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When you don't clean guns . . .

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by brekneb, Jan 13, 2006.

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  1. brekneb

    brekneb Member

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    Does NOT cleaning a firearm cause any damage or any type of build up that cannot be removed?--Like in the receiver, trigger group, gas system of an auto, etc.
    Or does it simply make a firearm less accurate and less functional (more prone to malfunction.) Or in other words is there anything that cannot be undone after avoiding cleaning/proper maintenance.

    Is the build up harder to remove?--Is it like plastered in there--(becomes hardened?)
    I assume this would be dependent upon the quality of ammunition, number of rounds sent through it as well as how long the powder residue has been in place?

    Any other issues associated with NOT cleaning a gun?
    Oh and avoid the whole discussion of ‘sometimes over cleaning can be a bad thing too’.
    I’m mainly interested in the lack thereof. :D

    Note: I don't intend to avoid properly maintaining firearms. Although some 'junk' guns I plan on buying would probably never see a cleaning session.

    Thanks.
     
  2. R.O.F

    R.O.F member

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  3. gremlin_bros

    gremlin_bros Member

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    if the cleaning is done properly and with the proper equipment no adverse damage should occur. so go ahead and get a good cleaning kit and go to town my feeling is a clean gun is a reliable gun.
     
  4. brekneb

    brekneb Member

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    Yes and thanks to you both. But really I am particularly interested in just 'what happens' when you DON'T clean 'em.
    And I'm not interested SOLELY in the bore of the firearm, but also more specifically, the other areas (that I had mentioned)--receiver, trigger group, etc (and other areas I hadn't thought of).

    Thanks again.
     
  5. airmonkey

    airmonkey Member

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    In gas operated autos failure to clean the action will result in a build-up of gun powder residue that in time will cause in most autos a loss in reliability to feed and or eject shells. Most solvents will remove even a large amount of build-up fairly easily with a little elbow grease. As long as you use non-corrosive ammunition damage should be minimal to internal components.
     
  6. R.O.F

    R.O.F member

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    Someone at work was telling me of a compound that's only function was to remove copper from the barrel. I can't remember what it was, but it's purpose was the only one of it's kind. Anyone know??
     
  7. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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    probably most ammonia-based copper solvents such as barnes cr-10.
     
  8. ball3006

    ball3006 Member

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    Residue from firing....

    would build up to the point where the gun would not function. Not wiping the gun down after use would cause surface rust to form from fingerprints, moisture, ect........Only takes 5 minutes to do a quickie cleaning......if you are shooting surplus ammo, your bore will rot out from corrosive salts in the primer.......chris3
     
  9. Acolyte

    Acolyte Member

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    my co-worker says the gunk will 'absorb moisture' from the air or some such ... seemed fishy to me.
     
  10. Werewolf

    Werewolf Member

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    My gunsmith claims that the combination of lubricant and powder residue in the action can eventually change into a corrosive and abrasive compound that will damage the weapon.

    Not sure I agree as the powder residue is to the best of my knowledge just carbon. I don't see how mixing carbon and lube could change chemically to a corrosive compound.

    Still I clean my guns after every 3rd or so range session. Which is contrary to my training. Both my father and my military firearms instructors insisted that a weapon should be cleaned after every firing session. I used to do that but over the last 35 years I've come to realize that cleaning after every session is not only not necessary but may cause more problems than it solves.

    Now when I notice some copper or lead in a barrel then is when I do a cleaning. Copper because it impacts accuracy and lead because it can raise pressures as well as impact accuracy.

    Then there's Glocks. I've read that some guys have fired hundreds of thousands of rounds thru them without ever cleaning and with no loss of reliability.
     
  11. Firehand

    Firehand Member

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    There are several copper solvent-type bore cleaners. Brownell's now has one called (I believe) Coppermelt, that's supposed to be amazing.
     
  12. Biker

    Biker Member

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    True Werewolf, I quit counting how many rounds I put through my Glock 23 at 16,000 and I pretty much just give her a couple of drops of Remoil once a year or so and I've *never* experienced a malfunction of any kind. It really is an amazing weapon.
    I've never had a problem with any of my Glocks, but if I didn't keep my Colt LWC sparkly clean...
    Biker:uhoh:
     
  13. Chipperman

    Chipperman Member

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    "But really I am particularly interested in just 'what happens' when you DON'T clean 'em. "

    Everytime you DON'T clean your guns, God kills a kitten.
     
  14. Thefabulousfink

    Thefabulousfink Member

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    I'm sorry I can't buy that. You see, I was raised Catholic, so every time you don't clean your guns, the Baby Jesus cries.:D
     
  15. Biker

    Biker Member

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    Long as it ain't puppies...
    :evil:
    Biker
     
  16. nomadboi

    nomadboi Member

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    You don't think carbon and lube could be damaging? Try getting some wet/dry sandpaper, or maybe a daimond cutting bit from a dremel...

    Another interesting excercise: Shoot your gun for a while. Then load a blank, and shoot a piece of paper at very close range. See what all comes out on the paper. It is kinda like sandpaper grit, really.

    But yeah, makes a difference still if it's corrosive versus non-corrosive powder, lead bullets versus fmj, whatever.
     
  17. middy

    middy Member

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    It really depends upon the gun. Some may stop working properly due to buildup, some don't seem to care (the buildup occurs in non-critical areas, or is "broken off" by the operation of the action). Anecdotally, Glocks and AKs can go tens of thousands of rounds without cleaning.

    As long as you're using non-corrosive ammo you shouldn't see any permanent damage, although it's conceivable that enough of the right kind of fouling could act like a grit compound and accelerate wear.
     
  18. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    If you have a gun that converts carbon residue into diamond dust, I'd sure like to have a look at it... :)

    Sand, silicon carbide, and diamond are all harder than steel. However, carbon powder residue is just noncrystalline carbon--mostly graphite, plus some stickier PAH's and carbon-nitrogen compounds, but probably nothing hard enough to abrade steel.

    The main things I'd worry about are (1) corrosion and (2) reliability due to powder residue buildup. My SAR-1 will dry out and rust from lack of lubrication before it will malfunction, so I just have to keep a light coat of gun oil on it and clean it when the gunk gets noticeable. An AR would probably malfunction before it would rust, due to the different gas system and the greater number of nonferrous parts. So it will depend on your gun.

    I've found that my guns tend to rust where touched, rather than where powder residue collects. Skin oils contain salts, but powder residue is noncorrosive except for old milsurp ammunition.
     
  19. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    Well, they would look like crap after a while. Nothing quite like a cleaned and oiled gun.

    I would be more concerned with secondary effects of not cleaning. I would think they would be more prone to rust, premature wear of the parts, and reliability issues. Not the same in all cases with all guns.
     
  20. Lupinus

    Lupinus Member

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    Depends on the gun. Some guns have such close tolerances that if you don't keep them extremely clean they will jam up, some are so loose you will almost never have to clean them. That said it isn't a good idea not to. I have a Mauser Model 4 handgun, to break it down for cleaning involves removing a rod and the thing hadn't been cleaned for so long it took forever to get it out it was so gummed up.

    To be more specific you can get build up of gunpowder residue, copper and lead build up, carbon rings, and if that stays in there it can be hard to remove and cause some damage to the gun. Fire a hundred rounds then clean the gun with some patchs, now imagine what comes out time ten for each thousand rounds building up in there.

    What I do is if I fire more then a few rounds it gets cleaned, if it will sit for awhile even if it is only five or six rounds it gets cleaned. Generaly just a wet patch is enough every now and then I will use one a brush to take out any build up. Don't get obsesive in your cleaning runing a wire brush up and down it fifty times everytime you clean it, but don't be lax either.
     
  21. Jubei

    Jubei Member

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    I'd always been taught that firearm ownership was a priviledge and a responsability. A part of that responsibility is proper maintenance. While I may not be obsessive about cleaning my firearms, I do make an effort to clean them after each use, even if it's only wiping it down and running a boresnake through the barrel.

    And a gun is only a "junk gun" if it is treated like junk.

    Just my .02

    Jubei
     
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