How to Properly Clean Your Hunting Rifle
Cleaning your hunting rifle is an essential part of maintaining its accuracy and performance. A dirty rifle can cause malfunctions, corrosion, and reduced accuracy. Cleaning your rifle after every hunting trip or range session will ensure that it is ready for the next use.
There are different opinions on how often you should clean your rifle, but a general rule of thumb is to clean it before the bore becomes so fouled that it affects your accuracy. Depending on your rifle and ammunition, this could happen after a few shots or a few dozen shots. If you want to be on the safe side, clean your rifle after every use.
To clean your rifle properly, you will need some tools and products that are widely available at gun shops or online. These include:
- A gun cradle or vise to secure your rifle and provide a stable work surface.
- A coated cleaning rod with a free-spinning handle that will not damage the bore of your rifle.
- A nylon or brass brush for loosening powder residue in the bore.
- A brass jag for holding and pushing cleaning patches through the bore.
- A bore guide for keeping the rod aligned and preventing solvent from dripping into the action.
- Cleaning patches made from cotton or synthetic material.
- A powder solvent such as Hoppe’s No. 9 for removing carbon fouling in the bore.
- A copper solvent such as Sweet’s 7.62 for removing copper fouling in the bore.
- A lightweight gun oil such as Rem Oil for lubricating the bore and metal parts.
- A spray cleaner such as Break-Free CLP for cleaning the bolt and action.
- A paper towel or rag for wiping excess solvent and oil.
A few good Gun Cleaning Kits you can buy online now
- BOOSTEADY Gun Cleaning Kit $44.99
- GLORYFIRE Gun Cleaning Kit $99.99
- TacSnake Universal Gun Cleaning Kit $32.99
- Allen Company Universal Gun Cleaning Kit $99.99
- GuardTech Plus Upgraded Universal Gun Cleaning Kit $48.95
Here are the steps to follow for cleaning your hunting rifle:
- Wipe away dirt and grime. Use a paper towel or rag to wipe down the exterior of your rifle, removing any dust, dirt, or moisture. Pay attention to the muzzle, scope, and sling swivels.
- Remove the bolt. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to remove the bolt from your rifle. Spray some cleaner on the bolt and use a brush or rag to scrub away any carbon or dirt. Wipe it dry with a paper towel or rag.
- Clean the bore. This is the most important and time-consuming step of all. Insert the bore guide into the chamber of your rifle and attach the brush to the cleaning rod. Apply some powder solvent to the brush and push it through the bore from breech to muzzle. Do not pull it back, as this will drag dirt back into the bore. Repeat this several times until the brush comes out clean. Then switch to the jag and run some solvent-soaked patches through the bore, followed by dry patches, until they come out clean. This may take 20 or more repetitions on a very dirty rifle. Every few cleanings, you should also use a copper solvent to remove any copper deposits in the bore. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using this product, as it may require longer soaking times and more patches. After using copper solvent, run some powder solvent patches through the bore to neutralize it. Finally, run a lightly oiled patch through the bore to protect it from rust.
- Clean the action and magazine. Use a spray cleaner to apply some solvent to a rag or brush and wipe down the action and magazine well of your rifle, inside and out. Remove any dirt or carbon that may have accumulated in these areas. Wipe them dry with a paper towel or rag.
- Lubricate the metal parts. Apply a thin layer of oil to all metal parts of your rifle, including the bolt, action, trigger, safety, barrel, and sling swivels. Use a rag or paper towel to wipe off any excess oil that may attract dust or dirt.
- Store correctly. Store your rifle in a cool, dry place away from moisture and humidity. Avoid storing it in a case that may trap moisture or cause condensation. If possible, store it in an upright position with the muzzle pointing down to prevent oil from seeping into the action or chamber.
By following these steps, you will keep your hunting rifle clean and ready for action whenever you need it.
Source: View our sources for the post below!
(1) How to Properly Clean and Store Your Rifle After Hunting Season. https://www.americanhunter.org/content/how-to-properly-clean-and-store-your-rifle-after-hunting-season/.
(2) How to Clean a Rifle (The Right Way) – YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vz9ooGGvCMI.
(3) Proper Rifle Care: Routine Cleaning | MeatEater Gear. https://www.themeateater.com/gear/gear-hunt/proper-hunting-rifle-care-routine-cleaning.
(4) How to Clean Your Hunting Rifle – Legendary Whitetails. https://community.legendarywhitetails.com/blog/how-to-clean-your-hunting-rifle/.