You just bought your new gun cleaning kit, so now what? The first thing you’re going to want to do if you’re new is to watch a few YouTube videos and read the instructions.
Each gun is a bit different when it comes to cleaning, so you want to read and re-read the owner’s manual for your particular gun.
We’ll go over the basics of using a universal gun cleaning kit if you own a rifle, handgun or shotgun this is what you’ll want to use.
AR’s can be a little different to clean and usually require special tools such as an AR cleaning tool.
Cleaning New Guns?
One time I bought a new M4 and didn’t clean it before taking it to the range. Wiped off the grease on the exterior and after about 50 rounds I had a brass over bolt failure…
Almost all new guns come with a bunch of grease and sticky solvent on them. This is to make sure they don’t rust while sitting on the shelf for months or years.
This lubricant they put on it is not a shooting lubricant, so you want to remove it and clean your new gun as well as possible.
You should always do this because you don’t know how it works until you take it apart.
You should ALWAYS inspect a new gun before firing it, looking for worn components, broken or little pieces of sawdust and what not in the gun.
I got issued a brand new, out of the package M4 right before shooting the range and skipped cleaning, just wiped the crap off the outside. Had a brass over bolt failure on round 76.
Wash your Hands (or Wear Gloves)
Be sure to wash your hand before doing anything. This will help prevent oils from getting onto the outer and inner parts of your gun. Most people, including myself, wear gloves when cleaning their guns to prevent oil absorbing into the skin.
If you’re cleaning your guns for years, then the risk of getting some of these solvent into your skin will not be very good for. The disposable black nitrile gloves are my personal favorite and a favorite among many.
Unload your Gun
Make sure the ammo is out of reach. There is a possibility that you could accidentally discharge your gun while cleaning it, if it were loaded. There’s also a small chance that you could shoot a box of ammo, so double and triple check this step.
If you have a gun cleaning mat, this is the time to use it. I would highly recommend using something to protect your surfaces from solvents and scratches.
Use a Bore Snake
To save time you can use a bore snake before using your cleaning rods. This will remove some of the gunk and only takes about 10 seconds. Using a bore snake will save you quite bit of time.
Disassemble your Gun
Read your manual and take apart everything accordingly. If you don’t have an owner’s manual you can usually find this on their website or even better find a YouTube video and follow along.
If you have a gun cleaning vise then you’ll want to secure it properly. A gun vise is amazing for keeping your gun steady and works amazingly well for long guns.
Not really necessary for handguns.
Make sure to PULL the brush through about 5-10 times. Be sure to pull only and don’t push.
Running the bore brush only in the same direction the bullet travels will prolong the life of the barrel.
The goal is to have the cleaning patches come out white. You can use 10-20 cleaning patches until this happens and they’re cheap so don’t worry.
If you pull out your cleaning patches and they’re black then you need to run your brushes through your gun again.
Remove All Solvents
To do this you should use dry cleaning patches and gun mop attachment. After the cleaning solvent is all out you’re going to want to apply some lubricant.
Hoppe’s makes a good gun lubricant that you should apply after you’re done cleaning. What this does is protect from dust accumulating on your gun, which will leak to gunk buildup.
Clean the Exterior
You can use the double-sided wire toothbrush for this task. Simply put a little bit of CLP on the brush and scrape off any areas that need to be cleaned.
You want to be a little bit of lubricant around the mechanics. Also look for any small rust area. Often times rust will start out as a little tiny speck and if you don’t spot it right away it can easily spread.
Wash your Hands Again
After washing your hands again, you should rub a little oil on them and this will remove any fingerprints that may have gotten on your gun while cleaning it.
Assemble Your Gun
Now you’re just about finished. You want to make sure your hands are oiled up with your lubricant and put all the pieces back.
Gun Cleaning Kit Tools
Below are the essential tools you need to have in your kit to ensure a thorough clean for your gun:
1. Nylon Brush
If you’re looking to clean areas of your gun that are more sensitive, then the nylon brush is the tool that you should be using. You can also use a nylon brush to prevent any scratches that might occur on the frame of polymer guns.
2. Bronze Barrel Brush
Bronze gun cleaning brushes can assist you in removing residue from your gun that’s heavily set in it. These brushes are great for cleaning out the chamber and barrel of your gun and work to remove debris as you swipe.
You don’t have to worry about damaging the rifling or scratching the barrel with a bronze brush, just make sure that the bronze brushes that are included in the gun cleaning kit are compatible with your caliber.
3. Cleaning Jags
Cleaning jags are thin rods made of plastic, brass, or nickel. The last stage of your gun cleaning process should include cleaning jags and cleaning patches. The reason for this is that any remaining dirt or oil will be soaked up by the cleaning jags. Each time you clean your gun, make sure that you include cleaning jags in the process.
4. Cleaning Swabs
With cleaning swabs, you’ll be able to reach places that would otherwise be left untouched. Your gun’s barrel can be cleaned with cleaning swabs by putting these pieces of cotton into the cleaning jags.
Even though there will be a couple of cleaning swabs that come with the cleaning kit you’re going to purchase, keep in mind that chances are you’ll probably need to buy some more in the future.
5. Bore Mops
Bore mops can help you eliminate any oil and residue that’s remaining inside the chamber and barrel. In order to be compatible with the caliber of your gun, bore mops come in different sizes. If you want to increase the lifespan of your bore mop, be sure to clean the mops after you clean your gun.
6. Cleaning Solvents
It can be difficult to remove debris from the slide parts and the barrel. A cleaning solution can be really helpful in this department. There are cleaning solvents specifically designed to remove powder residue from guns, and many gun cleaning kits come with them.
7. Oils For Lubrication
After you’re done cleaning your gun, you’ll need to lubricate it. The mechanical parts of your gun will be smooth and lubricated thanks to these oils, and this will lessen the chance of misfires, problems with loading, and friction.
8. The case
All of the tools that you have for your gun need to be stored somewhere, and this is where a case comes in handy. These are usually made out of ballistic nylon or metal.
This is the process to follow for MOST firearms. Each gun cleaning kit has different components but most of them have the same type of brushes and rods.
If you’re unsure how often to clean your firearm, it really depends on how often you use it and the type of ammo you’re using.