Hunting season is over, and now is the time to give your rifle a thorough cleaning.

Gun-Cleaning Gear

To do the job right, you need to secure your rifle horizontally in a vise. A vise attached to a workbench at your house will work fine. Or you can purchase a portable gun vise from company that specializes in firearms-cleaning accessories.

Spend $40 or more for a universal gun-cleaning kit, which will include a three-piece bore rod and an assortment of jags, brushes, patches and other accessories for cleaning not only your bolt-action, but also other handguns and long guns that you own.

Also, and this is important, purchase a bore guide, which will protect the bore and action of your rifle by properly aligning the cleaning rod as you work.

You’ll need a quality solvent like Hoppe’s No. 9 for swabbing the bore, and a gun oil like Break Free CLP (best I’ve used for preventing rust) for wiping down the exterior of your rifle.

5 Steps to a Shiny Bore

Now use that gear right:

1. With rifle (Unloaded Of Course!) level in a vide, fit the cleaning rod with a jag of the proper caliber, and insert a clean patch into the jag’s slot. Soak the patch in bore solvent. Run the rod and wet patch through the bore guide and down the barrel, always working from breech to muzzle, the same way a bullet travels.
2. Run a dry patch through the bore and look to see how dirty it is when the patch comes out the muzzle. I’m going out on a limb and saying that patch will be pretty black with carbon because you probably haven’t done a deep bore clean in a while.
3. Run one or two more soaked patches through the bore. Remove the jag, screw on a bronze brush of the correct caliber and soak it in solvent. Push the brush through the bore and out the muzzle, then pull it back until it exits the chamber. Repeat brushing 10 times.
4. Remove brush, go back to the jag and run 2 or 3 more soaked patches through the bore. Loosen the rifle in the vise, tilt the muzzle slightly down to keep solvent from running back into the action and re-tighten. Allow the bore to soak for 30 minutes to an hour.
5. After the soak, run dry patches through the bore until the last patch out is pure white, and the bore is shiny.