The Gunsmithing task with the most Bang for the Buck Ever–Cleaning!

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Yes.  You read that title correctly.  The single most effective task you can perform on a gun is as simple as cleaning it properly.  A clean gun functions as intended, the projectile fits the bore as intended, the action moves within the timing intended, Every single thing WORKS AS INTENDED.  When you add several hundred rounds worth of gunk, Stuff stops working well.

Don’t forget about maintaining value in the gun.  Not cleaning, oiling, and caring for your firearm will result in rust and corrosion.  This will lower the value and, if let go too long, destroy the gun.


No matter what it is that you’re going to set out to do, you will inevitably need some tools.  This is even more the case when you happen to be a Tool Guy like me.  Buying tools can be an expensive endeavor if you do it right.  Cheap tools always seem to break at the worst time, usually damaging more expensive things while they take their own lives!  Tools are a “Buy once, Cry once!” item.  Buy the best you can afford and look for quality.

Kits vs. a’la carte

Kits have the convenience factor all thought out.  Unfortunately, Most of the kits that I’ve seen are such poor quality as to be almost useless.  About the only parts that can be salvaged from such a kit is the Cleaning Rod, If you are desperate.  That said, here is a link to a Hoppes Cleaning Kit if you are inclined to take this option.

Buying your Cleaning Tools a’la Carte really is the way to go.  You get to pick the quality parts from several different manufacturers.  You get to assemble your kit exactly the way you want, for only a few dollars more.


The Rod is used to push Patches, Brushes, and other tools down the Bore of the Gun.  They are available as sectioned or single piece models.  The single piece type is best in my opinion but they are difficult to store and not as portable as the sectioned Rods.  Sectioned Rods are divided into sections which are screwed together to make a Rod long enough to get the job done. This is a rod that I like: Dewey 22C-44


Brushes are available by Projectile diameter, not necessarily caliber.  For instance; a rifle in Caliber .38 Special would need a brush of diameter .358 inches!  Most brush manufacturers label the package with the Caliber which is the common way to refer to the Brush.  I like these brushes: Brownells Cleaning Brushes  because they come in packs with an assortment of sizes and hold up a long time.

Patch Jag

Patch Jags come in two flavors, Push or Pull.  The Jag’s job is to get the Patch down the bore to scrub, lube, spread solvent, or dry the bore.  A Push Jag is simply an undersized plug that the Patch folds over and is the used to ‘Push’ the patch down the bore.  A Pull Jag is shaped like the eye of a needle, elongated so the patch can be threaded through the Jag.  This allows the patch to be pulled in addition to being pushed.


Patches are just pre-measured pieces of cloth, used to apply solvent or oil to the bore of a firearm.  They are available in different sizes to match any caliber.  Cleaning Patches


Solvents are a cornucopia of choices and applications.  No matter your problem, there is a Solvent for it.  There are several different types of Solvents for Copper, Powder, Corrosive Ammo etc..  My stand-by All-Purpose Solvent is Hoppes #9


Oils are just as numerous as Solvents.  Some even use oils made for automobile engines.  Generally, a light-weight, petroleum based, oil is used for maintenance and short storage.  An excellent example is Hoppes Oil


Just like the Auto-Shop, Firearm cleaning is going to get messy.  Rags are needed here for the mop-up when you are all finished.


Basic Cleaning Step-by-Step

Ok. So now I’ve got this dirty gun here and I’d like to know how to clean it!  Here is a Step-by-Step procedure to get that done for you.

Before you even get started: VERIFY THAT THE FIREARM IS UNLOADED!



MOVE the AMMO to another ROOM!   MOVE the AMMO to another ROOM!

It’s best when pushing Solvent soaked patches to start from the Breach if possible.  If you MUST work from the Muzzle, be sure to use a Guard: Dewey Brass Muzzle Guard


Now, Here is the Step-by-Step:

  1. Verify that the Firearm is UNLOADED, The Ammunition is in another ROOM, and the ACTION is locked open.
  2. Layout all your Tools, Solvents, Patches, and Rags withing easy reach
  3. Wet a patch with Solvent and push it through the Bore.  Let it soak.
  4. Disassemble the Action or other parts of the Firearm and clean with Solvent soaked patch, rag, or brush as required to reach the nooks and crannies.  Get it all clean!
  5. Push a Bronze brush through the Bore.  Push all the way through and out the other end, then reverse.  Don’t reverse while still inside the bore!
  6. Push a Solvent soaked patch through the Bore.
  7. Push a Dry patch through the Bore.
  8. Repeat steps 3, 5, 6, and 7 until the Dry patch looks almost completely clean.
  9. Push a lightly oiled patch down the Bore.
  10. Lightly oil all surfaces of the firearm and lube any specific areas that are recommended by the manufacturer per the User’s Manual.
  11. Re-assemble and wipe down the firearm with a lightly oiled rag, then place the Firearm in its home, Case, Bag, Safe, or Rack.



Hope you enjoyed that, Look for the next Gun Cleaning Article coming soon:

Advanced Gun Cleaning

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