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How to Clean a Gun

Updated on August 18, 2011
By emtboy9
By emtboy9

Gun Cleaning

It is very important to clean you firearms after use. Although, modern firearms are not as corrosive as those of the cowboy and Indian days, you still need to clean your gun. Back then, it was important to clean the gun after every use, but now days, you can go a few shootings between each cleaning.

Cleaning your gun is important for you to know how your gun works. You need to be familiar with your gun if you're going to use it.

Below, you'll find tips on how to clean your gun.

Cleaning Your Gun

First you want to purchase a high quality gun cleaning kit. There may be a specific kit for your gun, so you may want to consult a salesperson. Rifle kits and pistol kits are similar, except the cleaning rods are slightly different. You may consider one of the "universal kits" that are available, as well. Generally, the kits come with a solvent, oil, rod, and cloth patches. You may, also, want to have an old toothbrush on hand.

Just remember that you're trying to help your gun by cleaning it, not harm it so be careful as to which kit you choose.

Before you start, you want to make sure to have a well-lit and clean work area. You want to make sure that you have plenty of room so that you aren't cramped. You want the work are to be well ventilated, as well.

Unload your gun. Make sure there are absolutely no rounds in the firing chamber. If you don't completely empty your gun, an accidental firing can occur, which can be very dangerous to you or any bystander.

Next, make sure to remove all ammunition from the area that you'll be cleaning. Make sure to empty any shells or cartridges and place them in a secure location.

Now, that your gun is empty of all rounds and shells, you'll want to wipe it down with a silicon cloth in order to remove all contaminates. The silicon cloth is important because it will help prevent rust from built-up oils from your prints on the gun.

Using the old toothbrush and dip it in the cleaning solvent. Scrub the inside of the frame and the cylinder of the gun.

Clean the barrel with an appropriately gauged rod. You'll want to pick the largest attachment from your kit that fits into the barrel. Usually, the attachment holds a cloth patch, otherwise you may want to size down the attachment and wrap a cloth around the tip.

Once you insert the cloth patch, dip it into the cleaning solvent, and run the rod into the barrel, gently, so that the cloth comes out the other end about 4 or 5 times. Go back through the barrel with a clean, dry cloth. You'll want to repeat the process of cleaning the barrel with the solvent and then dry cloth until the dry cloth comes out of the barrel clean.

Put a small amount of gun oil on a clean cloth and apply a thin layer to all movable parts of the gun to lubricate them. Make sure not to use too much oil because it will 1) attract dirt, 2) become sticky, and 3) hinder proper use of the fun.

Wipe down the outside of the gun with a dry rag with just a small dab of oil. Again, make sure to use a cloth that is make of silicon.

Before you put up your gun, you want to inspect it to make sure that you didn't knock any pieces loose while cleaning your gun.

How to Clean a Gun (Old Movie Clip)

Gun Cleaning Tips

Product Purchases

  • Remember that silicon cleaning cloths are the best to use when cleaning your gun. They remove all dirt and oil particles, which reduces the risk of rusting.
  • You may want to consider purchasing a Bore Light. It will make cleaing the barrel a little easier by illuminating it for a closer inspection.
  • A Bore Snake will also help make cleaning your gun more proficient. The Bore Snakes are popular among professionals.

Other Tips

  • Make sure not to disassemble your gun too far. Read the owner's manual and go only as far as they recommend. A general rule is to only disassemble far enough to reach the major components that need to be cleaned due to powder and residue buildup- typically the bore, chamber and bolt or action.
  • Examine the gun as you break it down. Make sure that there are no overly worn parts, hairline cracks, rust, and any signs of too much wear.
  • If you use your gun for a range toy rather than defense, you can go a few rounds before you clean your gun, but don't let the residue and materials buildup because it can become very corrosive to your gun and hinder any, if not all, useability. Uncleaned handguns are highly likely to jam; uncleaned revolvers are prone to binding up and the double-action trigger stiffening until it is near impossible to pull, especially if the cylinder isn't turning easily.
  • Remember safety first. Wear latex, or non-latex gloves when cleaning your gun. You may also want to consider eye protection.


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    • profile image

      Aneo Gilling 6 years ago

      I like the teaching about guns. I want one to buy for protection.

    • profile image

      saucecat 7 years ago

      Thank you for this information. I need to learn to clean my dad's old firearm the correct way. However, I am new to this hubbing and will have to figure it out I wanted to let you know that while guns aren't as corrosive as they used to be, there is a product out there called BULLFROG, that is a cleaning and gun care system that actually can protect your guns against corrosion for up to 2 years this is endorsed by the NRA. I am a master distributor for this line and would be happy to give you information on the product and can set up any shooting supplies or individual with how to become a bullfrog distributor! Check out our website; or contact me

    • johnsams profile image

      johnsams 7 years ago

      I’ve been looking for different gun cleaning techniques, thanks for providing step by step instructions and tips for gun cleaning.

    • profile image

      Molina 8 years ago

      The video on cleaning a gun is very illustrative :-)