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 Post subject: GUN CLEANING 101

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Gun Cleaning 101

One of the reasons why I hesitated in starting a dedicated thread on this was because there are so many opinions about gun cleaning among gun owners / enthusiasts and I did not wanted to start an argument on 'this way is better' or 'that way is better'.

Therefore, before I start this, let me just say that what I have shared below is a way to clean handguns, and not necessarily the only way to do it. If you or someone you know has a different way of cleaning handguns, that's perfectly fine. As long as your handgun gets cleaned often enough to function reliably, it's all good (or like they say 'aaal is well'. ;)

Disclaimer: TGF assumes that you are an adult and are capable of and will read and carefully follow the directions printed on every good gun cleaning kit, solvent, oil, etc pack. Follow the instructions on the pack, wear the safety gear, work in a well-ventilated place and if you have any doubts about your ability to do this safely, find a knowledgeable person to walk you through the process personally. The views and opinions expressed below are my own.

I wrote this taking inspiration from an American gun-enthusiast Kathy Jackson who has given a very detailed pictorial on how to clean a handgun on her website. I have given it's link at the end of this post and would strongly recommend everyone to go through that link and read it thoroughly.



How often should I clean my Handgun?

Well, it depends. If the gun is primarily mean't for range use (not competition level) rather than a defensive gun, you can probably allow the crud to build up a little bit before cleaning it, even though it is usually somewhat easier to remove the crud when the cleaning is done immediately. Modern powder is not corrosive, and so it won't eat its way through the metal of your barrel if it gets left in there for awhile. The fouling can and often does affect reliability, however. Uncleaned guns are more apt to jam when you most need them. Because the crud can slow down the slide, dirty semi-automatic firearms are prone to failures to feed or failures to completely eject the spent cases. Uncleaned revolvers are prone to binding up, and the double-action trigger can become difficult or impossible to pull if the cylinder isn't turning easily. Poorly-cleaned or uncleaned firearms are therefore far less reliable than their properly cleaned and lubricated counterparts.

For this reason, I recommend that one should clean his/her defensive handgun immediately after every trip to the range, even if you fired only 5-10 rounds. Since you will be betting your life on the function of your gun, it's a good idea to keep it as clean as you can, in order to avoid a big screw-up.


Clean it yourself!

Cleaning your own gun helps you become familiar with how your gun works. Although the mechanical function of the gun may not be fascinating to you, it's still a good idea to know how it works. That way, if it ever stops working when you need it most, you will have a good idea of what went wrong and whether you will need a gunsmith to fix it. Taking the gun down and putting it back together again on a regular basis also helps you develop confidence in your gun-handling skills. This confidence carries over to how you handle the firearm on the range and in real life situations. Self-cleaning also gives you the opportunity to visually inspect all the inner pieces of your gun, so that you can spot the signs of wear and tear and are able to take necessary action on timely basis.


Basic Cleaning Kit

I've seem Hoppe's guys and I've seen Otis guys. I, am a mix. I select the tools I need from each of these two kits and use them as necessary. For beginners, I would advise that they start with this basic pistol cleaning kit from Hoppe's and once they get the hang of things, they can add other kits, tools, etc as they feel appropriate.

Image

This kit is available at all good gun stores in major cities of Pakistan within the price range of Rs. 2,500 to 3,500. Inside it, you will find:

Inside the basic cleaning kit, you will usually find:

A bottle of Nitro Powder Solvent
A bottle of lubricating oil
A rod
A box of jags, brushes and patch holder.
A box of patches.

In addition to the above kit, I use the following tools from OTIS Universal cleaning kit (available for Rs. 1,000):

- Short A/P Receiver Brush;
- 9mm Caliber Brush;
- 9mm Slotted Tip (Patch holder);
- Curved Locking Lug Pick;
- Straight Locking Lug Pick;
- Rod Handles (Male Female);
- Locking Lug Scraper.

I prefer Brunox spray over WD-40, which, as per my observation, leaves a sticky feel once it evaporates.

Image

Image

Image

The bore-cleaning brush is attached to the rod and normally the brush has to be purchased separately because they come in different sizes for different calibers of guns. A 9mm bore brush is too small to effectively clean the bore of a .45 ACP firearm, for example, while the .45 ACP bore brush will not even fit within the barrel of the 9mm gun. So make sure you get the correct size of brush for your gun.

In brushes, you can have plastic, stainless steel, and bronze ones. For basic cleaning, the bronze/brass brush rather than of plastic or stainless steel should be used. The only reason to switch to a plastic bore brush is if you are going to be using a separately purchased, super-powerful solvent (which the Hoppe's Nitro Powder Solvent is 'not') designed to dissolve copper fouling, because bronze brushes will also be dissolved by such solvents. In all other cases, the bronze brushes are far easier to use and will get the gun cleaner with less hard work on your part than the plastic brushes will.

After a few uses, you will run out of the kit-supplied cleaning patches. When that happens, you can go out and buy more from gun stores (prominent, bigger, well-equpped ones only). Or you can simply make your own by cutting similar-sized squares out of old cotton vests. ( Own experience: An old Jockey vest gives you at least fifty patches if you know how to cut it properly :) ) Yes, I am a cheapskate.... and proud of it.


Other Cleaning Supplies

There are other supplies you may want to have on hand. Some of these are simply nice to have, while others come close to being essential. Most of them can be found lying around your house. An old toothbrush. You can purchase a specially-designed scrub brush in the same basic shape (as shown above in picture). A plain old toothbrush will do just as well. Do make sure it's been very thoroughly rinsed to remove old toothpaste grit. Besides the toothbrush, you will require cotton swabs, cleaning rags and safety gear. Also, to avoid any :violence-rapidfire: from your wife, be careful to keep any spilled or dripped solvents from destroying the finish on your furniture. Get a few old newspapers, lay them on top of a last plastic bag/sack and then do your stuff. If you're comfortable using surgical (Latex) gloves (which I am not), then use them to keep your hands safe.


Now, the CLEANING PART

The link below is of one of the webpages of Kathy Jackson's website which gives a step-by-step pictorial on how to clean a handgun (pistol). It is very useful for beginners and seniors alike.

http://corneredcat.com/GunCare/clean-glock.aspx

After you've read the above, here are a few additional points.

Image

Grime gets stuck between the extractor and firing pin plate and needs to be cleaned with the appropriate tool. Do not use a screwdriver as it can damage the extractor. I use the Curved Locking Lug Pick for this purpose with a cotton patch.

Image

The Straight Locking Lug Pick can be used to clean the ring inside the barrel (from breech end) from where the grooves start. Residue tends to accumulate here too and it's difficult to remove it using normal brass brushes / pull-throughs.


.

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Very Well Explained SA.
Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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nothing else could have explained better, infact the tools of cleaning matter a lot in quality finish.

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Excellent tutorial SA. Would be a great help for new users. I have only one observation. You said.............

SA wrote:
( Own experience: An old Jockey vest gives you at least fifty patches if you know how to cut it properly :) )

Well, no matter how good you are at cutting, this will actually depend on the size of the vest. From one vest, you may get 15 patches, from another, may be 25 yet from another, may be just 8........... :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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:) Sir I wear XL size :) and the patch size is 2.5"x2.5". The vest I wear are the T-shirt design type. Their dimensions are roughly 24"x17". The one which got scissored last night generated 54 patches. Just counted them. :lol:

Do you think I entered the wrong profession? And should have been a professional tailor instead of what I currently am ? :-P

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Not really, many of us have the art of doing something other than our professions very well :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Good effort SA.


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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Nice sharing but i am not able to see any pics?

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Pics are there bro Usama. Press Shift + Refresh and check again.

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Bolt actions speak louder than words

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Thanks SA , now i can view them !

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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I always try to clean my guns after each use, especially after learning that the residues left from shooting can cause corrosion. But sometimes it is difficult to take out the time to clean it immediately and then it keeps getting delays until i forget that i have to clean it.

My question is do you guys carry a freshly cleaned gun, or do you clean it every so many rounds, or every so many weeks, or what?

I'm leaning toward every couple hundred rounds or every month or two whichever comes first, and not carrying it until it's been fired.
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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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In my view, a gun should be cleaned as early as possible after shooting and that is what I do, always and everytime. There can be a delay of few hours but never days........ :)

Perhaps that is the reason that when I was selling one of my gun with which I had fired around 4500 rounds, the guy buying the gun inspected the gun in detail and concluded "Ah....I see, you have few hundred rounds through your gun already". And he paid me the price I was asking without any hesitation :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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I've become too lazy to strip clean my gun after every shoot. But I still make it a point to run a patch through the bore as soon as the shooting is done. And maybe some weekend I'll pull out all my guns and have a good strip cleaning session! :D

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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@ MR
I tear down each one of my guns once a year for a total cleaning.
Once I am done I start over. you have seen my collection.
I find it easier to just rebuild them into something else when I have them apart than it is just to clean them and put them back together.

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Mangloo Ramzani wrote:
I've become too lazy to strip clean my gun after every shoot. But I still make it a point to run a patch through the bore as soon as the shooting is done. And maybe some weekend I'll pull out all my guns and have a good strip cleaning session! :D


Well, that happens when you have too many guns of too many people lying with you :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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My 2 cents on the ingredients which I use for my pistol:

1. Brunox Gun Spray - To clean the internals as well as the barrel post shooting session
2. Hoppes No. 9 Gun Oil - Orange Bottle
3. Hoppes No. 9 All weather Guard Oil - Black Bottle - Used during storage
4. Hoppes No. 9 Gun Powder Solvent - To clean the barrel after the application of point number 1 post session
5. Perfects Gun Oil Spray - I spary it externally once in every two weeks during shooting sessions

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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I went to get some ammo today, was unable to find hoppes at tayabaly and mega. Since I was on way to work, couldn't go to a lot of shops, can someone please suggest where to get hoppes from, I have brunox spray amongst mr.mechanic, and a new can I picked up last week called sonix, came very recommended by ali mohd and sons.


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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Hoppes oil and solvent is available at Bukhsh Elahi, Teen Talwar. 400 each.


Last edited by HMR on Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Shariq wrote:
Hoppes oil and solvent is available at Bukhsh Elahi, Teen Talwar. 400 each for both.


I concurr

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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@Shariq bhai/Farrukh, thanks, will pick it up today..


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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Any idea copper solvent availability ?
Heard its available in Lahore at Outdoor Connections but haven't seen it in Karachi.


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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Shariq wrote:
Any idea copper solvent availability ?
Heard its available in Lahore at Outdoor Connections but haven't seen it in Karachi.


Me neither. Won't the gun powder solvent do the job ? I think it should......

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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Very informative SA, thanks. I am still trying to figure out how to use the variuos scrub tools in my Otis kit.

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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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FB Hoppes sells a dedicated copper solvent too. I guess it'll clean all copper fouling. LAGS told us that copper fouling occurs more in rifles as compared to handguns but still it needs to be cleaned.


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 Post subject: Re: GUN CLEANING 101

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If you want to find out if your barrel has copper fouling, Just swab the inside of the barrel with a clean patch with Regular Ammonia on it.
Let it sit for a while wet, and them the next patch will come out Greenish Blue if there is copper in the barrel.
Soak your Bore with Ammonia and it will loosen it up so it will come out by regular cleaning.

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