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Thread: Share Your Best Cleaning/Lubricating/Protecting Practices

  1. #1
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

    Share Your Best Cleaning/Lubricating/Protecting Practices

    This idea originated from another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by sultan62 View Post
    I use Remington Bright Bore and RemOil, but I know a lot of people are big fans of Hoppes.
    I've been cleaning firearms as long as I've been firing them (38 years) and I thought I'd share with you what I've learned over the years from firearms afficionados and a couple of gunsmiths. I also was a manufacturing engineer for a year, and responsible for the care of a lot of industrial equipment, so I learned a few tricks there, too. I developed this procedure in 1992, and have updated it whenever I learn something new.

    I'd like to hear from you, too, so please share your "best practices," here!

    Note 1: After routine firings, I only accomplish steps 1 and 5-8.

    Note 2: Once a year, around New Years, I accomplish all 8 steps.

    Step 1: Dissolve all metallic, plastic/polymer, and powder residues

    I use either Brite Bore or Hoppe's No. 9. If anything you shoot contains plastic or polymer (shotguns, or glaser safety slugs, or other plastic/polymer-tipped rounds), go with Brite Bore, as Hoppe's No. 9 isn't formulated to remove plastic/polymer deposits.

    I dsassemble the firearm to the maximum extent normally possible by users. For me that's every screw, nut, and bolt - but I do not remove any pressed fittings. If you're not comfortable with the intricate mechanical operation of your firearm, I would recommend you stick to the manual.

    I then clean all surfaces and every nook and cranny with solvents using patches, bore-brushes, and hard-bristle toothbrushes until several successions of cleaning have come out with no visible residue on a patch or wiping cloth.

    Next, I wipe my firearm dry with a clean cotton rag (old 100% cotton t-shirt).

    Step 2: Remove all oil, grease, and solvents, exposing the bare metal for treatment

    I use either Hoppe's Blast & Shine or Rem Action Cleaner.

    If you have access to an industrial vapor degreaser, that's perhaps one of the most thorough means of cleaning down to the bare metal. Give it several dunks, rearranging the parts in the basket. I wouldn't use this for the screws or smaller hardware, though, as some of the baskets have big holes. Also, beware of its use on any plastic parts, including sights, as it may very well clean them right off your firearm! You shouldn't experience that problem using the cleaners from Hoppe's and Remington.

    Please note that automotive degreasers such as those using Varsol will not work for this step, as there's way too much oil and grease residue!

    Blow out any excess degreaser using clean, dry compressed air. Canned "air" such as those used for computers is fine. When you're done, the metal should dry itself clean, leaving no residue.

    Step 3: Grease and treat your actions

    Note: Do not grease your firing pin, safety, or decocking lever! I'll explain why in a minute.

    I prefer one of my favorites, Rusty Duck (they also make a thorough cleaner), but Hoppe's Gun Grease is fine, as well. Please note Remington doesn't make a gun grease.

    The reason I prefer Rusty Duck is that it sprays on as a liquid, penetrating every nook and cranny, but as the carrier evaporates, it settles as a high-tech synthetic waterproofing grease that doesn't attract dust/dirt/grime.

    It'll gunk the action, though, so I'll immediately follow it with a couple of shots of Blast & Shine or Rem Action Cleaner - just enough to carry away most of the grease while leaving a thin protective film behind.

    Step 4: Treat the rest of your firearm

    I'll then spray down every nook and cranny of the firearm and all metal surfaces with Rusty Duck, including the bore, wipe out grooves using a toothbrush, then briefly wipe clean with a dry rag. A thin film will remain.

    Step 5: Clean your bore

    It's absolutely imperativeyou remove any excess grease from your bore, as under pressure, the grease can ignite, creating additional pressure within your barrel during firing!

    I perform three run-throughs using Hoppe's No. 9 or Remington's Brite Bore, along with a bore brush, as it cleans out the rifling grooves. I follow that with three more run-throughs using a patch before doing a careful visual inspection of the bore. If I see any traces of grease in the rifling grooves, I'll repeat the procedure.

    During this step, I try not to get the bore cleaner on any other parts of the gun, as I'd like the grease to remain there as a protective barrier.

    Step 6: Lubricate your firing pin, safety, and decocker

    Up to now, we've kept grease away from the firing pin, as the presence of any grease in this area can bind the firing pin, preventing proper operation of your firearm. Grease in this area can also be difficult to remove, so it's best not to allow any grease to get in there in the first place.

    Use a light gun oil, such as Remington's Rem Oil. I prefer not to use Hoppe's oil here, as Hoppe's bills it's oil as "high viscosity," meaning "thick," and in this area thick isn't good. Plus, Rem Oil contains both a moisture displacing agent to diminish corrosion, as well as teflon for more reliable operation.

    Step 7: Lubricate your action

    Yes, we greased the action, but that was primarily for corrsion protection, and we also removed all but a thin film of it.

    Just hit it with a few drops of your favorite gun oil, wiping any excess away with a clean cloth.

    Step 8: Reassembly and testing

    While you have your firearm in parts, and all those parts are clean, inspect them for any signs of bending or cracking. If there's any cracking whatsoever, no matter how small, particularly in the barrel, receiver or slide, have a qualified gunsmith examine it.

    Reassemble your firearm, test the action, operation of the slide, safety/decocker, and components in accordance with your owner's handbook.

    If you've accomplished all the steps above, in order, your firearm should now be thoroughly cleaned, properly protected against corrosion, and well-lubricated!
    Last edited by since9; 11-10-2010 at 10:56 PM.
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  2. #2
    Regular Member
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    Jun 2009
    Eastern Prince William Co. VA, ,

    A Few Items I Always Have in My Cleaning Kit

    Here are some things I always have:

    1. A box of toothpicks. These are great for removing stubborn spots. Dip the tip in Hoppes and rub it on the caked on gook. It doesn't scratch the finish and gradually removes the dirt.

    2. A box of pipe cleaners. Go the a craft store and get the big kind. These can be bend around to get hard to reach places.

  3. #3
    Activist Member golddigger14s's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Lacey, Washington, USA

    Other Items

    Dental type picks are handy, especially for AR-15 type weapons.

    Also any comments on dealing with cosmoline on older weapons?
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  4. #4
    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Montgomery, Alabama, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by golddigger14s View Post
    Dental type picks are handy, especially for AR-15 type weapons.

    Also any comments on dealing with cosmoline on older weapons?
    Gasoline (be very, very, very careful) or boiling water works well on cosmoline. I'm also told that the SafTKleen machines that you find in garages work very well.

    Cleaning and lubing, I use Hoppe's No. 9 and CLP. Used CLP in the military for a number of years and it worked very well for me on both rifles and sidearms.

    The pipe cleaners from the hobby/craft store is an excellent idea. I used to use them on M16s, but I had forgotten that (Old age sucks).

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