The basics of gun maintenance and cleaning

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Unless you work in the firearms industry, chances are you do not enjoy stripping and cleaning your firearm on the weekends. Despite it being a total chore, gun cleaning is necessary. We all want—no, we all need—a functional firearm.

No matter your experience level, gun cleaning and maintenance is essential, and we intend to boil it all down to the basics.

BASIC GUN CLEANING TOOLS

You need not spend hundreds of dollars on a gun cleaning kit. For most of us, accumulating gun cleaning tools over time is commonplace. If you want to purchase an affordable gun cleaning kit, go right ahead and do so now.

No matter which method you choose, there are a few essential tools you require. These tools include a cleaning rod brush, patches for oil or solvent, and cleaning rods. Other tools are extra.

DISASSEMBLE YOUR FIREARM

Okay, so you need not know how to disassemble your firearm fully. You do, however, need to understand how to field strip your gun for cleaning purposes.

But first, know that all firearms are unique. If you work with an AR-15, disassembling it will vary compared to, say, an AK-47.

Chances are your firearm came with a manual of some type. If not, you can find one online to download as a PDF. Whichever you choose, take an afternoon to read it from cover-to-cover. Yes, it is a dry read, but super important.

CLEANING YOUR BARREL

Of all the components of your rifle, the barrel is one of the most important. The barrel also winds up with the most grime. As such, it requires the most care.

Here are a few steps on how to clean your barrel:

  • First, take up your cleaning rod and connect a bore brush coated in the solvent to the end.
  • Carefully push the rod through the barrel bore until it is scrubbed well.
  • Once the barrel is free of grime, attach a patch holder to your cleaning rod, then do the same.
  • Swap out the patches as they become dirty.
  • Once you are satisfied the built-up grime is removed, apply a clean patch, add lubricant or gun oil, and then run it through the barrel bore once more.

CLEANING OTHER COMPONENTS

Now that the barrel is clean, let's turn our focus to other components.

Using a nylon brush dipped in solvent, you can easily wipe down the residue and buildup from your firearm. Do not forget to focus on all the little nooks and crannies of your rifle. Many semi-automatics build-up dirt in crucial contact points beneath the ejector and slide.

Once you finish cleaning and wiping down the frame, apply lubrication to any moving components.

THE DOS AND DON’TS OF GUN CLEANING

Like most things in life, there are do's and don’ts to gun cleaning.

DO'S:

  • Handle your firearm as if it were loaded.
  • Ensure your firearm is not loaded before disassembly and cleaning.
  • Wear safety glasses while cleaning your guns.
  • Keep children and untrained people away from your firearms while cleaning.
  • Lubricate only those components that require it.

DON’TS:

  • Do not drink or use drugs before cleaning a firearm.
  • Do not joke around or mess about with your firearm.
  • Do not leave a gun cocked or with its safety off.
  • Do not leave your firearm loaded before cleaning.

We hope you walk away with a better understanding of the importance of keeping a clean firearm in your home. If you think you’re ready, we have 80% lower receivers available now, which allows you to build an AR-15 to your precise specifications!

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