cleaning barrel of gun

How to Clean a Gun in 5 Easy Steps


If you look after your gun, it will look after you. That seems simple enough, but how often do you clean your gun? Be truthful. It's been a while, hasn't it? You've been fortunate thus far, but if you continue to neglect your firearm, it will eventually cost you money.

Slower auto-loader actions, jammed second shots, fouled firing pins, and even broken parts inside the trigger or action can all be caused by an unkempt gun.

Knowing how to clean a gun is more than just about having a nice-looking weapon. It's a matter of safety.


man cleaning gun parts

Credit: iStockphoto


When cleaning your firearm, failing to follow protocol can result in unintentional injuries — or worse. Aside from the potential for bodily harm, there are legal repercussions, as the firearm owner is responsible for any injuries or damages caused by a negligent firing.

Continue reading to learn how to properly clean a gun.


How Often Should I Clean My Gun?

The frequency with which a gun owner should clean their weapon is determined by a number of variables. The frequency with which you shoot, the type of gun you use, the type of ammunition you use, and the weather can all influence how often you clean your gun.

After each use, some people like to clean their guns. A clean, well-lubricated barrel, especially for rifles and pistols, keeps rust and corrosion at bay while maintaining accuracy. Having said that, most weapons don't need to be cleaned after every usage. More often than not, it depends on how many shots you're firing, whether you're using lead or copper ammo, and, of course, your environment. If you live in a humid area where rust can easily infiltrate your rifle, cleaning it after each use is recommended. If you've been hunting, you'll probably want to clean your gun as well. You've probably subjected it to high temperatures, as well as dampness, grime, and debris.

Shotguns, especially those that aren't semi-automatic, require less frequent cleaning. The lack of rifling inside the barrel of shotguns is one of the reasons they require less cleaning. Because of this, maintenance isn't as important; however, semi-automatic shotguns require regular cleaning of the action to prevent gumming and sticking in the field.


Cleaning a Gun


Getting Started

Choose a clean spot with lots of space to work before you begin cleaning your gun. To avoid any mistakes or negative effects from the cleaning agents, the location should be well-lit and well-ventilated.

Gun lovers who clean their firearms on a regular basis know that the best location to do it is outside or in the garage. If you must clean your pistol inside, do it near a window that is open. Use a table that is both robust and clutter-free.

Use your kitchen, dining room table, or any other place where people eat or drink as little as possible. Oils, solvents, and lead or carbon fouling are among the gun cleaning agents that might contaminate neighboring food. Another expert suggestion is to remove all live ammo from the room or area where the cleaning will be done.


Get Yourself a Cleaning Kit

Whether you buy a pre-assembled cleaning kit from a sports goods store or put together the necessary components yourself, you'll need a few basic cleaning materials in your arsenal. The following are included in a basic set:

  • Cleaning liquid
  • Lubricant, sometimes known as gun oil
  • A brush for boreholes
  • Patches and a patch holder
  • Rod for cleaning
  • Cleaning brush made of nylon
  • Flashlight
  • Swabs of cotton
  • Microfiber polishing cloths


Step 1: Dismantle Your Weapon


dismantled gun parts

Credit: Gone Outdoors


To prepare the gun for cleaning, consult the owner's manual for disassembly instructions. This will allow you to access all of the parts that have been dirty as a result of the firing process. Semi-automatic handguns and rifles will be disassembled into their principal components: barrel, slide, guide rod, frame, and magazine in most cases. Cleaning revolvers, shotguns, and most other types of guns will not require to be stripped.


Step 2: Clean the Barrel


cleaning gun barrel

Credit: Aussie Hunter


To clean, soak your bore brush in solvent (or use a patch wrapped around a rod or patch puller) and run it through the barrel in one direction, leaving the solvent in the barrel. Avoid reintroducing dirt or accumulation into the barrel by dragging the filthy brush or patch rearward. Now you may clean the rest of your gun while the solvent works inside the barrel.


Step 3: Remove the Debris


cleaning gun debris

Credit: Leatherman


Use a mechanic's rag or a microfiber cloth and a cotton swab to remove surface dirt from all the nooks, crevices, and recesses of the firearm before applying any solvent. Pay special care to the spring and any other small parts, and use a dry brush or an old toothbrush to remove any surface debris. This will get rid of the loose fouling, reducing the amount of work your cleaners have to do.


Step 4: Using a Light Lubricant


cleaning gun with lubricant into barrel

Credit: Shooting UK


Guns do not perform well in oil, contrary to popular assumption. After all of the swabbing and washing, the barrel and bolt only require a little layer of rust prevention oil. Wipe off all of the gun's metal surfaces using a clean, soft cotton cloth dipped in oil. Don't use too much oil. The parts of your gun will rub against each other and create wear and tear if you don't apply oil.


Step 5: Putting it All Together


putting gun together bullets parts

Credit: The Carry Academy


You can reassemble the pieces once you're satisfied that your weapon is clean and dry. After you've reassembled your unloaded gun, give it a few tests to make sure you didn't knock anything out of place while cleaning.

 How to Clean A Gun



There you have completed a basic gun cleaning to prepare for a survival situation. Check the gun on a regular basis to ensure that no rust has developed on the metal surfaces. Running a dry patch down the barrel to wipe off any residual oil or dust is also a good idea before shooting your gun again. If you keep your guns clean after each usage, they'll be ready when you need them.



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