Gun Cleaning and Routine Home Gun Maintenance

Prolong the life and performance of your guns, and save yourself some money, by keeping up with gun cleaning and routine gun maintenance.

| November/December 2014

The phrase “home gunsmithing” conjures up pictures of a guy in knee breeches tending a forge and hammering out a rifle barrel from white hot strips of steel. What it actually entails more often is simply the task of maintaining existing firearms and keeping them up and running safely. Though the concept may sound daunting to many, if you possess average do-it-yourself skills and have an eye for detail, there’s really nothing to hold you back. 


For any basic gun maintenance, you are going to need some basic gun-cleaning items. You can go to your local hardware or sporting goods seller and buy a gun cleaning kit, which will come with some copper and/or bronze bore brushes for the heavy duty removal of fouling from the barrel, a small container of bore cleaner, lubricating oil of some kind, a jag or loop to push the cloth patches through the bore, an inexpensive aluminum cleaning rod with multiple sections, grease of some sort, and maybe a toothbrush-style cleaning brush.

The rods, bore brushes, loops, jags and patches come in sizes that match the caliber of your barrel; make sure what you buy matches your firearm. One-piece rods are preferred because they don’t have misaligned joints that will scratch and damage the bore of your barrels. I prefer the plastic-coated ones, although there is a school of thought that says uncoated steel is better.

Always clean the bore from the breech (chamber) end whenever possible. Cleaning from the muzzle will damage the crown and is one of the fastest ways to ruin accuracy. If you must clean from the muzzle because you can’t clean from the breech due to the design of the firearm (pumps and semiautomatics mainly), you can use a pull-through cleaning kit like those from Otis Technologies, or a muzzle protector such as the Pro Shot Muzzle Guards from Brownells.

Stop by your local discount tool seller and get a package of three toothbrush style cleaning brushes in nylon, brass/copper, and stainless steel. Generally avoid using the steel bristle ones, as they will scratch the metal and take the finish off your gun.

You will occasionally need to tighten or remove a screw from your gun. DO NOT grab your handy Stanley mechanics screwdriver and have at it. Gun screws have narrow slots and nothing screams mistreatment by a gun butcher like marred screw heads and stripped slots.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, gardening, real food and more!