Keeping your rifle clean at all times is the key to accuracy and preserving your firearm for years to come. From an accuracy standpoint, every discharge leaves the potential for residue to be left behind in the barrel and other components. As the residue begins stacking up, your accuracy could suffer. And even worse, the residue buildup could eventually lead to corrosion and pitting and can make your firearm unsalvageable.
A good universal gun cleaning kit should have all the necessary cleaning tools you need to clean and preserve your firearm. Then, once you’ve cleaned it thoroughly, placing it in a secure gun safe will keep it out of the elements and out of harm’s way. In fact, properly storing your gun is more important than cleaning your gun, from a preservation standpoint. These tips and advice can help you develop appropriate cleaning methods and storage for your firearms.
Begin By Investing In The Correct Supplies
The right gun cleaning supplies are essential to ensure proper cleaning and preservation without damaging any components. The basic gun cleaning tools to invest in include:
- Single-piece cleaning rod (not the screw-together versions)
- Bore snake or pull-through
- Cleaning patches (can be made at home with old t-shirts)
- Patch holder
- Bore brush (bronze or nylon)
- Gun cleaner
- Grease or lubricant
- Dental pick or toothbrush
It’s important to note that screw-together sectional cleaning rods may seem convenient, but they can damage the bore of your gun. Opt for a single-piece cleaning rod, if available, instead. The material of your bore brush is also important, as a nylon or bronze brush typically does the best cleaning job without the risk of damaging your rifle. Once you have all of your gun cleaning supplies and have researched exactly how to open up your gun’s components for proper cleaning, you’re ready to begin.
Clean The Rifle Barrel
As always, make sure your firearm is unloaded and work in an area that is well ventilated with plenty of surface area to work on before beginning the cleaning process. The rifle barrel, in particular, needs to be handled with the utmost care, as one mistake could lead to inaccurate discharges later. Start by soaking a patch in a gun cleaner and run it through the barrel in the direction the bullet travels. Then run your bore brush through the barrel 4–5 times in the same direction. Never move the brush backward at any time, since you could damage the barrel permanently. It’s also important to note that if you have a pump-action, lever-action or semi-automatic rifle that doesn’t allow for straight rear entry into the barrel, you’ll need to clean it from the muzzle to the chamber.
Take another soaked patch and run it through the barrel. If there is still some residue on it, then run the bore brush through it a couple more times. Once the patch comes out clean, take a few dry patches to soak up any of the gun cleaner that was left behind to prevent corrosion.
Clean The Chamber And Action
If your gun cleaning kit doesn’t include a cotton rag, try ripping up an old cotton t-shirt you have lying around your home for the chamber and action. While it’s important to clean the chamber and action, these components are the most tedious—so it requires patience. Using a gun oil is possible, but you have to ensure you remove it all completely before storing the gun. The best cleaning method for these components involves simply wiping them down with a cotton rag. You can then use a dental pick or toothbrush to remove any bits of grime or debris and fine-tune the cleaning.
Clean The Stock And Barrel
The stock and barrel can be the last components you clean before storing your gun since they are the simplest and most straightforward. Your objective is to wipe the components down with a coat of gun oil using a cotton cloth to prevent corrosion and rust. A light coat is all you need, but if you put a little too much on it, you can wipe it off with a dry cloth. Once you’ve examined the firearm thoroughly, you’re ready to store it properly in your gun safe.
Ensure Proper Gun Storage
Storing your firearms in a high-quality gun safe might be even more important than cleaning and maintenance of the gun. Humidity can cause significant damage to firearms, even when they have been cleaned and wiped down with gun oil. You could even go a step further and put a dehumidifier into your gun safe. This is an incredible feature offered by Fort Knox when you customize your gun safe to ensure the firearms are preserved properly. The investment you make in a gun safe is equally as important as the investment in the firearm itself, in many cases.
Fort Knox recommends using a high-quality gun safe with a high fire rating for your gun collection, even if the collection is in progress. They offer various models and styles and even allow customers to customize a vault to their liking, including ones with electronic locks. Whether you only have a couple of guns or have a collection of multiple guns, Fort Knox has an option that will fit your needs. Visit the Fort Knox website to see all they have to offer when you’re ready to build and price your vault.