how to clean rifle

Easiest Ways To Clean Your Rifle Properly

If you want your rifle to continue functioning well and firing safely, you MUST clean it regularly (and correctly).

So, how do you clean your gun properly?

In this short post, I’ll show you how to give your gun(s) a thorough clean the easiest/best way and keep it in its top working condition.

WARNING: Always Check and Recheck that your gun is unloaded before you attempt to clean it. Cases of unloaded firearms killing people during the cleaning process are common.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Cleaning rod or snake
  • Cleaning patches
  • Cleaning solvents
  • Bore brush
  • Clean fabric/rag (micro fabric clothing)
  • Cotton swab
  • Gun oil

Follow These Steps:

1. Disassemble Your Gun First

The first step in cleaning out your gun involve disassembling it. Lay it down on the bench/table and open its action. Remove the bolt (for bolt-action rifles) and put it aside. You can decide the extent to which you want to disassemble your gun.

Note that some hunting rifles require minimal cleaning, so you don’t have to disassemble them when cleaning them.

Some semi-automatic rifles too (apart from AR 15) aren’t easy to disassemble, so you’d want to clean just as they’re; unless you know what you’re doing.

For more information on how to disassemble your gun correctly, consult the user manual.

2. Start With The Bore

You’ll need to start by cleaning the barrel. And when doing so, you’ll need to handle the barrel with extra care, keeping in mind that any damages to the last or first inches of the barrel will affect your gun accuracy.

Soak a cleaning patch or some portion of snake bore into your cleaning solvent and run it through the bore. I’d recommend you to clean the bore in the same direction the bullet travels, though you can go with any other convenient option (if your gun bore doesn’t give a straight access).

 If you encounter any resistance with your cleaning rod and patch, simply remove the rod, trim the patch and try again. Leave the bore rest for around 5-10 minutes for the solvent to fully dissolve any fouling present.

Next, gently run your bore brush through the bore to help loosen any grim present. Considering the solvent has done most of the job for you, you don’t have to scrub the bore with the brush. This can damage the grooves and lands inside your bore.

Now, push another wet patch (with solvent) through the bore and allow the rifle to rest for another 1-3 minutes. Then run a dry patch through the barrel to collect any excess carbon residue inside. Run more dry patches until they come out as completely clean and dry.

NOTE: if the patches continue coming out with a lot of dirt, consider completing the whole process with more solvent.

3. Cleaning The Chamber and Action

The chamber and action section don’t require a lot of attention. However, I’d recommend you to wipe them down using a clean rag. You might also consider using a cotton swab to gently pick up the grime and dust hiding in the hard to reach areas.

BUT…ensure the cotton swab doesn’t leave behind any wisps as they can easily attract dirt as well as cause malfunctioning of your rifle.

If you have a few bucks to spend, you might consider buying chamber brushes for an even more convenient way of cleaning out the chamber.

4. Polishing The Stock and Barrel

At this point, you’ve already cleaned your rifle, and you’re about to store it, ready for the next use.

But before that, grab a clean rag and wipe down the barrel using an extremely light gun oil coat. This helps remove any water and fingerprint residue that might have gotten on it during the cleaning process.

As for the stock, it doesn’t require much attention as it usually features a waterproof finish. Just wipe it using a clean rag and brush off dirt (if present).

Lastly, wipe off all the excess oil from your gun barrel. Close the action and drop the firing pin safely to help release any tension in your rifle before storing it.

5. Store Your Gun In A Cool & Dry Place

I figured out that storing your gun is equally important as cleaning your rifle, or even more important. So, we’ll discuss the best way to store your rifle properly after the cleaning process in this step.

The case is simple- just store your gun in a cool and dry place.

As you know, rust is one of the top enemies of your rifle, and it can cut down its lifespan easily and quickly. To counter it, ensure you store your gun in a dry place; invest in a gun safe that fits your rifle collection if possible, and consider putting some dehydrator within the safe. Above all, consider checking the gun regularly for any signs of rust.


  • Always clean your gun after every use; proper cleaning process takes only 20-30 minutes
  • Always clean your rifles in well-ventilated areas as the cleaning solvents tend to produce noxious fumes that might make you sick
  • Keep the gun muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times to prevent the unexpected from happening

Final Thoughts

The secret to keeping your rifle at its best working and firing conditions lies in cleaning it on a regular basis.

In the quick guide that I’ve just shared with you above, you’ll learn how to efficiently and adequately clean out any rifle.

Remember: always unload your gun before attempting to clean it and ensure you clean it in a safe, well-ventilated place for your own safety.

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