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Gunsmithing Tips: Proper Barrel Cleaning

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Cleaning your rifle barrel regularly is as important as changing the oil in your vehicle. Without proper cleaning, the rifle will not perform optimally and can become damaged. Always check twice to ensure the rifle is unloaded before starting.

Gun-Owning Male Military Spouses check out this video and Get Tips on Proper Barrel Cleaning from our friends at SDI.

What You Will Need:

  • Some old toothbrushes and utility brushes

  • Q-tips

  • Cleaning patches

  • Bore brush to match rifle caliber

  • Gun oil

  • Bore cleaner or solvent

  • Rifle barrel cleaning rod and slotted end

  • Bent cleaning brush for rifles lacking easy breech-end access

Steps To Clean a Rifle Barrel

1. Use the Bore Brush

When cleaning any rifle, use the breech end whenever possible. Put some bore cleaner on the brush. Insert it all of the way into the barrel, and do not pull it backward until it has reached completely through. This will keep debris from being pushed into the action.

2. Use the Cleaning Rod

Next, put a slotted end on the barrel rod. Wet a patch, put it in the slotted end, and put the rod into the rifle barrel. Use a series of wet and dry patches in the barrel, running them completely through each time. Do this until the last two dry patches come out clean.

3. Oil the Barrel

Since oil is necessary for rust prevention, accuracy and function, it is important to always keep the barrel lubricated. Put a clean patch on the slotted end of the cleaning rod, apply oil to the patch and run the rod up and down the complete length of the barrel.

4. Clean the Action

Put some solvent on the rifle's moving action parts, and use the utility brushes and toothbrushes to scrub them clean. Debris builds up in these, so be sure to do this every time the barrel is cleaned. Use varying sizes of brushes to reach tighter spaces or broader spaces. After the parts are clean, wipe them dry. Apply a thin coat of oil to the cleaned area.

After completing these steps, wipe down all metal areas of the rifle barrel. Apply a thin layer of oil. Sometimes it is easier to complete the process by seeing it, so learn how to quickly clean your rifle barrel in SDI's short instructional video.

Helpful Tips to Remember

  • When shooting with copper-jacketed ammo, use a solvent that is specially formulated for cleaning the barrel afterward. Hoppe's Bench Rest 9 is a good solution.

  • Since there are different types of solvents for different rifles, spend some time researching before deciding which one to use.

  • When shooting with corrosive ammo, take a 3/1 ammonia and water solution along. Run a patch with the solution through the barrel immediately after shooting, follow with dry patches and oil the barrel.

Looking for more tips to help you keep your firearms in great working condition? Check back here every couple of weeks or go to the SDI on YouTube!

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Topics: sonoran desert institute school of firearms technology gunsmithing gun cleaning macho spouse military career my caa military spouse scholarship