The Ten Commandments Of Gun Cleaning

Connor's Cleaning Check List


Shovel dog poop, mow lawn, take out trash. When spouse pleased, proceed.

Prep work surface. “Puppy puddle pads” provide a plastic leak-free bottom and lint-free padded top – a recent discovery, and another spouse-pleaser – `specially if you work on the kitchen table.

Unload Roscoe. Unload again. Repeat, verifying with Type-1 Finger and Mark-II Red Eyeball. If IQ under 60, repeat all. If gun design requires squeezin’ trigger/ droppin’ hammer, point at Safe Direction pad or overstuffed sofa you hate anyway. No “bang”? Good!

Field strip Roscoe. Remove wood or synthetic grips; no use finding out your solvent turns `em into pulp or plasti-puke.

It’s time for safety glasses, canned air, and an assortment of brushes. Any dirt or debris you can blow outta there dry is better than swamping it out as muddy mush. A minute or two of dry-cleaning saves several in the wet cycle.

Thoroughly wet the bore – and cylinder chambers if you got `em – with solvent. Swab it sparingly on other areas prone to fouling, like sixgun backplates and pistol breech faces. Let the solvent work for at least 15 to 20 minutes. The chemical action takes time. Lots of folks start scrubbing right away, and all that does is wear out brushes and short-change your solvent.

Now run your borebrush down those bores and chambers, not necessarily with a furious frenzy. If you’re using solvent properly, a lot of elbow grease and activity ain’t needed. Brush solvent and fouling away from firing pin recesses and lockwork. Note: Getting the wrong gunk – or any kinda excess gunk – in a firing pin recess can cause muddy, light primer strikes when the goop congeals… This could result in you becoming congealed goop.

Stop the solvent action! Hit all those solvent-target areas with your spray cleaner, not lube. Real cleaners will chemically neutralize the solvent, and lubes will only push it around. Spray enough to float out all that crud and debris you’ve scrubbed up. Spray your bore brush too. It’s made of brass or bronze phosphor, and remaining solvent will continue eating and breaking down your brushes.

How do you know you got the fouling out? After patching the barrel dry, wet another patch with solvent and run it back through. If you see blue, green or purple smudges, you’ve still got jacket-material fouling. Gray or black smudges indicate stubborn powder/carbon fouling. Bits of crusty gray mean you had a lead deposit problem, and it’s still there. If it looks like dried blood, you had rust. Repeat your solvent and brush drill, then neutralize and clean again until those patches come out almost pristine.

Now go briskly berserk with your spray cleaner, brushes and swabs on the rest of your piece, ridding it of every last bit of mini-debris you can see – or you can’t see – inside and out. On revolvers, make sure to brush under the extractor star, wipe the extractor shaft, and clean all around the flash-gap area forward and above the cylinder. Flush out the crane pivot well, making sure there’s no grit or solvent lurking there. Cock the hammer and carefully clean as far inside the frame as you can. Hit it again with the canned air.

With autopistols, you’ve got lotsa nooks, crannies and cuts to clean. A general rule is, sharp corners and right angles collect gunk. Hollow-base recoil spring plugs are notorious crud-collectors. Coil springs are guilty until proven innocent, and frame holes for safeties and decocking levers actually hoard wet grit, just waiting for you to push that pin back in and carry the malignant muck deep into Roscoe’s heart.

When semi-satisfied, commence a thorough wipe-down and buffing with clean cloth and fresh patches. Buff everything like a baby’s butt. Break out the lights and magnifying glass and look for pits, chips, hairline cracks and problems now, before applying lube and grease, which might hide `em. Especially check the nose of your firing pin and as much of the extractor as you can see. Look for chatter-an’-bash marks, indicating places which needed lube or grease in the past – and didn’t get `em.

Now it’s time to do the lube and protectant thing. Different pistols and revolvers have very different cam or bearing points, and individual needs. Read the literature that came with your piece, and also visit the maker’s website for tips. Manufacturers often post updates on their cleaning and maintenance recommendations, and warnings when problems have been brought to their attention.

The rule with fouling is, “Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.” With good lubes, the best rule is, “Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not enough.” If there’s enough lubricant to “stand up,” it’s probably too much, and it will become a dirt magnet. Too, if you’re using a penetrating lube and protectant, help it penetrate: rub it in! Remember, lube where you need it to migrate; grease where you need it to stay put.

Re-assemble and check function. Clearly marked dummy rounds are a good investment. About now you’re thinkin’ your beloved Roscoe looks good enough to eat, right? Don’t; don’t even lick it, especially if you’re using modern synthetics. Ingestion can produce side effects as diverse as drooling catatonia, repeatedly trying to scratch behind your right ear with your off-hind foot, and seeing tap-dancing green-speckled iguanas where presumably, there are none. At least, I’m pretty sure there really were none. Otherwise, bon appétit!