A good cleaning can correct many feeding, firing, and accuracy problems. However, simply running a brush through the bore a few times, followed by a couple of patches, and then spraying the action with a bit of WD-40 is not cleaning. It is a slow, methodical destruction of a considerable investment.
Like everything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it! Clean your gun correctly. You want to have fun, not frustration at the target range. You want to bag that trophy buck. You want that gun to work when god forbid, if you ever need to defend your home from an intruder.
If the gun fails to fire in that situation, you probably won’t live to regret it anyway. Neither will your family. Of course, you can hide in your room and wait for your local overworked and understaffed police force to come to your rescue. But that’s another subject. Clean Your Gun!
Gun Cleaning Tips
Use a bronze wire brush for routine bore cleaning. However, use a nylon brush with the shooter’s choice or a similar bore cleaner when removing copper, heavy lead fouling, or plastic shotgun wad fouling. (Shooters Choice is a powerful bore cleaner, will eat bronze brushes.) Run the bronze brush through the bore once for every round fired. (I prefer Hoppes #9 solvent for light cleaning.)
If you are serious about the care of your gun, invest in a coated steel or brass cleaning rod. Aluminium rods are soft. They collect grit and particles that can scratch the bore. Wipe the rod off after every pass through the bore.
Use a brass jag to push patches through the bore. Dragging a dirty patch in a slotted tip back through the bore is not what I call cleaning.
Use a bore guide or brass “bumper” to protect the chamber or muzzle crown from damage.
Clean the action with a blast of a pressurized solvent such as Gun Scrubber by Birchwood Casey. It cleans without leaving a residue.
Oil Lightly! Oil attracts dirt! If you can see oil, you probably oiled too much!
If you’re concerned that you’ve oiled too much, try storing your gun with the barrel down. Keeping the weapon with the barrel down will prevent oil or solvent from seeping into the wooden stock.
Strip clean about every 800 rounds or so. Then, if you don’t know how and don’t have an owner’s manual, take the gun to a gunsmith. It doesn’t cost that much. It’s cheaper than having him replace that spring that went flying into the recesses of your garage or basement workroom.