A firearm should stay fully functional at all times. This can be accomplished by cleaning it thoroughly on a regular basis. Cleaning a firearm keeps it ready for hunting, battle or self defense. Keeping your firearm clean can make your gun work accurately and reliably. Here is how often a firearm should be cleaned and detailed guides on how to clean guns.

How Often Should I Clean My Gun

When wondering how often should you clean a gun, the answer depends on factors such as its model, age and purpose. Old firearms and those that are used for competition should be cleaned regularly and consistently. This is especially for owners that go to the shooting range often or spend a lot of time using their firearms. Therefore, different factors collectively determine the frequency of cleaning my gun. Here is a deep revelation of these factors and how to clean and oil a handgun.

Gun Maintenance And Factors That Affect The Firearm Cleaning Process

The factors which normally affect the process of cleaning a firearm include:

1. Type Of Ammunition

It is recommended that the process of cleaning a handgun be performed after each use. Interestingly, a significant amount of gunpowder residue and burnt oil are left inside the barrel of a firearm after taking a single shot! The type of ammunition that is fired plays a big part in how dirty a firearm can get. Some bullets have highly corrosive primer. After firing them, the hammer and parts of the action begin to rust immediately. As such, strive to keep a clean gun.

2. The type of firearm

Different types of firearms have varying cleaning requirements. Some examples of these include:

3. Old Firearms

Vintage or old firearms require frequent cleaning especially if they use corrosive ammunition. If an old firearm stays dirty, corrosive primer can eat away the internal parts of its action. To prevent this, old firearms should be cleaned after every use according to a regular schedule. Notably, a clean hand gun exhibits a longer lifespan and guarantees functionality.

Vintage revolver firearm

4. New Rifles And Pistols

The destructive effects of residue and dirt can affect new firearms. For those wondering how often should you clean your handgun, a new firearm should be cleaned after every other use. This schedule of cleaning a new gun promotes accuracy during usage and guarantees proper functionality.

Canik semi automatic pistol new firearm

5. Firearms Acquired For Defensive Use

A defensive firearm is stored for usage during an emergency such as a break-in or a robbery. Notably, it can get dirty despite not having been used for a long time. Dirt, dust, lint or residue can accumulate on the interior and exterior parts of a defensive firearm. To answer the question why should you clean your firearm, dirt and debris can cause a disastrous malfunction in a dirty firearm. Owners that are contemplating how often should i clean my handgun, a defensive firearm should be cleaned after every one or two months. By doing so during the procedure of how to clean handgun, the firearm is kept in good condition in case it is required.

6. Rifles, Shotguns And Pistols That Are Used For Sport

Cleaning your sporting firearm on a regular basis is very important. Rifles, shotguns and pistols which are used in competitions should be kept immaculately clean to maintain proper functionality and promote accuracy. The process describing how to properly clean a handgun must be followed after every use. Sporting firearms should also be checked for dirt throughout the competition to ensure that they provide the best performance at the shooting-range.

Sports firearm

How Often Should I Clean My Gun If I Don’t Use It And Can Regular Cleaning Of A Firearm Damage It?

Gun owners are often concerned that cleaning a gun regularly can cause damage. However, this is not true because cleaning your firearm cannot damage it. As a matter of fact, cleaning your firearm on a regular basis will keep it in good working condition.

How To Clean Gun And Prevent Damage To Your Firearm During The Cleaning Process

Cleaning a firearm incorrectly can damage it. Therefore, owners should follow these strict guidelines of how to clean a firearm:

Use the right cleaning kit

When wondering what do you need to clean a gun, weapon stores usually sell universal firearm cleaning kits such as the Marksman Precision Universal Gun Cleaning Kit. Buy the best universal firearm cleaning kit that is available to keep your rifle, pistol or shotgun in perfect condition. As a firearm owner contemplates what to clean a gun with, they should note that a high quality firearm cleaning kit is expensive because its tools are made using robust materials such as metal and nylon. Moreover, a wide range of motion is necessary when cleaning a firearm. As such, make sure that your Glock 19 cleaning kit contains a swivel rod which enables flexibility during the cleaning process. Therefore, be careful when selecting what to use to clean a gun.

Marksman Precision Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Utilize the correct solvents

Every firearm owner desires to maintain a shiny finish on their rifles. A solvent is used to polish your firearm and maintain this sleek finish. This shiny finish can get eroded if a firearm owner frequently uses the wrong solvent after discovering how often to clean a gun. Some solvents melt the firearm’s frame over time resulting in an unsightly rifle, shotgun or pistol! With this in mind, consult your firearm’s manufacturer such as fog firearms and ask about the most applicable polishing solvent while preparing on how to properly clean a gun. It is important to note that there are some universal firearm solvents in the market. However, the best approach is to get a solvent that is made specifically for your rifle. As you do so, keep the golden rule of firearms in mind. As illustrated in gru with gun, only point a handgun at a target when ready to shoot.

Use the right brush

Firearm brushes range in softness from supple to brittle. A soft brush cannot clean a heavy-duty firearm properly. On the other hand, a brittle brush can destructively scratch the surface of a light firearm. As such, pick the most ideal brush for your firearm by consulting your dealer or the manufacturer after discovering how often to clean handgun. Expensive brushes usually clean better and last longer than cheap alternatives. Furthermore, gun owners can buy cleaning kits that have been specifically manufactured for their firearms. After realizing how often should i clean my pistol, purchasing a cleaning kit that matches your firearm is always a step in the right direction.

How To Clean Gun By Type Of Firearm

How Often To Clean AR 15

AR 15 Rifle

The AR 15 rifle has a unique framework that owners can equip to create a customized home defense or assault firearm. It is a versatile, powerful and America’s most loved firearm. Therefore, owners wondering how often clean AR 15 should keep it clean at all times. To clean an AR 15 rifle, owners will need a gun mat, cleaning patches and a specific AR 15 bore guide. A cleaning rod equipped with nylon brushes, some gun cleaning solvent and lubricant are also required to complete the procedure of how to clean an AR 15 after shooting. This firearm should be cleaned after each use. That’s how often to clean AR 15.

With these tools in hand for cleaning AR 15 for first time, remove the rifle’s magazine and clear the firearm. Proceed to separate the upper and lower receivers. Extract the charging handle and bolt carrier. Clean out the upper receiver and the barrel when cleaning AR 15 before first use. Also, disassemble the bolt carrier and wipe it. Clean and inspect the lower receiver. Finally, lubricate the parts and reassemble the AR-15 rifle after determining a regular schedule for how often should you clean your AR 15. This guide reveals how often should i clean my AR 15. Remember to test its functions before storage in a cool, dry place. By following these guidelines, a firearm owner can discover how to clean your AR 15.

How To Clean A Pistol

Semi automatic pistol

Also referred to as handguns, pistols are compact, portable handguns that owners can use to defend themselves effectively at close range. Some examples include the 9mm pistol, Glock 19 semi automatic pistol, H&K, Sig P227 as well as the Smith and Wesson semi automatic pistols. To learn how to clean a semi auto pistol, begin by collecting the applicable cleaning tools including Hoppe’s premium cleaning kit, Hoppe’s #9 gun bore cleaner and Mil-Comm TW25B lubricant. This is the first step in learning how to clean a 9mm pistol.

In case a firearm owner is thinking about how often should i clean my 9mm pistol, this should be done after every use. To achieve the fundamentals of how to properly clean a pistol, start by disassembling this firearm. While following the guidelines describing how to clean your Glock, check its breech to make sure there’s no round. Also, take caution while extracting the spring to remove the barrel. After the barrel is out, brush it thoroughly using the push rod and .45 caliber brush during the process of mastering how to clean pistol. Maintain a uniform brushing motion for 30 seconds to remove all the carbon residue produced by unburned gunpowder and copper jacket build up while cleaning a pistol.

After brushing out all the residue, wrap the .45 caliber dowel with a patch that has been wet using Hoppe’s #9 cleaning solvent. Push the wet patch through the barrel. Repeat the process using 2 wet patches and 3 dry patches until the barrel is fully cleaned. In case an owner is curious about what happens if you don’t clean your gun, the firearm will get worn out quicker and can malfunction during use.

While mastering how to clean a 9mm pistol, it is essential to understand that semi automatic pistols accumulate residue in the firing pin assembly and ejector so these parts need to be brushed thoroughly. After contemplating how often should you clean your pistol, note that the specific sections which need cleaning include the slide’s interior, middle section by the ejector and firing pin. After that, the Mil-Comm TW25B lubricant can be applied on both sides of the slide’s rail while fulfilling the repetitive schedule of how often should i clean my Glock. This lubricant should also be applied on the top and the bottom sides of the hammer to prevent a rust semi auto pistol. After completing this important handgun maintenance activity, the semi automatic pistol can be reassembled. That is how to clean a semi automatic pistol. Remember that it must be tested by firing a few rounds. That is how to check if a gun is clean before it is stored.

How To Clean A Revolver

Smith and Wesson Revolver

There are hundreds of revolver models in the market today. Out of these, the Smith and Wesson revolver is the most famous one. Also known as the 38 special, it is loved by firearms enthusiasts because of its comfortable recoil and pin-point accuracy. Regular cleaning a revolver is required to keep the .38 Smith & Wesson Special operating properly. Here is how to clean a 38 special.

During the revolver cleaning process, apply a healthy amount of SEAL 1 CLP Plus Liquid on a brass bore brush and move the brush evenly through your revolver’s bore. While implementing the steps needed for how to clean revolver, re-apply the cleaning fluid as required to loosen up any built-up debris. When cleaning revolver, begin from from the chamber end, not the muzzle. Proceed to pick up a jag-ended cleaning rod and cover it with a SEAL Skinz patch. While practicing how to clean a 38 revolver, run as many patches as required through the barrel until they emerge clean.

During the application of skills on how to clean a 38 special revolver, switch focus to the cylinder and use a brass bore brush that has been sprinkled with a good amount of SEAL 1 CLP Plus Liquid to clean out each chamber of the cylinder. To complete the procedure of how to clean a revolver Smith and Wesson, equip the jag-ended cleaning rod with a SEAL Skinz patch and run through each cylinder.

Having completed cleaning the interior parts of the 38 revolver, pay attention to its frame. Wipe dirt off this section using a damp rag. After noting that how often to clean pistol is on a regular basis, focus upon the part beneath the grips because dirt and debris tend to accumulate there. After the cleaning process is over, apply a light coat of lubricant on the revolver and then reassemble the firearm.

How To Clean A Shotgun

Remington V3 Tac 13 semi automatic shotgun

The semi-automatic shotgun uses a repeating action so that it can shoot rounds faster than a pump-activated, single-shot action shotgun. Here is how to clean a semi auto shotgun.

Begin by disassembling the firearm. After following its manual which clearly describes how often should a firearm be cleaned, take apart the barrel and gas system parts. Also, extract its trigger system along with its bolt and link. Clean out the residue of debris or gunpowder from the trigger mechanism using a can of compressed air. Proceed to make sure that all the debris is removed from the semi-automatic shotgun’s action by using a nylon brush. After that, hold an oil spray bottle 10 to 12 inches away and spritz the firearm’s action with a light layer of lubricant. After making a few squeezes, wipe off any excess oil with a clean rag to prevent it from accumulating into sludge that can impair the action’s function.

For gun owners examining how often should you clean your shotgun, there are two ways to clean the firearm’s bolt action system on a regular basis. The first is by removing the firing pin and disassembling the action. In this method, wipe off any sludge that could have accumulated on the bolt action. Having done so, apply a drop of Break Free Cleaner Lubricant Preservative (CLP) on the action. The second method is by avoiding the entire disassembly process. In this method, simply pour a drop of CLP in the firing pin hole. After that, oil the bolt action system and reassemble it back together.

The firearm’s receiver is next. Take it apart and clean out any old oil, gunpowder residue or sludge. After it is spotless, lightly oil the receiver. The gas system on your semi-automatic shotgun also requires some cleaning. This system can be dipped in an ultrasonic cleaner that will clean up all the metallic parts. However, this method does not work perfectly for the polymer sections. Alternatively, the gas system can be cleaned using a wire brush and some elbow grease.

In case a gun owner is contemplating how often do you clean your gun, the magazine tube on your semi automatic shotgun also requires regular cleaning. This can be done by scrubbing it using fine steel wool with the gas system off. Firearm owners can also use a 10-gauge brush to clean the magazine tube. Before taking this step, remember to remove the spring and follower. Notably, shotgun shells will feed smoothly into the action after cleaning up the magazine tube.

The gun barrel is an important part in your semi-automatic shotgun and it needs a thorough cleaning. When applying how to clean a gun barrel, scrub the reachable interior sections of the barrel with a bronze brush to remove carbon buildup after disassembling it from the action. In case there is some debris lodged in the barrel, insert a bore snake to remove them. After that, use an oil bob to lubricate it.

Shotguns are often equipped with a choke and it also requires regular cleaning. Begin by unscrewing the choke from your firearm. Use a wire-brush on the threads, both on the choke and the barrel to remove all the dirty grease. After the choke is clean, cover it with a light layer of grease and screw it back in.

The final step involves inspecting and cleaning the action spring. Depending on the model of your semi-automatic shotgun, the action spring is located in the stock or the magazine. It is necessary to remove the firearm’s stock tube to reach the action spring. After that, put the receiver in a padded vise for a firm hold.

BERETTA A400 Xtreme Plus KO 12 Gauge 26in Barrel 3Rd 3.5in Chamber 5 Choke Tubes Semi-Automatic Shotgun”

Unscrew the nut that holds the action spring in position. If your semi-automatic shotgun was manufactured by Beretta, this nut may have been fastened using Loctite. In such a case, heat will need to be applied upon the nut to make it loose. There will be a little bar running through the tube that holds the action spring. While still cleaning his gun, position your hand over the tube and push the little bar out. Use the most suitable fluid solvent to clean the bar and the spring. After that, oil it with a light layer of lubricant and then assemble these parts back into your semi-automatic shotgun.

Reassemble the semi-automatic shotgun after all the important parts of this firearm have been cleaned and lubricated. During this procedure, make sure that all pistons and rings are positioned in the right direction. After the semi-automatic shotgun is fully assembled, wipe it down with a light layer of oil and store it in a safe. For firearm owners that are contemplating how often should i clean my shotgun, this process needs to be performed each time the firearm is used.

How To Clean A Rifle

Bolt action rifle

The bolt action rifle is very popular among hunters and sniper soldiers. It maximizes accuracy while providing a manageable recoil.

.223 Remington bolt action rifle

Daniel DELTA5 6.5 Creedmoor bolt action rifle

Popular models of bolt action rifles include the .223 Remington and the 6.5 Creedmoor. It is important to clean a bolt action rifle regularly so that it can keep operating without a hitch. Here’s how to go about this.

As a firearm owner begins learning how to clean a bolt action rifle, gather together all the items that are needed to clean the bolt action rifle. These include some disposable, heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands from the cleaning solvents or chemicals and paper towels or cloth rags. A bore guide, caliber brush, cleaning rod and cleaning patches are also required for mastering how to clean a semi auto rifle. The solvents required include bore cleaner, rust lubrication and copper solvent. A gun vice is needed to hold your bolt action rifle firmly in place throughout the cleaning process. Furthermore, an Allen wrench can be utilized to analyze the tightness of the scopes and sling swivels.

As a gun owner practices how to clean a 22 rifle semi auto, safety always comes first. Therefore, commence the procedure by ensuring that the firearm is unloaded and barrel is facing a safe direction. Even if a firearm owner may feel that safe routines bore me, the detachable magazine must be removed and the action checked to make sure there is no round in the chamber before commencing the cleaning process.

Fasten the 22 rifle semi automatic rifle in a gun vice and remove the bolt. Check this part for twists or cracks. After that, wipe the firearm using a paper towel to remove dust, grit or debris. The stock can also be cleaned using a cloth that’s been moistened with warm, soapy water.

Clean the barrel starting from the breech. Attach a clean patch around the tip of the nylon brush and douse it with some bore cleaner. After that, run the patch back and forth through the barrel to clean all gunpowder residue. Repeat this process six times until the wet patches come out clean. Once you’re confident that the barrel is clean, run some dry patches through it to wick out the cleaning solvent. During this process, make sure that none of the solvent spills on the stock.During this process, remember the golden rule of firearm use. As depicted in gru with a gun, only point a gun at a target if you are ready to shoot.

After the barrel is clean, shift focus to the rest of the metal parts of your bolt action rifle. Soak a paper towel or rag with the cleaning solvent and wipe down the magazine box, trigger guard, bolt and bolt face. A soft brush can be used to remove any crusted debris. After that, wipe the rifle’s parts using a solvent-soaked rag.

To find out what do i need to clean my gun in the next step, pick up a copper cleaner. Soak a patch with this cleaner and wrap it around a nylon brush. Run it through the rifle’s barrel and allow the cleaner to sit for 10 minutes. After this time has elapsed, run some dry patches through to wipe away the copper solvent before it corrodes the rifling. Repeat the process until all the copper build up has been fully eliminated.

The last step is to lubricate the bolt-action rifle. Pick up a patch and apply some oil upon it. With the patch wrapped around the nylon brush, run it through the barrel for lubrication. Remember to lightly oil the external parts of the bolt-action rifle too. With that done, the firearm can be stored securely until its next use.

Gun Maintenance Tips On How To Clean Your Magazine

Magazine cleaning

Firearm owners clean their rifles but always forget to clean the magazines. While all the other parts of a firearm such as the sights, barrel, trigger, grip and finishes are helpful, the magazine is the most essential because it contains all the rounds. Here is how to clean your magazine and keep the firearm running smoothly.

GTUL Magazine Disassembly tool

Begin by removing all the rounds. Use a GTUL Magazine Disassembly tool to compress the tabs that are situated on the magazine’s body so that the floorplate can be slid off. Disassemble the magazine’s parts and lay them separate from each other.

Pick up the tube and clean it with a damp patch. Repeat this process with the follower and the spring. Use numerous damp patches to eliminate all the oil, dust or debris from the magazine. After the magazine’s parts are clean, wipe them with a dry patch until they are free from any moisture.

Keep the magazine spotless by following a regular cleaning routine. Clean the follower with a soft brush and then wipe it using a damp patch. After that, wipe the exterior body of the magazine. This should be done after every use to guarantee consistent, smooth operation.

How To Clean Gun FAQs

Q: When should a firearm be loaded with the action closed?

A: The action should always be kept closed when the firearm is in use. After the shooting is completed, safety guidelines indicate that the firearm should be unloaded and the action can be opened.

Q: How many rounds to break in a pistol?

A: It takes 100 rounds to break in a pistol.

Q: Should i clean my handgun before using it for the first time?

A: The answer to should you clean a new gun is No. A new firearm should not be cleaned before first use. Therefore, firearm owners wondering should i clean my gun before using it for the first time should avoid doing so.

Q: Why do pistol barrels tilt up when locking the slide back?

A: The barrel tilts up to disengage from the slide and allow the slide to eject a used round.

Q: What is the ultimate defense firing range?

A: The Ultimate Defense Firing Range is the safest indoor and professionally operated firing range in the American Midwest.

Q: What happens when you don’t clean your gun?

A: Firearm malfunctions can happen when the gun is not cleaned regularly. Lack of cleaning can cause an incomplete discharge which is characterized by a bullet getting stuck in the barrel. It can also cause a failure to eject used cartridges. Both firearm malfunctions are deadly because they can cause the firearm to explode. As such, it is important to clean your gun as often as possible.

Q: Can you use WD40 on guns?

A: Yes. Known in full as Water Displacing formula #40, WD40 can be used to temporarily protect your firearm from moisture. Firearm owners wondering can you clean a gun with WD40 should note that a light coat of WD40 on the exterior of your firearm can protect it from splashes of water or rain. However, WD40 is not ideal for the internal parts of a firearm including the action. There are much better solvents for deep lubrication that deliver maximum effectiveness.

Q: How often should a firearm be cleaned to keep it in top condition?

A: Firearm owners that are thinking about how often to clean gun must do so after every use.

Q: Why should you clean your firearm after each time you use it?

A: To prevent the accumulation of unburned gunpowder, copper residue and burned oil.

Q: What should the outside surface of a firearm be cleaned with?

A: The exterior of a firearm can be cleaned with a suitable solvent.

Q: When cleaning a firearm, what end of the firearm should you generally clean from?

A: The breech heading towards the muzzle.

How Often Should You Clean A Gun Conclusion

We have covered how to take apart a gun, clean it and also how to polish gun parts. These activities are very important because they ensure that a firearm is fit for use. According to this gun cleaning 101, always observe safety when cleaning a firearm. Keep the muzzle pointed away and always unload the firearm before cleaning it as described in this guide about how to clean a handgun. That is the best way to clean a gun.

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James Smith

I'm James Smith, a former commander of the United States Marine Corps Infantry Group. After serving in the Marine Corps, I served for several years with the Kentucky State Police Force and 20 years with the New York City Police Department. I am also an  hunter, archer, outdoor photographer and obsessed with weapons and everything related to it.

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