As a rule of thumb, gun cleaning should take place every time the weapon is fired. However, many will not clean their guns as often, but it is generally recommended that gun cleaning should be undertaken regularly. The main reason behind this has to do with the build up left behind by the power found in ammunition.
When gun powder was used as the main source of propellant in ammunition, gun cleaning regularly was absolutely critical to insure the gun’s longevity and proper function. Regular gun cleaning was necessary because ordinary gun powder or black powder is a highly corrosive material. If powder was allowed to build up, it could potentially eat through the metal of the barrel, rendering the firearm useless.
Modern powder is not corrosive to firearms, however, build up still occurs. Many individuals will base their gun cleaning regiment not only how often the weapon is used, but also on the weapon’s purpose. Individuals that own a firearm for the purpose of self-defense tend–or at least should–clean their guns more regularly because of the fact that they may rely on the weapon to the extent of depending on it with their lives. A gun that has substantial build up will have a tendency to jam.
A gun jams when the slide on a semi-automatic does not function smoothly, or a cartridge case is not properly fed or discarded after discharge. In the case of revolvers, the trigger is double-action, that is to say that the squeeze of the trigger also employs that the revolver cylinder rotate as to load a new round. If not cleaned regularly or proper, the rotation of the cylinder will not be smooth or simply not function. It is recommended that gun cleaning take place after every use, even more so, with a weapon used for defensive purposes.
Though there are set procedures on gun cleaning, the process itself will vary from gun owner to gun owner. There are various options or methods available for and during gun cleaning, but it will generally depend on the gun owner or person cleaning the weapon.
In some cases, the process will also depend of the model of the gun itself, for certain gun cleaning products may not be the best or may prove to harm the weapon due to its materials. Therefore, it is best to consult the manufacturer’s guide or owner manual to properly asses the best way to clean the gun and view any recommended gun cleaning products.
It is also recommended that an firearm owner do his/her own gun cleaning, rather than a professional. The reason for this is that a firearm owner should be fairly familiar with the weapon, and that being able to take a gun apart and put it back together again will most likely be more of a benefit than anything else.
In familiarizing with the gun, the owner may be able to learn to internal functions of the weapon, and can rely on probably being to fix it if ever needs service with out the help of gunsmith. Secondly, servicing your own weapon may also prove to raise confidence in handling it. Gun-handling skills may improve due the confidence of being familiar with the gun and translate on to the practice range.
In order to do an appropriate and fruitful gun cleaning, a basic cleaning kit should be acquired. A gun cleaning kit will provide for the essential tools and gun cleaning solvents to successfully clean a firearm. These kits are fairly inexpensive, and are made by several different companies. Some will offer a basic kit, while others will provide with some extras or made for a specific type of firearm or model. A basic gun cleaning kit will have:
A bottle of solvent
A bottle of lubricating oil
A gun cleaning rod is the tool that will actually slide in to the chamber for cleaning. A jag is an attachment at end of the rod, and used to clean the gun’s bore. A patch holder also can be attached to the cleaning rod, and is used to hold the patches. Patches are small cotton squares that come in various sizes depending on the weapon’s caliber. They are used to apply and soak the the barrel with the cleaning solvent.
A bore brush is then used to clean and remove the build up inside the chamber. A bore brush is typically not included in a basic gun cleaning kit because each bore brush is designed to fit a particular caliber. It must be purchased separately and according to the right caliber size. There various types of brushes available, coming in bronze, stainless steel, or plastic.
Bronze is usually the one employed for basic gun cleaning purposes. Though not included in the kit, it is recommended to have an old toothbrush, cotton swabs, pipe cleaners, and cleaning rags. It is also strongly recommended to wear safety eye protection as well as gloves when working with the gun cleaning products. Nitrile gloves are recommended because the withstand the gun cleaning products more so than conventional latex.
One a basic kit is acquired and the necessary steps are taken, gun cleaning can finally begin. Though there are various steps or methods available, it is always important to follow gun safety rules when handling a handgun. It is important to be extremely careful to make sure that the weapon is not loaded before beginning the gun cleaning process, and that means making sure that there is no round in the chamber as well.
Once the necessary precautions are taken, it is important to also keep in mind the gun manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the gun cleaning process, at least until enough experience is built to possibly venture in to a more personalized form of gun cleaning can be developed.