Would You Pay Someone Else to Clean Your Guns? – Question of the Day

Courtesy Washington Fee Beacon and Stephen Gutowski

Few of us clean our guns as often as we should. If you’re a long range precision shooter, there’s a good chance you actually clean your rifle(s) after each range session. But how many of us have come back from an afternoon of shooting our carry gun, maybe the favorite K-frame and the home defense pistol and promised ourselves we’d scrub them down after dinner…only to get involved in a hockey game or a movie, leaving them to molder in the safe until the next time we head to the range?

So let’s stipulate that most of us really don’t clean our guns as often as we’d like. Particularly if you own something like a Ruger Mark I-III that’s, let’s say, a challenge to take down and put back together again. While we’ve heard of people who take their guns to a gunsmith occasionally for a detail strip and full spa treatment, northern Virginia’s High Caliber Weapons Detailing — a mobile cleaning services that comes to you — was new to us.

The Washington Free Beacon’s Steven Gutowski makes a good case for the service:

When I first heard about the concept of having somebody come to my home to clean my guns, I thought, “Well, that’s a nice idea for rich folks with more guns than time.” But when High Caliber Weapons Detailing showed up to my apartment, I realized there’s a lot more to it than that.

I’m not necessarily a man who hates cleaning his guns. I absolutely love the smell of Hoppe’s 9. My BoreSnakes and Rem Cloth keep my guns in good shape with a nice sheen between deep cleans.

Like any honest gun owner, however, I can admit that I don’t do a deep clean of all my guns as often as I would like. If I’m being completely honest, I’ve never stiped my Ruger 10/22 or my Remington 870 Express to do a deep clean. And, like most gun owners, I’ve had my guns get dirty enough to affect their function.

It ain’t cheap. There’s a $75 set-up fee to get them to come out if you have fewer than 10 guns that need scrubbing. Then it’s $40 for each handgun and $55 for long guns.

But if you have a good sized collection and no time to keep them clean and in good working order, that could be money well spent. So would you? No matter how much you may enjoy cleaning your own pistols, revolvers, rifles and scatterguns, would you pay someone else to do it for you?

comments

  1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

    Not under normal circumstances.

    If I had a firearm that was stored poorly for a while and had congealed lube, etc.. – maybe.

    In her younger days, my younger sister loved the odor or Hoppes No. 9 and she volunteered to clean my guns. Now, in the days of low-odor solvents, she doesn’t even want to clean her own, never mind mine.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I have had guns come through my shop that took over a year to get open, thanks to congealed lube used on their screws. Kroil and time was required to get them open – and even then, I bent or broke screwdriver bits attempting to get the screws out.

    2. Yes, of course. I have a Walther CCP. It has a unusual break down..(and put-back-together) The spring shot across the room at the gun store while the salesman was showing it to me.

  2. avatar Mark says:

    So some dude is in my home cleaning my guns? Um no thanks! A good cleaning of an AR takes time so he would cut corners. Nobody will do a better job than the owner.

    1. avatar Richard Revoir says:

      Ditto !!

    2. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

      We don’t know the same people apparently;-)

    3. avatar Jackass Jim says:

      Mark says: “A good cleaning of an AR takes time so he would cut corners. ”

      I just bought my first AR a year or so ago. I’ve found it to be just about the easiest of all other guns that I’ve cleaned over the years. Much easier than any revolver – even black powder percussion

      1. avatar Mark says:

        I guess it depends on how you clean it. If you are cleaning just to maintain function, it is easy. In fact, you could just keep dumping oil on it, and she’ll run fine. But if you are somewhat OCD and want to get a carbon free rifle you’ll have to have some extensive time on your side.

      2. avatar PeterC says:

        I’ve always maintained that it was the abolition of slavery that eventually led to the invention of smokeless powder.

        1. avatar Sich says:

          Exactly how? France abolished Slavery in 1794, and “Poudre B” (Smokeless Gunpowder) was invented in France by Paul Vielle in 1884.

    4. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

      The issue is that many, if not most, owners are cleaning often enough or even at all. I’d bet many don’t even know how. So I would not agree tgat owners do it best. Corners cut is superior to not getting done at all.

    5. avatar Bake says:

      Most of what I can remember from my AFR M-16 training is cleaning that thing. I remember some the class time and I have a hazy memory of being on the range and shooting a mag, but the time taken breaking it down and scrubbing it clean will never be forgotten.

  3. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    A close friend of mine is a excellent cook and superb meat chief , we shoot the SASS black powder categories.
    We have a deal that has lasted more than twenty years,I clean his two pistols,rifle and shotgun along with my guns and he cooks dinner,about the time I’m done with the guns he’s done with a meal better than most fancy restaurants.

    I guess you could say I really don’t mind cleaning guns but I do enjoy eating a fine meal.

    1. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

      That’s a mighty fine arrangement. Sounds like a great friendship even aside from the guns and steak.

  4. avatar General Ratio Tile says:

    NO! cleaning guns doesn’t take very long. Plus you don’t need to get it white glove clean every time you shoot it

    1. avatar Mark says:

      Depends on the platform. I can do a great clean on a striker fired pistol in 45 minutes. 12 gauge pump gun takes me about 90 minutes. AR15 and AK47 takes much longer and I use an ultrasonic for 100 minutes on the BCG of the AR in addition to a pre-manual clean. It ends up looking like new. I figure it takes several hours for an AR15 but I’m somewhat OCD. I even get the muzzle clean and I’ve been trying to relax a bit more. The gas key is “impossible” to get completely clean unless you spend hours and hours of snaking a pipe cleaner through it. I remember one time I wanted to get my AR15 to look like it never been fired. It probably took multiple days of several hours each day. Seemed like forever. Easily more than 10 hours of cleaning! We are talking not a spec of carbon to be found anywhere though which is really tough to do.

      1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

        Effexor and maybe a little thorazine can help;-)

      2. avatar General Ratio Tile says:

        You do that every time you shoot it?? I mean no harm in doing so, its your prerogative. My striker fired pistols? 10 minutes maybe. My AR? 15 minutes for a my piston gun, 30 for DI. Pump shotgun? 10 minutes. Boom done. Maybe twice a year I will do a deeper clean on them but that is it. Hell my 240 only took me about a half hour to clean, and it worked every time I needed it to.

        1. avatar Mark says:

          I’m guess you do a functional clean rather than a “get all the damn carbon off the gun” clean. Nothing wrong with that.

        2. avatar Nigel the expat says:

          Hmmm. I have the bigger Hornady Hot Tub and can drop in some big stuff.

          That said, unless I’m shooting a lot suppressed, or doing FA dumps BCG is just not that hard to clean manually and go a ‘clean is clean’ job of it.

          Hot Tub does get a workout on some range days though. Love it on those days.

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    NO! I’m even a little OCD about cleaning…I want ’em to work.

  6. avatar Pat H says:

    Not at $115 to start.

    1. avatar Char says:

      I figure that a very good cleaning of an AR will take about an hour. I agree, $115 is simply too much.

  7. avatar DUG says:

    Cool concept. A bit pricey. I’m good about simple field strip and clean, but due to severe mechanical ineptitude I’m afraid to go much further. So I would be interested in a “deep” clean. Of course, you would have to trust the integrity and ability of the person coming to your home.

  8. avatar Ken says:

    Field stripping a Ruger Mark I-III and reassembling it is easy if you are capable of following simple instructions. I disassemble and clean my Mark III every 100 rounds (each range visit) which is about 2 or 3 times a month. Never had a problem.

  9. avatar son of alan says:

    No, I have a hard time having someone else was my car. Nothing I love more than watching a smiling Latino trying to rub away a dirt spot that was missed in the wash.

    1. avatar Nigel the expat says:

      Giving me the shivers with that ‘dirt spot’ comment. I wanted to rush out and stop…someone.

  10. avatar Joatmon says:

    I personally find the time spent cleaning a rifle or pistol as rewarding as shooting them.
    Love Hoppes #9 and I know it’s getting cleaned right.
    Put my earbuds in, Pandora on and I’m good. It’s also my place to clean them and I have a whole bench dedicated for just cleaning.

  11. avatar BehindEnemyLines says:

    Unless you’re shooting corrosive ammo, you really don’t need to thoroughly clean your guns after every shooting session. Even guns, like ARs, that have tight clearances will run with caked on carbon. They just need lubrication.

    That said, regular cleaning is still a good habit to get into, if only to allow you to check for premature wear. But, there’s no reason it can’t just be done some time before your next range session. If I don’t do it immediately after I get home from the range, I do it some time in the next few days.

    I would never hire someone else to clean my guns. If you can’t learn to detail strip and clean a gun you own, then you probably shouldn’t own that gun at all.

  12. Do you Wash your own car or do you pay someone to Detail it for you! Who Mow your Lawn, You or the Kid down the street.

    1. avatar John in AK says:

      If you have someone else detail your car, chances are that when you get it back, it will still run and stop exactly the way it did before they started. If the kid down the block mows your lawn, about the worst that can happen is him chopping off a toe or two with your mower; Otherwise, you face little personal jeopardy.
      If you let a stranger clean your guns beyond a simple field-strip, and you have NO idea whether or not they are doing the disassembly and reassembly correctly, at the end of the process you may not have a working firearm, or may have one with its safety systems compromised. What makes you think that Smedley’s Gun Cleaning, Garage Door and Lawn Care Company knows more than you do?
      There are D*mn’ few modern firearms that are too complicated for the CAREFUL owner–the person who should care the most–to disassemble and reassemble with a minimal outlay for tools (PROPER screwdrivers, a REAL gunsmith’s mallet and punch set, for example) and suitable knowledge of the intricacies of the InterWebs, where full video instructions are found for just about every firearm ever made, and almost certainly for anything in current production.
      If you are too inept to disassemble and reassemble a Glock, a Remington 700 or 870, or most other common firearms (especially those that have a military background), you might consider taking up a different form of weapon, such as a sharp stick or a big rock.
      Then, go out and buy yourself a powder-blue Prius, and turn in your Man Card. Nancy Pelosi wants to hear from you.
      And your DVD player is probably flashing “12:00” incessantly, too.

      1. Unfortunately the last Adult Workshop I attended, I noticed people are getting Lazier and lazier with every passing day. I don’t know why they even bother attending one, when they rather be somewhere else. Why get a Dog if somebody other then yourself is going to take care of it. Or have a Child if a Nanny is going to raise it for you.

      2. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

        The same arguments could be made about anyone vooking your food, performing more involved maintenance on your car, your house, or your body. Nobody is talking about a “stranger” as in a random person off the street.

        Like anything else, unlese you have deep personal experience with someone’s expertise, then you have to go by their credentials and their reputation, either by their brand, trusted friend’s referral, their positive word of mouth via yelp, google, etc.

        Looking at this particular company’s website, they don’t strike me as being very polished, professional, or experienced. Factor in their disclaimer to the effect that they are not gunsmiths, do not perform any gunsmithing work, and provide only cleaning services (without describing or defining the parameters of said cleaning), and you’re probably wise to pass on their service. However, the basic business idea, properly executed, holds potential and is a service worth considering.

  13. avatar Michael in AK says:

    Nope….I like all aspects of firearms including cleaning them. Also it’s a good time to check for wear or damage.

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      Agreed. It’s a zen time for me.

  14. avatar John in TX (Was CT) says:

    I wouldn’t pay someone to do an ordinary cleaning job, and I certainly wouldn’t allow someone into my home to do it.

    But as far as the occasional teardown of higher round count guns (tearing down the fire control group, cleaning firing pin pocket, checking safety elements for wear), I would happily bring a firearm to a gunsmith and pay him for his experience.

  15. avatar Hodie Snitch says:

    Man I’m sick of all this fear of the Ruger Mark I-III series. Once you learn how to do it it’s a snap. I’ve picked up some real nice used Rugers since the Mark IV came out because people are pitching great pistols because they’re afraid or lazy to learn. Geez what a bunch of chicken shits. Well, I guess their loss is my gain. I remember someone brought in a beautiful Mark III target into the LGS to sell. The guy couldn’t get it back together and was embarrassed. I asked if I could look at it, pieced it back together and ended up buying it. He called his brother on the phone and was singing my praises. I guess between the two of them they couldn’t get it together.

  16. avatar S.Crock says:

    This sounds like a good idea if you are paying your responsible child neighbor $10 to clean a not very important range toy. But a $75 start up cost and $40 per gun make this a firm no!

  17. avatar Marty says:

    I clean my weapons myself. I learned the best method from the Master Gunsmiths at the American Gunsmithing Institute. First I strip them completely down. Thisway I can inspect all the parts for wear/damage. Then I use full strength Simple Green, spraying the parts which have been placed on paper towels on my wife’s cookie sheet (it’s mine now, as she told me to keep it and went out and bought another). You’d be surprised how well Simple green works. Using a tooth brush, I brush away all the dirt/grit on each part. Then I place all the parts in clean water to remove the Simple Green, dirt etc. Then I use more paper towels and wipe the parts dry. According to AGI, you could put the parts into the oven on low to fully dry. My wife wasn’t too fond of this plan, so I use an air gun from my compressor. Once all the parts are dry, I squirt them with Break Free, wipe off all excess and put them all back together. I now have a perfectly clean and lubricated firearm. Yup, takes more time, but the firearm is worth it.

    1. avatar Arc says:

      +1 for simple green, that stuff its like the WD40 of cleaning. Use it on toilets, tile, baseboards, carburetors, etc, it just works.

      1. avatar Sich says:

        The Best Cleaner for removing Lead Deposits is Liquid Mercury! A 15 Minute bath in liquid mercury will leave you Gun Barrel “Squeaky Clean”.

      2. avatar neiowa says:

        That is not much of an endorsement as WD40 is just widely used/marketed mass market crap.

        1. WD-40 is Rocket Science! WD-40 was invented in 1953 by the Rocket Chemical Company for Rocket Scientists ONLY. It didn’t become a Consumer Product until 1961. First and foremost WD-40 is a “Solvent” not a “Cleaner”. I won’t let it or leave it anywhere near a Firearm or Firearm Ammunition.

        2. avatar Wood says:

          It’s good at its intended job, but is NOT a lube. Besides, NOTHING smells better. Fond childhood memories involving my dearly departed dad.

          The two best smells in the world are WD40 and 2-cycle outboard exhaust!

        3. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          WD-40 was developed to displace water-base coolant/cutting lube on CNC machines. WD-40 has a greater affinity for metals than the water-based synthetic cutting oils, so you spray on WD-40, it gets under the cutting lube, and Bob’s your uncle.

          WD-40 is good for preventing corrosion (from humidity) on guns. It’s a poor lube, (penetrating or otherwise) and it’s not designed to be a lube. It’s marketed as a lube. I will wipe down bores with a patch soaked in WD-40 when I’m done cleaning to make sure the bore won’t corrode, because I will have stripped all the oil out of the bore during cleaning.

      3. avatar John in AK says:

        Except it isn’t. The ‘WD-40’ of cleaning, that is. Just like WD-40 isn’t the ‘WD-40’ of lubricating.
        Simple Green is corrosive to aluminum. If diluted properly, AND not allowed to sit for any longer than 10 minutes, AND if the metal is cool, AND so is the solution, there probably won’t be any etching. The same goes for anodized surfaces–too concentrated, or too warm, or too long, and say goodbye to your anodizing. And to certain other coatings, such as the ‘paint’ that Remington uses on its cast-aluminum alloy parts such as trigger guards.
        WD-40 is a wonderful stuff. . . for fishing reels, or rusty things such as old tools, or a squeaky bicycle in an emergency. It’s ROTTEN for guns except for use as a solvent when the gun is fully disassembled and the stuff can be wiped off.
        For one, it’s too light to do much lubricating. For another, it runs into places that you don’t want it, carrying anything that it dissolved (old oil, dried grease, cookie crumbs) right along with it to puddle up in the hidden recesses of your gun. For another, when it dries, it’s a waxy substance that collects dirt and pocket lint, eventually waxing up the important bits that are supposed to move freely and making them sticky–which means that it’s time for some MORE WD-40 to flush THAT wax away, adding to the buildup elsewhere lower down and deeper in. Eventually, the result is a malfunctioning gun.
        Simple Green IS good for cleaning concrete floors, and WD-40 IS good for softening hands and as a personal lube, if you’re into that sort of thing.
        Neither product is a good idea on a fine firearm.
        Also, Crisco Oil makes a fine gun lube, I’m told. Smells like fried chicken.

        1. avatar Marty says:

          Yea, I failed to mentioned the water was very important in the process. All of the Simple Green must be completely washed off. It does cause most metals to get eaten. However, by rinsing in clean water, this is not a problem. I have used this process for several years now, with zero problem. I haven’t found anything that works better. And I have beencleaning guns for more than 50 years.

        2. avatar Sich says:

          My Grandfather on my mothers side was a Forced Conscript in the German Army in WWII. And fought and Survived “Stalingrad”. German issued lubrication was “Ballistol”, a White Mineral Oil Water-based Lubricant which Froze Solid at -32F. Which they discarded at first opportunity and used captured Soviet lubrication instead. Soviet Army used Oil RZh (i.e. Russian Standard TY38.1011315-90), which froze at ~ -70F. Closest US Equivalent is AeroShell 18 Lubricant, which freezes at ~ -58F.

        3. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Ballistol is a general purpose lube/leather conditioner/tack cleaner/”stuff” used by German army since before WWI as a gun cleaner/lube, leather tack cleaner/water repellant, toothbrushing stuff.

          The one advantage of Ballistol is that it isn’t toxic.

          I generally don’t use it for lubing guns.

    2. avatar Gun Free School Zones are a crime against humanity says:

      I’ve cleaned the cosmo out of Mosin Nagants with simple green and hot water. It works and is not nearly as risky as a lot of solvents.

      As lazy as I am I clean my own guns.

      1. “Cosmoline” is a Petroleum-based Wax use in WWII for the Long-Term Store of Firearms, not a Gun Cleaned. Cosmo will ignite into flames at ~365F.

    3. avatar rt66paul says:

      Do you use her toothbrush or your own?

      1. avatar Marty says:

        Funny. But the truth is she has never complained about the time I spend shooting or in my shop. Yesterday, my daughter and I spent the day shooting. She has never shot a 44 mag, so I brought my 7 1/2 Ruger super Red Hawk, my Winchester 94 Trapper and her favorite, my Springfield 1911 all alloy 45. For the two 44’s, we shot only magnums, no lite stuff. We shot 150 rounds, my daughter half of it. Zero complaints, although she much preferred the 45. Got home and I spent the next 2+ hours cleaning the firearms. Not a word from my wife! She currently carries an old Model 60, and now is interested in either the new Sig 365 or the M&P Shield in 9mm, like I carry. Point being, eat your hearts out. She has never complained about my many gun purchases, she loves to shoot (when she is not cleaning the house) (her choice, not mine), and rarely complains. Yup, she is a gem. So when it comes to her kitchen, she is da boss and I go along with whatever she wants.

  18. avatar RayS says:

    I’d rather do myself – almost theraputic. Besides, after cleaning my bedside and EDC, I always put a couple shots thru it. ( I once got some oil in the firing pin assy on a glock, and the first 2 “shots” were lite primer strikes – only IDPA, but…) Cleaning them is part of the ownership.

  19. avatar oldandshaky says:

    I compromise. There may not be any do-it-at-home-for-you service nearby, but the closest gun range has an ultrasonic cleaner that I have had the range guys use a few times because I myself do no more than field stripping when I clean. I don’t like the idea of letting multiple guns live dirty at the same time, so I wouldn’t want to pay the prices of the service mentioned for just one gun. Of course if I had lots and lots, maybe I’d have a service clean half of them at once, but that’s just fantasy. Then I’d have a safe just for the dirty ones, ha ha.

  20. avatar ironicatbest says:

    Would you pay someone to clean your gun?. Depends on what she looks like.

  21. avatar No one of consequence says:

    My wife usually gives me a choice when we get back from the range: We can clean our guns together, or you can clean them and I will go make cookies / brownies / pie.

    Hm… Decisions decisions…

    1. avatar Gralnok says:

      Go with the cookies. Cookies are easily worth cleaning your wife’s guns. 🍪

  22. avatar neiowa says:

    I don’t know how much cleaning is appropriate or what the standard of frequency or detail might be for modern noncorrosive ammo/gun. What I do know on the subject of cleaning the M16 (family) is that the US Army has worn out an exponentially higher number of M16 in the last 60years from over cleaning than were ever worn out from firing. I’d suspect the Jarheads have done the same.

    1. avatar Gralnok says:

      What are they using, hydrochloric acid? Nothing should eat into the gun itself. Even my Jennings J-22 and Davis Derringer aren’t damaged by my cleaning products.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The over-use of wire brushes causes real wear on guns, esp. those made of aluminum (like the M-16/AR-15). Pushing pins out/in/etc causes wear to the holes into which the pins are supposed to fit snugly.

        There are guns where I’d say that the cleaning does some real wear – Beretta 92’s, for example. When you punch the roll pins out of their holes on a Beretta 9x with the aluminum slide/frame, you’re causing real wear on that hole.

        1. avatar Gralnok says:

          I think that says something about the barrels and the overall quality, when steel brushes will wear out a gun barrel.

        2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Here’s something that people don’t understand about barrels vs. brushes.

          Firearms barrels are not usually “hard” steel. Most of them are Rockwell C hardnesses of, oh, 26 to 30 or so. There are a couple of barrel manufactures who make barrels with harder steel, but they’re the exception in the market.

          So when you’re stuffing a brush down the bore, if you want the brush to have some “spring” to it, you’ll need some harder material. Most metals don’t have a “spring” factor to them until/unless you harden them up a bit.

          Well, now you’re running a hard(er) material down the bore that the bore itself might be… and that’s going to contribute to wear if you abuse the barrel with the brush.

          Further, some of the crap you will pick up on a patch or a brush will be abrasive to the bore – and you shouldn’t try dragging that back through the bore.

  23. avatar Gralnok says:

    Not all the time, but occasionally I would. Same thing with my dog. I can clean her when she gets smelly, but sometimes she needs a proper grooming. Sometimes my guns need proper cleaning, not just disassembly and wiping down with hoppe’s then Frog Lube.

  24. avatar Anner says:

    After you paid them to clean the same gun 5-10 times, you could have just thrown the gun away and bought a new one.

    For less than that, you can get an ultrasonic cleaner that does most everything up to the size of a complete upper.

  25. avatar GunGal says:

    Cleaning handguns is entering the Zen Zone for me.
    Have some vintage and custom made leather holster that also get cleaned and preserved with saddle soap.

    Have mostly metal handguns, mostly Rugers. Most were purchased years ago before the fantastic plastic handguns were introduced.

    Why hire someone to clean weapons when you can do it yourself? Don’t really need someone I don’t know, by blood or marriage to know what I own.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Saddle soap isn’t the best stuff to be using on your holsters, especially on the inside (ie, where the gun goes). Saddle soap is often rather alkaline, with pH’s as high as 10. This will, over time, make the holster corrosive to steel guns if you leave the gun in the holster for any amount of time.

      I would also recommend against mink oil or similar products that soften leather. Leather holsters are usually molded wet over an exemplar gun (usually made from plastic) and allowed to dry to shape. Too much oil-like products (like mink oil) causes the leather to soften and lose shape.

      1. avatar Wood says:

        I’m fond of a beeswax-based boot snowproofing. I heat it and apply with a toothbrush, then rub it into the leather by hand, buffing off any excess with a lint free rag (ie, old flannel sheets cut into cleaning patches and gun cleaning rags). A single treatment lasts quite a while, needing only an occasional boot-brushing to restore finish/appearance. Definitely darkens the leather.

  26. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    OK, I’m on the other side of this issue from most gun owners. I don’t clean some of my guns as much as they should be – because in the time it takes me to clean my gun(s), I could be charging someone else $55 to clean theirs. There are many times when I could be shooting one of my guns and I say “Oh, FFS, if I shoot this one, I have to clean it… let’s shoot something else that already needs cleaning.” Yes, that’s actually running through my mind when I go out to the range…

    Now, with that said, several points:

    – This hysteria about Ruger Mk I’s to III’s being difficult to dis/re-assemble has to stop. Stop it. Just stop it. They’re not difficult to disassemble or re-assemble, especially if you read the instruction manuals.

    – blowback .22’s need more cleaning in the lockwork/action area than most all other firearms, because there will be bullet lube and unburned powder that gets in there on these blowback .22’s. If you can remove all plastic furniture from these guns, just get some brake or carb cleaner with the little stiff red tube on the spray nozzle, put on some rubber gloves, and hose the guts of your .22 out. Then put in some lubricating oil where necessary. Poof, you’re done for most .22’s. BTW, this isn’t as much of an issue if you choose your .22 ammo wisely. There are some .22 ammo’s that leave blowback guns simply filthy. The worst offenders are any ammo that uses some sort of greasy wax for bullet lube. Do you think I detail strip my S&W Model 41 all the time to clean powder residue out of the lockwork? Hell no. I remove the grips, put on some gloves and it’s down the lockwork with some carb cleaner, then I re-lube it.

    – don’t go wild with the bore brush on most .22’s, especially match-grade rifle barrels. It’s just not necessary. I have seen instances where more damage was done to the bore of a match-grade .22 rifle with a bore brush and segmented rod than was ever going to be done by not cleaning it. A .22 match rifle barrel could last as much as 50K rounds before wearing out. Every time you put a brush down the bore of these rifles, you’re doing as much or more damage than 500 to 1000 rounds of .22 ammo.

    – never put a bore brush into the bore by pulling the brush back after you’ve pushed it out of the muzzle. Don’t put a brush (or snake) into a bore from the muzzle. Push brushes (or snakes) from breech to muzzle. Don’t pull a patch or brush back into the bore once it has exited the muzzle.

    – If you’re going to use a rod on a rifle, USE ONE PIECE CLEANING RODS. Yes, I’m shouting. Dewey makes a line of good rods, as do several other outfits. I prefer stainless steel, uncoated rods. Wipe down the rod before storing it, and store it in the plastic tube it came in. Do not EVER use one of those mil-surp or mil-style jointed cleaning rods unless you’re in the military, Uncle Sammy is buying your gun new barrels, etc. There is no reason for a private sector gun owner to use one of those jointed mil-spec cleaning rod kits. Ever. I’ll quote Nancy Reagan here: “Just say ‘no!’ ”

    – On rifles, use a bore guide.

    – While I’m sounding off on the subject of cleaning rods, they do make one-piece shotgun cleaning rods. They take a different fitting on the end of the rod, and they’re pretty thick in diameter compared to the common .22 cal rifle rod. Shotgun rods are good if you’re really shooting your shotgun a lot. On a shotgun, I use a stainless steel wire brush for stripping the plastic & powder fouling.

    – If you’re doing a detail strip on a gun, then get the correct screwdrivers, punches, etc to do the job.

    – don’t put guns with color cased finishes into a hot ultrasonic cleaning bath.

    – I wouldn’t be detail stripping most guns just for just an afternoon of shooting. If it’s a Glock (either genuine or a Glock imitation – ie, cheez-whiz and flat black finish), eh, so what? What’s the worst you could do if you detail strip it all the time? For fine firearms, try to minimize the number of times you detail strip them. Every time you take apart a gun, it’s an opportunity to lose parts. On a fine gun, this is a no-no, because a lost part means it is no longer ‘original.’

    – Yes, I like the smell of Hoppe’s #9. But here’s the thing, boys and girls – what’s in that witch’s brew isn’t good for you. Look around for less toxic substances for cleaning. I like MPro 7 for removing powder & plastic fouling. For lead fouling, you could be using PB, Kroil, Hoppes, etc. For copper fouling, look at Butch’s, Sweets, etc – AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. For shotgun barrels, get the gel-like MPro-7.

    – Cleaning lead fouling out of revolvers goes much, much more quickly if you use a Lewis Lead Remover. Likewise, Lewis now has a system that makes stripping the plastic fouling out of shotguns go just as fast. If you’re shooting cast lead reloads out of a revolver, you really owe it to yourself to get a Lewis Lead Remover. Brownells has them, as well as other sources.

    – Always remove furniture from guns before using solvents or potions on the action, bolt/barrel/etc in place.

    – Re-lube guns as you’re putting them back together with quality lube. If you have nothing else, ATF works well in most applications.

    – WD40 makes an acceptable wipe-down on guns to prevent rust and corrosion, but it won’t last for months.

    I could go on a bit on this subject, but those are the high points off the top of my head.

    1. avatar JeffR says:

      The problem with match grade .22 barrels is you do have to scrub out the leade fairly frequently or you get first shot flyers all over the place. I try to do it with patches as best that I can but you are going to need a brush from time to time. And it can take a bit of work with the brush to get the leade clean. Heck, I think Lilja even recommends brushing the leade every 200-300 rounds.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        I’ve been down my bores with a bore scope, checking on this. The #1 factor I’ve noticed is that, if you use match (ie, sub-sonic) ammo, you have less leade leading (and less bore erosion). I shoot only Ely-primed match ammo through my Anschuetz, and it rarely needs anything more than a patch.

    2. avatar Mark says:

      Great tips! Doesn’t stainless steel damage a barrel though?

      1. Most Gun Barrels are either made of 4140 or 4150 Ordnance Steel or Chromoly (i.e. Chromium-molybdenum) Steel. Stainless can take the Shock of the Bullet Firing but not the constant wear of the firing. 1180 grade steel is the closest your going to get to a Pure Stainless Steel Gun Barrel.

      2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        In a shotgun bore, no. Push the brush only from breech to muzzle, and don’t see-saw it in the bore. When using a stainless brush, you don’t need many passes if you softened up the plastic fouling with some MPro-7.

        If I led people to believe that I use a stainless brush in a rifle or handgun bore, I didn’t mean to. The stainless brushes are ONLY for shotgun tubes.

        Oh, and one more thing about cleaning shotguns: If your shotgun has a removable choke, do NOT remove the choke to clean the barrel. Have a choke in the threads at all times while cleaning. When you’re done, pull the choke, clean off the threads, apply some new thread anti-seize to the threads and put the desired choke back into the barrel. Likewise, never store a shotgun without a choke in the barrel.

    3. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “– don’t put guns with color cased finishes into a hot ultrasonic cleaning bath.”

      Or with a Parkerized finish.

      I had a Ruger Mark II Parkerized by a local smith. Later, after a range day, I threw it into the potent ultrasonic bath we used at work for labware cleaning. Potent enough, after about a half-hour of runtime the water temp was over 100F, just by the ultrasonic action.

      It stripped off about 80 percent of the Parkerizing, in a ‘blotchy’ pattern.

      I *suspect*, but do know, that the cause was poor surface prep by the smith before he dropped it into the Parkerizing tank.

      Only my personal experience, but the potential for damage is there, it seems to me…

      1. avatar Sich says:

        A good Cleaner I was taught as a Welder and later used in the US Army was 200-grams of Amonium Carbinate, 5-grams of Dichromate mixed with ~1-quart of water. Unfortunately it has a Very Short Shelf Life (i.e. Use It or Lose It Cleanser).

      2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Parkerizing needs a less polished surface to give the magnesium phosphate something to ‘grab on to’ when you’re parking a gun.

        I’ve seen guns that were polished quite nicely (as if for blueing) that, when park’ed, had a very fragile, easily wiped-off finish.

        My tendency when parkerizing is to polish to no finer than about 200 to 240 grit. Sure, get all the scratches uniform and such, but don’t polish it out to 400 to 600…

        Also, some people don’t allow the parkerizing bath to run to full completion. When I’m doing a barrel/receiver combo for park’ing, I follow the rule of thumb of “if it is bubbling, it ain’t done yet” – even if it looks as tho it is completed.

  27. avatar L.W says:

    I was taught in basic training that the first thing after range time was to clean my weapon. 49 years later it is still the first thing I do.

  28. avatar Ralph says:

    Would I pay someone else to clean my guns? No, I ike cleaning my guns. But I would pay someone else to clean my apartment.

  29. avatar Brandon says:

    cleaning my ppq takes like 5 minutes… strip it, spray with mpro, quick hit with brush, bore snake, blast with brake cleaner, spot oil… all done! If I had something like a browning BAR which is difficult to tear down I would consider it, but not for handguns or easy takedown rifles.

  30. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    YES
    On a good week I may shoot 4 or 5 guns and over 1000 rounds.
    I used to like cleaning my guns after every range session. It got stale after a few years. I found other then my carry guns. Most if not all guns really don’t need a full tear down and cleaning as I had been doing after 4-500 rounds. Im sure most can go over a 1K + rounds with just a good wipe down and a little bit or dab of synthetic grease here and there..

  31. avatar Pelvicpunch says:

    I only really clean my pistol anyway, my AR’s have several thousand rounds through them with no cleaning. Hurrah for nickel boron and lots of lube!

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      And if you reload with some of the new powders (eg, CFE-223), you don’t have as much powder or copper fouling in AR’s either.

  32. avatar Guest says:

    As someone who works in a gun store, when someone says their gun is clean, it isn’t.

  33. avatar Rob says:

    Fuck No.

  34. avatar Dm says:

    Hard pass

  35. avatar Wood says:

    Sorta seems like a crafty way to register firearms by the ATF, and a nice money maker on the side.

  36. avatar Paul Mcmichael says:

    Pay someone to clean my firearms? Even if I could afford that I would pay someone to clean my house first. I bet my life on my firearms. I’m the only person I trust to maintain them.

  37. avatar cisco kid says:

    Clean guns ha, ha what a joke. In my home state the average gun owner is an indolent, lazy, oaf who only cleans is guns when they become totally inoperative. They also have total paranoia when the dreaded word “grease” is even uttered in a whisper. Very few of these Morons realize that a gun is exactly like a car, if you do not grease it the moving parts wear out but the average ignoramus will claim all guns were made to be indestructible and they never wear out and never need cleaned or lubed. You can use them as substitute hammers in a pinch as well. Rust is not a problem as it is just totally ignored and pitting gives the gun character or so these Neanderthals claim.

    Few gun owners are even intelligent enough to know where the pressure points are in a firearm and that they need the best lubricants possible including a good grade of grease as well as an oil that was invented for firearms by the firearms industry not some cheap ass can of 3 in one oil or some grease one gets on sale at Walmart the nirvana store of the Hill Jack.

    Corrosive ammo is another holy grail of the Hill Jack as he would rather save a penny on ammo and then destroy a historical mint condition military rifle often worth hundreds of dollars. And of course the next step is sportsitizing it which costs him several hundred dollars and turns a rifle that was worth hundreds into one that is often worth not much more than a hundred bucks. Only the twisted mind of the hill jack would fathom any sense to this but he does it because he gets the greatest satisfaction of destroying everything he buys as it gives him the excuse to go out and buy something else new and then have even more pleasure destroying that as well.

    In conclusion the hill jack would never pay some one to clean his guns as that would cost him money and since he does not give a shit about the condition of his firearms why would the thought ever cross his mind to clean them anyway.

  38. avatar Roy Johnson says:

    There is a gun range that has opened up here that you can pay them to clean and store your guns so they will be neat and clean and tidy for your next trip to the range! Hipster-heaven it is too. Only thing they have going on is 100 yard indoor range. We are taking bets on how long it will be around since prices are stupid to shoot there.

    but to answer the original question, no I clean my own after every range trip and use. Period.

  39. avatar The Rookie says:

    I actually enjoy cleaning my guns. It’s a great way to learn about your weapon and how it works, IMHO.

    1. avatar Xsquid says:

      This!

  40. avatar David Thompson says:

    I don’t even pay someone to do most of the mechanical work on my cars.

  41. avatar Texheim says:

    After a gunsmith “misplaced” my WInchester 1400 for 5 years (got a letter last week) probably not.

  42. avatar Xsquid says:

    I like cleaning them. I clean them every time shot and sometimes when not. When growing up my father had rifles for game, we ate a lot we killed. He cleaned them every few timmeshe shot them.

    When I was in tbe service we had to constantly clean the m-16’s so they wouldn’t jam. Maybe thats where I picked up cleaning constantly, that and enjoying it.

  43. avatar John Galt says:

    I’ve paid my kids to clean my guns but generally, the answer is no.

  44. avatar Hooda Thunkett says:

    Would you let someone else fold your parachute?

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