clean rifle

Another deer season is over, and it’s time to clean our rifles and put them away for a few months. The best advice I’ve ever seen comes from an old book entitled “Do-It-Yourself Gun Repair” by Edward Matunas (out of print). I’ve been following Ed’s routine for years, and it’s the best.

–You’ll need a cleaning rod, brush, jag, patches and solvent. The best rod is a spring-steel model with a plastic, nylon or similar coating and a swiveling handle.

–Choose Shooter’s Choice or Hoppe’s No. 9 solvent.

–Always use a cleaning-rod guide to protect a gun’s receiver from the sharp jag, and also to protect the rifle’s throat from damage.

–Insert the rod into the bore from the chamber end to protect the muzzle. The last few inches of a rifle barrel are extremely important to its accuracy; wear or damage caused by a cleaning rod would ruin accuracy.

–Begin by pushing a soaked patch through the bore. Repeat. Run 2 dry patches thorough the bore.

–Run another soaked patch through the bore. Remove the jag, install a bore brush of the correct caliber and soak brush in solvent. Push the brush through the bore until it exits the muzzle; pull it back until it exits the chamber. Rule of thumb: Repeat this in-and-out brushing for each shot fired since the last cleaning—maybe 10 or 20 shots for a typical deer rifle?

–Pass another soaked patch through the bore, and then another. Set the rifle aside in a horizontal position, with the muzzle pointed a tad down to prevent solvent from running into the action. Allow the bore to soak for at least 30 minutes; 3 or 4 hours are better.

–After the soak period, run clean, dry patches through the bore. Repeat until the bore is dry.

–Repeat the entire bore-soaking process, but this time omit the brushing step. It may take 3 to 5 daylong soaks to remove all the fouling from a barrel that has been fired only 15 to 20 times. A greater number of soaks may be necessary if a high number of rounds were fired since the last cleaning (or if you haven’t cleaned your rifle in years). It can take a week or more to get a barrel really clean.

–Wipe down the exterior metalwork of the rifle with a good coat of Rem Oil and store gun in a safe place.

After a thorough bore cleaning like this, a deer rifle that was shooting 2- or 3-inch groups at 100 yards might cluster bullets at or inside an inch.