Your gun needs regular cleaning to work efficiently for a long time, especially if you’re using corrosive ammunition.
Used ammo needs proper cleaning before being allowed into your firearm to prevent reloading issues. But how to clean bullets like a pro? Let’s find out.
Before you Begin
The best way to ensure proper cleaning is to prepare your environment and tools before beginning. You will first need a conducive environment, mainly because this is a process that requires concentration. You will need a well-lit and quiet space that allows you to see what you’re disassembling and assembling.
You will also need a working table that’s at a suitable height. The table should be sturdy so that you don’t lose any small gun components.
The next step would be to arrange every tool you may need, and this depends on the method you choose on how to clean bullets.
How To Clean Bullets 101
Start by Cleaning the Casings
You will need:
- Corn hob/ Treated walnut shells
- Bullet puller
- Rotating Tumbler
- Dry towel
Most bullet casings are made from brass, making it impossible for them to rust. When you fire a bullet, the cases will get soiled. Collect the cases, and remove the shells with your bullet puller.
Fill a bowl with water and some dishwashing soap. Place your casings in the bowl and let them rest for half an hour. This will allow the soil and dust to detach from the casings and into the water.
Throw the water away and refill the container with the bullet casings with clean water. Rinse the bullets, remove them from the water, and place them onto a dry towel.
Let the casings dry for a few hours. You can skip this step and place the casings in a preheated oven for about 5 minutes.
Polish the Bullets Using a Rotary Tumbler
This machine consists of a barrel filled with water and small rough particles that clean and polish the casings. Rotary tumblers come in different sizes and can take several hours to clean the casings thoroughly.
Add some cleaning agent into the rotary tumbler and place a corn hob inside if the casings need a more thorough clean.
Take the casings you collected and arrange them from smallest to largest. This separation prevents the smaller casings from getting bruised while they’re being polished.
You’ll need to go through your rotary tumbler’s user manual for wash instructions. Follow the steps required and close the tumbler. Place same-sized casings together. Rotary tumblers come with valves and screws, so ensure each goes to the right place.
Connect your tumbler to a power source and run the machine for as long as its user manual recommends. Periodically check the casings.
Rinse Your Casings with Water
Your casings were just in a cleaning solution, so they need a rinse. You’ll need a big enough sink. Plug the sink, place the casings inside, and let the water clean out the remaining soap and debris.
Place a towel on the table and put the now-clean casings on it. You will need to airdry the bullets until completely dry.
Don’t have a rotary tumbler? Save time and money by using simple household items.
You will need:
- An empty container
- Warm water
- Dishwashing liquid
- Hand primer
Pour some water into the container until it’s half-filled, and then add a cup of vinegar, some salt, and dishwashing liquid.
Place your ammo into the solution and let it soak for half an hour. Pour out the soapy solution and then add water into the casing container. Let it rest for 15 minutes and agitate it every 3 minutes. Keep replacing the water until the casings feel clean.
Find the handy primer and use it to remove leftover debris. Air dry the casings for several days until you’re satisfied.
If you have casings of varying sizes, you’ll need to save the cleaning solutions and clean the bullet casings in batches.
Don’t Have a Tumbler? Polish Your Casings
Skip this step if you used the rotary tumbler to clean your bullets. If not, place smooth steel wool on a power drill.
Fix nylon or still bolt on a power drill to secure it. Run your casings through the steel wool and then wipe them off with a fiber cloth.
Hand cleaning is yet another simple way to wash your ammunition. The good thing about this method is that it’s more thorough because you tend to each casing at a time.
You will need a soft-bristled brush to remove any stuck debris from the casings. You can also use a ball of steel wool or microfiber cloth to wipe the casings.
Use Ultrasonic Cleaners
You can choose one industrial ultrasonic cleaner to clean dirty ammunition. You will then need to let your casings air dry.
Clean and Reload Your Firearm
You need to clean your firearm every time you use it. After washing your bullets, take the time to properly clean your gun. But first, ensure your gun’s safety is on, and point the muzzle away from you and any other unintended targets. Ensure you remove all ammo when cleaning your firearm.
Remember to remain in a clean, well-ventilated, and well-lit area. Look for a suitable cleaning kit for your firearm. Your gun manufacturer’s website will probably have information on how you should clean your firearm.
The first step to cleaning your gun is to check out its user manual. The manual will have a comprehensive guide on disassembling your firearm and putting it back together. Find the NRA’s Guide to Firearms Assembly for visual aid if you misplaced the manual.
You will need:
- A bore brush (depending on the gun)
- Bore solvent
- Cleaning rod
- Cleaning swap
- Microfiber cloth
- Utility brush
- Bore snake
- Cotton swabs
- Cleaning solution
- Drip pan
- Needle applicator
Clean the Barrel and Chamber
Use a bore brush to dry brush the chamber and barrel. You should clean the barrel from chamber to muzzle, as this is the best way to remove any debris.
Dip a corner of your microfiber cloth with bore solvent, push it into the barrel, move the solution-filled cloth from one side of the barrel to the next, and let it sit for 15 minutes.
Rescrub the barrel with the bone brush and then use a clean cloth to clean out any leftover debris.
Take Care of the Action
Now clean the slide, pump, or bolt (action). Here, you will need a utility brush, a dry microfiber cloth, and an action cleaner solvent.
Place your gun inside a drip pan and spray the slide, pump, or bolt with the cleaning solution. Allow all the solution to clear from the action and into the drip pan.
You will also need to use a needle applicator so that the cleaning solvent can reach hard-to-reach areas in your gun, such as the slide assembly and action.
Clean the Magazines
Your gun’s magazine plays a significant role when firing a weapon by ensuring that the firearm is fed effectively with ammo. Your manufacturer’s manual will give you step-by-step instructions on cleaning this area. Use your cleaning agent to clean the magazine, and don’t lubricate it.
Reassemble the Firearm
Now that you’ve cleaned your firearm and let it dry properly, reassemble your gun. Test whether your firearm is working okay, and then reload it with ammo. To reload your firearm with bullet casings, start by lubricating the casing and reloading it with powder.
Use a loading press to ensure the gunpowder is appropriately packed in its casing. Pour gun oil onto the bullet chamber, and then place the firearm in a safe place away from children.
Wipe the Gun’s Exterior
At this point, you’ve cleaned, polished, lubricated the gun’s interior, and then replaced the bullet casings. Use a microfiber cloth filled with lubricant to wipe the weapon. Your weapon is now ready to use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Long Should the Tumbler Run When Cleaning the Bullet Casings?
Cleaning your bullets with a tumbler will take you a maximum of 6 hours.
Do I Have To Wash the Casings Each Time I Shoot?
You don’t need to wash the casings every time you shoot, especially when they fall on clean ground.
A firearm can be a dangerous tool when in the wrong hands. To prevent accidents, you need to clean both your firearm and bullet casings before reusing them. Regular gun maintenance ensures that you’re confident when in possession of your firearm.
This article has covered everything you need to know about how to clean bullets and your gun. Ensure that you have read the relevant user manuals before cleaning to prevent accidents.
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