Here's a little bookmark I have saved forever. No idea why. I've been looking though my old AOL closet.
How to clean your handgun
How to clean your handgun
Proper handgun cleaning is somewhat of a mystery to many first-time handgun owners. It's a bit of information that is all too often assumed by manufacturers and dealers. The purpose of this page is to, hopefully, clear up some of the mystery and answer common questions.
By no means is my way the only correct way to clean a handgun. For illustrative purposes, the following images and text describes my personal routine, which has worked well for me for years with no ill effects. I do not necessarily recommend any of the procedures or products which follow and cannot be held responsible for any damages or injuries which readers of this page may subsequently inflict upon themselves or others.
These are some of the tools I use for gun cleaning.
1. Swiveling cleaning rod, preferably coated, or stainless steel.
It's nice to have two so you don't have to keep swapping out your brush and jag. If you're forced to use an aluminum one, wipe the gunk off the rod after every pass.
2. Bronze brush in proper caliber. Stainless steel is too aggressive for routine cleaning, and plastic is often not aggressive enough.
3. Patch jag, preferably a round one that will give a tight fit with the patch.
4. Properly sized patches (preferably cotton)
5. Toothbrush (preferably old)
6. Brass-bristle brush for stubborn fouling or stains.
7. Stainless steel pot scrubbing sponge (not steel wool). This is good for removing light rust or other stubborn stains from the surface of your gun without having to worry about damaging the bluing. And a few strands, snipped off with scissors and wrapped around your bore brush will make quick work of lead removal inside the bore.
8. You may also find wooden toothpicks and cotton swabs handy, as well as pipe cleaners.
This product is called the Bore Snake and is made by Michael's of Oregon (Uncle Mike's). It's a quick and easy way to clean a barrel. The weighted cord drops into the breech, the part containing the built-in brush is soaked in solvent, and the whole thing is pulled out the muzzle.
It works very well for rifles in my experience, but is almost too much trouble for a handgun. It doesn't replace a thorough cleaning, but it's a convenient (and compact) way to clean a bore in the field, or when you don't have time to perform a complete cleaning on your rifle.
Solvents are substances designed to dissolve fouling (powder, lead and copper residue) and make it easier to remove. They are not to be confused with lubricants or protectants, however you will occasionally encounter products such as BreakFree CLP that are designed to clean, lubricate, and protect. Potential problems with solvents: 1) some, such as Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber, will dissolve plastics, paint, skin, or other soft materials commonly found on guns, 2) some may damage the finish on wood or even, in rare cases, the metal itself, 3) many solvents, by nature, remove all oils from the metal, requiring a thorough re-lube.
Here are the solvents I'm currently using.
1. BreakFree CLP (mil-spec cleaner, lube, and protectant)
2. Hoppe's Bench Rest Copper Solvent (for copper fouling)
3. Hoppe's Semi Auto solvent (claims to remove copper and lead and leave no residue)
4. An almost-empty jar of Ed's Red (homemade CLP).
Hoppe's #9, probably the most ubiquitous solvent, is absent from this lineup at the moment, but I have used quite a bit of it in the past.
Lubricants are designed to prevent wear and tear on moving parts. Lubrication, in some cases, is necessary for proper operation of a mechanism. Potential problems with lubricants: 1) their tendency to collect grit and dirt over time, eventually impeding functionality or even damaging parts with the sludge that results 2) the tendency in cold environments to freeze into a hardened mass, impeding functionality 3) the equally annoying tendency to evaporate or dissolve under heat or pressure, leaving your gun dry, and 4) the mess they can make on your clothing and/or holster.
Here are some of the lubricants I'm using:
1. Coastal Industrial Moly Grease (semi-auto slides)
2. Slick 50 One Grease (semi-auto slides)
3. Permatex white lithium grease
4. Shooter's Choice grease (semi-auto slides)
5. Rem-Oil (too light, really)
6. BreakFree CLP (for general lubrication)
7. Castrol/Hoppe's RustProtector (not really a lube)
8. ProTec gun oil (for general lubrication)
9. Hoppe's gun oil (for general lubrication)
10. Tetra gun oil (my favorite low-friction oil)
11. ProTec gun oil (in syringe)
12. Lubriplate grease
13. Hoppe's Dri-Lube Teflon spray
(for cold weather, or to avoid an oily mess)
The purpose of protectants, as one might suppose, is to protect your guns from rust or other types of corrosion. Most often used for guns that will be stored for a period of months at least, protectants may also be necessary in humid climates or locations, as well as on guns that are used for carry. Problems with protectants: 1) they can stain holsters, clothing or other materials, 2) they may be hard to remove, 3) they may evaporate or be rubbed/wiped off, 4) they may make the gun too slippery to handle. I've mainly used short-term protectants, and for the purposes of this page I won't discuss cosmolene or other long-term protectants.
The protectants I've used:
1. BreakFree CLP (works as well as anything else)
2. RemOil (too thin IMHO)
3. Castrol/Hoppe's Rust Protector (again, too thin)
4. That same jar of Ed's Red (used by default)
5. Johnson paste wax (when oil is not desired or when it may evaporate or rub off)
6. Hoppe's gun oil
7. ProTec gun oil
Now that we've covered the basics, let's move on to the actual cleaning procedures:
Cleaning your semi-auto pistol
Clean your Revolver