How do you clean

Diver43Diver43 Senior MemberPosts: 7,473 Senior Member
Was sitting here waiting for the word to go back to work and wondered
How do you clean your .223/5.56 rifle?
Many say they never clean their .22 cal guns, just give them a wipe down and keep shooting until/if they fail.
Well, a .223 is a centerfire .22 right? Do you clean yours, give it a wipe down or scrub every part clean? Do you treat gas guns different than bolt guns?
I no longer clean mine to the level the Army taught me, but your hands wont get funky from handling mine.
Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5

Replies

  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 16,825 Senior Member
    I clean the bore, and every once in a while I'll disassemble the BCG and drop it in my ultrasonic cleaner.

    That may change once I get my tax stamp, since running an AR suppressed supposedly throws a LOT more "stuff" into the receiver.
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 12,602 Senior Member
    Bore snake each time, brush once a year or so. Bolt carrier gets a cleaner every third or fourth trip, but even then it's just to get the high stuff knocked down.

    So far my only malfs have been with bad ammo (they went away when I changed ammo.)
    Overkill is underrated.
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 15,685 Senior Member
    Ah, time to post my gun cleaning observations again! I originally posted this on RFC, so its slanted towards rimfires...
    Clean your rimfire!
    This could be applied to ANY firearm, but there's seemingly more FUD involved when the firearm is a rimfire. I posted this on a firearms forum earlier today as the debate has reared its ugly head again:

    You should always clean your guns after every use - except when you shouldn't. Powder residue will corrode your barrel except you'll wear your barrel out cleaning it. Softer than gunmetal bronze and/or nylon brushes can't possibly wear your barrel out but never use cotton patches as they'll ruin the crown and wear the barrel prematurely. You should always coat the inside of a freshly cleaned barrel with gun oil, except that will hydro-lock your gun next time you fire it so you really should use {insert fave brand of CLP here}. Dirty barrels are far more accurate than clean ones except nothing centers like a freshly cleaned barrel. Barrel accuracy degrades, and corrosion sets in after the third round, except for the guy who has shot exactly 15,348,723 rounds since the last cleaning and his barrel looks brand new. The previous is only valid if you use {insert fave brand of ammo here}. If you use {insert hated brand of ammo here}, your barrel will tie itself into a knot, and your cat will barf on your computer keyboard. Match shooters clean their barrels every 10-15 rounds, except the champ who has never cleaned his 50 Y.O. gun. Hoppe's #9 was good enough for grandpa, its good enough for me; but its outdated and you really should use {insert fave CLP here}. You should only run patches with a loop unless you're using a jag. Never use bronze brushes, nylon ones are clearly inferior. You'll wear your gun out cleaning it, except you'll wear it out from the unburned grit and glass particles left by every shot! Don't ever let your cleaning rod touch the inside of the barrel as soft aluminum will damage a hard steel barrel, except that the aluminum oxide on the soft aluminum rod will abrade the barrel. But soft brass/bronze rods won't hurt anything except you should use stainless steel as it doesn't flex as much. Don't forget to always brush or swab from the breech to the muzzle as this is the way the bullet travels - except swabbing/brushing from the muzzle to the breech reverses the the "flow" of crud so it won't migrate from the chamber to the farthest parts of the barrel. If you shot corrosive ammo, spray Windex down the barrel but never use ammonia under these circumstances, put your gun in the dishwasher instead. A good, stiff cleaning rod is best; especially when it is a nice flexible cleaning cord. One should always use a 1 piece rod, the 3 sectioned ones travel better. Clean your gun at the range, but its OK to wait until you get home. Never use {whatever} to clean your rifle, it will cause flash rust within .0352 microseconds; its far better to use {another whatever} because it will cause buildup that will clog your barrel the very first time its used. Its best to use the {whatever military} cleaning technique except its outdated and ineffective; better to use the technique employed by {whatever police dept.} as everyone knows all cops' guns are perpetually dirty. The 15 step, all intensive, 3 hour, 18 patch method is best, just run 1 patch through the bbl and throw the gun back in the truck for next time.

    That should pretty much sum up where this thread will end up going - did I miss anything?

    As for me, I keep mine clean. YMMV!
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    Carry a 25 if it makes you feel good, but do not ever load it. If you load it, you may shoot it. If you shoot it, you may hit somebody, and if you hit somebody – and he finds out about it – he may be very angry with you. --Jeff Cooper
  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,106 Senior Member
    I have a Mini-14 and I clean it after each shooting session.
    Bronze brush & Ed Red or Hoppe's N°9 for the barrel, then cloth patches with oil. Also take apart the gas system and remove any trace of carbon fouling; light lube (Grease) for the slide rails & bolt and then a swap of a cloth with WD-40 for all the other metal parts inside and outside. Been doing this for over 10 years and so far no problems whatsoever.
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,264 Senior Member
    When I get the inclination I run a Bore Snake through the bore, disassemble and get all the crud off of the bolt and BCG, and with cotton balls clean out the chamber and other internals as best as I can.

    Every couple thousand rounds I end up taking a cleaning rod to the barrel and give it a thorough cleaning


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "It's far easier to start out learning to be precise and then speeding up, than it is having never "mastered" the weapon, and trying to be precise." - Dan C
  • JKPJKP Senior Member Posts: 1,643 Senior Member
    I pretty much completely clean every firearm I own after shooting with the exception of rim fire barrels. Not necessarily a complete strip down cleaning with the ARs but pretty close.

    Can't stand to put a dirty gun back in the safe.
  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,016 Senior Member
    it depends...

    if my life or someone else was on the line, then I'm cleaning after I'm done using it.

    But for my range toys, i will clean every so often and that may mean years.

    if I'm putting away for years, then will give it my best cleaning and lube. Then it goes back into the box.

    if i think I'm going to shoot it sometime in the future, then i may just give it a wipe down. Some of my guns havent seen a good cleaning in years. My SS guns especially and is why i love ss. But if its an auto, then i will strip and clean the lube the rails real good.

    if my guns got dusted by dirt whatever, they will get a good cleaning. Dirt can be just as bad as sandpaper.

    If my guns got wet or i shot them when it was raining under cover, i will strip them down and take off the stocks or any wood/plastic and let the air out and then clean and lube.

    If i only ran a < 500 or so rounds thu a gun, it wont get cleaned unless its going into long term storage.
    The ears never lie.

    - Don Burt
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,011 Senior Member
    zorba wrote: »
    Ah, time to post my gun cleaning observations again! I originally posted this on RFC, so its slanted towards rimfires...

    You forgot to address squeeezies.

    I run a boresnake with eezox on it through my guns after shooting. AR bolt every 500 rds or so. But competition guns get detail cleaned before a match, Including .22s
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 21,925 Senior Member
    Brake cleaner down the gas tube followed by a LOOOOOOOONNNNgggggg pipe cleaner made for the purpose, and then more brake cleaner, after about 500 rounds. BCB gets dropped in a PVC tube with end cap filled with kerosene and left overnight to soak. Disassemble and brass brush it the next morning. Barrel gets a copper removing solvent on a stainless steel brush and patches. Bolt lugs get cleaned with a mil spec wire brush that also cleans the chamber.
    Non Sibi Sed Patriage (Not for self, but country)



  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 7,473 Senior Member
    tennmike wrote: »
    Brake cleaner down the gas tube followed by a LOOOOOOOONNNNgggggg pipe cleaner made for the purpose, and then more brake cleaner, after about 500 rounds. BCB gets dropped in a PVC tube with end cap filled with kerosene and left overnight to soak. Disassemble and brass brush it the next morning. Barrel gets a copper removing solvent on a stainless steel brush and patches. Bolt lugs get cleaned with a mil spec wire brush that also cleans the chamber.

    That sounds like your getting ready for a drill sergeant inspection.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 21,925 Senior Member
    Diver43 wrote: »
    That sounds like your getting ready for a drill sergeant inspection.

    Hard to break training! :roll2:
    Non Sibi Sed Patriage (Not for self, but country)



  • TrueTone911TrueTone911 Senior Member Posts: 5,725 Senior Member
    JKP wrote: »
    I pretty much completely clean every firearm I own after shooting with the exception of rim fire barrels. Not necessarily a complete strip down cleaning with the ARs but pretty close.

    Can't stand to put a dirty gun back in the safe.

    That's me...would make my brain itch!
    I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.
    Groucho Marx
  • SIGgalSIGgal Senior Member Posts: 1,660 Senior Member
    I tear mine apart, literally. I use Qtips, cotton balls, tooth brushes and plenty of solvent and oil. I was always taught to clean my gun until there is no more powder residue, so everything is left clean enough to eat off of if you wish. I have a bore snake, but the good old rod nd patch method seems to work better for me.
    "Marriage is a hunting permit that allows you only one dear at a time"
  • Old RonOld Ron Senior Member Posts: 1,461 Senior Member
    I clean after every shooting session ...........The stack away guns get a inspection & wipe down once a year.
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 30,712 Senior Member
    I clean them all, usually the same day I went to the range and fired them. If not as soon as possible.

    Show me one users manual that says don't clean your gun.....if for no other reason if you have a malfunction on the range you can quickly eliminate it being a dirty or an un-lubed gun. And those used for SD/HD being a little meticulous and taking a few minutes to clean it is worth it to me.

    Nothing worse than a funky lookin gun, especially a SS or Nickel plated one where you can see the residue all over it, it's there on blued guns too you just can't see it as well.

    It doesn't take long and you don't have to clean it to white glove inspection standards. And when used gun shopping what do you usually look for first.........I'll bet you may pass on a dirty gun thunking the previous owner didn't take care of it very well or is trying to hide something.

    Each to their own.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 9,076 Senior Member
    Not often enough. That’s pretty much how I clean them
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 30,712 Senior Member
    I know some guns can fire hundreds, even thousands of rounds without cleaning or a malfunction in those 'Torture Test', but eventually they start getting issues and/or accelerated wear from all that gunk inside. It's nice to know just how much they can take in case you ever had to use one that much without any maintenance.

    I guess the worse case scenario would be conditions like WWI trench warfare, desert sand storms, arctic weather or jungle environments. Conditions most of us will never encounter in our lifetimes or have to fire a gun a lot in.

    Some .22 semi auto pistols can get persnickety after a couple hundred rounds being fired through them. Some ammo is worse for depositing debris than others.

    Do whatever works for you and your guns, after all you are the only one you have to please.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 6,617 Senior Member
    I run the BCG's wet with a lot of CLP, which keeps the crud broken down, fluid, and mostly easily wiped away. Use a KZ carbon scraper for the bolt tail and carrier recess. Recently scored a "Battle Steel" variant of the same idea that also gives you a patch holder designed to mop out the bolt recess in the barrel - haven't tried that one yet. Carrier key gets the occasional pipe cleaner.

    Barrel gets a chamber/lug recess brush and bore brush with a lot of CLP. Before the Battle Steel tool came, it's usually been blow the bolt recess crud down the bore with compressed air, then pull a bore snake to mop it dry.

    Upper receiver gets rags and Q-tips. Gas tube gets ignored.

    Trigger group usually gets compressed air unless it tells me it needs more. Buffer gets the occasional wipe down to remove the CLP that splatters back from the BCG.

    I keep a little Brownell's oiler bottle with a brass needle tip filled with Rem Oil on my bench. From time to time, I'll use it to give a squirt into the drain hole for the ejector spring, the one for the front takedown detent spring, on top of the buffer and front sight retaining detents, charging handle latch spring, bolt catch spring, etc... I'd rather oil than remove & replace rusty - roll pins are a PITA peeve of mine.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee

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