Maintenance and care are necessary to keep a handgun in good reliable and safe working condition. Handguns need to be cleaned to ensure accuracy, function correctly and to maintain a long lasting finish that can span several lifetimes. Ideally, your handgun should be cleaned after every shooting session, however, that may not be feasible depending on how often you shoot and how many rounds you send down the barrel.
Most gun parts are made of steel and are blued, case hardened, nickel plated or stainless steel. All metal parts need a light protective coat of oil to prevent rust from atmospheric conditions and to eliminate oils from your hands coming in contact with the surfaces by frequent handling. It is also a good idea to have a silicon cloth or a lightly oiled rag so that finger marks can be wiped off after the gun is handled.
A gun used in the field will gather dust that can creep its way into the working parts. Unburned powder and carbon from shooting can also work their way into the action thereby reducing the functionality of the firearm.
Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when taking your handgun apart and putting it back together.
The first step is to remove the magazine from the pistol or open the handgun action or cylinder and inspect the chamber. Remove any ammunition from the chamber
To prevent wear on the rifling it is best to clean from the chamber end of the barrel whenever possible. This will help prevent wear at the muzzle end of the barrel caused by the cleaning rod. Another reason for cleaning from the chamber end toward the muzzle is to keep debris out of the frame or receiver. If you clean from the muzzle end it will push the fouling from the bore into the action and frame, making additional cleaning necessary.
Saturate a cleaning patch with a good solvent and push the patch down the bore of the barrel and out the muzzle. The first cleaning patch will contain the bulk of the loose residue and should be discarded at the muzzle end after the first pass. If the patch is pulled back through, it will redeposit residue back into the bore. Insert a new saturated patch into the bore and run back down the barrel. Allow the solvent to sit in the bore for about 3 minutes. Attach a bore brush of the correct caliber for your gun and run it up and down the bore about 10-15 strokes. Then use a dry patch to dry the bore. Change patches often until the last one comes out clean and dry.
Finish by lightly oiling a clean patch and running it up and down the bore. Make sure before you shoot your handgun the next time, to run another dry patch down the bore to remove any excess oil before firing the pistol.
The action and frame will collect debris and must be cleaned periodically as well. An old toothbrush, soft nylon bristle brush or cotton swabs can be used to get into actions and hard to reach places. Any standard carburetor cleaning spray or gun cleaner like “Gun Scrub” sprayed into the action along with scrubbing with a brush will do wonders to keep actions cleaned and functioning correctly.
When cleaning a revolver, careful attention must be given to the front of the cylinder and breach of the barrel. Powder residue builds up in these areas and should be cleaned frequently.
The outside of the gun should be wiped off with a silicon cloth to prevent rust and corrosion. Also remember to wipe off any fingerprints from handling the firearm. If a gun is stored in humid areas, it will need to be cleaned or at least wiped off every few days.
When storing handguns, it is recommended that the use of a security box or safe for fire and theft protection is the best prevention. It is also recommend the use of moisture absorbing silica gel packs or a dehumidifying rod. Silica gel packs are an effective moisture absorber that can be used over and over by reactivating them in a conventional oven for about 3 hours.
For long term storage you should coat your handguns with a good brand of gun grease or rust preventative oil. This will provide rust prevention to the firearm and it's unaffected by long term storage. Your local dealer can provide you with a product suitable for your specific application.
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