Caring For Your Gun

A regular gun routine is considered imperative for gun maintenance, and is considered to be part of being a responsible shooter.

Collect together a cleaning kit in preparation, some of the following are useful:

  • Cleaning rod and attachment
  • Phosphor - bronze brush
  • Brass jag
  • Cotton mop
  • Chamber brush
  • Cleaning roll/patches and cloth
  • Toothbrush
  • Cotton buds
  • Gun oil for barrels, grease for hinges and bites, silicone oil for woodwork

If you’re struggling to know what you need, online locations such as Palmetto State Armory, carry everything you need to help maintain your firearms, and can help you with your options.


Cleaning your shotgun

Begin by taking your gun apart, removing the fore-end and laying it down alongside the stock and barrels.

Check the barrels, begin by cleaning the breech area and ejectors, pushing them out, and using the toothbrush, sweeping away any dirt and unburnt powder. A cotton bud may prove useful for this to gently clean all the small hard to reach places.

Check inside the barrels and spray a small amount of gun cleaner down each tube. Starting with the chambers use the chamber brush to scrub away any powder or plastic residue from where the cartridge sits.

Picking up the cleaning rod and the phosphor bronze brush attachment, run it up and down inside each barrel ensuring you get right up to the chokes and back down to the chambers. Be thorough, going up and down several times making sure to dislodge any deposits. The solvent in the gun cleaner will break down any stubborn dirt.

Swap the rod attachment over to the brass jag, adding a piece of cleaning roll, or kitchen roll. The roll should fit snugly down the barrels, small enough to push the rod down to the end, but big enough that it forces the dirt out. The cleaning roll should come out covered in dirt and grime. Add a fresh piece of cleaning roll and repeat until it comes out clean.

To finish off the inside of the barrels use a cotton mop with a small amount of gun oil. Attach to the rod and run it through the barrels, this will ensure the insides are completely clean and adds a thin even coat of oil. A final wipe of the ejectors to remove any dirt and the barrels are ready to set back down, turning your attention to the action.

Use a toothbrush to brush over the exposed metalwork. The bristles are perfect to dislodge any build up of grease but soft enough that they won’t cause any damage to the action. As with the barrels, a cotton bud can be used to reach the small fiddly areas, being very gentle as they can get stuck or snap off if used harshly.

Next turn your attention to the stock, and begin by running a toothbrush through the chequering to dislodge any hidden dirt and make sure to use a clean toothbrush, not the same one that you used on the action. Wipe the stock over with a clean cloth to remove any surface dirt before adding a little oil. A silicone cloth and silicone oil are good choices to have in your cleaning kit as they can be used on both the stock and barrels.

Use the oil sparingly and repeat with the fore-end trying not to get any oil into the chequering.

Once the gun has been thoroughly cleaned, reassemble adding a small amount of grease to parts of the metalwork, the knuckle, barrel lumps and fore-end loop. Put the barrels back onto the action and attach the fore-end. With a final wipe over with a cloth the gun is ready to put away until the next season.

It is recommended to have a professional service once a year in addition to this cleaning routine and then your shotgun may well last a lifetime.

Cleaning your Pistol

Some people prefer to take their pistol to a gunsmith for extensive cleaning, although it is considered important to know how to care for and clean your own pistol.

An important rule concerning safety is to always treat your firearm as if it is loaded. Point it down and away when cleaning or inspecting it.

Make sure the safety is on and the firearm is unloaded before inspecting it or cleaning it. Remember to use eye protection when using solvents or chemicals of any kind.

When the chamber is empty, partially disassemble the pistol according to the owner's manual. Using a bore brush attachment to a cleaning rod scrub out the inside of the barrel.

Adding some solvent to the brush, scrub out the barrel a few more times. This is one of the most important parts to clean well. After cleaning the barrel, replace the bore brush with a patch holder,and once again run it in and out of the barrel a few times. Continue this process with new patch holders until they come out mostly clean. Always ensure the firearm is clean before storing it. For revolvers, clean the barrel and each end of the chambers.

After your pistol has been fired residue from the ammunition can build up inside it and cause corrosion. Therefore it is wise to clean your firearm regularly if it is used often, and a handgun which is only fired occasionally and then stored, should be cleaned immediately before storage. Follow every cleaning with proper lubrication.

Cleaning your Pistol

Avoid multi-use of cleaning rods and cloths as they soon get filthy and full of corrosive acids. Even chrome barrels need a good clean as harmful deposits can still build up on barrel walls.

Black powder cartridges are becoming popular, therefore spend extra time cleaning if you use these as black powder leaves highly corrosive deposits that are hard to shift.

Read more: Build Unique Gun Rack Ideas for Your Guns

Everyday Carry Guns

these guns will obviously need cleaning more often. As well as regular cleaning it is important to test the gun regularly to keep your senses sharp. Practice shoot drills or go to a local range to keep yourself acquainted with handling your gun.

Hunting Firearms

The majority of gun owners clean their guns straight after using it. Each time you shoot, residue piles up inside along with dirt from the environment and from your fingers. Even when you haven’t fired your gun but have brought it out to hunt, in perhaps snow or wet and damp surroundings and a high humidity, the moisture will seep into your gun and cause rust and corrosion

Firearm Storage

Firearm storage is another important factor when owning guns and is an important responsibility for anyone owning a firearm of any kind.. They must always be kept in a locked place when they are not in use. A safe, lockbox or other safe storage can be used.

It is important not to put a gun in a gun-slip while in a gun safe as you need to have air movement around the gun. Don’t put a heater or light bulb in your gun safe as your stock will over-dry, warm and crack.


Learning how to take care of your gun is one of the basic things to know when owning one. Your firearms can keep you safe from harm but if not cared for properly and kept clean they can also pose a danger by malfunctioning or causing accidental injuries or even accidental death.

Most people have heard the advice to treat your gun as if it is loaded, but it is easy to become complacent and forget to check, and to make sure the safety is on. Whenever you inspect or clean your gun, point it downwards at all times, never ever point it as yourself or any other person.

The best safety routine is to unload it before you do anything else, and then disassemble it according to the manual. Gloves and eye protection are highly recommended when dealing with any solvents and chemicals.

Choose a safe working area, if possible somewhere that is well ventilated and well lit. A garage or anywhere outdoors is suitable. If you don’t have a choice but to do it indoors make sure you have plenty of ventilation from a nearby window.

As an extra precaution remove all ammunition in the area, store them in a safe or move them to another room where they will be safe.

Inspect your firearms at least once a week and for a carry gun examine it every day. This is important as you never know when you may need to use your gun whether at a moment's notice, or in a life threatening situation. Your gun should always be ‘ready to go’.

Guns in storage

Guns that you don’t use at all, or don’t use very often still need to be well taken care of. Dust and residue can still build up even in the best of gun storages. Inspect your guns at least once a month and clean them once every quarter or at the very least twice a year. This will make sure they are still in a good condition and ready to use when needed.

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