Firearm Maintenance & Cleaning

Why is it important to clean and maintain your firearm?

 Firearms must be kept in good condition to function properly. They should be cleaned after every use and must be cleaned if they haven't been used for a period of time.

Firearm maintenance should be done in a clean, moisture-free, well-ventilated environment.  

Firearms are precision instruments with parts that require specialized knowledge and equipment to repair. If you ever have reason to suspect your firearm is malfunctioning, take it to a qualified gunsmith.

Gunsmith firearm maintenance

Faults to Watch For

  • Peppering on the shooter's face or neck after firing, as if sand had been thrown. This usually indicates a badly worn action.

  • Shells not ejected properly. In this case, the extractor mechanism may be worn.

  • A loose, wobbly bolt, stock or any other part which should be firm and steady. If your firearm does not shoot accurately after adjusting the sights, check for loose parts.

  • A perforation or break on the rim of a rimfire casing. This indicates there may be too much pressure on the mainspring, or that the firing pin may be too sharp. If the rim is perforated, the cartridge may explode backwards. There should be a good clear impression on the primer, but no perforation.

Firearm Cleaning Kit

Firearm Cleaning Kit

A proper cleaning kit for your firearm will help to keep your firearm in top working condition for as long as you own it. The following items will be found in a good cleaning kit.

  1. A cleaning rod

  2. Cleaning rod attachments of the right size for the firearm

  3. Cloth patches of the correct size for your firearm

  4. Powder solvent

  5. Light firearm oil


Firearm Cleaning tips

Firearm Cleaning tips
  • Be certain that the firearm is unloaded and the action is open prior to cleaning

  • Ensure that no ammunition is nearby

  • Never pick up a firearm without immediately pointing the muzzle in a safe direction

  • Ensure the safety is engaged

  • Always check to see that the chamber and the magazine are empty

  • Always give cleaning your firearm your full attention - never clean a firearm while doing something else

If possible, clean your firearm barrel from the breech towards the muzzle, rather than from the muzzle towards the breech. The reasons for this are:

  • Cleaning rifles from the breech to the muzzle will not wear out the rifling at the muzzle.

  • Cleaning from the breech to the muzzle will help prevent unburned powder and lead particles from falling into the action of the firearm.
From breech to muzzle

You may have to clean some types from the muzzle end. In this case, first lock the breech open to permit passage of the cleaning rod completely through the barrel. You will find a pull-through cleaning device helpful. Using a protective device at the muzzle to prevent the cleaning rod from rubbing on the crown is recommended. Tucking a small cloth into the action to catch residues and prevent them from falling into the action is a good idea.

How to Clean a Firearm in 7 Steps?

Information on cleaning firearms safely should be obtained from your firearm owner's manual. Accidents can occur if the cleaning procedure is not performed correctly.



Attach the bore brush to the cleaning rod and apply bore cleaner to the brush.

Attach the bore brush to the cleaning rod


Run the brush through the bore of the firearm barrel several times. Be sure that the brush sticks out from the barrel completely before drawing it back through the barrel.

Run the brush through the bore


Remove the bore brush from the cleaning rod and attach a patch holder tip and the proper size cloth patch. Dip the patch in the bore cleaner and run it through the bore several times. Remove the cloth patch from the rod tip.

Gun cleaning step 3


Run a clean dry patch through the bore several times.

Remove the bore brush from the cleaning rod


Repeat with additional patches until the dry patches come out clean.

Gun cleaning step 5


Once the bore is clean, run a lightly oiled patch through the bore.

run a lightly oiled patch through the bore.


Wipe the outside of the firearm with a clean cloth and light coat of gun oil.

Wipe the outside of the firearm

Other points to keep in mind

  • If your firearm is equipped with a scope, be sure to clean the lenses of the scope with proper lens cleaning solution and a soft, lint free cloth. Don't forget the portions of the barrel and action underneath the scope.

  • Once a firearm has been cleaned and prepared for storage, avoid skin contact with the metal parts. Acids in perspiration can cause rust.

  • When you have been using a firearm in cooler weather, condensation will form on the metal parts when it is brought indoors. This should be dried off as soon as possible.

  • Other major threats to firearm safety are rust caused by moisture, condensation, and excessive build-up of residue in the firearm. Therefore regular cleaning is recommended.

  • Before using a firearm that’s been stored and not used for a while, be sure to remove any excess oil. Run a dry patch through the barrel because a buildup of oil can cause a barrel obstruction.

  • Always check to make sure the action and safety are in good working order before it is fired.