HUNTINGsmart! USA Knowledge Base



Illustration of a man's hands holding a firearm out in front of him.

STEP 1: Clear a safe area and remove any ammunition that’s nearby.

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STEP 2: Never clean a firearm while doing something else, like flipping burgers or watching TV—this job deserves your full attention.

Illustration of a firearm and a cleaning rod highlighted in orange with an arrow pointing from the breech to the muzzle.

STEP 3: Clean it from the breech up toward the muzzle. Always avoid cleaning it from the muzzle end but if you must, lock the breech open to allow the cleaning rod to pass completely through the barrel.

Illustration of a firearm, a can of powder solvent and a moistened cloth with an arrow pointing through the tip of a cleaning rod.

STEP 4: Soak a cloth patch with your cleaning solvent and place it on the end of the cleaning rod that will be entering the muzzle.

Illustration of a cloth highlighted in orange entering into the open action of a firearm.

STEP 5: Insert a clean cloth into the open action to prevent any residue or dirt from entering it.

Illustration of a cleaning rod passing through the the barrel of a firearm.

STEP 6: Insert the cleaning rod and pass it all the way through the barrel. Avoid rubbing the cleaning rod against the inside of the muzzle to prevent scratching it.

Illustration of a cleaning cloth inside the open action of a firearm with a close up of a cleaning brush inserted just inside the muzzle.

STEP 7: Repeat the process a few times using fresh cloth patches to remove the cleaning solvent. Use a larger cleaning brush for the chamber, if needed.

Illustration of a firearm, a bottle of gun oil and a moistened cloth with an arrow pointing through the tip of a cleaning rod.

STEP 8: Once clean, run a lightly oiled patch through the barrel to lube it up. This is a matter of preference—some hunters actually prefer to finish the job with a dry patch. 

Illustration of a firearm with a cleaning cloth draped over the action.

STEP 9: Wipe down the rest of the firearm with a clean cloth.



Wise Words: Break It Down

If you’ve got a really old or really dirty firearm on your hands, you may need to disassemble it to thoroughly clean it. If this is the case and you’re comfortable with the procedure, then go ahead and break it down. Just be sure you feel equally confident about the re-assembling procedure. Take the firearm to a pro if you aren’t comfortable with DIY disassembling.

Firearm Repairs

Always have a pro repair your firearms. You may have a few of the necessary repair tools sitting in your garage, but don’t forget that your firearm is a precision instrument. So, when it comes to expensive, highly technical gear, like your firearm, even minor repairs should be dealt with by professionals. I mean, would you try to disassemble a laptop? Tune a piano? Didn’t think so.

Illustration of a man's hands handing a firearm to a firearm repairman behind a retail counter.


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