Firearm maintenance is an essential component of owning and operating any type of firearm. From handguns to long guns, it is critical that you maintain your firearm, so that it is reliable and ready for use. Naturally, all firearms are different and each has its own distinct cleaning and care regime. In which the primary step before beginning any physical maintenance, is to ensure that you read the operator’s manual. Even if you have cleaned and maintained other firearms in the past, it is important to read your new firearm’s manual to ensure that you understand all the unique parameters of your new specific firearm. However, there are generalized tips that will help you ensure your firearm maintenance is a smooth operation.
Of course, it is crucial that you take a safety-first approach in your firearm maintenance. Always treat your firearm as if it is loaded, even if you are sure the firearm is empty. This will help you establish proper safety procedures as a habit, as well as reduce the chances of an accident. Numerous firearm-related accidents have occurred during firearm maintenance activities, thus stressing the importance of implementing the proper handling steps. Just because you think it is safe, does not make it safe. This includes never placing your finger over the trigger or in the trigger guard while cleaning.
Plenty of Space
If you are a first-time firearm operator, make sure your gun maintenance is performed in a clear, clean space with plenty of room. As you strip the firearm into the parts for cleaning, you want to allow for plenty of space so gun parts do not come into contact with other parts. This makes it easier for you to locate the parts for cleaning and to reassemble them in the correct order. Additionally, having space allows you to ensure that gun oil does not contaminate important areas that might be used for other aspects.
The Right Care Kit
There are numerous care kits available on the market, in which some are marketed or meant as a generic maintenance kit. However, it is best to purchase a care and cleaning kit that is designed for your specific firearm. This will allow you to know that all components of the kit are designed to function and care for your firearm. It also allows you to have all the necessary tools and essentials in one convenient location, making storing the kit easier as most come with a case for convenient storage.
Before proceeding to disassemble your firearm, a good idea is to wipe down as much of the surface of the gun as possible. This includes any areas easily accessible from the outside, such as magazine wells, etc. This will help prevent external particulates from getting caught in the gun oil, creating mud or contaminating the gun oil. Naturally, a recently used firearm will have internal particulate buildup such as gun powder residue, but by wiping down the external areas, it will help reduce any additional particulate buildup.
Now that you have a clean work area and the right kit for the job, including having wiped down the outside of your firearm – you can begin disassembly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. At this point, it is also a good idea to soak your firearm’s barrel with the cleaning solution that came with your kit. This will allow the solution time (while you are busy disassembling the rest of the firearm) to remove any fouling and residue buildup.
While the barrel is soaking, focus on the moving parts of your firearm. Using the brush, make sure to scrub all areas of each part and properly apply the solvent to individual components as needed. Be sure to look for areas of carbon buildup, as these areas might experience increased wear in the future and should be parts that are continually checked and cleaned over the life of the firearm. Once everything is cleaned, make sure to use a lint-free clean cloth to wipe down all the parts. If the cloth comes back with traces of dirt, repeat the cleaning process to ensure that all parts leave no dirt trace on the cloth.
After cleaning all the parts, it is now time to clean the barrel. Use your barrel brush to brush the barrel, followed by the cotton cleaning patch from your cleaning and care kit. Continue to swab the barrel until the patch returns clean. Once the patch is run through clean, place a few drops of oil onto the patch and run it through the barrel a final time. This will make sure the barrel internals are coated and protected.
Lube And Assemble
Now that all the parts are cleaned and ready, you can reassemble your firearm by strictly following the manufacturer instructions. As you progress through the assembly process, you should use the appropriate lubricating oil that came with your care kit to lubricate all the moving parts of your firearm. This will ensure that areas that are not normally exposed to the elements are clean, protected and lubricated to keep your firearm in perfect working order. Proper firearm maintenance is an important component of firearm operations and should not be taken lightly, especially if you are a new firearm owner.
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