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Cleaning your firearm is important. It should be cleaned after every use and after prolonged storage to keep it in top condition. Accumulated dirt and moisture, burnt powder residue, or solidified grease or oil can prevent a gun from operating properly. Regular and proper cleaning and lubrication of a firearm will ensure that it operates safely and reliably. It will maintain its value, and it will extend its life.

Every hunter should have a kit with all the components for a thorough cleaning. Remember, when purchasing a kit, it’s important to select one for the correct gauge or caliber for your firearm. Plus, a portable cleaning kit is nice when you’re in the field, just in case you accidentally plug the barrel with snow, mud, dirt, or debris.

A cleaning kit should include cleaning rods, assorted rod tips, patches, gunsmith screwdrivers and bits, gun oil, solvent, gun grease, brushes, a bore light, pipe cleaners, and cotton swabs.


Before you get started, make sure you’re giving the cleaning your full attention. Never clean a firearm while you’re doing something else. Work on a cleared table or bench, and follow the directions for cleaning that are specific to both your particular model of firearm and the cleaning kit you have chosen.

First, point the muzzle in a safe direction, and make absolutely sure the gun is unloaded. Then remove all ammunition from the cleaning bench. For the most thorough cleaning, field strip the firearm following the owner’s manual, and clean each part separately. As you disassemble the gun to clean it, make sure you follow the directions in the manual. If you take the gun apart too far, only an expert may be able to reassemble it.

If possible, clean from the breech end toward the muzzle. Cleaning the gun’s barrel from the rear is best for many reasons. In particular, it prevents possible damage to the muzzle end of the barrel, which could affect shooting accuracy. Clean the barrel by using a cleaning rod with a brush or patch attached. Use solvents in a well-ventilated area and only as directed.

Attach a bore brush to the cleaning rod. Lightly apply cleaning solvent to the brush. Pass the rod, with the attached brush, all the way through the muzzle several times. This cleans out powder residue. Once the stubborn residue is removed, replace the bore brush with a patch that is also coated in solvent. Run the patch through the barrel several times. Repeat the process with additional patches until the patch comes out clean. Then run a clean, dry patch through the bore. Finally, run a lightly oiled patch through the bore. Use only a small amount of oil. Follow the directions in your cleaning kit.

After the barrel is cleaned and oiled, use another solvent-soaked patch to clean all exposed parts of the action and all exterior metal parts. Next, wipe the outside of the firearm. Finally, apply a light coat of gun oil to the metal surfaces. Use only recommended lubricants, and be careful not to over-lubricate. Using a non-recommended lubricant or using too much lubricant could adversely affect safe operation of your firearm. Remember, you’re responsible for the proper care and cleaning of your firearm.

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