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Cleaning and safe storage of firearms

Cleaning a firearm

Before hunting, all hunters are responsible for ensuring that their firearm is in good working order. Regular care and cleaning of a firearm ensures greater shot accuracy and helps ensure that the safety mechanisms and action function correctly. Here are the key steps in how to clean a firearm as well as the proper way to store one at home.

Always follow these safety rules when cleaning any firearm:

  • Ensure the firearm is unloaded
  • Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction
  • Clear the workbench of any material you do not need for cleaning
  • Move all ammunition to a separate location
  • Make sure your work area has adequate light and ventilation
  • Wear some type of eye and hand-protection gear

Materials used to clean a firearm
When cleaning firearms, always clean from the breech end (rear of the barrel) if possible. This will push all powder residue and cleaning solution out the muzzle and prevent damage to the muzzle crown. Remember to disassemble your firearm according to manufacturer's recommendations and have the following items on hand:

Cleaning patches that fit the bore size of the firearm.

A firearm holder (also called a gun rest) to hold the firearm firmly in a horizontal position.

Cleaning rods or a bore snake to clean the barrel.

Gunsmithing screwdrivers to ensure that your firearm comes apart and goes back together smoothly.

Brass or nylon brushes that fit onto the cleaning rods.

A slotted tip or jag for cleaning patches.

A short copper cleaning brush or an old toothbrush to clean out hard-to-reach areas.

Bore light or light pipe to inspect bores, chambers, and other hard-to-see areas.

Latex gloves to protect your hands from grime.

Eye-protection gear to protect your eyes from springs, tensioned parts, and cleaning solvents.

Clean rags to wipe down parts of your firearm.

Gun cleaning solvents, oil and grease to clean and protect your firearm.


Six steps to clean a firearm
Step 1.
Place an unloaded firearm in a bench rest and secure it so it will not fall. Attach a cleaning brush that is the same size as the caliber or gauge of your firearm onto a cleaning rod. Pour a small amount of cleaning solution into an open container, such as a film canister, and dip the brush into the cleaning solution. Don’t dip the brush directly into cleaning solution’s bottle; that will contaminate your entire supply.
 
Step 2.
Place the cleaning rod with brush attached into the bore and work the brush down the entire length of the barrel.

Step 3.
Remove the cleaning brush from the cleaning rod and attach the slotted patch holder onto the cleaning rod. Attach a clean patch onto the slotted patch holder and run the patch down the entire length of the barrel. Next, use the bore light to inspect the action and bore. If you spot any remaining residue, use another patch and repeat until the barrel is completely clean.

Step 4.
Attach a clean, well-oiled patch onto the slotted patch holder and run it down the entire length of the barrel. The oil will prevent rust in the barrel. Your barrel is now clean!
 
Step 5.
Use a copper cleaning brush and work it around the bolt, bolt face and action to remove any powder residue. Wipe the bolt and action clean and apply a thin coat of oil.
 
Step 6.
Wipe down the entire firearm with a lightly oiled rag to clean and protect the outside surface.

Storing a firearm
If you have firearms in your home, protect your family and friends by ensuring that both your firearms and ammunition are legally and safely stored at all times. A gun safe is like a mini version of a bank safe—some are even fireproof. This is the best storage option, because it not only protects your firearms from being stolen, it also keeps them out of the hands of children and careless adults. Please note that if your firearms fall into the wrong hands, you may be held responsible.

All firearms should be stored in a single, secure location. Ammunition should also be secured but stored separately from firearms.

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