Cleaning Your Rifle Made Easy- The Fundamental Principles to Know by Heart

Hunting with a gun isn’t complicated, but you need to learn how to clean your rifle (among many other things).

Getting through the basics of cleaning a weapon isn’t complicated, but using the right tools for the job is more important.

Be that as it may, when we’re talking about cleaning your rifle, we instead highlight the importance of using the right tools so that you don’t damage your gun in any way. Mastering the technique counts nine times out of ten.

Why is it important to clean your gun?

cleaning a weapon

You need to clean the gun so that you make sure that there’s no more debris, dirt, water, or salt left in your weapon. When it comes to water and salt, we cannot stress about the damage that both can cause to a gun, altering the lifespan of your weapon.

Let’s not forget that corrosive elements are harmful to a gun, with copper/lead fouling, dirt, and powder residue left in the firearm lowering the durability of your rifle.

There’s no point of owning a gun unless you’re able to use it when you need it the most. When you don’t clean your arm regularly, the chances are that you may find out the worst way possible that your gun doesn’t fire.

Cleaning your gun ensures its precision, which counts so much for hunting. Let’s say you’re hunting and you see an eight-pointer. You draw up your weapon, aim, pull the trigger, but your rifle doesn’t fire. Isn’t this a tragic story?

Whether you get yourself a gun cleaning kit or buy the cleaning tools separately, the rule of thumb is that you can never afford not to clean your gun any now and then.

You can never be too cautious around guns

Cleaning your rifle

Stories about people injuring and even dying while cleaning their weapons are real. It’s rarely on the cause of a fault in the rifle, and it’s human error the leading cause for this sort of accidents.

Cleaning your rifle isn’t all risk-free, but you can lower the risks by doing it by the book. As long as you’re following the rules, you should be able to get the job done safe and sound every single time.

Without any further ado, let’s highlight essential principles when giving your rifle a good clean:

  • No matter what you think, you should always consider your gun as loaded

Don’t even consider touching, handling, picking up, aiming it, or putting your finger on the trigger unless you have this one written in stone: your gun might be loaded. Even if it’s your gun and know for sure that you haven’t loaded, you should never think otherwise. The best way not to get injured by accident is to assume the gun is loaded, using it carefully every time.

  • Unless you’re ready to shoot, don’t aim at anything

This principle relates to the previous, and you need to ask yourself if there’s no bullet in the chamber for sure? Maybe someone lodged in the chamber, and you don’t know? Unless you’re ready for injuring, harming, or killing your game, you should never aim your gun at anyone or any living being.

Side note: You should handle your gun respectfully, no matter if it’s yours or not. Never underestimate the cleaning operation nor consider it to be a game. As long as you remember that the gun may be loaded, you should be able to do it without causing any injuries.

Respecting the gun even when cleaning it lowers the risk for an accident. A firearm may pose a threat at all time so aim carefully throughout the cleaning process. As you’re taking your rifle apart, you shouldn’t let the muzzle pointing at anything living.

  • Take a good look at the selected target and all around

Choosing the right place for the bullet is important. You also need to know what you’re about to shoot before even touching the trigger. Always know the surrounding area and its connection to your chosen target. Even if you’re an experienced shooter, your bullet may still miss the mark, going beyond or through the first target.

  • Place your finger on the trigger only when you spot the target, and you have it in your sight.

Once you take out the ammunition and the chamber has no live round, you take a deep breath and resist the temptation of putting the finger on the trigger. You need to be in control and sure of your rifle’s status. Where is it pointing? Does the muzzle face any random direction?

What tools to get for cleaning your rifle?

tools for cleaning your rifle

As we’ve already mentioned, cleaning a rifle is a lot about using the right tools for the job.

Let’s have a quick look at the most common rifle cleaning paraphernalia:

  • Brushes

You need to use the brush for cleaning the exterior of your gun. It’s the perfect tool for removing dirt and debris, but it can also get into the tiny cracks and nooks.

  • Cleaning rod

It’s a metal tool that features long and rigid extensions. The rod can be made of aluminum, stainless steel, brass, or any other material that is plastic coated. You should look for the rods made of aluminum and stainless steel as the brass models may bend throughout use. They also present a considerable risk for boring. Should you choose a jointed cleaning rod, it’s best that the joints of the rod are seamless.

  • Cloths

You should always have several cloths or rags within reach when cleaning your rifle. You may use one for polishing down the exterior of the gun. Once you’re done with the cleaning, you can also put a bit of gun oil on your arm, giving it a final touch. This step also protects it from moisture and rust.

  • Cleaning patches

Grab some cleaning patches as they’re great for slipping through the tiny hole on the cleaning rod. Don’t forget that you have to soak them in a good quality cleaning solvent. You may put the cleaning rod inside the bore of your gun, pushing it down until it gets out through the other end of your gun’s bore.

  • Gun cleaning kit

Save yourself the trouble of looking for every single cleaning tool and buy a gun cleaning kit. It should include all the tools you may need for gun cleaning and the equipment you have to have for your specific gun.

How to clean a rifle- the main steps to take

The very first thing you need to begin with is to find a safe place for cleaning your weapon. Continue with putting the goggles on so that you protect your eyes. Also, put your latex gloves on too, as you want to protect your hands from the solvent you’re going to be using later on.

Here’s the best way to clean your rifle:

  • Check your gun so that you can be 100% that it’s not loaded
  • Take the bolt of your weapon. Some weapons may need you to push the trigger as you’re pulling the pin back when removing the lock. You have to know where your gun is aiming while doing it. Some weapons may feature a tiny lever on the side (or a button) that has to be pushed when releasing the bolt, allowing you to pull it out of the rifle. Check the owner’s manual for more information.
  • Use a bore brush for putting the cleaning rod together. Apply a bit of solvent/bore scrub on your brush, running the brush through the bore for several times (half dozen will do).
  • Put the bore brush aside and look for the cleaning patch instead. You need to run the cleaning rod through the bore until you can no longer notice any black residue on the cleaning patches.
  • Should you have an air compressor, you may want to use it for blowing out the trigger mechanism and the ammunition clip as well.
  • Clean the bolt with a cleaning cloth and solvent. If you have an air compressor, you may also blow it off with it. If that’s too much for you, a can of compressed air may do the trick too. Don’t forget to lubricate the bolt with some gun oil; you may put it back afterward.
  • Grab some gun oil and a cleaning cloth, applying only a light coat of gun oil on the exterior part of your gun. It’s the best way to protect it against rust and moisture.

Last, but not least

Taking good care of your rifle is fundamental when you plan on using it for hunting, but cleaning it the right way is just as important. Selecting the proper materials and tools for the job are only going to expand the lifespan of your gun, ensuring its precision and reliable performance too. Why wouldn’t you want that?

Resources

How to Clean A Rifle: Gun Cleaning Tools and Safety

How to choose an airgun – Straight Shooters Precision Airguns

How To Clean a Rifle | Grand View Outdoors

How to Clean a Bolt Action Rifle | Big Game Hunting Blog