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The Gun Shots
August 07, 2012
Cleaning a Shotgun in 6 Simple Steps - 0
Don’t laugh. One of my favorite parts about traveling to hunt or shoot skeet competitions is cleaning my shotgun in the hotel the night before. I guess it helps me to connect with the gun and, hopefully, to coax a few more hits out of it the following day.
But it’s not just my strange emotional attachment to my competition gun that leads me to give it a pre-shoot bath. It’s also reassurance that, come morning, no wad buildup, powder residue or gunky oil from the day’s shooting is going to lead to a malfunction.
I’ve developed a pretty simple system for on-the-fly, on-the-road cleanup jobs that any hunter or shooter can use. But there is a disclaimer: Don’t perform a complete teardown when on the road unless you must. The chances of losing a spring, breaking a part or incorrectly reassembling are just too high to do it the night before the action starts.
My rule of thumb is to always shoot a practice session between a complete teardown cleaning session and a shoot, just to make sure everything is functioning properly after reassembly.
Step 1 – Partial Tear Down
Step 2 – Degrease
My main priorities are the barrel, gas chamber (if there is one), choke tubes and any areas with significant metal-on-metal friction.
Step 3 – Swab the Barrel
Another trick is to drop the cord through the barrel to the ground, stand on the rope and slowly pull the barrel up, drawing the BoreSnake through it.
Step 4 – Scrub the Chokes
I use an old worn-out rifle brush to scrape the crud from the threads. If the brush is dirty, clean it with a few lengthy blasts from the aerosol solvent.
To clean the barrel’s threads, use a straw and the spray to blast out as much crud as possible. A brush will loosen anything stubborn. I clean as much cleaning chemicals and remaining debris out as I can using an old rag by wadding up the rag to fit tightly in the muzzle and “screwing” it into the threads.
Once done, reinstall the chokes with a dab of grease to prevent seizing, and make a final swab through with the BoreSnake.
Step 5 – Clean and Lube the Action Sparingly
Each gun is a little different and requires different types of lubrication. Some parts get small dabs of grease and some get oil. But if I think I can run it dry without causing damage, I usually do.
Step 6 – Spot Clean and Tighten
Take a minute to open and close the action, shoulder the gun, make a few “practice swings” on imaginary targets to make sure everything feels right.