How Often Should I Clean My Gun?
Ah, the age-old question. It has been answered many times in many different ways. So, what is the correct answer to this question?
As I’m sure we’re all aware, weapons require maintenance in the form of cleaning. If you own a weapon, you’re going to have to clean it. It’s as simple as that.
Owning a gun and not cleaning it is negligent, and could potentially ruin your weapon. I don’t mean to use scare tactics, but these are the facts. Even if you aren’t shooting much, not cleaning your weapon could harm it.
So, let’s get into the question at hand.
The Basics: Why do I need to clean my weapon?
Simply put, because it gets dirty!
When you clean a weapon, you are cleaning some type of dirty residue. While there are many kinds, this is most often carbon. Carbon buildup occurs in your weapon each and every time you fire it. When the propellant burns, it leaves carbon behind.
Other types of residue could be trace bits of metal, which could be left behind by the bullets you are firing. However, this is somewhat uncommon, and 99.99% of the time, you are cleaning residual carbon out of the weapon.
Another reason to clean your weapon is to remove any rust from it. If you use your weapon outdoors, it is exposed to moisture. Some places are more moist, such as when you are duck hunting in a swamp, or deer hunting in the rain. However, even without precipitation, your weapon is still being exposed to water in the air.
When the metal of the weapon is exposed to any moisture, it could begin to oxidize. As a result, rust will form. Rust on a weapon is not a good thing, especially if it is inside the barrel.
By the way, you should have the best gun safe for the money for your weapons, it will protect your “wife” 🙂
What happens if I don’t clean my weapons?
Eventually, if the carbon buildup inside the weapon gets to be too much, the weapon can stop cycling properly.
If the buildup gets to be too severe in the barrel, the weapon could be similarly negatively affected. The bullet trajectory could be ruined, or worse. If there is too much rust built up, the same thing will happen.
Okay, I get it. Dirty weapons are bad. How often do I need to clean my weapons?
Now this is where it gets a little tricky. No one argues that you do have to clean your weapons, but plenty of people argue about how often it needs to be done.
To put it simply, you really can’t clean the weapon too often, as long as you are using the correct cleaning tools and not putting too much oil on it.
However, we will make a few recommendations for how often to clean your weapon.
Personally, I like to clean my weapons after each trip to the range. I find it to be soothing, but I also realize that not everyone feels this way.
Most weapons will be good for around three to four range trips, dependent on how many rounds you shoot. My recommendation would be to clean the weapon every 250 rounds, if you don’t want to clean it each time you shoot.
If you don’t go to the range much, cleaning your weapon is still important. At the very least, you should break your weapon down and clean it twice per year, if you are never shooting at all.
However, there are a few exceptions to these guidelines.
If your weapon is primarily for self defense or home defense, it is extremely important to clean it each and every time. This will ensure it will function each and every time.
For the competition shooter, cleaning a weapon each time you use it is extremely important as well.
Lastly, if you use your weapon in a swampy area or in any precipitation, you should clean it as soon as possible, to get any surface rust off of the weapon before it becomes a problem.
Cleaning weapons is a pretty easy and relaxing thing, but many people don’t know how often you should do it.
I would recommend cleaning your weapons each time you shoot, but not everyone likes to do this. If you prefer to wait, every 250 rounds is probably a decent guideline for you.
When cleaning your weapon, be sure to keep safety in mind. Always clear the weapon and use proper materials and cleaning techniques!