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Clean your firearms after every use to keep them in top condition. Every hunter should own a complete cleaning kit.

Man cleaning his rifle

Work on a cleared table or bench. Always give cleaning your full attention. Never clean a firearm while doing something else.

Follow these basic steps to clean your firearm.

  • Point the muzzle in a safe direction, and make sure the gun is unloaded.
  • Remove all ammunition from the cleaning bench.
  • For the most thorough cleaning, field strip the firearm as directed in the firearm owner's manual. Then clean each part separately.
  • Follow the instructions in your cleaning kit. If possible, clean the barrel from the breech end, using a bore guide and a cleaning rod holding a bore-brush or patch, wetted with solvent. Pass the brush/patch all the way through the barrel. Repeat several times with fresh patches. You may need a larger brush for the chamber. Use a hand brush to clean the crevices where powder residue accumulates. Follow with a dry patch, and finish with a lightly oiled patch for the barrel. Use cloth for other parts.

Use a flexible "pull-through" cleaning cable when cleaning firearms with lever or semi-automatic actions to prevent dirt, grime, or debris from being pushed into the action area.

Use cleaning solvents in a well-ventilated area and only as directed.

If cleaning from the muzzle end, use a muzzle protector so you don't damage the rifling near the muzzle.