“Twelve-year-old Salisa “Lisa” Wasuwat takes less than 10 minutes to strip down a Smith & Wesson Model 686 Magnum revolver into 20 parts and put it back together again,” bangkokpost.com reports. As you’d expect, “Semi-automatic pistols, shotguns and assault rifles like the M16 also each take her less than 10 minutes. Firearms with more than 50 parts do not cause her any trouble either.” I wish Ms. Wasuwat lived in Austin; I’m terrible about cleaning my firearms. (I’m really good about having JWT and Foghorn do it for me). How often do you clean your guns?

95 Responses to Question of the Day: How Often Do You Clean Your Guns?

  1. I used to very religiously clean my guns after each session, but I found out I am probably causing more wear than actually shooting them. Plus I’m lazy. My new regimen is as follows:

    1. Shoot the gun.
    2.Shoot it some more.
    3. Keep shooting it.
    4. If it jams, clear the jam and continue to shoot it.
    5. If it jams again, it is time to clean it.

    It has worked well for me so far.

    • OH MY GAWD how do you do this without a torque wrench, brass deadblow hammers, and a sharpie to cover up where you ding the aluminum? ugh i bet you dry fire them on occasion as welL!

      s/

    • I clean religiously after i had an incident with y grandpa some years back. He was notorious for buying a gun brand new and running it till it seazes up with muck the he would store it away thinking that powder residue wont harm the gun. We went out and he brought his old gen 1 glock with him. Around 3000 rounds through it and he didnt clean the dam thing. Well i wsa next to him about to fire off my .22 then BAM! My ear rang for 3 seconds the nothing… found out that when he raked the slide the striker slipped off the tripper mech and it went off next to my head. I forgot my hear protection too. Needless to say lesson learned.

  2. Every time I shoot them they get at least a field stripping and cleaning. I generally fully break down the BCG on my AR platforms as carbon buildup on the back of the bolt can become a real problem if not monitored carefully.

    The great part about a gun, as opposed to a more complicated machine like a car, is that you don’t really need to do any maintenance so long as the gun is stored properly. My armory is kept at ~30% RH and all the guns get a nice CLP rubdown before they are racked. I would have no concerns about taking any of the guns I have stored off of the rack and running a few magazines through them. Some, I have not fired (or cleaned) in years other than to check for obvious signs of corrosion.

  3. For black powder gun and milsurps with corrosive ammo, every time I shoot them. But for things like my xds or ar15 I clean them about every 500 rounds or 3 trips to the range, whichever comes first.

  4. CLP, followed by lots of 91% alcohol to degrease before using grease. Do not get alcohol around areas that use oil only. One gun has over 26,000 rounds with little sign of wear on the frame – SIG 226, grease TW25B.
    I would like to have her around also – takes me WAY longer to clean semi-auto pistol than 10 minutes.

  5. As a mechanic and newbie to the gun game, I clean after every range trip. It is especially amazing how dirty AR’s bolts get. But even my EDC pistol, or the fun 22 plinker – everyone gets a quick strip cleaning after a 50+ round trip. For me thou, I find it more therapeutic than ‘absolutely necessary.’ After some de-stressing/learning/improving at the range, I greatly enjoy seeing the internal mechanics, softly cleaning and oiling the internals, and making them look new again. I’m sure I’ll eventually get to the ‘its just a tool’ phase, but I’m not there yet.

  6. In California guns got cleaned every ~1k rounds or so. That worked perfect in California and never had any rust or malfunctions traced back to a dirty gun. Now that we are in Idaho every gun gets cleaned and treated to resist corrosion no less than once a year or whenever I happen to touch it. Everything is handled with rubber gloves and SLIP EWL30 or similar is used on every carbon steel gun part. Everything is stored safes, silicon socks in humidity controlled rooms. Takes way more than 10 minutes to clean most of them and I’m pretty good at it.

  7. Over forty three years ago my late gunsmith taught me to use a Rig Rag embedded with RIG ( rust inhibiting grease) compound on the exterior bluing of my irons. Internally, I use CLP Breakfree, just a very light coating which I then wipe off. Works like a dream for over 4 decades. Each of us has her or his own way of maintaining our irons.

    • I’ve been using CLP since I got into this game. Lately I’ve been experimenting with some cheaper alternatives that seem to have the same properties.

      Managed to find one that seems to do just as well at $2 a can.

  8. Every gun in the safe every three months. Carry gun weekly, if I change carry gun it gets cleaned before going back in the safe. If it gets shot it gets cleaned.

    If your life depends on it clean it!

      • Cleaning a carry gun weekly is essential to safety. Sweat+lint+other random debris can form a matrix of suck. Add in holster wear that can erode the finish, and oxidation of copper from the rounds…yeah I wound do a basic breakdown weekly, especially in humid environments.

  9. Whenever I shoot. I’m a bit OCD about it too. Otherwise I’m a slob…I even cycled my Maverick88 and oiled it today with Remoil even though there was no need to…

  10. Yeah and at night, Salisa eats a bowl of rice and sleeps on a floor mat.

    I clean my daily carry fired or not every few weeks or so. No specific time schedule, but it gets field stripped and an oiled patch ran down the barrel and other routine maintenance performed. It’s my daily carry. I’m not carrying a nasty ass dirty weapon, EVER. If it’s been fired, it gets cleaned immediately.
    Other weapons in the secure gun area get cleaned and oiled every few months.

    • “Yeah and at night, Salisa eats a bowl of rice and sleeps on a floor mat”

      Your disgusting. She’s likely a fantastic person who is damn good at her trade. I’m sure the rules of nature are already making sure you don’t reproduce.

      • I didnt see his comment as an insult but as as a recognition of what may be her condition and maybe a compliment to her work ethic.

        • What do you mean “people like me”? You don’t even know what race I am. For all you know, I identify as an albino pacific islander. (Fun fact, Cossacks aren’t exactly “white”.)

        • I mean COWARDS like you who pump their chest on Internet blogs but reality live a life in great contrast to their online persona. After reading only a few posts of yours you’ve made it clear your racist against pretty much everyone lol. Just remember my handle the next time you curse any ethnic group under your voice without any sort of face to face because that’s when your at your best.

    • I don’t know about you, but I clicked the link and read the article.

      My take: Her dad makes a good living cleaning guns for cops who are too lazy to do it themselves.

      Disassembly and reassembly of firearms isn’t difficult, with a little guidance. Even without guidance most people can get it right on their second try.

      Now, if she could overhaul an automatic transmission, then I’d be impressed.

      • I’ve never to get them back together, but that first disassembly can be a doozy. I think it was 2 hours the first time I detail stripped my M11.

        “Looks like I need this pin next.”

        *Four random parts fall out of magwell*

  11. How many people have actually shot their guns to failure? How could you possibly know when to clean your gun if you don’t know how many rounds it will go til it fails? That’s like replacing your tires every 1000 miles. Actually it’s worse cause you’re busy scrubbing the rifling out of your barrel every two weeks. Here’s what recommend for everyone: go 1000 rounds without cleaning your gun and see if you notice any problems. I bet you won’t.

    • I tried that with my Mossy 500. One day, I took a peek down the bore.

      Rusty. Not bad, but it *was* there. Now all my guns get at least an oily patch down the pipe after use.

      That I live in Florida *might* have had something to do with that…

    • Becasue of TTAG, I’ve gotten to do with with quite a few guns. Some it’s thousands of rounds before any detriment, some only a few hundred. For instance, my Legion P229 has never made it past 300 consecutive rounds.

      • Dude… I don’t know how, but you must have gotten the tightest P229 off the line. It’s not exactly a rattly 1911 (for those of you not familiar with the platform, rattling is a GOOD thing in a 1911), but it’s fairly robust. I ran one in a pistol class last year and went through about 500 rounds of ball with no issues. Mind you, my carry gun is a Glock 34 these days, so that should tell you something.

        • And it only got to 300 after going to Sig and coming back. I’ve heard some people say the same as you, with the gun performing well, and others have the exact same experience I’m having.

    • To be fair, unless you’re cleaning your gun with a belt sander, you’re not going to damage it. My cleaning involves a old undershirt, a toothbrush, some CLP and a single pass with a bore snake. Most modern guns don’t need anything more elaborate.

    • Shot 2000 rounds out of my Glock 30 and 9000 out of my SKS before I cleaned them. 1 FTF with Russian steel cased crap for the SKS around 6500 rounds. Never had a problem with the G30 but I had to clean it because I started to carry it again. I generally clean my carry and home defense guns after I practice with them, but I won’t be near as religious with my other stuff.

    • I’ve shot my Beneli Super Nova to failure. About 10 years and thousands of rounds is what it took. I used to shoot skeet and trap every weekend with it for about 3 years then parked it in the safe to be shot every now and then. I never cleaned or oiled it or applied any lubrication other than pulling a bore snake through it every few times shooting.

      Derp forgot the failure. I stopped loading shells from the magazine, now it just dumps them out below the loading gate. I’ve yet to take it apart and clean it to try to fix.

  12. I have a Hi-Point C9 (it’s ugly, clunky, and it works). Hi-Point recommends blowing it out with compressed air every now and then, and actually cleaning it after about 1,000 rounds.

  13. Self cleaning ovens, self repairing AI, even my HO racecar set and trains had a car and locomotive to swab the contacts/track; and we can’t get a selfcleaning gun, or even gun cleaning ammo.

    That and flying cars; it is 2017 and “Popular Mechanics” promised me a flying car in the 21st Century.

  14. Some of us have been taught to keep our weapons clean, dry and serviceable. It’s not a habit I wish to break.

  15. After every outing a cursory swab down the barrel and on the action, more intense cleaning after a few hundred rounds. Mostly I actually like cleaning my guns, it’s therapy.

  16. As I wear a suit, I keep my EDC pretty clean. I can’t have it oily or greasy, so I keep it dry. I also like to clean any traces of lint from the device and mags. After a range session, I field strip and wipe everything down well. I clean the barrel, but don’t often brush it. I get the entire gun really wet with REM Oil, then wipe up excess, and the outside to dry. Seems to take care of any residue. Takes no more than ten minutes to strip, clean, and reassemble.

  17. Depends on what it is I’m shooting. A buddy of mine got a muzzleloader as a gift a few years back. He asked me a few weeks ago about how to clean it… apparently he had no idea you were supposed to clean them after each shooting session. The gun was toast, but I think he’s going to be a lot more religious about the care and upkeep of his firearms now.

    • That is a damn shame.
      Tell your friend to go read “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Engles Wilder. Little Laura recounts helping her father clean his rifle each night, and gives the reader a very quick and sound method on how to do it right.

        • “After the bullets were made, Pa would take his gun down from the wall and clean it. Out in the snowy woods all day, it might have gathered a little dampness, and the inside of the barrel was sure to be dirty from powder smoke. So Pa would take the ramrod from its place under the gun barrel, and fasten a piece of clean cloth on its end. He stood the butt of the gun in a pan on the hearth and poured boiling water from the tea kettle into the gun barrel. Then quickly he dropped the ramrod in and rubbed it up and down, up and down, while the hot water blackened with powder smoke spurted out through the little hole on which the cap was placed when the gun was loaded. Pa kept pouring in more water and washing the gun barrel with the cloth on the ramrod until the water ran out clear. Then the gun was clean. The water must always be boiling, so that the heated steel would dry instantly. Then Pa put a clean, greased rag on the ramrod, and while the gun barrel was still hot he greased it well on the inside. With another clean, greased cloth he rubbed it all over, outside, until every bit of it was oiled and sleek. After that he rubbed and polished the gunstock until the wood of it was bright and shining, too.
          Now he was ready to load the gun again, and Laura and Mary must help him. Standing straight and tall, holding the long gun upright on its butt, while Laura and Mary stood on either side of him, Pa said:
          “You watch me, now, and tell me if I make a mistake.””

        • Outstanding.
          After being frustrated with modern solvents and cleaning my flintlock, I tried Pa’s method. It took me all of 5 minutes to have a spotless rifle. I greased it quickly, inside and out, with buffalo grease, although Charles would have likely used bear grease. Laura later writes how much she loves the smell of bear grease, and how bear meat was the most delicious meat out there. I have a friend that uses pig fat, and his rifle smells delicious every time he shoots it.

        • I always wondered what longgun/s Chales Ingalls used. Odds are Civil Wars surplus.

          And how he didn’t end up in the Army during the Civil War.

  18. Twice a year if not fired and at least a light cleaning after a day or so of use. Save for my Mosin Nagant; which gets cleaned after each shooting due to the ammo used.

  19. Every gun after shooting, and my EDC about once a month whether it has been shot or not. (N, I don’t shoot nearly enough.) I took an Uberti 1862 Pocket Navy down from the shelf last night, and since it felt kind of grimy, I took it apart, worked on the timing (again–this has been a beautiful but problematic little gun, and put it back together. Fun times. Then again, I live in a very dry area of Northern California–until recently that is–and rust is never an issue.

  20. Wait, you have to clean guns?

    I live in a very dry climate, I don’t worry too much about oiling. Got a couple that had been stored in the back of a close at a relatives house, that probably hadn’t been touched in 10 years with no problems/

    Cleaning…maybe once a year if I fire it?

  21. Every other range trip pretty much. Except for my mosin nagant. That gets cleaned after evey use. I field strip them twice a year for a quick clean and lube job. Once a year I do a more involved cleaning and check for worn or damaged parts.

    • This is the pattern I got into.

      About every other range trip or so. Depends on how lazy or motivated I feel. Often times when I return home from shooting I have enough things going on that I don’t get around to cleaning until a few days later. Sometimes it’s longer than that. Lately I started rationalizing that if I’m only running 100-200 rounds down range at a time, the guns can probably go a little longer between cleanings.

  22. I used to clean regularly after shooting/hunting, but that was before kids and honey-do lists started eating up my time. Now, if they don’t get wet or particularly dirty, they get a boresnaking and a wipedown with some BW Barricade to hold them over until I have the time to work them over right. A surprising experience with some surficial rust on my SBE2’s barrel turned me on to the need for preventative measures for corrosion while in storage.

  23. For me, every time I go to the range. But that’s because I enjoy breaking the guns down, cleaning them, and understanding how they work. It is therapeutic, if anything.

  24. I have two levels of cleaning, a normal cleaning which is wiping off the carbon, old lubricant, and cleaning the chamber. And a deep cleaning, which involves detail stripping the gun and cleaning them with an ultrasonic cleaning.

    For normal cleaning it depends on the gun, some guns I just keep shooting until they stop running. And then I clean them. Others need to be cleaned every few hundred rounds. I just follow what works best for the gun. Now before a major match I will clean the guns I am shooting religiously.

    The deep cleaning is done every 5,000 to 10,000 rounds. Again depends on the gun.

  25. My 1911 I clean about every 400-500 rounds. My AR15 about the same. Because I use my hunting rifle only a few times a year, I’ll clean it at the end of the season and put it away till next season. My carry pistol get cleaned after each outing. My rimfires get the most use and probably the least cleaning, an occasional bore snake and brushing out of the breech and bolt face. Once a year a tear down and flush with brake cleaner, then lubrication.

  26. I have spent hours, days and did I say more hours cleaning guns. Several years ago I thought “there has got to be a better way” and began researching cleaning devices. Eventually created something, patented it. After five years of development and testing, we launched Huntego Limited in January 2017. Our product is the CleanShot – the first of its kind – shoot through bore field cleaning device. Comes in a standard hull, the device uses 9,600psi of outward pressures to power scrub the bore, trap particles and wipe the bore clean, this isn’t a joke. In 2017 we are releasing the 12gauge with 20, 28 and 410 to follow – later this year 9MM, 7MM and 40cal. We have created several videos of our shotgun product in use – check us out by searching Huntego Limited CleanShot.

    Sorry for the sales pitch… got a case of the “can’t helpits” when it comes to gun cleaning.

    • Looks neat. Clicked through but didn’t read too much. Wish you well.
      You might want to put out some test samples to unbiased reviewers and see what happens……

      • We initiated a crowdfunding campaign thru FireFunder.com as its first shooting sports crowdfunder. It been up there for about 30 days with some activity. During the final prototype stages we sent samples out to a few selected professionals – Brian “Pigman” Quaca loved them and now posts about them. About 20 publications want samples as well. Absolutely agree – send out sample and let people talk about their findings. First full production 12 gauge rounds are scheduled first part of April at the latest. Watch this space.

  27. Each winter, any gun that was fired the previous year gets a once-over. My AR gets cleaned regularly, since I don’t resize the brass when I reload and it’ll jam up if the gun gets dirty.

    It’s amazing how much abuse a gun will take. I restored a .22 bolt action that my dad left in his not-climate-controlled shop for 20 years. It was rust from stem to stern, but the bore still looks OK and it shoots fine.

  28. Usually after each range trip. Mostly because I have about a dozen handguns and I typically only take 2 or so out for a range trip. So depending on the rotation, a handgun could sit in my safe for a while. This is why I clean after shooting them.

  29. I enjoy doing it, so I clean after 1 or 2 range trips. I like to clean after each range trip, but I don’t always have the time. I field strip and clean my semi-auto pistols in about 10 mins. If I was hurrying, probably slightly faster.

  30. Depends on the gun, depends on the ammo, depends on what the role the gun serves for me.

    The times quotes for the young lady in the above article are about right. A Smith & Wesson revolver should take only about 10 minutes to detail strip, clean and re-assemble – if you have the correct tools.

  31. Cleaning after a day at the range, is like a cigarette after sex. Somehow it is relaxing….

    I could be OCD, but don’t care to find rust on my precious toys.

  32. Lhstr, there’s nothing like the smell of gun powder in the air, hmmmmm, better clean mine! Be carefuli out there!

  33. After every firing, any of the guns. And careful grease and Slip 2000 or similar.

    Carry gun gets wiped down weekly in winter months, every damned evening during most of the year. I have changed to a VersaCarry with a protector so that might be overkill I have no intention of changing. I do live in South Texas.

    Guns have two enemies, rust and politicians. I can control the rust situation.

  34. Am I the only one who cleans carry guns BEFORE range visits?

    If something goes amiss when I take it apart and put it back together, better to have the failure at the range than when I really NEED it to work.

    If it runs 200 rounds at the range after I cleaned it, it’ll probably run the next magazine just fine.

  35. OK. I hate to admit this, but here goes: When I was a kid, I loved cleaning up guns and making the barrels gleam. In the early-’70’s I got an FFL, and bought a flock of rifles and pistols, and then got a tech job that cut dramatically into shooting time. Then got hired away in 1979, and didn’t shoot them again until last year.

    From ’79 to about 1988 they were in a closet. Then I moved, and they were moved into the cellar furnace room. They mostly had been cleaned carefully in 79, and put away wiped with a Hoppe’s Silicone cloth. Some of the pistols were wrapped in them when put away. My business took up all my time – I had practically forgotten them.

    After retiring, I was busy with community service and fund raising. Last year I took them out after joining a gun club to inventory and expect them. They had remained essentially untouched in the furnace room and cellar from 1988 until 2016 – 28 years; 37 if you’re counting since ’79.

    No rust. Furnace rooms are hot and dry. Silicone does what they say it will. Some were new, some hunters, and some milsurp. Only an 8mm Spanish Mauser showed rust, but it had rust under the cosmoline when it was put away. I swabbed the rust away with Tarn-Ex and oiled it. They’re all fine.

    There – confession is good for the soul . . .

  36. Every time I shoot. I tend to be at 300+ rounds in a trip to the range or out in the backyard.
    It’s usually what I’m carrying and I go by the rule, “Never carry dirty”.
    Will it malfunction if it’s dirty and I need it in a self defense situation? Probably not but I’ll keep my cleaned and oiled/greased.
    Besides, cleaning a pistol/rifle/shotgun is as enjoyable as shooting them. Hoppes #9 is like a fine perfume to me.

  37. EDC:
    glock 19 and 43? – you are supposed to clean glocks? anyway, not often. every 1000 rounds or so.
    my smith 642 – not very often
    kel tec p3at – after every time i shoot it, once a week otherwise. i know its luck of the draw, but mine functions flawless as long as it is kept clean and lubed.
    Non-EDC
    smith model 19 – every time i shoot it. was my grandfather’s, has sentimental value.
    ruger 22/45 lite – every time i shoot it. this gun hates to be dirty.
    other people’s guns
    if a borrow a gun i clean and lube it before i give it back. most people are not as anal as i am about guns. so in return for letting me use their piece i give it back all shined up

  38. After each range session.I won’t holster a dirty gun. I wont carry a dirty gun and I wont put away a dirty gun. It would be different if I were at war and I had to carry a dirty gun for some reason.

    This is one of the reasons I always have TWO of any gun I carry. If I go to the range with gun #1…I carry #2. I only shoot ONE of the two in a given session. Of course they get swapped out at even intervals.

  39. I’ve been shooting for 50 years. I only shoot a couple of times a year – in spurts.

    After about two times shooting with a gun, I will clean it. if I haven’t cleaned a gun I’ve shot in a month, I will clean it.

    Cleaning guns is a “Zen” experience. It needs to be done slowly, thoroughly and meticulously with no time pressure.

    At this point, all my guns are cleaned, lubricated and ready (without ammo loaded).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *