Cleaning your rifle barrel is pretty easy and cost-effective to do in the comfort of your own home by yourself. As long as you follow these specific steps it is a safe and easy procedure. For all beginner gunsmiths who want to know how to clean a rifle barrel on their own, we’ve put together this guide to show you exactly what you need and how to do it. After you complete the process, you should notice an instant improvement in the rifle’s accuracy. Also, once you learn how to clean a rifle barrel on your own, you will also be better prepared to learn how to perform similar procedures on your other types of guns as well.
Gun cleaning is your go to procedure whenever you feel like your rifle isn’t performing as well as it used to. Of course, you could try to break in you rifle barrel. If you clean the barrel effectively, once you assemble your rifle back you will notice that the balance and accuracy are significantly improved. In order to learn how to clean a rifle and its barrel. You will need a few gunsmithing tools, but not those of the very advanced kind. Take a look at the process below.
How the Gun Cleaning Process Works
Basically, you must use a rod, gun cleaning patches, and a special type of solvent inside the barrel to clean it. You may either apply some brushing for the extra pressure, or gentle wipes (depending on the tools you use and how clogged the barrel is). The substance which accumulates inside the rifle barrel is copper. Therefore, the solvents and patches you use are specially designed to shed the copper deposited on the barrel’s inner walls.
Before you begin, make sure you do some measurements on how well the rifle works at the time and note them down in a notebook. You should repeat these measurements later, after you clean the barrel, to see if the process was successful. In time, you will learn what techniques lead to the best results.
Gunsmithing Tips and Lessons: A Step by Step Guide on How to Clean a Rifle Barrel
- Gather the tools you need: a cleaning rod (preferably in one piece), a bore guide (optional, but highly recommended), gun cleaning patches or cloth, a broad brush, jag, powder solvent, copper solvent, and gun oil.
- Place one of the gun cleaning patches on the jag and soak it in powder solvent. Then, run it through the bore. The bore must be also oiled up and inserted in the barrel (this will protect it from getting damaged by your actions). Repeat until you feel like you removed all the loose dirt in the barrel (one or two times more).
- Next, use the brush. Pass it through the bore 10 times (5 down and 5 back) to loosen up the fouling. No need to brush aggressively as this may damage the barrel.
- Repeat the running of one or two powder solvent patches to remove any impurities the brush has loosened up (repeat step 2).
- Next, soak the patches in some copper solvent and run them through the bore until they come out clean on the other side.
- The next step is to run some more gun cleaning patches (dry) through the inserted bore just to make sure there won’t be any traces of solvent left in there.
- Last, run a patch soaked in a little gun oil through the bore to protect it and to finish the gun cleaning process. You rifle should now be as good as new.
What to Watch Out For:
- Over-cleaning: Using solvents that are too powerful may damage the barrel. You’re better off sticking to a less powerful substance which under cleans rather than taking too much out of the bore. For rifles, the best gun cleaning solvent is Wipe-Out. It gets the job done without being aggressive enough to damage your rifle.
- Improper rods: If your cleaning rod is the wrong size, this may cause it to damage the rifling which is clearly best avoided lest you permanently damage your firearm. Try to use a proper-fitting bore guide together with your cleaning rod, every time. A good one we tend to recommend for beginners is the Tipton Universal Bore Guide kit. Alternatively, you can ask a fellow gunsmith or supervisor for another recommendation if you think their opinion differs.
As a final note, we urge you to be aware that almost any gunsmith has their own process and technique for cleaning their barrels and guns. We showed you the essentials above, but you should still know that there is room for improvisation once you get the hang of it. It’s up to you to discover through trial and error what products, motions and sequences seem to work best for your rifle, and you may even expect different results for different rifles (that’s why noting down your results is so important). That’s about it! Good luck with your gun cleaning and don’t forget to note down the measurements of your results, so you can come up in time with the best way to clean your rifle barrel.