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FIREARMS – CLEANING

If a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI event occurs, we will have to exist and survive with what we have on hand.  Currently there is a buying rush  for firearms and ammo in fear that they may not be available in the future due to government laws or restrictions.  Whether a firearm owner plans to use their firearms for food or protection or both, a firearm will do you little good if the firearm is not working or not maintained.

Thankfully, most modern firearms are very durable and don’t usually break under  normal use.  But in a SHTF or TEOTWAWKI event, you will have to know how to maintain your firearm in working order.  A dirty firearm can cause a malfunction, can make your firearm less accurate, and can even cause corrosion and permanent damage.

 

Cleaning Kits

Most firearms are pretty forgiving and still work very reliably even when they are a little dirty.  The 1911 is an exception in handguns and the AR-15 is an exception in rifles.  Firearm cleaning is not really that hard but does require a few basic tools.

How often do you need clean your firearm?  It depends on the firearm, what you use it for, and what ammo you shoot in it.

If you use a firearm for personal defense, clean it after each training session.  If the firearms is a range gun (just used to put holes in paper) then clean it when it gets moderately dirty.  If you have a 1911, clean it often.  If you have a Glock you can go longer between cleanings.  If you shoot jacketed ammo you won’t have to clean your firearm as often as if you shoot unjacketed lead ammo.  If you have an AR-15 you’ll have to clean it more often than if you shoot an AK-47.  If you shoot corrosive Eastern Bloc ammo, clean your firearm after each use.

What equipment do you need?   Let me just say a word or two on inexpensive cleaning kits.  I have seen universal cleaning kits (will work on pistols, rifles, and shotguns) for as low as $15 – $20.  As of yet, I have not found a single kit that was worth the price.  Usually the cleaning rods are just okay and sometimes even last for a couple of years with limited use.  The brushes and swabs are mostly junk and will last only 2-3 cleanings.  Worse is that they usually have a steel center that can scratch and ruin your bore.

So what do I suggest?

 

Cleaning Rod – A good cleaning rod made out of aluminum, brass, or carbon fiber.  A good nylon coated rod like a Dewey rod is also very good.  Avoid a steel rod as it can scratch your bore.   Good carbon fiber cleaning rods can be expensive.  A pistol rod is around $20, rifle and shotgun rods around $35.  If you need to use an inexpensive aluminum rod at first until you can buy a carbon fiber or nylon coated rod then okay.  Just get a the better rod as soon as you can.  Here is my suggestion for a good handgun cleaning rod.

Gunslick Handgun Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod.  A carbon fiber cleaning rod for pistols .22 caliber on up.  It is 8″ long and has a rotating ball-bearing handle.  Currently $22 with free shipping at Amazon.

 

 

Bore Brushes – A good bore brush, for each caliber of gun you own, where the center wire is made of brass.  The center wire of bore brushes that come in most inexpensive cleaning kits are made of steel and can scratch your bore.  I like Otis, Brownells, Dewey or Pro Shot bore brushes.  Brownells.com has the best prices I have found.  A 10 pack of Otis brushes is less than $10 (order with a friend if you don’t need all 10).  Brownell brushes are $5 for a 3-pack.

 

Bore Solvent – A good bore solvent based on the ammo you shoot.  Some bore solvents are better for copper, some are better for lead.  I like Shooter’s Choice.  Sweet’s is also good.   Hoppe’s #9 is an inexpensive but less aggressive bore solvent.   A pint bottle sells for $12 shipped on Amazon.  Be sure to follow product directions when using any bore solvent.

 

 

Cleaning Brushes – Some good cleaning brushes.  GI brushes with good sturdy bristles.  Beware, there are a lot of cheap crappy brushes for sale that will last 10 seconds.  Get the good ones from Brownell’s or get the Otis brand white or blue (blue are a little stiffer and more aggressive than white) nylon brushes from Amazon.  Plan to pay $3 – $4 each if you buy them singly.  A better deal is a 25-pack from Amazon for $25 shipped.  Go in with a friend and split a package if you don’t need 25 brushes.  Better yet, buy one pack of white and one pack of blue and split them between 2 or 3 friends.

 

 

 

Lubrication and Cleaning Oil – CLP Breakfree is moderately priced and works great.  It is also a penetrating oil which does a great job at protection.  You can buy it online but shipping is usually expensive because of the weight.  It is probably cheaper to buy it at your local sporting goods store.  A pint bottle is about $20, a 4oz bottle is about $7.

 

Bore Snake – Finally a bore-snake for each caliber firearm you own.  In the past, Hoppe’s Bore-Snakes have been the only brand available, usually for $15 – $17 each.  I found a new brand or copy of Hoppe’s bore-snake on ebay.  They use the same color coding as Hoppes and seem to be just as well make.  They run less than $9 including shipping.  I have tried them and they seem to work just as well.  The ebay seller is mobilecellaccessories.  Bore-Snakes replace the use of patches.  The bore snake has over 100 time the surface cleaning of a patch.

That’s it, unless you have a Precision Rifle, then there is a whole other level of cleaning and cleaning tools that you’ll need but we won’t address that here.

 

 

How to Clean a Firearm

There are as many opinions about cleaning as there are shooters.  Some of the opinions are very strong.  I’ll tell you my basic cleaning routine.  If you want to watch other ways to clean a firearm, go to YouTube and watch a few videos or do some internet searches for cleaning tips from professionals.

 

Cleaning an Pistol

First – MAKE SURE THE FIREARM IS UNLOADED.  Field strip the firearm.  Once the barrel has been removed, inspect it from the chamber end  for fowling.  Never look down the barrel while it installed in the firearm.  If you see fowling, pour a small amount of bore solvent in a cap.  Dip the end of a bore brush attached to a cleaning rod into the cap of solvent.  Don’t dip the bore brush into the bottle of solvent as it will contaminate the bottle.  Run the solvent soaked bore brush totally through the barrel from the chamber end back and forth through the barrel 2 – 3 times.  Make sure to only change the brush direction after the brush has emerged totally out of the barrel.  Put the barrel aside on a flat surface to give the solvent time to work.

Using the cleaning brush, brush all the visible carbon deposits out of the firearm receiver and slide.  Wipe off with a lint free cleaning cloth.

Return to the barrel after a few minutes and run the bore brush back and forth through the barrel 4- 5 more times from the chamber end.  Now run the bore snake through the barrel once, starting from the chamber end.  Check the barrel to see if the fowling has been removed.  If you still see fowling in the barrel, repeat the barrel cleaning with more solvent until the fowling is removed.  Once the fowling is removed, run the bore-snake through the barrel, starting from the chamber end, 2 times.   Place some CLP oil on the end of the bore snake and run the bore-snake through the barrel 2 more times.  This should leave a very thin film of oil in the barrel.

Using a q-tip swab, place a very thin layer of CLP on all areas where metal rubs on metal.  This would include the slide rails, barrel lug, and barrel lock up.  On a Glock, place 1 small drop on the connector where the trigger bar rubs against it.  Wipe off any excess oil off all parts.  Only a very thin film should remain.

Reassemble the firearm and function test it to make sure it has been reassembled correctly.  Wipe down the outside of the firearm with a silicone cloth or a lint free cloth with a very small amount of CLP on it.  Finally, wipe off any excess oil with a dry, clean, lint-free cloth.

 

Cleaning an AR-15

First – MAKE SURE THE FIREARM IS UNLOADED.  Field strip the firearm.  You can leave the pivot pin in place if you have a stand that can support the firearm.  Otherwise, separate the upper and lower halves and remove the bolt carrier group and charging handle.

Once the upper half has been removed, inspect  the barrel from the chamber end for fowling.  Never look down the barrel while it installed on the firearm.  If you see fowling, pour a small amount of bore solvent in a cap.  Dip the end of a bore brush attached to a cleaning rod into the cap of solvent.  Don’t dip the bore brush into the bottle of solvent as it will contaminate the bottle.  Run the solvent soaked bore brush totally through the barrel from the chamber end back and forth through the barrel 2 – 3 times.  Make sure to only change the brush direction after the brush has emerged totally out of the barrel.  Put the barrel aside on a flat surface to give the solvent time to work.

Using the cleaning brush, brush all the visible carbon deposits out of the lower receiver and off the bolt carrier group and charging handle.  Wipe off with a lint free cleaning cloth.

Return to the barrel after a few minutes and run the bore brush back and forth through the barrel 4- 5 more times.  Now run the bore snake through the barrel once, starting from the chamber end.  Check the barrel to see if the fowling has been removed.  If you still see fowling in the barrel, repeat the barrel cleaning with more solvent until the fowling is removed.  Once the fowling is removed, run the bore-snake through the barrel, starting from the chamber end, 2 times.

Using the cleaning brush, brush all the visible carbon deposits out of the upper receiver.  Use a pipe cleaner or specialty brush to clean carbon out of the gas tube.  Wipe off the upper receiver with a lint free cleaning cloth.

Place some CLP oil on the end of the bore snake and run the bore-snake through the barrel 2 more times.  This should leave a very thin film of oil in the barrel.

Place a very thin layer of CLP on all areas where metal rubs on metal.  The exception to a thin layer of CLP is the Bolt Carrier Group.  Make sure the area where the bolt carrier group slides back and forth in the upper receiver is well oiled.  Not sloppy wet where oil is dripping out but well oiled.  Wipe off any excess oil.

Reassemble the firearm and function test it to make sure it has been reassembled correctly.  Wipe down the outside of the firearm with a silicone cloth or a lint free cloth with a very small amount of CLP on it.  Finally, wipe off any excess oil with a dry, clean, lint-free cloth.

 

Ed Rogers
Copyright “Keep It Simple” 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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