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Thread: How long does it take you to clean your guns?

  1. #1
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    I know i am a little OCD when it comes to cleaning guns and i always get paranoid about rust and then overlubricate and then wipe off excessive oil and relubricate again, but it still seems totake me too long - about an hour for handguns (for semi-auto mostly due to amount of surfaces exposed to resedue, for revolvers due to cleaning each chamber of the cylinder) and over an hour for rifles.And after that i still cannot get the barrel to the point of patch coming out clean - it always has some balckresedue on thegrooves. Maybe i am overdoing or maybe i am doing it wrong.So the question is how long does it take you to clean and what procedure/tools you are typically using for:

    1) Semi-auto handun

    2) Revolver

    3) Rifle/shotgun

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    You must be doing it wrong.

    What's the "black residue" in the grooves? That might be better answewred by first answering "What are you using (product type/name) to clean with?" You also need to tell what you are shooting - FMJ, bare lead, some exotic supermetal?

    It will also help if you mention what you are using to spread the product type/name about in the barrel & cylinders.

    BTW - there is some (not much, but some) truth to the old saw that you can overclean some things, and can accelerate wear by brushing too much.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
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    skidmark wrote:
    You must be doing it wrong.

    What's the "black residue" in the grooves? That might be better answewred by first answering "What are you using (product type/name) to clean with?" You also need to tell what you are shooting - FMJ, bare lead, some exotic supermetal?

    It will also help if you mention what you are using to spread the product type/name about in the barrel & cylinders.

    BTW - there is some (not much, but some) truth to the old saw that you can overclean some things, and can accelerate wear by brushing too much.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
    By black resedue i meant carbon resedue which comes out on the patch. Even after multiple patch runs it still comes out with some black stripes on it where it touched rifling grooves. I use Hoppes # 9 on the snake (for hanguns) and then on patches which i put on a brass jag - pretty standard. That was for the barrel. As for the rest of the gun, i use same Hoppes #9 ona nylon toothbrush first, then on a simple cloth. This part doesn't take too long - its barrel which just seems uncleanable... I normally shoot simple FMJ target ammo - Federal, Independence or Winchester. Any ideas what i'm doing wrong?

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    Maybe 3-4 minutes a gun, but I don't exactly scrub them shiny.

    RemOil applied liberally, grease with lithium grease, wipe down everything with a RemOil dampened rag then a clean towel.

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    Aran wrote:
    Maybe 3-4 minutes a gun, but I don't exactly scrub them shiny.

    RemOil applied liberally, grease with lithium grease, wipe down everything with a RemOil dampened rag then a clean towel.
    It takes me slightly longer, but that's just because I go slow. I could easily speed it up if I wanted, but I tend to leave that for later in the evening when I have nothing else to do.

    I also clean about the same way. I'm not trying to eat off of it, I'm trying to get most of the crud that can damage the gun out. If you try to take everything down to bare metal, yes, you will be there all night.

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    My carry peice gets very thurough cleanings after every range visit. Usually about 20-30 minutes cleaning eveything single spot I can.

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    Chaingun81 wrote:
    skidmark wrote:
    You must be doing it wrong.

    What's the "black residue" in the grooves? That might be better answewred by first answering "What are you using (product type/name) to clean with?" You also need to tell what you are shooting - FMJ, bare lead, some exotic supermetal?

    It will also help if you mention what you are using to spread the product type/name about in the barrel & cylinders.

    BTW - there is some (not much, but some) truth to the old saw that you can overclean some things, and can accelerate wear by brushing too much.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
    By black resedue i meant carbon resedue which comes out on the patch. Even after multiple patch runs it still comes out with some black stripes on it where it touched rifling grooves. I use Hoppes # 9 on the snake (for hanguns) and then on patches which i put on a brass jag - pretty standard. That was for the barrel. As for the rest of the gun, i use same Hoppes #9 ona nylon toothbrush first, then on a simple cloth. This part doesn't take too long - its barrel which just seems uncleanable... I normally shoot simple FMJ target ammo - Federal, Independence or Winchester. Any ideas what i'm doing wrong?
    OK then! I think we have found the problem.

    Sounds as of you are not using a bore brush - just a bore snake of some variety. Use of a bore brush (preferably from chamber to muzzle one way only) a few times could help. If you must go from muzzle to chamber it is OK, although you may want to put a rag over the back end to prevent drips from getting down into the action.

    Another "trick" is to squirt carb cleaner/brake cleaner (either one, not both at once) down the bore - chamber to muzzle only) to flush out carbon before you do anything else.

    And since you are shooting FMJ you might want to occassionally add a copper remover. I favor the foams and let it stand for at least 15 minutes before running patches through. (No bronze brushes, although stainless or plastic are OK and their use is recommended- copper solvent will eat phosphor brushes.) Once you use a copper remover, do not use phosphor or brass jags until you clean it out of the bore - otherwise you will be dissolving your jags bit by bit.

    If you use copper remover, check your patches for blue color - if present it means you still have copper somewhere. Once you get to gray you are good to go.

    You will NEVER get a perfectly clean patch out of your bore unless you have scoured the bore completely clean of all copper. brass, lead and carbon. Your bore should look smooth - no lands or grooves - to be that clean.

    If you are really paranoid, find someone with a borescope and have a look-see as to what's in there and what condition the bore is in. Once you have looked ypu will be even more paranoid.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
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    One of my favorite stories...

    Years ago Hoppe's used to sell 'nonwoven nylon' cleaning patches that were harder than a cotton-waste patch but gentler than a bronze brush. I bought a goodly supply and used them for years, running them until they come out clean. Then I wasn't able to buy more.

    I researched and found the product listed as a filter media. I wrote and asked for a sample of a couple of square feet. They sent a 60 yard roll. I cut a zillion - hopefully a lifetime supply - patches and gave the roll to a friend before I left SC.

    I cleaned my CCW H&K after each day's wear with a dry toothbrush and dry rag through the bore - just to remove lint and sweat moisture - in a minute or so.

    After a day at the range the guns are cursorily cleaned, maybe wiped and brushed with one pass of the snake, say five minutes per gun.

    Annually or so they are cleaned and inspected with about half an hour per gun. The Luger is kept oiled wet and in the safe. The H&K and SA1911 are dry and ready to fire. I just stepped out the backdoor and burned a magazine of ball .45.

    My hands smell good and the deer are out of sight.

  9. #9
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    skidmark wrote:
    Chaingun81 wrote:
    skidmark wrote:
    You must be doing it wrong.

    What's the "black residue" in the grooves? That might be better answewred by first answering "What are you using (product type/name) to clean with?" You also need to tell what you are shooting - FMJ, bare lead, some exotic supermetal?

    It will also help if you mention what you are using to spread the product type/name about in the barrel & cylinders.

    BTW - there is some (not much, but some) truth to the old saw that you can overclean some things, and can accelerate wear by brushing too much.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
    By black resedue i meant carbon resedue which comes out on the patch. Even after multiple patch runs it still comes out with some black stripes on it where it touched rifling grooves. I use Hoppes # 9 on the snake (for hanguns) and then on patches which i put on a brass jag - pretty standard. That was for the barrel. As for the rest of the gun, i use same Hoppes #9 ona nylon toothbrush first, then on a simple cloth. This part doesn't take too long - its barrel which just seems uncleanable... I normally shoot simple FMJ target ammo - Federal, Independence or Winchester. Any ideas what i'm doing wrong?
    OK then! I think we have found the problem.

    Sounds as of you are not using a bore brush - just a bore snake of some variety. Use of a bore brush (preferably from chamber to muzzle one way only) a few times could help. If you must go from muzzle to chamber it is OK, although you may want to put a rag over the back end to prevent drips from getting down into the action.

    Another "trick" is to squirt carb cleaner/brake cleaner (either one, not both at once) down the bore - chamber to muzzle only) to flush out carbon before you do anything else.

    And since you are shooting FMJ you might want to occassionally add a copper remover. I favor the foams and let it stand for at least 15 minutes before running patches through. (No bronze brushes, although stainless or plastic are OK and their use is recommended- copper solvent will eat phosphor brushes.) Once you use a copper remover, do not use phosphor or brass jags until you clean it out of the bore - otherwise you will be dissolving your jags bit by bit.

    If you use copper remover, check your patches for blue color - if present it means you still have copper somewhere. Once you get to gray you are good to go.

    You will NEVER get a perfectly clean patch out of your bore unless you have scoured the bore completely clean of all copper. brass, lead and carbon. Your bore should look smooth - no lands or grooves - to be that clean.

    If you are really paranoid, find someone with a borescope and have a look-see as to what's in there and what condition the bore is in. Once you have looked ypu will be even more paranoid.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
    Skidmark, thank you for a detailed response - that will help me to put cleaning in prospective and stop being such a perfectionist. Which brush would you recommend - i'd prefere to use nylon as it for sure wont damage the barrel, but i am not sure how effectiveit is.I understand that barrel steel isa lot harder than brass, but i am still worried about scrubbing my barrel with a metal brush... Or am i just crazy and its not any different than nylon damagewise? Also, can you advise myongood carb/break cleaner and copper solving foam. I have a Hoppes copper solvent, but it doesn't seem to do much - foam sounds a lot better. Thank you again!

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    Glock 22

    Takes me about 7-10 minutes to do a detail strip & Clean
    2-5 minutes for a Field Strip & Clean.

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    For each of my rifles, I spend no less than 30-45min cleaning them thoroughly. On my handguns I spend no less than 20min on each individually. If I don't have time enough immediately upon getting home, I'll spend about 10min on just the bore & bolt, and first thing the next day I'll finish up completely. I also always run a few patches w/ Hoppes9 & ammonia-based cleaner & a few dry through the bores before leaving the range. I take no chances in allowing any sort of corrosion to set in before getting home, especially as I shoot a lot of corrosive surplus ammo.

    The last time I went to the range with both Mosin Nagants, my SLR-95, Polish Tokarev & Norinco-213,the M1895 Nagant revolver, and my Wife brought herRossi .357, when we got home I spent the better part of three hours cleaning every firearm until they were spotless. I consider my firearms to be investments & insurance policies, and no matter how long it takes to get them perfectly clean I'll never see it as a waste of time or boring.

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    Chaingun81-

    The problem with plastic brushes is that they are not as "stiff" as metal brushes, so will not work as fast or as well as the metal ones.

    Use whatever you think looks and/or feels right in your hand and in your mind. Twisted stainless steel, straight stainless, phosphor bronze, a hunk of stainless, copper or non-woven Choreboy brand sponge all can do a good job. The only thing I would not suggest is a SOS Pad with the soap still present.

    Buy whatever cleaner or CLP (Cleaner/Lubricant/Protectant) product you like. You can even base your decision on the least expensive of what is on the shelf. Same goes for copper solvents - but with the admonishment to RTFM (read the f- manual) re: how long to let it sit and how to neutralize it.

    Understand that brake/carb cleaner can literally melt plastic parts, so use with that in mind. Masking tape does NOT provide any meaningful protection. In the same vein, Simple Green can wreck aluminum. Know what you are playing with and what does not like the contents of whatever t is.

    Although you might think you will lose a few points on your Man Card, you could always ask one of the 'smiths (real or plays one there) at your local range or gunshop to give you a tutorial on the cleaning process. It will certainly help get used to how to do "good enough" as opposed to wasting your time seeking absolute perfection.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
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    I use Rem Clean and let soak. About long enough to fill and lite my pipe. I then soak a brush in Hoppes #9 Stainless brush on stainless guns and barrels ONLY, Bronze brush on all other bores. Run the brush through about 10 times ONE DIRECTION ONLY if possible from chamber to muzzle. Then dry patch to get out loose material, the patch will never come out completely clean. Unless you use a sonic cleaner. this takes about 20 minutes per firearm. My target rifles only chamber, barrel and bolt cleaned, until season is over then completely stripped.

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    I'd say i spend about 30 minutes on my 1911, 20 on my glocks. Supplies: RemOil (probably the best CLP you can buy, and it comes in spray cans... yay), q-tips (watch for snags of the cotton on any exposed springs), Hoppes #9 for the barrel, bronze brush, old t-shirt, toothbrush (the milspec ones are best, not the flimsy ones or an oral B). The bore is the biggest hassle honestly. Get liberal with the Hoppes on the first pass; use a bare bore brush or wrap a soaked patch around it. Then go to town with the bare brush a ton of times. Come back with the brush wrapped in a soaked patch, then do dry patches on the brush for a while. You could go on for hours and still not get all the carbon out, but once the patch is 99 percent clean, you can stop. I've heard people say that you should only go breech to muzzle with the bore brush, but I've gotten better results going all the way through and then back through the reverse direction. Just don't change directions with the brush in there or you'll mess up your barrel. I'm not sure if it's the best idea, but you can get more carbon out this way from my experience. If you jack your barrel up doing this you're out a few hundred for a replacement, so be careful. Any solvent should be used with caution around plastic and crappy finishes. I would stray away from using it on the inside of the slide, just use RemOil and a brush wrapped in an old t-shirt. Q-tips are handy for grooves. Take a bit of the cotton off with your fingernails and you can get them in most grooves on a 1911. Detail stripping doesn't HAVE to be done a lot, but if you've got the time go for it. You can go a few thousand rounds before it becomes a necessity. I'm not a fan of those yellow rags with the stuff in them... I guess on fancy shotguns they're a good idea, but your basic service pistol... waste of time and just greases them up. That's about all I've got to say, hope it helps.

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    On the subject of which direction to scrub the bore..... I've been taught by both my father & the Army to always go in the direction of bullet travel. The Army told us that going muzzle-to-chamber can damage the bore, but my father's reasoning was that it avoids pushing fouling back into the firearm's action, which makes a lot of sense to me. However, if there's a particularly stubborn bit of copper or lead fouling in the bore, I have no problem with sending the brush in muzzle-first. But as SoldierMedic said, never change direction while mid-bore.

    Sometimes it's harder to brush/swab a bore chamber-first with a standard rod,so I'll either use a snake or cord; or run the roddown muzzle-first without brush or swab attached, and then screw the end onto the rod and pull it through.

    On my Mosin Nagants, sometimes chamber fouling can be especially tenacious, which accounts for the sticky-bolt that Mosins are notorious for. In such cases I'lluse a12ga. bore brush with a section of cleaning rod, attach it to my power-drill, and run it into the chamber on low speed. The first time I did that to my M38 carbine, I was amazed at the amount of built-up varnish & crud that came out. The rifle's bolt had previously been very sticky, sometimes requiring a hefty slap to open it after firing a round. But after scrubbing it with the 12ga brush & drill, it no longer has any amount of bolt sticking.

    And one final technique the Army taught me helps keep the external surfaces of my firearms clean, and free of rust/corrosion. I'll put some regular milspec CLP on my fingers and/or palm, and rub it all over every exposed metal surface until they're thoroughly coated. Afterwards I wipe the excess off with a dry rag or patches, but not so much as to remove all the CLP. It should be slightly oily to the touch, but not enough to stain a piece of paper. The Army instructor who showed us this method thentook an M16 that had been CLP'ed on the outside, picked up a handful of Kuwait sand-dust, and drizzled it all over the barrel & upper. He then took a dry rag and brushed the sand off, which absolutely would not stick to the surfaces that had CLP applied to them. I've been doing the same to all my firearms and it makes cleaning them a snap after them getting dusty/dirty from the range, but without them feeling greasy.

  16. #16
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    AnaxImperator wrote:
    And one final technique the Army taught me helps keep the external surfaces of my firearms clean, and free of rust/corrosion.¬* I'll put some regular milspec CLP on my fingers and/or palm, and rub it all over every exposed metal surface until they're thoroughly coated.¬* Afterwards I wipe the excess off with a dry rag or patches, but not so much as to remove all the CLP.¬* It should be slightly oily to the touch, but not enough to stain a piece of paper.¬* The Army instructor who showed us this method then¬*took an M16 that had been CLP'ed on the outside, picked up a handful of Kuwait sand-dust, and drizzled it all over the barrel & upper.¬* He then took a dry rag and brushed the sand off, which absolutely would not stick to the surfaces that had CLP applied to them.¬* I've been doing the same to all my firearms and it makes cleaning them a snap after them getting dusty/dirty from the range, but without them feeling greasy.
    Good point, I forgot to list that one. Of course it does depend on whether or not you have a stainless steel finish/parkerized finish, or a duracoat finish (or something of the sort). I know that I always do that on my M4, but not on my 1911 because of the finish. Like AnaxImperator said, make sure you get most of the CLP off, or you're just risking damage by letting the excess CLP become a dust trap.

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