Cleaning and Storing Your Firearm
Cleaning Your Firearm
Firearms must be cleaned after every use to keep them in top condition. Every hunter should own a complete cleaning kit.
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.
- A stand to hold the firearm securely in a horizontal position
- Cleaning rods
- Assorted rod tips—brushes, mop tips, slotted tips, jag
- Patches appropriate for the caliber or gauge of the firearm
- Gunsmith screwdrivers
- Gun oil
- Gun grease
- Dental mirror
- Bore light
- Clean cloths
- Dental picks
- Pipe cleaners
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.
See a detailed diagram (PDF format) showing the supplies
and procedures for cleaning both a rifle and a handgun.