Have you heard the phrase “Proper preparation prevents poor performance?”
It’s hard to think of a more accurate saying when it comes to getting your firearms ready for the spring. Neglecting anything mechanical will eventually result in frustration and failure and, in the case of firearms, could potentially cause a dangerous situation.
Imagine you’re on your first spring hunting trip. You set your sights on a deer, and it’s the perfect moment, so you fire! But your first shot misses, your gun fails to cycle correctly, and the next cartridge results in a hang-up. Not only is this a big disappointment, but trying to fix the jam could lead to an accidental discharge. Yikes!
To make sure everything goes well and your firearms are in tip-top shape, here’s everything you need to know to get your guns ready for spring.
Pick a Proper Work Space
The first step to getting your firearms ready for spring is to select a well-ventilated, bright, and clean workspace. If you can work outdoors or in your garage, that’s even better! If you must work indoors, be sure to select the biggest room possible where you can work near an open window.
Make sure you have access to a sturdy work table without wheels or casters. The last thing you want is to be doing delicate work with a potentially dangerous weapon on an unstable surface. Try not to work on your kitchen table or counter to avoid contaminating your food with all the cleaning chemicals.
The next step is to ensure that you have removed all ammunition from your workspace and that both loose and boxed ammunition have been stored correctly in another part of your home. Once your workspace is prepped and free of ammo, you can start cleaning your firearm.
Use the Proper Tools
It’s always important to have a proper cleaning kit for your guns. However, there are other tools to use in conjunction with your cleaning kit that can really help. We recommend using a rubber mat with a non-slip surface to help protect both the parts and your work table from being damaged.
Keep a container on hand, like an empty coffee tin, to hold all the loose parts, so they don’t get lost or separated. Pro tip: use two containers, one for the dirty parts and one for the parts you’ve just cleaned.
Finally, if a spring or pin does go flying, keep a flashlight handy. This will make finding lost parts easier because even the smallest pins and springs will cast a shadow when a beam of light hits them.
Start by Cleaning the Bore
Once you’ve consulted the owner’s manual and disassembled your gun correctly, start by cleaning the bore. Whenever possible, wipe from breech to muzzle. If you own a firearm where the barrel is permanently attached to the receiver, then you’ll have no choice but to clean the bore from the muzzle end. If that’s the case, use a bore guide (a sleeve that protects the muzzle) or a bore snake, not a stiff cleaning rod.
Begin with wet patches to loosen the fouling. We prefer cotton over nylon, as cotton is more absorbent. Then spear the patch on a jag, or thread it through a loop before you wet it with solvent.
Don’t scrub. Instead, switch direction, or pull the dirty patch back through the bore. Make sure you always remove the dirty patch from the rod as it exits the bore. Once you’ve run three patches through the bore, you should be ready for the bore brush.
Connect the brush to the cleaning rod and wet the bore brush with your solvent. Push the rod through in one nice stroke and remove the brush once it has exited the bore. We recommend passing the brush through ten times and then running three more wet patches through the bore. Wipe down the cleaning rod and then finish up by running some dry patches through it. You want to make sure that each dry patch is coming out cleaner than the last.
Protect the Bore from Rust
When you’re sure that the bore is clean, you can leave the bore to dry, but only if you’re going shooting that same day. If you need to store your firearm for more than a few hours, then you need to protect the bore from rust. Soak a patch with oil and run it down the bore.
Please note that oil in the bore can result in excessive pressure, which is very dangerous. So you must always swab out the oil before you shoot again. Make a habit of running a dry patch down the bore before you take your gun out, just to be certain.
Clean the Rest of the Gun
A general-purpose cleaner such as Break Free or a carbon solvent will help loosen built-up powder fouling in the action. You can also use old toothbrushes, rags, and cotton swabs to help clean the rest of your firearm. Once you’re satisfied with how clean your firearm is, reassemble it immediately. The longer the gun is disassembled, the more chance you have that parts will get lost or break.
Check that All Parts Work Properly
Now that your firearm is reassembled, make sure all of the parts are in working order, such as the safety and the trigger. Once you’re sure that everything is working well, oil down the exterior metal surfaces of the gun as sweat and body oil from your hands can cause rust. A light coating of oil is enough, but don’t soak the joints between the action and the stock because gun oil can soften the wood.
Visit GTA Guns for All Your Gunsmithing Needs
Getting your firearms ready for spring is all about giving them a little TLC. But what if you aren’t entirely comfortable with disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling your collection? That’s when you come to us!
There’s no one better at assessing the cleaning and repair needs of guns than our in-house expert, David Battiston. He’s a pro at diagnosing, repairing, and upgrading all classes of firearms! Plus, any work performed by David comes with our satisfaction guarantee. So, if you’re not satisfied, we’ll make it right at no extra charge.
Got any other questions about getting your firearms ready for spring, or want to learn more about our online GTA Guns auctions and other services? Don’t hesitate to give us a call today! Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are always ready to help.