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View Poll Results: How often do you clean your unused guns?

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  • Monthly

    3 3.19%
  • Every 6 Months

    6 6.38%
  • Anually

    14 14.89%
  • Only when I shoot them

    53 56.38%
  • They haven't seen a brush since Eisenhower was in office

    18 19.15%
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Thread: How often do you clean your guns?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master am44mag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    NE Texas/SE Oklahoma

    How often do you clean your guns?

    I'm not talking about the gun you just shot. I'm talking about the few you inevitably have in your safe that rarely get shot. How often do you clean them?

    I clean mine annually if I haven't shot them. Mainly just to make sure there's no dust in the bore, and that everything is lubed up and good to go.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

    Beagle333's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Back in the woods a piece, just outside Auburn, AL.
    I live in a swamp, and this year, it appears to also be a rain forest. It has rained at some point every day that I can remember, for the last several weeks. Our humidity starts out at 98-100% in the morning and drops to maybe 80% on most days, with a rare sighting in the 60% range. I have a dehumidifier that runs at least 12 hours in my house, and my guns are in the safe with a small light bulb that keeps them warm enough to not attract moisture to the surface of them, but I still get them out and clean thoroughly at least once a month. Some, that are the home defense guns that live on the nightstand and headboard, even though they don't get handled or moved around, get cleaned at least weekly. It isn't always this rainy here in Alabama, but this is an odd time and I'm not going to have a single rough spot or pit because I didn't spend the time and oil on them. It isn't really a dreaded chore, as I just get out one or two at a time while I'm watching a baseball game and clean it to have something to do with my hands while watching the game. If I do shoot one, it gets cleaned immediately. I have been a black powder shooter for a long time and I got into the habit of a complete cleaning of those after shooting and that habit just naturally transferred to any gun I shoot.
    KE4GWE - - - - - - Colt 1860, it just feels right.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
    therealhitman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    I keep a fairly accurate range log and everything gets some oil and a boresnake pass after each session and a thorough cleaning every 1000 rounds or so. If I get weird malfunctions it gets cleaned before I try fixing something that may not actually need fixing.
    I did abscond with my Dad's .243 Model 70 a while back, it is a well proven 1/2 moa tack driver. His advice for success was to run 70 gr Match Kings over 4350 and to not ever clean the bore. He swears the groups opened right up each time he did and cost himself a couple of matches way back when. So the bore hasn't seen a brush since the mid 90's!

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Jacksonville, FL
    I too live in the salt water swamps. All guns get inspected every few months and clean yearly. If i notice a touch of rust on one they all get cleaned in between that yearly cleaning. Most guns get shot though.
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    LUCKYDAWG13's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Northern Illinois
    I only clean them after I shoot them Except my carry guns if for some reason they don't get shot in a month or i switch one out
    it gets cleaned and lubed
    kids that hunt and fish dont mug old ladies

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    MI (summer) - AZ (winter)
    I clean them if I've shot them - and I always make sure my carry guns get cleaned and lubed whether they reedit or not. The others - those that don't get used - I clean them once a year. Fortunately, I live in an area where the weather conditions are not as severe as some of you folks who have to fight high humidity or salt air.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Fargo ND
    I am a believer in the steady state theory of barrel cleaning. As long as it is shooting accurately I leave it alone.

    Outsides and actions get cleaned as needed, exposure to damp, finger prints etc.

    I like to add 1-2% carnuba wax to my lube. Does awesome things for keeping bores smooth shiny and protected.

    I learned my lesson the hard way when I scrubbed my Ruger 10/22 barrel the night before a big rabbit hunt.
    Never connected a shot all day.

    Took about 150 rounds total before it settled down and sights could be adjusted.

    Never again.

    The exception would be an old Military bore that is dark. That I would alternate shoot and clean until it is shiny.
    At that point switch back to steady state.

    May not work for you, seems to be working fine for me. YMMV.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    EMC45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    East TN Mountains...Thanks be to God!
    I clean when they are overly dirty or start exhibiting sluggish performance. If I see a spot or freckling of rust I also oil 'em up. They stay clean and oiled all the time, but sometimes humidity and handling will cause flash rust or light dusty rusting. 0000 steel wool and a wipe down with the Marsh brush and they are squared away again.

    A long ago acquaintance who was a sniper for the local PD was cleaning his Remington 700PSS one day, and I asked him how he was cleaning it and what he was doing. He said in the USMC he was taught that for every trigger squeeze you made 5 passes one way and 5 passes the other way with a bore brush followed by drying and then oiling. I said "brother, you are cleaning that thing way too much!"

    My theory lately in the past decade or so is to keep it oiled to prevent rust. Shoot it dirty and put it away moderately clean. Not inspection ready because I may shoot it again soon. If accuracy starts to fail and/or it runs poorly I will investigate. I would rather be out there making noise shooting then fastidiously cleaning my guns that will only get dirty all over again.
    You can miss fast & you can miss a lot, but only hits count.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    I clean all the guns once a year, for some its a simple wipe down and reapplication of preservative. others may be full disassembly and clean this depends on usage. I use spg or emmerts improved to preserve long term. wipe on a thin coat and buff. same in bores and chambers. This stays in place much better than oils. Wood gets a coat of wax usually birchwood caseys.

    On frequently used firearms my cleaning is enough to get thru the next session. This helps lessen the clean bore settle in a lot of firearms have. It worked very well on my NRA High Power match rifles. I would clean enough to get thru the next day and zeros stayed more consistant. A fully clean barrel could take 3-4 shots to settle in and if removed from the stock that could become 10-15 shots on the M1A/M14 or Garand.

    I also feel with modern components its not so much how often you clean but how you clean. Improperly cleaning can damage a good bore quicker than shooting them dirty will. Use of a good bore protector, good rod and accessories, along with some care and patience.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    May 2015
    easternshore of va.
    The guns in the cabinet get the exterior wiped down with a oil rag every 3-6 months just for protection against rust , but the real cleaning is only done when groups are affected otherwise just a patch or two through the bore has taken care of them for years . I have a couple rifles that are about half way shot out but it's not from cleaning them .

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Bloomfield, Nebraska
    Every time I am done shooting them. The ones in storage are inspected once a month and wiped down if dusty. Gramps shot a short ring in his 22 once and after that it was heck on you if you failed to clean right after shooting.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    I built two custom rifles in the mid-1980's with Hart barrels. P.J. hart told me not to clean them at all until I was going to shoot them. Instead he said to swab the bore with Hoppe's #9 after shooting them and just leave them alone until the next shooting session. I Have done that with all my guns now and sense then and have never had any rust or fowling. The Hoppe's is great at preventing rust be the barrels stainless or not. I use Brownell's rust preventive #2 on the finishes and never had a problem regardless of the weather.

  13. #13
    Boolit Bub dbmjr1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    I live in NOLA, so humidity is just a way of life, down here.

    Still, I find that I rarely have to clean the guns I use, and hardly ever even wipe down the guns I don't use. No rust. Must be the AC.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    When they need it is all for me. Wipe down the outside as needed. The ones in the barn get closer scrutiny as we can have high humidity here also. I subscribe to Ghosthawks method. I have a ten year old 25-06 that shoots tiny groups still and I ran a few patches through it ONCE. To me, a .22 rimfire bore gets seasoned like a frying pan as you shoot it so only the action parts get cleaned.
    Lazy or whatever, my guns shoot very well.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master
    bangerjim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    out of here, wandering somewhere in the SW.
    Here in the desert SW, I can put salt on bare un-oiled shiny steel and it will not rust for weeks! And that is outside! Only rust I have ever seen in my wood and metal shops was from a plastic bottle of HCl sitting on a shelf near a jack plane. The fumes over a year, caused some very light surface rust that came off with a quick meeting with 1200 grit paper and some light oil for lube.

    I shoot 100% PC in all my cal’s and only swab the barrels ever 5-7 shooting sessions. PC keeps the barrels spotless and perfectly clean. No leading. No grease smoke buildup.


  16. #16
    Super Moderator

    HATCH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Lexington, SC
    They get cleaned after each range visit. Then once a year they get inventoried and wiped down.

  17. #17
    Moderator Emeritus

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    SW Montana
    I clean guns as they need it. Carry guns get at least a monthly, others only get attention when accuracy goes south. My "cleaning" in several cases does not mean touching the barrel at all if accuracy is still there.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    barry s wales uk
    Clean them if they don't look and feel as slick as they normally do.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
    FISH4BUGS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Inland from Seacoast New Hampshire
    I typically clean handguns after a range trip or two or 3 - usually 200-400 rounds.
    I have a Colt factory SBR that has not seen a cleaning in a few years.
    The full auto stuff gets cleaned after every use.
    Suppressors after every use also. Using Frog Lube helps keep the crud buildup to a minimum.
    I shoot all pistol calibers with cast with WW 231, which has never been noted for cleanliness.
    BUT, I have to say that there is something satisfying after disassembling and cleaning the gun, oiling it up and putting it away until the next range trip.
    Collector and shooter of guns with selector switches and threaded barrels. Collector of suppressors, SBR's, AOW's and SBS's. Lead and brass scrounger. Never too much brass, lead or components in inventory! Always looking to win beauty contests with my reloads.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Hick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Winnemucca, NV
    Once a year-- late fall, unless I suspect leading-- in which case I clean immediately. Otherwise, I just run through a dry bore snake after each range trip.
    Hick: Iron sights!

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BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
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GC Gas Check