Your Guide to Rifle Cleaning

When was the last time you took the time to clean your rifle?..

Regardless of your rifle’s age, cost, or action type, it is important to clean your rifles regularly. By not cleaning your rifle, you are only working towards your rifle, failing you, or worse, losing its accuracy.

Remove the magazine and double-check whether your rifle's chamber is empty before you begin cleaning your rifle. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times.

First things first, the moment you take your gun out from the safe for cleaning, ensure that it is not loaded. Start by removing the magazine and then check the chamber for any loaded rounds. Also, make sure that the gun is pointed in a safe direction before you start cleaning it.

You might find it hard to believe, but there were 489 deaths in 2015 in the US that were the result of accidental shootings.

What are the materials needed to clean your rifle?

  • Cleaning Rod: While there are many cleaning rods available in the market, we suggest you get a single piece cleaning rod. Most single piece cleaning rods are polymer-coated, and hence it won't scratch your rifle bore. You can also choose to use a bore snake for general, quick cleaning. For thorough cleaning, single piece cleaning rods are ideal.

Ensure that you buy a cleaning rod that is suitable for your rifle's caliber. Using an oversized cleaning rod can damage the insides of your rifle's bore.

  • Bore Guide: Having a bore guide serves two primary purposes. One, it will guide the cleaning rod seamlessly into the bore without damaging the chamber or the bore. Secondly, it will prevent the cleaning solvents from leaking into the trigger or magazine chamber.
  • Cleaning patches: Cleaning patches are mostly made out of absorbent cloth materials. While there are many cheap alternatives to cleaning patches, most gunsmiths advise owners to purchase good quality cleaning patches
  • Phosphor Brushes: Phosphor bronze brushes are excellent for moderate general-purpose cleaning and ideal for stubborn carbon removal. 
  • Bore Cleaner: Bore cleaners let you clean your rifle's bore thoroughly quickly. It completely removes copper and carbon fouling quickly, without any wait time and laborious cleanup. 
  • Wipeout Bore Foam: Wipeout bore foam is not for quick cleaning, but it is indeed a revolutionary product. If you can keep your rifle overnight for cleaning, this is the perfect product for cleaning.

You would also need Q-tips, a paper towel, lubricant, preservative & a gun cradle.

Cleaning Your Rifle 

When it comes to cleaning a rifle, there is no standard procedure. In this section, we will look at the most effective ways of cleaning rifles, as suggested by veteran gunsmiths.

The moment you take your gun out from the safe for cleaning, double-check that the gun is not loaded. Once you have checked the rifle, fix it in a gun vice or a gun cradle. Remember to keep the muzzle faced in a safe direction.

It is also advised to adequately cover the scope on your rifle before you begin cleaning. You don't want to risk tampering with the scope at any cost.

Step 1: Remove the Bolt

Remove the bolt from your rifle carefully and wipe off any loose residue using a clean cloth. Pour 2 or 3 drops of cleaning solvent on the patch and clean the bolt thoroughly. Wipe off the excess solvent from the bolt using a smooth towel and keep it aside.

While cleaning the bolt, pay extra attention to its face where a round rests. This is the most likely spot to have gunpowder residue.

Note: Insert the bolt guard on to your rifle as soon as you pull the bolt out.

Step 2: Look for signs of corrosion inside the barrel

If you were using military surplus rounds on your rifle, there are chances of rusting inside the barrel. Military-grade ammo contains chemicals that can corrode your gun's barrel. 

Spray Windex or similar cleaning solutions into the barrel and wait for a few minutes before spraying clean water into the barrel.

Step 3: Cleaning the bore with a dry patch

Impale a dry patch cloth onto the cleaning rod and run it up the bore a couple of times. This is done to remove any loose dirt from the barrel. Make sure that you use a new patch each time you run it.

We suggest you run the cleaning rod from the chamber to the firing end of the barrel. Else there are high chances of the cleaning rod scratching the crown.

Step 4: Clean the bore with bore cleaner

Put a couple of drops of bore cleaner on to a clean patch and screw it on to the cleaning rod. Run the cleaning rod from the back to the front until the bore is clean. You can check whether the bore is clean or not by inspecting the patch that comes out of the other end.

Make sure that you run the cleaning rod through the barrel several times to remove the accumulated lead. Once it appears to be clean, screw a clean patch on to the cleaning rod and wipe off any remaining cleaner from the bore.

Step 5: Oil the barrel 

Once you have thoroughly cleaned the barrel, put two drops of oil/lubricant on a patch and run it all the way down using the cleaning rod.

Cleaning using Wipeout Bore Foam

Using a Wipeout Bore Foam is the easiest way to clean a rifle without a brush. Wipeout is an expanding foam cleaner, and it is pretty easy to use it. 

Spray wipe out into the barrel once you remove the bolt from the rifle and insert the bolt guard. The cleaner will expand, producing a foam that will chemically degrade carbon and copper from the bore.

Let's sit for a few hours (preferably 6-8 hours). Remove the foam from the barrel using the cleaning rod and patch. Wipe the inside of the barrel with a patch until it is dry.

Once you are done with cleaning your rifle, pull the trigger and slide back into place. Ensure that the gun is dry before you store it in a safe.


As said earlier, a clean rifle is an accurate rifle. Irrespective of your rifle’s age, cost, or action type, keep your rifle clean for longer life and better efficiency.

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