FIREARM CARE AND MAINTENANCE:
"Take care of your guns and they will take care of you!"
The best way to maintain your firearms is to have a routine - and stick too it. This routine will vary according to the type of firearm, how often it is used, what it is used for, and the conditions under which it sees use. In other words, a .22 rifle used on an indoor range four times a year will not require the same level of maintenance as the pump shotgun you use all winter for hunting sea ducks! The following is a BASIC routine that should be followed.
NOTE: Any time you clean or disassemble a firearm make sure it is unloaded and pointed in safe direction. Also, be sure to wear eye protection and work in a well ventilated area.
1. Any time the firearm is handled: wipe down all metal parts with a dry cloth and then a very lightly oiled cloth.
2. Any time the firearm is shot:
• field strip the firearm as per instructions in the owner's manual.
• wipe all moisture, perspiration and dirt from exterior. Use a cloth and cleaning solvent if necessary.
• the bore and chamber should be scrubbed with an appropriately sized brush and solvent and then wiped out with patches soaked in solvent until they come out clean.
• dry the bore and chamber with clean patches and then oil very lightly.
• clean all moisture, dirt, etc. from receiver/bolt and then oil lightly.
• check magazine tube/box for moisture or dirt and clean accordingly.
3. Anytime the firearm becomes wet:
• follow instructions in #2 and:
• following instructions in the owner's manual, remove stock (or the forearm and buttstock for shotguns) and dry off any moisture from the inside of the stock and the metal parts thus exposed. It might be a good idea to leave the firearm disassembled - in a safe, dry place - to allow any moisture that you could not wipe off time to evaporate. This also provides an excellent opportunity to completely clean those parts of the firearm that are usually "hidden" from view.
• lightly oil all metal parts before reassembling firearm.
• at your first opportunity test fire the gun to insure proper functioning
4. Before opening day:
• field strip the firearm as per the instructions in the owner's manual.
• wipe off all accumulations of oil, grease, dust, grime, etc.
• clean firearm as described in #2 c, d, e & f.
• test fire at a shooting range (while wearing the proper hearing protection and eye protection) to insure proper functioning.
• check the zero of iron and/or telescopic sights.
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Persons who own a number of firearms might want to consider keeping a maintenance log. It could be a simple a sheet of paper taped on the inside of your gun safe/cabinet door listing the guns and the last time they were cleaned. Every time you opened your gun safe/cabinet such a log would serve as a reminder to take a few minutes and examine your firearms. And remember, the log will be of little use if it is not kept up to date, because "...the job isn't complete until the paperwork is finished!"
While many of us might hate to admit it, we are not all experts when it comes to our firearms. Because of this, I believe one of the best forms of preventative maintenance is to, periodically, bring your firearms to a qualified gunsmith or factory authorized repair center for detailed disassembly, examination and cleaning. These persons are trained to spot potential problems and whatever minor inconvenience and expense such work entails may end up saving you a lot more in the long run.
When putting a firearm away, be sure that all metal surfaces including the bore are coated with a light film of lightweight oil. This rust fighter is a "must" even if you plan to use the gun again in a few hours. Spray it on, or apply it with a silicone treated rag. The wipe is also perfect for removing fingerprint acids.
Store your firearms in a secure, dry area. Household closets are a poor choice, exposing guns to damage. Sheepskin-or cloth-lined field cases also are unsuitable, since they trap moisture. The ideal solution is a metal case or locking gun cabinet. Inspect your stored guns regularly, to make sure no rust is forming.
Use a mild cleaner to clean off the grease when taking a firearm out of storage. Before firing again, clear the bore of grease, oil and any obstructions. With rifles and handguns, push clean patches through on a jag, or use a clean bore swab. With shotguns, use the swab.
Courtesy of Remington