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In a 2017 study by Pew Research Center, 30 percent of American adults claimed to own guns. The report also revealed that over 40 percent of the population lived in homes with firearms.

Gun care is a critical concern in a country with such a high gun to citizen ratio. Whether it’s for hunting, self-defense, or sports, your firearm must be at optimum to function as expected. You don’t want a gun that jams when gangsters invade or hinders you from making accurate shots.

Firearms are pricey investments that require maintenance. The main reason for them to fail is the accumulation of dirt. It can result from rust, poor storage, or prolonged usage of the gun without cleaning.

For best performance, guns require regular servicing. Do you possess a firearm? Take heed of the gun care instructions explained in this article to prolong its life.

Keep on reading to learn more!

How Guns Get Mucky

When making a shot, pulling the trigger releases the firing pin to strike the primer. It initiates an explosion, forcing a jet of flame through an opening on the primer cap. The fire ignites the gun powder to release gases that expand and push the bullet out of its shell.

The material of the barrel withstands the pressure of the burning and expanding gases. For this reason, the only way out is the open bore. As the fumes escape through this path, they eject the bullet and propel it outside the gun through the barrel.

The reaction leaves residues of various materials inside the chamber, action, and barrel. Each subsequent shot causes additional clogging. Therefore, the frequency of using a firearm primarily determines how much dirt it collects.

After a short shooting session, a quick wipe with an oily cloth may be sufficient to remove external crud. However, a substantial amount of sludge will accumulate after repeated use of the firearm.

Failure to do a thorough periodical cleanup can congest your gun and render it unreliable or unusable.

Causes of Gun Fouling

As mentioned, every shot produces a combination of residues. But where do they originate?

Most bullets consist of a lead core encapsulated in a copper jacket. Some ammunitions are lead-free, but their assembly still includes copper. Here are the most common types of gun fouling:

Copper

Bullets have a copper casing. Once fired, the jacket leaves some sediments in different sections of the gun.

Lead

Lead is the most popular material for making bullets. After firing a gunshot, sediments of the metal end up in the chamber and barrel.

Carbon

Various materials produce carbon after combustion. The same happens after burning the powder that generates the gas necessary to accelerate the bullet out of the chamber.

Plastic

Some rifles like the shotgun use ammunition with plastic wads. On firing, the plastic parts smudge some parts of the gun.

Fundamentally, most of the residue and sludge results from the materials used to manufacture the bullet and gunpowder. However, moisture due to humid weather as well as sweat can trigger corrosion.

Gun Care: Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

Guns come from different manufacturers in various sizes and types, each designed for a given field. For this reason, gun care for a pistol may differ from that of a precision rifle in some ways.

However, the fundamental functionality of all guns is the same, and the muck to deal with is similar. This guide provides tips that apply to any gun. Let’s get started.

1. Know Your Gun

Disassembling and reassembling a gun may sound easy, but what happens when the weapon is new to you?

Know the right procedure for taking everything apart before starting the cleaning. Distinguishing the parts that should get soaked with solvents or lubricant from the ones that shouldn’t is critical.

Learn this information soon after acquiring a firearm. Your dealer can brief you on maintenance, but you can find more information on the manual or online videos.

For instance, there are videos that will offer a tutorial on what to do when your Timney Trigger fails. In some cases, the cartridge might be the culprit, and all you have to do is to open the action and get rid of the cartridge.

Disassembling your gun before the first use helps you to understand it and point out any obvious flaws. You can also clean out anything unwanted such as unnecessary rust-inhibiting chemicals.

Use an uncluttered table or countertop covered with a towel when disassembling your firearm. The rag should absorb oils and arrest the grime that comes from dirty guns. Don’t do it on your wooden dining table since solvents can penetrate and ruin the finish.

If you are not a gun expert, do not disassemble a complicated firearm like a semi-automatic completely. Get the main parts apart and work on the visible dirt. If you think there is a need to separate the inner parts, take the firearm to a gunsmith.

2. Set Up a Cleaning Area

Since gun care is a continuous process, you should have a designated place for carrying out maintenance. It could be a space in your garage or an empty room in your house. Set up a bench or a sturdy folding table that you can use every time you have weapons to clean.

A simple job can turn laborious if you cannot locate tools when you need them. Ensure that all the items required for the weapon you are to clean are nearby. Keeping your cleaning kit within an arm’s length is an excellent way to combat decision fatigue when selecting tools.

If you have shotguns and rifles, consider mounting a gun vice in your cleaning room. It will help you to clamp the gun in place when cleaning it and to keep the parts organized.

Have several stainless steel containers to keep loose parts when disassembling your firearm. You can also utilize them to soak various components in solvents.

Another thing to remember is that some chemicals may produce toxic fumes. Therefore, ensure that your gun cleaning area is well ventilated.

3. Unload the Firearm

The first step in a gun cleaning and maintenance procedure is to unload the weapon. Point the gun to a safe direction, and remove all bullets.

Even after detaching the magazine, a firearm can have a round of ammunition inside the barrel. Check the chamber, the feeding path, and examine the bore. A thorough examination of the gun is the best way to avoid misfires.

For a gun like the semi-auto, use the magazine release button to drop the magazine. Pull the slide backward and discharge any bullets in the chamber. Inspect the gun to confirm that no round remains lodged inside.

Revolvers have a different unloading procedure. Swing out the cylinder of a double-action revolver to check for rounds.

If you have a single-action revolver, open the loading gate to let the cylinder rotate freely. Inspect every chamber to locate any bullets.

4. Clean Your Gun

Materials like lead, copper, and carbon require specific solvents to break them down. You will need solutions that match each type of residue produced in your firearm. While there are chemicals that clean out lead and carbon together, most copper cleaners work on copper deposits alone.

Another thing to avail is a cleaning rod that is longer than the barrel of your gun. You will also need some cleaning jags.

The design of the cleaning rod allows you to force a piece of cloth down the barrel. Therefore, the rod should have a smaller diameter than the bore.

Bore brushes come in different sizes and materials such as steel and bronze. Your pick should be slightly larger than the bore to ease the scrubbing job and delivering the solvent. The brushes should attach well with your cleaning rod.

Cotton cleaning patches are also necessary, but you can still use synthetic ones. When soaked in copper solvent, they usually turn greenish when wiping copper deposits. The color should fade out with every subsequent wipe.   

You need gun oil to conclude the cleaning job. Apply a thin film on metallic components to prevent rust. The oil also serves as a lubricant for the parts that grind against each other.

To get rid of the excess oil, rub the exterior metal surfaces lightly with a soft cotton cloth.

5. Store the Weapons Safely

The last step in gun care is storage. Once your firearms are clean, keep your them in a clean place away from unintended users and corrosive elements.

The best place to keep your weapons safe is a gun safe. It should be tamper-proof and immobile. However, it should grant you quick access whenever you need a firearm.

Your gun safe should offer adequate space for all your weapons. Apart from keeping off unauthorized firearm users, it should be watertight and fireproof. Your firearms should be free of humidity and extreme temperatures.

The Wrap Up

Gun users have varying opinions on the right frequency for cleaning a firearm. The reason for this is that people own various weapons that call for different gun care.

To keep your firearm in proper working order, do a thorough cleanup after heavy usage. Also, examine its condition occasionally if it takes ages before using it.

Whichever gun you use, periodic maintenance goes a long way in keeping it functional. Lube is great in rust prevention and restoring your rifle. For instance, a little oil can repair a semi-auto that malfunctions at the range.

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