How to Clean My Gun?

A good gun serves generations if maintained the right way. You’ll be surprised to know that most gun users prefer cleaning their guns either at the beginning or end of a session. No matter what activity you indulge in, gun cleaning practice is a must. And if you ask why?

The simple answer would be that firearms are practically built to last long and have quite a few safety features that keep us from accidents. Maintaining them well preserves their functionality and value and serves you the confidence of performance when needed.

Now, let’s get into what’s the right way and how often you should clean it.

Steps to Clean Your Gun the Right Way

Before we start with the steps, a word of advice would be: Even if you are cleaning your gun for the hundredth time, get some well-ventilated place for the job. A small, closed room may not be a great idea.

#1 Unload or Empty the Gun

It is essential that you take time and check and recheck while unloading your gun before cleaning. Ensure the gun doesn’t have a round ready to release and remove it from the barrel.

#2 Disassemble to Its Components

Unless you are a pro at this, definitely check the manual before disassembling the gun. For most break-action guns, you should have a forend, the action, and the barrel.

While for rifles and semi-automatic pistols, you’ll have the magazine, frame, guide rod, barrel, and slide. Remember, it’s not necessary to strip shotguns and revolvers to be cleaned. 

#3 Wipe the Dirt Off

Now, get a clean and dry cloth or rag and wipe the gun and its components individually. You can use a cotton swab or toothpick to wipe away the debris from the hard-to-reach areas. 

Parts like the trigger guard, alongside the ribs, and places around the ejectors need special attention as they may hold clotted grease, pine needles, etc.

#4 Clean the Barrel and Patches

Once you have cleaned most of the dirt away, move on to the barrel. Take a decent-sized cotton patch and soak it in bore solvent. Push the patch from one end and take it out from the other. 

Remember not to pull it back as that may redeposit the dirt inside the barrel. Take a bore brush and run it two to three times inside the barrel. This will help loosen any debris.

Once done, put the solvent-soaked cotton back into the barrel, and run it through. Do this until the cotton comes out clean.

#5 Lubricate the Barrel

Get a small rag, spray some oil and wipe all the components to maintain the luster and shine. This will also help prevent rust, but remember only to use a few drops. For the barrel, take a cotton swab dipped in gun oil and run it through the inside for a light coating. 

Keep your gun away in a well-ventilated area and let it rest and dry for a while. 

#6 Reassemble and Perform A Functional Check

Every time we disassemble a gun and reassemble it, it is imperative to have a functional check to rule out accidental discharge risk. Do check if the slide operation, trigger mechanism, magazine retention, and ejection all work fine. 

During this complete disassembly process, cleaning and reassembly, never miss out on the gun safety rules.

How Often Should You Clean Your Gun?

Every time you use your gun, the ammunition cartridge fires up and ignites the gunpowder and leaves residue inside the barrel. Sometimes, there’s also a small amount of bullet metal that remains. This debris keeps adding and clogging the barrel, which can affect the gun’s reliability and accuracy. 

So, ideally, no matter which firearm you use, it should be cleaned after every shooting session. 

This is me, Steve Coffman. I'm the Chief Editor of IGFA. I'm retired military personnel who is now into shooting and hunting. As an outdoor expert, I have experience in dealing with all kinds of guns, from light to heavy firearms. Currently, I'm spending my time hunting, shooting and writing on my blog.