Many people treat their guns like their children or pets and must give them everything they need in order to be happy.
A popular question we often get is if it’s possible to over clean your guns.
Yes, you can damage your gun AND effect its accuracy by cleaning it improperly.
They say it’s a bad idea to not clean your gun enough and also a bad idea to clean it too often. Let’s take a look at some of the things that can happen if you clean your guns too often.
Use Good Cleaning Rods
If you clean your gun very often you may find yourself in danger of damaging the rifling or the crown IF you use bad cleaning rods. This is the biggest concern because aluminum cleaning rods can EASILY scratch the inner barrel, assuming you clean from the muzzle.
You can easily avoid this by using a good cleaning rod, such as carbon fiber cleaning rod which will make it damn near impossible to damage the barrel.
These are a bit more expensive but totally worth it. I own several Tipton carbon fiber rods and it’s a night and day comparison between these and cheap brass cleaning rods.
However, the question is: Just how easy is it to damage the rifling?
If you’re using bad cleaning rods, cheap brushes, bad cleaner and your an average shooter, it’s still pretty hard to damage the rifling. You want to stay away from the aluminum cleaning rods, as these are the most likely to scratch your barrel.
Metals such as brass and carbon allow are MUCH better for this and won’t scratch the barrel.
Use a Bore Guide
The easiest and more inexpensive way to avoid all of this is to use a universal bore guide with your cleaning rods. This should be used when you clean from the breech and make sure you use the right size brushes and tools.
This is probably the best thing you can add to your kit for a few dollars in order to ensure that you don’t accidently scratch the rifling.
A bore guide is easy to use and comes in very handy when you’re dealing with several different firearms.
Use Good Cleaning Solvents
A bad cleaning solvent, such as a gummy oil like REM Oil will tend to give you a long term buildup of crud.
You want to use the best gun cleaning solvent you possibly can in order to avoid dust from attracting to your guns, which will lead to gunk and crud.
Use a Bore Snake
A simple way to prevent damaging your gun is to use a good bore snake. While you’ll still want to use your cleaning rods, it’s a good idea to use a bore snake in order to prevent damaging the crown and rifling.
Bore snakes won’t clean the barrel 100% and it’s considered the lazy way to clean a gun but it does have it’s place.
If you use a good cleaning rod and clean your bore after using a bore snake, you’ll notice that you missed a lot of gunk in all of the groves.
A bore snake is great but it won’t remove copper fouling all the way. However, some guns such as AR-15s can get away with just a bore snake and a AR cleaning tool.
How Dirty IS Dirty?
What may be dirty to me may not be dirty to you. Have you ever cleaned something thinking that it’s clean, only to hear other people say it’s a mess?
When it comes to your guns, it doesn’t matter if you think it’s clean, what maters is if it IS clean.
Back in the days of black powder and muskets, you had to clean your guns to make sure they worked properly. It was usually advisable to clean your gun after every use.
The older black powder, smokeless powder and primers ALL have corrosive elements that would almost instantly rust a gun barrel if not cleaned.
Modern ammunition is very clean in comparison and doesn’t require you clean as much.
Also, keep in mind the copper fouling is different from residues left by powder and this is another reason you need to clean your gun more often.