Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You Have Purchased...

...your first firearm, studied the owners manual, educated yourself on firearm safety, learned how to field strip your weapon and maybe even spent some time at the range. Now what? What do you use to clean the now dirty firearm, and what else should you have on hand?

A friend asked about this today, if he had these kind of questions, maybe you do also.

I will start with cleaning and lubricating. A clean and properly lubricated firearm is a happy firearm. A dirty and dry firearm is one that will be prone to malfunction. corrosion and potential safety issues. So clean your guns.

The market is chock full of gun cleaning supplies. Any sporting goods store you walk into will have a large array of solvents, oils, patches, kits and brushes. I pretty much stick with the basics. For most of my guns, I pretty much stick with good 'ol Hoppe's #9 Powder Solvent and Lubricating Oil. On occasion I use the Hoppe's #9 Benchrest Copper Cleaner to remove copper deposits. For my EBR's (Evil Black Rifles) I use Break Free CLP for just about everything. These two families of products work and I see no reason to change my ways. There are other products out there that are recommended by folks I respect, but if you want a product that you can purchase in any sporting goods store, and that I will guarantee will keep your guns running, go with the Hoppe's or the Break Free CLP depending on your application.

Now that you have an idea of what solvent and lubricant you want to use, it is time to decide on a cleaning kit. A good cleaning kit includes properly sized brushes and patches, and rods or other means to use those brushes and patches to clean the bore of your firearm. A kit might also include carbon scrapers and other brushes specifically tailored to a particular firearm. Over the past few decades I have used quite a few different gun cleaning kits from just about every manufacturer out there and I have settled in on two that I depend on for maintaining my firearms.

In the field I will use a Bore Snake while the barrel is still warm to initially clean the bore of my firearm.

Hoppe's BoreSnake

A BoreSnake is one of those innovations that I should have invented, it just makes sense. A couple drops of solvent ahead of the brush, pull the BoreSnake from breech to muzzle a couple of times, and your bore is fairly clean. This saves me a lot of cleaning when I get back to the house. It does not clean the bore 100%, but it does get a good start on the job.

For actual firearm cleaning kits, I don't think you can beat Otis Technology. I purchased one of their pistol cleaning kits four or five years ago, and have been hooked ever since.

Otis .22 - 45 Cal. Pistol Cleaning System

This was followed by the Otis M-4/M-16 Gun Cleaning System and any other pieces parts necessary to be able to clean all of my firearms with these products. Otis cleaning kits are the only ones I use any more. The kits themselves are compact and easily fit in a range bag. The flexible rod allows for the proper cleaning of the bore from breech to muzzle and the patches are designed to allow for up to 6 passes through the bore before disposal. This is one outstanding system.

Old tee shirts and the like get cut up into 4" squares for scrubbing and wiping. I also purchase clean room swabs by the thousand to get into any nooks and crannies. A thousand swabs lasts a good while. Brass O-Ring Tools make great, inexpensive carbon scrapers and old tooth brushes find a second life cleaning my guns.

If all you want is a basic starter cleaning kit, the KleenBore Universal Cleaning Kit, or the Hoppe's Deluxe Universal Accessory 76 Piece Cleaning Kit will get you going with a minimal investment and are available pretty much anywhere.


Anonymous said...

Great article, JR. I bought a Hoppe's shotgun cleaning kit and a boresnake from SA, and the Otis kit is in the mail. Thanks for sharing your knowledge ! GB

Anonymous said...

The only thing I would recommend is a one piece cleaning rod for rifles.

I use a brass rod, but they make carbon fiber ones that work just as well.

The jointed rods don't always fit perfectly smoothly at the joints, If the rod bends in the barrel and the joint drags across inside of the bore, it can mar the rifling.

It's probably not a huge threat, but considering that a good cleaning rod will last a lifetime, the $20 or $30 investment is well worth it IMHO.

John R said...

That is why I like the Otis flexable rods. They are easy to clean and will not damage your barrel.

I forget the brand, but there is a one piece rod with a bore guide and really nice ball bearings in the handle that is an excellent choice.