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Cleaning Tips heading



The fundamental process for removing copper/lead fouling from firearm barrels is chemical not mechanical. Copper/lead are not “scrubbed” out of a barrel. The solvent dissolves the copper gilding and the patch pushes the deposits out of the barrel. A brush helps break up thicker deposits. Heavy brushing can damage a barrel’s leade, grooves, and crown. A firearm’s accuracy can be degraded by excess brushing.

Note: No solvent other than acid can dissolve lead. Therefore, if the firearm barrel is fouled with lead deposits (due to use of non-coated bullets) it will have to be scrubbed out.

## Avoid any process or tool that will reduce the effectiveness of the cleaning solvent or might induce mechanical damage or wear into the barrel. This means:
a). Do not contaminate the cleaning solvent by dipping a brush or patch into its container. Use an eyedropper or other such tool to transfer the solvent to the patch or brush.
b). Use a bore guide when cleaning rifles.
c). Use a one-piece cleaning rod.
d). When a brush is required, use nylon bristle brushes only.
e). Always clean from the action side, pushing fouling out of the barrel and away from the action or receiver.

Cleaning Rifles:


1. Ensure the rifle is unloaded. Remove the bolt or open/separate the upper and lower receivers. Then remove the bolt and charging handle in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Place the rifle in a cleaning vise or cradle, with the barrel slightly inclined, to allow fluids to drain away from the action or receiver.

2. Install the bore guide and run a loose-fitting patch, which has been saturated in an ammonia-based cleaning solvent, through the barrel. Do not reverse out the patch. Allow the solvent to sit for 5 to 10 minutes to chemically dissolve copper and loosen lead deposits. A nylon bristle brush may be used at this point to further break up any deposits.

3. Using a dry, firmly-fitting patch (not tight, but firm), push the solvent and dissolved deposits out of the end of the barrel. Repeat Step 2 until the dry patch results in no further deposits being removed from the barrel.

4. Once Step 3 is complete, and all solvent has been removed from the barrel, the barrel should be lightly lubricated with gun oil. Note that if the rifle is to be placed in storage, excess oil from the barrel may drain into the receiver or damage the stock’s bedding.

5. Clean the bolt and / or charging handle and receiver internal surfaces using a lint-free cloth and a thin penetrating type of oil. Solvents are not necessary (but may be used) while cleaning the bolt, charging handle, and internal surfaces of the upper and lower receivers. If a solvent is used, it must be completely removed prior to reassembling the rifle.

Note: The bolt will need to be disassembled, periodically, for in-depth cleaning.

Only the manufacturer, in combination with shooting habits and conditions, can provide guidance on the frequency of that in-depth cleaning.

The shooter must, MUST, follow the firearm manufacturer’s instruction on disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling the bolt.

6. Once Step 5 is complete and all oils or solvent have been removed from the bolt and receiver, the bolt and receiver should be lightly lubricated with gun oil. Note that if the rifle is to be placed in storage, excess oil may drain into the stock’s bedding and induced damage there.
7. Reassemble the rifle as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cleaning Pistols:


1. Ensure the pistol is unloaded, disassemble it as per the manufacturer’s instructions, and lay the components out on a clean, lint-free cloth. If the pistol is a revolver or a semi-automatic with the barrel permanently fixed to the frame, place it in a cleaning vise or cradle with the barrel slightly inclined to allow fluids to drain away from the action.

2. Run a loose-fitting patch which has been saturated in an ammonia-based cleaning solvent through the barrel and allow the solvent to sit for several minutes to chemically dissolve copper and loosen lead deposits. A nylon bristle brush may be used at this point to further break up any metallic deposits.

3. Using a dry, firmly-fitting patch (not tight, but firm), push the solvent and dissolved deposits out of the end of the barrel. Repeat Step 2 until the dry patch results in no further deposits being removed from the barrel.

4. Once Step 3 is complete and all solvent has been removed from the barrel, the barrel should be lightly lubricated with gun oil.

5. Using a thin, penetrating type of oil, clean the remaining components using a lint-free cloth - solvents are not necessary on these. If a solvent is used, it must be completely removed and those surfaces lightly coated with gun oil prior to reassembling the pistol.

Note: On semi-automatic style pistols, the firing pin or striker assemblies should be periodically disassembled for in-depth cleaning.

Only the manufacturer, in combination with shooting habits and conditions, can provide guidance on the frequency of that in-depth cleaning.

The shooter must, MUST, follow the firearm manufacturer’s instruction on disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling the firing pin or striker assemblies.

6. Reassemble the pistol as per the manufacturer’s instructions.


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