Cleaning a shotgun means keeping your gun safe. Too much firing leads to the accumulation of gun powder residue and grime inside your gun. You don’t want to lower the performance of your gun, do you? The gunky oil particles are sure to lead to a gun malfunction. To avoid this, gun lovers often choose to give their gun a regular thorough cleaning.
Are you worried about how to clean a shotgun? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Here are a few simple steps to keep your shotgun in good condition.
How To Clean A Shotgun Barrel?
There are people who never clean their guns and there are people who get their guns cleaned after every firing. You don’t have to belong to either of these categories and still maintain your shotguns in a good working condition.
Let’s take a look at a few basic steps to follow while cleaning a shotgun.
In the case of a semi-automatic shotgun, you have to carefully strip the gun into its prime parts. Make sure you are not in a public space, because there are chances that the screws or other tiny parts may go missing. For break action guns, you need to disconnect the forend from the barrels as the primary step.
Now cautiously remove it. In order to do this with a side-by-side or under shotgun, all you need to do is simply press the push button on the top. You can also do this by releasing the Auget. To disengage the barrels from the action hinge pins, make use of the unlocking lever to break the barrels completely. Ensure that the lever is fully open when you get this done. As a result, the barrels are detached from action.
On the other hand, you are required to unscrew the cap and remove the end of the magazine in the case of a semi-automatic shotgun. Slowly pull out the wooden forend. You can now separate the barrel. The barrel can easily be taken out of the receiver by applying a little force.
Moreover, you can also remove it with a few knocks of action. Now that the main parts of the gun have been disassembled, you can move onto the cleaning process.
To start off with the cleaning process, you have to spray a little detergent gun oil into the barrel. This applies if you are intending to provide the gun a quick cleaning. You can also use an actual solvent if you want to give the shotgun a thorough cleaning.
Once you’re done with the spraying, the shotgun is to be placed on a horizontal workbench with care. Allow it to soak in for a few minutes. Now let’s get down to work.
While the gun rests, take a cloth piece and slightly dampen it with good quality gun oil. This aids you in cleaning the gun well. To begin with, diligently clean every part of the surface of the action or receiver. Try reaching every nook and corner by wiping perfectly around all the grooves.
By doing so, you will be able to eliminate traces of dirt and deposits, especially in the area around the hammers or firing pins. Use an old toothbrush or a short, stiff paint brush to clean hard-to-reach parts. As for holes and grooves, make use of a wooden toothpick.
Once you’ve gotten rid of all the dirt left by the firings, take a slightly oiled brush that is at least 4-5 cm. This brush will allow you to complete cleaning every tiny recess and places you couldn’t reach before. Also, make sure you thoroughly clean the places around the break hinge pins. Additionally, clean the areas around the seat of the recoil spring guide and the bolt guides on automatic guns.
You are now required to drip a few drops of lubricating oil into the unlocking lever’s mechanism. It is situated on the locking lugs, the release pin or the lever and the ejectors. While cleaning automatics, it is advisable to lubricate the extractor mechanism and the internal guides.
A compressor can be an amazing tool to use on automatics. Furthermore, the use of a detergent spray allows you to clean the firing mechanism well without the need to strip the gun much.
How To Clean Gas-operated And Reciprocating Barrel Semi-automatics?
In such kinds of shotguns it’s better to leave the area near the gas valve, pin and plunger clean yet dry. In the case of reciprocating barrel automatics, keep in mind to never lubricate the magazine tube, spring, and barrel friction rings.
Utilise a soft brass brush for chamois leather to clean the chequering of the wood. Follow the lines and cross over the grooves. Dip the brush in a drop of lemon oil or walnut oil to nicely clean the chequering.
Also, use a cloth dampened with oil to clean over the trigger guard, trigger, and the unlocking lever. Repeat the same with the outer and internal metal parts. Don’t forget to put them back in place as you go.
Place the barrel on a horizontal workbench in a safe and secure way. Ensure that you keep a thick rag below it for protection. And now swab well. To get this done, you need to fix a spiral phosphor bronze bore brush on a wooden rod. Spray the brush with oil and insert in the barrel from the action end.
You’ve got to swab at least 10-12 times. By pulling the brush all the way out at both the muzzle and the blocked ends, you’ll be able to clean thoroughly. Likewise, to clean interchangeable chokes, you need to take special care. Watchfully remove the chokes to clean the inside and outside of the delicate tubes. Furthermore, take particular care when you remove the part of the barrel that houses the chokes.
You will have to use a rough cloth to clean them. Alternatively, you can also make use of a fine steel wool pad. Moreover, if you utilise an effective product for cleaning stainless steel, the process will be easier for you. Such solvents will aid you in cleaning the gas plungers in gas-operated shotguns as well. Furthermore, it ensures that all the carbon, metallic, and plastic deposits left by the cartridges fired are eliminated.
It is very essential to tidy up the seat of the choke. Use a bore brush with a little bit of diesel or petrol to fully remove the residue from this delicate part of the barrel.
We’re almost there! The last step in the cleaning process is drying and the final cleaning. This can be done by using a piece of a clean rag threaded around the slot in the cleaning rod and slightly winding it around it. After drying the inner parts of the barrel, the bore and block should be polished well. Also, this should be done after changing the rag once or twice.
If you find a lot of fouling or matting on the insides of the barrel, it is best to wrap the bronze bore brush in a thin medium-coarse steel wool mat. This will effectively help you remove the stubborn deposits. Move the rag strip over the whole barrel and take an oily brush to apply a thin protective film all over the surface.
Before use, remember to wash the bronze bore brush in petrol and blow dry with a compressor. To prevent the brush from picking up dust and residue, keep it inside a plastic bag or a box. Use a cloth to clean the muzzle in a gentle way. Also, this will remove any trace of smoke and carbon remnants. And if it’s still difficult to remove, make use of a steel wool pad dipped in oil.
Lubricate all the moving parts with small drops of lubricating oil. You can finish it off by reassembling the gun by brushing it clean for one last time. Brush the rib and sling swivels neatly. Especially on hinges of break-action guns, it’ll be great if you add a little lithium grease, graphite grease, or white petroleum jelly.
Take into account the duration of your gun usage. If you won’t use the gun for many months, it’s a good idea to spray oil into the barrels. Additionally, swab with a wool pad to leave a thin film of oil for protection in each bore. Don’t forget to place the oiled wool swab inside a plastic bag or tube. This is done in order to dry out any accumulating dust or dirt.
For side-by-side and over/under shotguns, utilize a slightly oiled cloth to clean the inlay and the insides well. Use a brush to lubricate all the metal parts by paying extra attention to the ejector levers.
To sum up, it is really important to clean your guns and it is equally crucial to know how to clean a shotgun. Every now and then check your guns even while you’re not using them. This will help you keep the gun in a good condition.
Why Do You Need To Clean Your Shotgun?
Over time, your firearms are likely to get damaged by buildup, corrosion, and rust. Moreover, as the different metal parts rub together there will be friction and this can also lead to a malfunction. Regular and thorough cleaning can help you maintain your gun well. Additionally, it will stop your shotgun from jamming and will keep it functioning for many more years to come.
Every single time a firearm is discharged, particles of carbon, lead, copper, steel, or plastic are constantly being deposited inside the bore and chamber of a gun. These particles accumulate inside the bore. Also known as fouling, this build up of particles will diminish the accuracy and will relatively increase the chances of misfiring.
The effect of this on guns may vary depending on the type of the shotgun. The kind of ammunition used and the quality of the firearm is a big determinant. Also, too much gathering of minute dirt particles will cause interruptions In shotgun shot patterns. Plus, it will reduce the accuracy in precision rifles. The more a firearm is discharged, the more the build up inside the firearm.
Did you know that moisture and firearms are long-term enemies? Firearms are always vulnerable to getting rusted particularly when kept in a moist location. Most often, firearms that are put into storage after use in the field are more likely to develop a large amount of rust. Additionally, if your firearm doesn’t include stainless steel parts inside, rust and corrosion can make your gun inoperable or even dangerous.
The parts inside the gun can be damaged such that the firearm won’t be functional again. A thorough cleaning will remove the moisture and will protect the metal parts of your firearm from oxidation. You can do this by coating the firearm in oil.
Most of the older types of ammunition are corrosive. They consist of salts that react with the metal of your bore. This leads to pitting and rusting. Unless you clean your shotgun, these ammunitions can result in huge damage to a firearm within a short period of time. Furthermore, it can permanently reduce accuracy or make the shotgun unsafe to fire.
Firearms are machines and without lubrication, the moving parts rub against each other to cause friction. As a result, they will wear out faster. There are a lot of small internal parts like springs and pins that are essential for the firearm to function. But without proper maintenance these parts will wear out faster or even break completely. Also, if you leave out the lubrication process, you may have to suffer costly repairs.
In the days of our fathers, the primers used in cartridges had erosive and corrosive mixtures made of mercury fulminate. This fulminate and potassium chlorate leaves a salty residue that turns acidic. They also leave rust stains and pits in the barrels. Hence, guns were ruined quickly.
Nowadays, things have definitely improved. The primers that were used in the past have become almost innocuous. Green lead styphnate or azide primers are used and they aren’t corrosive. The chrome-plating inside barrels provide a highly effective barrier against erosion. It also protects the gun from the oxidizing action of the fumes produced when you shoot the gun.
How Often Should You Clean Your Shotgun?
It is important to get your guns cleaned regardless of whether it has been in use or not. You have to clean and lubricate your firearms no matter what. This is the only way to offer protection to your weapon against the formation of rust. Even if you’ve just fired a few shots, or none, the fumes would have dirtied the barrels. Plus, other mechanical parts and actions would also have been affected.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve gone hunting for a few minutes or for an entire day. Whatever the case may be, the fingerprints that are left on the gun by sweaty hands, or the damp left by rain or snow will remain there as it is. Even splashes of mud, and a drop of dew that dripped off a bush, and morecan leave marks on your rifle.
You may also have noticed that dust from the ground would have entered your gun. Small bits of vegetation from the woods can also enter your rifles without you noticing. This can affect the performance of your shotgun. You have to strip it down and follow a few careful steps to clean and lubricate the different parts of the gun. Also, be careful with the disassembly and reassembly so that you won’t lose any tiny parts like springs,etc.
In short, damp, sweaty fingerprints, dust, fragments of leaves, mud and blood, fumes from the cartridges shot, etc are the residues that can easily cause corrosion. These are to be prevented. If so, it’ll help your weapon to project great and reliable performance. ?
Benefits Of Cleaning Your Shotgun
In order to prevent rust, dust, and wear and tear, you need to keep your guns in good condition. It is also estimated that 80-90% of malfunctions and stoppages are caused because of lack of maintenance. Now let’s take a quick look into the benefits of cleaning a shotgun.
1. Ensures Durability
Proper cleaning and storage ensures a longer life span for your shotgun. Guns have the potential to last for many years. If you give your weapon some warmth and care you can enjoy watching your grandchildren using it. Intermittent cleaning and lubrication will help you deal with rust. It will also protect your firearm from the disastrous effects that rust and corrosion leave on the metal parts of a gun.
2. Accuracy And Reliability
Fouling build up over the years can critically affect a gun’s reliability and accuracy. A weapon that is not well-kept cannot be used for shooting. In the event of an attack in your home, your gun may prove to be non-reliable.
Moreover, copper build up inside the barrel of a precision Rifle can affect its accuracy in a great way. On the other hand rust is another factor that hinders good performance. It is corrosive and tends to eat away at the metal of your gun. As a result, it creates pits in the barrel of your shotgun. Regular clean-up is sure to give you accurate results while shooting and firing.
3. Helps You Understand The Working Of Your Firearm
It is always important to appreciate what your firearm holds inside it. Continuous cleaning entails dismantling and reassembling parts of your gun. This is how you make sure that various parts inside a gun are interacting well.
This knowledge is highly valuable and crucial as you may need to fix your gun during a shooting range. Contacting a gunsmith often is not always possible. It is not economical and doing your own gun care can help you save money.
4. Learn To Lubricate
Did you know that a well-lubricated gun showcases the best performance? Yes, lubrication improves the precision of your shotgun and helps it last longer as well. Lubrication is a great art that every gunlover should master. Nonetheless, too much lubrication causes light primer strikes and failure to fire.
Interacting with the gun will help you identify the parts where grime accumulates as a result of over lubrication. You will learn over time how to lubricate your weapons without having to create a slip and slide situation.
It’s okay to give your weaponry some attention. This will actually prolong its lifetime and prevent a lot of issues. Remember, these are just very simple and easy steps. It can save your life as well as the lives of your loved ones.
In a nutshell, if you care for your shotgun, it is sure to care and protect you as well. These are the merits of cleaning your guns, so keep cleaning and have fun firing!
Are You Ready To Clean Your Shotgun?
Gun lovers often wonder how to clean a shotgun. We are pretty sure that this detailed guide would have helped you find your answers. It is true that your guns need to be cleaned every once in a while. As mentioned earlier, several firings lead to the accumulation of powder residue and grime inside the gun’s barrels. If not removed, they can cause serious damage to your weapon.
Most often, guns develop malfunctions due to this very reason. The only solution to this common problem is proper maintenance. Without timely and regular maintenance, you can not improve the operational efficiency of your shotgun. You can resort to the above methods to get your guns cleaned quickly. All you need is a good half an hour to get this job done.
Also, ensure that you clean every nook and corner of the gun. Dirt can gather around some metal parts even when they are not visible to you. Nevertheless, use a brush to reach down into areas where the cleaning cloth is unable to touch. Proper cleaning can also prevent your gun from rust formation and corrosion.
Therefore, we’ve given you all-round solutions to all your gun related problems. Now, if anyone asks for your advice how to clean a shotgun properly you can guide them expertly as well. Remember to get your guns cleaned, and safely fire all the way.
Michael Castaneda is a 45-year old war veteran from Michigan with a deep interest in guns. After the war, Michael took a pledge to never touch a gun except for the purpose of self-defense. He created Machine Gun Books to guide people on self-defense and providing information on guns and accessories.