Keep Guns Clean for Top Shooting Performance
A firearm is an investment. The owner has purchased an expensive piece of equipment that deserves proper care to keep it in top condition.
People who are new to shooting sports will want to keep their new firearms in the best possible condition right from the start. Regular maintenance will keep the gun performing accurately and functioning well for many years. Guns must always be unloaded before being cleaned, and ammunition should be placed away from the gun cleaning area. Owners with no previous experience should acquire proper training before using their new guns. While many excellent videos and guides explaining gun cleaning are available for reference, safe handling is the responsibility of the individual using and cleaning the gun. General rules for gun safety continue to apply:
- Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
- Keep fingers away from the trigger until ready to shoot.
- Maintain awareness of the area beyond the target.
Clean Guns Frequently
When plenty of game is flushing and flying, several rounds will be fired during a single day’s hunt. However, a hunter may fire only a round or two a day. While many sportsmen and women make cleaning the gun a part of each day’s hunting ritual, a good rule of thumb is to clean the gun at least after every dozen rounds. Target shooters may wish to clean the gun more than once a day since they fire so frequently. While it may seem obsessive to clean a weapon so often, there is good reason to give it much attention.
Each time a gun is fired, the powder is deposited inside the gun barrel. Ammunition can also leave minute metal deposits behind. Over time, this build-up will cause corrosion that will affect accuracy. Moisture also collects in the barrel and inner workings of guns. Taking a gun outside in cold, moist air, then bringing it inside where temperatures are warmer, will cause moisture to condense inside it. Rain and fog are part of the outdoor experience, and both the hunter and his weapon get thoroughly damp. Rust will start to form within 24 hours of exposure to moisture, so the gun should be dried thoroughly after use, regardless of whether or not it has been fired.
Remove Oil from New Guns
New guns come from the factory with a protective coating of oil. This oil should be removed before the gun is used. Leaving a heavy coat of oil on the gun, or using a cleaning product that is too oily, will cause a build-up of grit and debris that sticks to the oil.
Invest in a Gun Cleaning Kit
It only makes sense to invest in a good cleaning kit to keep a fine firearm in top working order. Since a basic universal gun cleaning kit can be purchased for less than twenty dollars, there is little reason to make do with “good enough” cleaning materials. A kit also provides convenient storage and makes it easier to carry everything to the camp or cabin. The kit will include a rod that can be fitted with a wire brush or a square of cloth, solvent, and gun oil. If there is a choke in the barrel, it should be removed prior to cleaning the barrel. The choke is cleaned separately.
Hunting and other shooting sports are great activities, and more people are discovering them. Learning to clean guns properly goes right along with learning to shoot them accurately. With a bit of practice, folks who are new to shooting sports can become proficient in handling and caring for their firearms.