Rifle Care and Maintenance – Expert Guide

Most HUNTERS TODAY are fully outfitted with a wide assortment of equipment. Some of this gear is directly related to the hunt itself firearms, binoculars, shotguns, maps, and the like. To use the rifle and gun properly and safely, you need perfect rifle care and maintenance.

Most hunting gear requires periodic cleaning, maintenance, and sometimes repair. This chapter explains how to keep your rifle in top condition. We will also discuss on how to refurbish or repair it when the need arises.

Importance of Weapon Maintenance


When I was in the Army, I hated to have my sergeant examine my M-16 with a hawkishly discriminating eye, find some miniscule fluff in the chamber, and order me to completely disassemble and clean my piece all over again.

But reflecting on the indignity, I can now understand that he really had my welfare at heart. Because, a weapon that is immaculately clean, inside and out, and properly lubricated, is not likely to let its owner down.

firearm maintenance and cleaning

Consequently, I have since become a bug in gun care. Exactly how much grit and grime it would actually take to render inoperative my rifles and shotguns is uncertain. But I do know and this is what counts-that during the last ten years I have never had a weapon malfunction that cost me a shot at the game.

So in my mind, the minimal effort it takes to properly care for a weapon is well worth the time expended. But entirely aside from a bird or buck in the bag, a clean, cared-for weapon is a safe one, both for the user and on behalf of those who may be sharing his company.

Shotguns and Rifle Care and Maintenance

As we have discussed the importance of firearm maintenance and cleaning, now we need a proper guideline to do the job perfectly. With my vast 10 years’ experiences of a hunter and the previous army experience, I am now sharing some important aspect of rifle care and maintenance. See these guides below.

Check When You Need to Clean the Rifle

How often a rifle or shotgun should be cleaned depends upon how often it is used. And in most cases, it is a good practice to thoroughly disassemble a weapon for complete cleaning before the season opens and then again when all hunting for the year is over.

During the course of the season, then, as the weeks roll by, all that should be necessary is to periodically give it a close inspection, to see if perhaps some errant debris has found its way into any of the various mechanisms. Then swap out the barrel and wipe the exterior.

Systematical Cleaning of the Rifle with Proper Diagram

A word of caution. Jumping quickly into disassembling a weapon without forethought may result in a pile of seemingly unrelated parts. Go slowly and systematically. And as an invaluable reference as to how everything fits together, layout before you the exploded parts diagram that came with the weapon. If you don’t have one, write to the manufacturer.

These diagrams show the sequence in which the weapon should be disassembled and assembled. The parts are also labeled by name and serial-numbered, so you can replace worn parts by ordering through the manufacturer. When disassembling a weapon, it’s a good idea always to use the proper sizes of screwdrivers and wrenches so that you don’t strip screws or nuts or mar adjacent surfaces.

Cleaning the Internal Part

An excellent way to clean internal parts is to lay them out on a newspaper-covered table and thoroughly scrub them with an old toothbrush and gun-cleaning solvent. Only after all parts have been cleaned and dried should they be checked for signs of undue wear and replaced as necessary.

If they’re all in good condition, apply a bit of gun oil until each metal part is entirely covered on all surfaces. The proper cleaning of the internal part of the rifle will ensure safety of hunting perfectly. If you maintain the rifle with a regular check and clean, you will be certain of your safety and the safety of guns.

Learn and Execute How to Oil a Rifle Properly

You need to learn how to oil the rifle properly for the perfect rifle care and maintenance. First, stand each part on end, bracing it against anything you have handy, so that excess oil will drain off. This is important because too much oil attracts dust and grit.

Now let’s work on the barrel. You need to remove any build-up of powder residue. Also, reduce lead fouling, or the beginning signs of surface rust. First, saturate a cloth patch with nitro powder bore-cleaning solvent. And with a standard cleaning rod run it back and forth through the barrel. Do it several times to initially loosen any fouling.

inside rifle cleaning

Next, scrub the inside of the barrel with a stiff brass-bristled brush of the proper caliber or gauge, working from the breech end of the weapon if possible. Then run still more solvent-saturated patches through the barrel until eventually they come out clean and the inside of the barrel is bright and shiny looking.

Final Patch Oiling

The last step is to add a bit of gun oil to a final patch and pass it through the bore several times for a light protective coating. To protect the exterior of the weapon, you need only wipe all metal surfaces with a slightly oily rag or silicone impregnated cloth. If the stock has one of the new plastic finishes, you do not need to care it.

But if it’s a hand-rubbed stock you might want to rub it with a small quantity of warmed linseed oil. We’ve been talking about the twice-annual task of completely disassembling and cleaning a rifle or shotgun. During the course of the season, however, you don’t have to do more than run several solvent-saturated patches, a brass brush, and then an oily patch through the barrel after each day’s hunting and wipe down the exterior of the weapon with a treated rag.

Firearm Maintenance and Cleaning if it is Exposed

If the weapon has been exposed to rain or snow, I spray the exterior and especially the interior of the weapon with a moisture-displacing, rust-penetrating oil such as WD-40, to protect the gun until such later time when I can more thoroughly clean and oil all metal parts.

After cleaning any gun, stand the weapon in a corner, muzzle down, for about twenty minutes. This allows any excess oils or lubricants to drain away onto a sheet of newspaper.

Otherwise, in time, the excesses of numerous cleaning operations will have drained. Especially, in the opposite direction to saturate and weaken the wooden stock.

Rifle Temperature Consideration

A few final words about caring for rifles and shotguns. It is not a good practice to bring a weapon into a warm house or cabin after use. Especially, after it has been outdoors all day in bitterly cold weather. Condensation will take place, and even the finest weapon will acquire a formation of rust overnight.

But also, when the weapon is taken outside the following morning, any remaining condensation may quickly freeze. And then, render it inoperable. Leave the rifle or shotgun in your locked car trunk. Or, if you’re staying in a hunting cabin, leave it in a cold storage room.

Only if the weapon is drenched with rainwater, or snow-covered, you should bring it inside. Then you should wipe it completely dry inside and out. And then gone over with an oily rag or sprayed with WD-40.

Keeping the Rifle in Right Storage

During the off-season, it’s best to store rifles and shotguns in a locked gun rack or storage cabinet. This allows for air circulation and discourages the formation of condensation. Then rust that might otherwise take place if the weapon were secured in a closed gun case. This serves only to trap moisture.

In traveling to and from a hunting area, pack the weapon in some type of padded case to protect it from bumps and scratches, but if the trip is of long duration leave the zipper partially open.

Few More Words

There are other kinds of maintenance and rejuvenation any gun owner can tackle himself. Such as reblueing scratched or worn barrel-and-receiver assemblies. one can do it with adding recoil pads or sling swivels. The proper rifle care and maintenance can even consist proper checking and doing it again.

There are books available that explain how to execute these tasks. Then there are the Complicated jobs such as drilling and tapping receivers for scope. These maintenance and cleaning makes the hunting equipment more usable and long lasting.

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