Friday, February 15, 2008

Tip of the week 2/15

I read an interesting thing the other day about cleaning your barrel. Go to and click on "barrel cleaning" in the right hand column. This seems to make sense to me unless you're shooting lead. I'm not a fanatic on cleaning my guns anyway, but I never wasted a lot of time on the barrel, except the chamber, and apparently I was doing the right thing. I've never worn a barrel out, and never had problems with accuracy either. I believe if you're shooting lead bullets, especially soft ones, that you've got to get that out of the barrel when it starts building up.

As for the rest of the gun, keep it simple. When you're talking about a firearm you use as much as we do in IPSC there's no reason to detail it like it's going to a show. About once a month, or every 5000 rounds, whichever comes first, I field strip whatever I'm using and clean and lube it. I use WD-40 first and hose down everything that's not wood. WD-40 is cheap and is in my opinion safer for your guns than the products sold specifically for cleaning your guns, and it leaves a slightly protective, and lubricating layer on everything. Like I said earlier I don't really clean my barrels. I do use a copper brush to make sure my chamber is clean. I use a toothbrush to knock crud loose on every part and hose it all down again. Then I use paper towels to wipe everything as clean and dry as I can get it, including the inside of the barrel. I inspect parts for unusual wear, cracks, and breakage as I wipe them off. I then lube all the moving parts where they make contact with a little FP-10 with a needle oiler and reassemble. Wipe down the outside with a paper towel and stick it in the bag. Perfectly spotless? No, but it will be perfectly reliable and won't wear out.

Just about every time I shoot, if I haven't just cleaned the gun I'm using, I will put a drop of FP-10 on all the moving parts I can get to with a needle oiler. Probably unnecessary, but it can't hurt. I'm not into grease or slide-glide, they seem to get gummed up with fouling, and when it's cold they get sticky.

I don't remove the extractor and firing pin every time I clean my pistols. I usually do that every other time. I also disassemble my mags and clean them thoroughly every other time I clean my pistols. That seems to be often enough.

WD-40 is a solvent and if you give it time to work you don't have to scrub as hard. One way to do that effiently is to clean several guns at once in sequence. Disassemble all of them and hose them all down first. Remove the crud and rehose them all. Wipe them all down. Lube them all. Reassemble them all. It helps if you lay them down intelligently and don't get all the parts mixed up.

About every 10-20,000 rounds I like to do a more detailed cleaning, and a closer inspection. That's also a good time to replace the recoil spring, and firing pin spring on most pistols.

This method has worked for me with STIs both in Limited and Open configurations, Glocks, and AR-15s for many years. I do my shotguns differently. That will be the subject of another post. These methods are merely my opinions on cleaning. You should do what the manufacturer recommends or whatever you like to do.


1 comment:

Alex Galletti said...

You should know everything about your gun, if you want it to be as effective as possible, even the times you need to clean it after a certain number of shots. Speaking of cleaning, it is essential to have the best tools for the job, especially when taking care of its bore, for the gun to be in top condition.