A crisp breeze stirs the leaves in the trees. You zip up your jacket and wait until your target appears. You hear something moving in the distance. Out from behind the timber you see him—the buck you’ve been waiting for.
Don’t miss your target because you haven’t taken care of your gun. Proper gun care means cleaning your firearms regularly. Dirt, dust, carbon residue and rust can damage the barrel of your gun and ruin its trajectory.
Whether you’re hunting in the woods, shooting at the range or carrying for self-defense, a gun cleaning kit packs everything you need to clean your gun after several rounds.
What Do You Need to Clean A Gun?
You’ll need several tools to clean and polish your gun from the inside out, including brushes to knock away debris and a cleaning spray or solvent.
Many gun cleaning kits include the following:
- Cleaning rods. A cleaning rod is what will move the bore brush and cotton patches through the inside of your gun.
- Bore brush. The inside of the barrel is called a bore. Loosen any powder, fouling or dirt within the barrel using a bore brush, which can be attached to the cleaning rod.
- Jag. Every cleaning kit will come with a jag to hold the patches in place. You’ll be able to attach the jag to the cleaning rod. Some jags have sharp points while others may include a hole to slide patches through.
- Patches. Patches are the cotton cloths you’ll be pushing through the barrel of your gun to remove dirt, residue and excess oil.
- Gun oil. Before running patches through the barrel, you’ll soak them with gun oil.
To clean more than just the barrel of your gun, you may also want:
- Double-ended nylon brushes. Nylon gun cleaning brushes resemble toothbrushes. They can knock off caked-on dirt from the outside of your gun.
- Cleaning swabs. Make sure you clean those nooks, crannies and hard-to-reach places like your sideplate screws or locking recesses. Small cotton cleaning swabs do the trick!
- Luster cloth. Want your gun to look like new? Wipe down your gun with a little oil and a luster cloth as the final step in your cleaning process.
How to Use a Gun Cleaning Kit in 10 Steps
Once you have the tools you need, it’s time to get to work! Never cleaned your gun before? Follow these gun cleaning tips.
- First things first. You need to make sure your chamber is empty.
- Set the gun down on a stable surface. Using a cradle or vise can give you more leverage.
- Disassemble the gun. You’ll need to open the action or remove the bolt in order to clean the inside of the barrel. You may want to invest in a bore guide to protect the initial section of the barrel while cleaning.
- Saturate a patch with oil. Attach the jag to the cleaning rod. Then, attach the patch to the jag. Insert the rod into the barrel and push until the rod comes out of the tip of the barrel.
- Take the patch off of the jag and gently pull the cleaning rod out of the barrel.
- Next, replace the jag with the bore brush. Push the brush through the barrel to remove debris.
- Repeat steps 4-6. You can alternate using patches and the bore brush, or you can alternate using an oiled and dry patch.
- Keep pushing patches through the barrel until a patch comes out clean. It may take 10 to 20+ patches.
- Clean the exterior of your gun using nylon brushes, a cloth and gun oil. Never place oil on the gun directly; always use a cloth. Be sure to remove any excess oil from your gun right away.
Now that you know how to clean a gun, you’ll be able to keep your gun in top shape so it will last a lifetime.
Need to give your gun some TLC?