46% of American homes have at least one gun. But as more and more people around the country are taking up gun ownership, there’s a growing need for knowledge on how to care for them properly.
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that gun cleaning is a simple process. There’s more to it than taking out your gun and wiping the barrel a few times. To ensure the longevity of your firearm, read on for some common gun cleaning mistakes I like to avoid.
1. Harsh Cleaners
If you’re new to gun cleaning, I understand why you might be tempted to use chemicals like gasoline or kerosene. But these are two of the worst things you can use on your firearm. They’re extremely flammable and can lead to serious accidents.
The best way to clean a gun is by using a good quality solvent, like Break-Free CLP or Hoppe’s No. 9. You might be able to find a quality gun cleaning kit that has the solvent included so you can avoid the extra expense.
If you use harsh chemicals in your gun cleaning routine, the parts will wear down. Not only that, but the solvents can damage your gun’s finish.
2. Failing to Unload
I suggest unloading your firearm before cleaning it. The last thing you want is to accidentally fire your gun while it has a barrel plugged up with cleaning solvent.
How to unload a handgun? First, point the gun away from anything you don’t wish to shoot (including yourself).
Modern revolvers have either a fixed or swing-out cylinder.
To unload a revolver with a fixed cylinder, press the rod until you see the cartridge come out of its chamber. Then rotate the cylinder so that it aligns with, and pushes out, the next cartridge. Keep repeating this process until you have removed all cartridges from their chambers.
To unload a swing-out revolver, depress the rod and remove the cartridges. Re-latch the cylinder once the gun is out of ammo.
3. Not Cleaning the Internal Components
I know you’ll get the best results from cleaning every piece of your gun. Not doing so can lead to jamming and rust, which can make your gun malfunction or stop working altogether.
4. Cleaning Too Little
It’s a good rule of thumb to clean your gun after every use. You should also lightly clean it after shooting in dusty or wet conditions.
Dip a few patches in some lubricant cleaner and run them through the bore and other easily accessible parts of your firearm. This will remove any contaminates that might cause wear on more sensitive components, like the barrel or trigger assembly.
Inspect and deep clean your gun about once a month if you use it regularly.
Don’t worry about getting all the dirt out of every nook and cranny—you’ll never get there! I’ve seen over-cleaning do more harm than good. It strips away oil from essential parts.
5. Not Reading the Owner’s Manual
One of the mistakes new gun owners make is tossing out the manual. This can lead to wear and tear from using products or cleaning methods that are not recommended for your specific firearm.
While my gun cleaning suggestions are comprehensive, the owner’s manual will tell you exactly how to clean your gun and when to do it. It will also give you tips on the best way to maintain the parts of your firearm that need regular care.
6. Too Much Oil
A thin layer of gun oil will help keep your gun in good running condition, but it also serves as a magnet for dust particles. These particles collect inside the chamber where they can cause problems when firing your weapon.
Oil on your trigger is not necessary, though some gun enthusiasts will argue that it helps prevent the trigger from sticking. If you’re going to use lubricating oils on your firearm’s trigger assembly, I recommend applying just enough so that no excess drips off your finger. A single drop of oil should be sufficient.
7. Dirty Magazines
I believe the magazine is just as important as the gun since it’s responsible for feeding ammunition into your firearm. If a magazine is full of dust, you’re going to have issues when it comes time to shoot. To avoid this, clean your magazines after each trip to the shooting range or every few months otherwise.
You can clean a magazine by brushing dirt from the follower and wiping it with a patch. Wipe down the outside of the body as well.
8. Using One Patch
The first thing you’ll want to do is run one dry patch through the barrel of your gun. This will remove any leftover dust and other debris from the last time you fired it.
Next, remove any gunk inside your barrel using a cleaning solvent and another cotton patch (or two). In my experience, cleaning out the bore takes at least three or four patches.
Afterward, you’ll need a few dry patches to run back and forth through your bore until they come out white. That means all excess solvent is gone.
Avoid These Gun Cleaning Mistakes
Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and don’t exceed the recommended amount of rounds to clean your weapon. If you got rid of the owner’s manual, avoiding these gun cleaning mistakes should help you preserve your firearm.
Cleaning your gun is a much easier process than you think, but I know it can be a little overwhelming. If you have any questions about how to clean your gun or what products are safe to use on your firearm, feel free to ask a question and I’ll do my best to help you out.