Irrespective of the cost, make, or the age of your rifle, it needs regular maintenance. Whether you like it or not, rifle maintenance is a necessary evil. It is something that decides whether your rifle would work the way you expect it to when you need it the most.
This article will discuss the importance of properly maintaining your life and discuss five tips to maintain your rifle correctly.
Let’s get going!
Why is it essential to maintain your rifles?
This might seem a pretty trivial question to ask, but we get this a lot.
You might have seen guns from the WW2 era or guns that are more than 100 years old but still in perfect condition. Well, these are testaments to what proper maintenance can do to your guns.
There are two primary benefits of maintaining your rifles:
- Improved accuracy
Irrespective of whether you own a rifle, pistol, revolver, or an AR, every time you fire the weapon, gunpowder builds up on your firearm. The ashes of burnt gunpowder accumulate in the chamber, barrel, and every moving particle over time. With every shot you fire without proper maintenance, you are inching towards your weapon, losing its accuracy.
So, what essentially happens is that the gunpowder residue hinders the trajectory of the bullet inside the barrel by reducing the space inside the barrel needed for the shot to pass.
- Longer life
If you have used a rifle long enough, you might know that rust is the main enemy of firearms. Contrary to the popular belief, rusting is mostly seen in rifles that are stowed away after firing without proper storage.
Rust not only reduces the life of the rifle but instead, it also puts the life of the shooter in danger. There are high chances of rusted rifles backfiring and injuring the shooter. This is another reason to properly maintain your rifle.
A well-maintained rifle will remain functional and accurate for years to come while staying safe to use.
Tips to Maintain Your Rifle
Tip 1: Read Your Rifle’s Operating Manual Thoroughly
It all begins with getting acquainted with your rifle, and the best way to do this is to read your rifle's operating manual. It doesn't matter whether you are a weekend shooter or a seasoned marksman; you should read the owner’s manual for any gun you own.
Your rifle's operating manual will, for sure, contain more than how to arm and disarm the gun appropriately. Instead, it will also contain information on the best practices and a guide on maintaining your rifle.
Having read the owner's manual will come in handy when you are disassembling a rifle for maintenance. Not all rifles are disassembled the same way, and it is essential to follow the steps in the owner's manual to not break anything.
Tip 2: Clean Your Rifle Regularly
This is perhaps the most crucial part of maintaining your rifle. Contrary to popular beliefs, rifles, irrespective of whether you use them or not, need regular cleaning. It's just that the rifles you use often need more cleaning than the one you hardly use.
The moment you take your rifle out for cleaning, ensure that your rifle’s chamber is empty before you keep the rifle in a gun vice or a gun cradle. You should keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times.
- Remove the bolt carrier group assembly by following the steps in the owner’s manual.
- Look for signs of corrosion inside the barrel. If you find signs of corrosion, clean the barrel with anti-rust solvents such as WD-40. Refer to the owner's manual to know whether there are any suggestions mentioned in it.
- Clean the bore with a dry patch to remove any loose dirt from the barrel.
- Clean the bore with a bore cleaner solvent using a wet patch.
- Lubricate the barrel
Tip 3: Properly Store Your Rifles
After you have decided to get a rifle, the first thing to do is to make sure that you have a safe and reliable rifle storage area. Proper storage of rifles isn't just about safely storing the rifle. Here are some tips for properly storing your rifle.
- Clean your rifle inside out before storing and ensure that you let the gun dry to avoid any chance of rusting. You should also run a clean patch with two or three drops of lubricating oil through the barrel a couple of times before storage.
- Veteran gunsmiths suggest breaking down your rifle as much as possible before you store it. This will ensure that there are no tensions on any of the joints. It would be best if you also decock the firearm to relieve stress in the springs and other parts of the gun.
- If you have a wooden stock on your rifle, apply wax to the wood to prevent swelling or cracking.
- Take out the weapons from the storage & inspect them once or twice a month.
Tip 4: Use the Right Tools/Kit for Maintenance
It is vital to have the right tools/kits to maintain your rifle. Contrary to popular belief, it is not advised to have DIY alternatives to rifle maintenance tools/equipment.
Rifle owners tend to come up with DIY alternatives for rifle maintenance. This can mostly be seen in the case of cleaning solutions & bore cleaning solvents. Using cheap and low-quality options for rifle maintenance will only damage your rifle. Remember that you should only use products that are compatible with your rifle.
Tip 5: Take Your Rifle to a Shooting Range
Ideally, you should take your rifle to a shooting range at least once in two months to ensure that it is working the way it is supposed to. If you feel anything wrong with the rifle, don't hesitate to consult a professional gun-smith.
Know that your rifle’s life & reliability depends on how well you treat your rifle. Keeping your rifle well maintained will ensure that your gun is all set to go should you ever need to use it.
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