8. move on to next weapon
  15. akodo

    akodo Member

    Aug 31, 2005
    I have become a guncleaning minimalist as far as how many patches I use and time I can spend scrubbing a barrel.

    First thing to do. Check to see if it is unloaded, check to see if the magazine is unloaded, check again to see if it is unloaded.

    Things that make your gun dirty

    1 powder residue
    2 oils from your skin
    3 dropping it in a swamp

    Unless #3 happens, #2 is probably your biggest concern unless you shoot a lot, or are a competative benchrester or what have you.

    If I am just handling my guns, I always 'clean' them afterwards by simply putting a little oil on a rag and wiping down the wood and metal. The only reason I wipe the wood down is after years and years of not wiping it, it can dry out some and not look as good. The big concern is the acids on your fingertips eating away the bluing on the metal parts.

    Just wiping down the outside is what many people have done, and will keep a good firearm going for a long time, especailly things like a deer rifle you pull out, shoot 3 rounds to make sure the gun sighted correctly, shoot 2 more at a deer, whipe it down with oil and store for next year.

    I use regular remington gun oil for this, but even olive oil would work. This also seems to lube the action quite well without overdoing it. Dumping excess oil in can actually be a bad thing, when it sets it can run and pool in bad spots, or it can collect dust and lint and become like sock flavored jam, which I wouldn't want on my toast nor my gun.

    I do add some barrel maintence to this. I use Hoppes #9, run a wet patch down, the let it soak for a bit, then I use a proper sized brass wire brush, push it all the way down and back up 3 times, send down 1 clean dry patch, if it comes back really dirty I send down another clean dry patch, and then send down a wet patch then 3 more wire brushings. I will do this cycle a few times. I know that even if the 2nd dry patch comes through clean or almost clean, more hoppes and vigorous scrubbing followed by a wet patch would probably reveal more fouling, but I figure it is clean enough for good accuracy and any excessive buildup has been removed.
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