Question of the Day: How Do You Clean Your Guns?

Wilson Combat makes some bodacious firearms cleaning and lubrication products. Can I say that without sounding like someone who needs a life implant? I suppose not. Oh well. If you’re fastidious and you know it, spill. Tell us how and how often you clean your guns; and which products you use. ‘Cause armed self-defense is a god-given right and cleanliness is next to godliness. Testify!


  1. avatar Ryan Finn says:

    I field strip and clean everything with BreakFree typically as soon as I get home from the range (sometimes screaming toddlers and a wife who has run out of patience with said progeny will impede the process for a day or two). I run a BoreSnake through my barrels and use the old reliable patches on every other part. Wipe them down to get rid of any excess lubricant and stick them back in the safe or holster on my hip.

  2. avatar I_Like_Pie says:

    ATF + Kerosene + Mineral Spirits in equal parts works better than any solvent/cleaner I have used.

    ….ATF alone for my shotguns

    …Mobil One for lubrication

    … Molybdenum top dollar Axle grease for slide rails and lockwork on break action guns.

    …Simple green to completely tear down and clean a gun.

    …CLP on everything else.

    Hundered of guns, Hundreds of thousands of rounds, and many decades and I cannot say that spending one penny more on anything else would have been worth the extra money. Many gunsmiths won’t tell you, but they all do the same.

    1. avatar TTACer says:

      I like your style.

      1. avatar I_Like_Pie says:

        It is very common.

        You wouldn’t believe the number of people who work on guns for a living who swear by Ed’s red and/or simple green. I would bet money on them working just as well as any product listed below. In most cases the ingredients are basically the same.

    2. avatar pro.0s says:

      Is the ATF transmission fluid or turbine fuel? Sorry for the noob question.

      1. avatar I_Like_Pie says:

        Automatic Transmission Fluid

        1. avatar pro.0s says:

          Will any kind type work?

          Looked around and it seems to be Ed’s Red minus acetone. Need to try this stuff.

        2. avatar pro.0s says:

          And is there a reason to use axle grease over synthetic oil in certain applications?

  3. avatar Ralph says:

    After I shoot ’em, I clean ’em. Every time. With whatever was on sale. I lube with whatever was on sale, too.

  4. avatar PT says:

    I put my M1919a4 into the dishwasher to get the cosmoline off of it when I received it. It worked really well.

    1. avatar Terry4strokes says:

      Bet that is hell on your plumbing

  5. avatar Jarvis says:

    Do what to my guns? Clean them? What does that even mean?

  6. avatar Daniel Zimmerman says:

    Depending on the gun, Hoppe’s No. 9, BreakFree, Rem Oil. Just about every time I shoot ’em. Just about.

  7. avatar Jason says:

    MPro7 to clean, and Weapon Shield for lube. The best part is, if you use those products, you don’t have to do a whole heck of a lot of cleaning.

  8. avatar Big John says:

    +1 ralph. As long one applies enough elbow grease in conjunction with whatever solvent is handy, the guns get clean.

  9. avatar BLAMMO says:

    One pass through the bore with a dry patch before leaving for the range. Two or three passes with a bore snake and CLP after every range session (preferably, at the range while still warm).

    Every 400-500 rounds, I’ll do a thorough cleaning and lube with Q-tips, microfiber cloth, and Hoppes #9, etc. I let the Hoppes copper solvent sit in the bore a few days. I’ll do that 2-3 times before I don’t see any black or green (copper oxide) on the patches.

    Light oil, and a dab of Brownell’s gun grease on the trigger bearing surfaces.

  10. avatar sevesteen says:

    Based loosly on what the pro shooters I know do, I rarely clean range guns by themself. Carry guns get the lint blown out once a week and occasionally a drop of oil. If a carry gun is a Keltec it gets cleaned after 50 rounds or so, others after a couple hundred. When I clean one, I am likely to clean any that have been shot since their last cleaning. Oh, the CZ-52 gets cleaned as soon as I am back from the range, since it gets fed corrosive ammo. From what I have been able to glean, requiring guns to be spic and span is an unnecessary remenant of corrosive ammo.

    I clean with Strike-Hold. It is sold as a CLP. It is a fantastic cleaner, with one round of bore brush and patches doing a better job than several rounds with Hoppes 9. I have not had problems with it as a lube, and other things work better as a preservative.

    1. avatar Tim says:

      Exactly right – some folks seem to over-clean their weapons… unless you are blowing through a bunch of ammo or really dirty ammo, some simple break free, wipe down, and oil is enough with a thorough cleaning every 500-700 rds should be sufficient…

  11. avatar Van says:

    I clean after every trip to the range. Hoppes #9 and Rem Oil.

    1. avatar Matt in AZ says:

      Exactly what I was gonna say.

    2. avatar DonnyP says:

      Same here, although I might try the Green and other cheaper alternatives on one of my less expensive fun guns to see how it works.

  12. avatar Bob H says:

    3,200 rounds through the PX4. After every range session – Two passes with a bore snake. 1 or 2 patches with Hoppe’s Elite, 1 dry.
    I have taken it down fully twice, once at about 2,000 rounds, once at about 3,000 to check for fouling. Very little to clean. A couple of drops of Hoppe’s lubricating oil for the barrel, slide rails and trigger group after taking it apart, and that’s all folks.

  13. avatar Wes S. says:

    Break-Free CLP for cleaning and lubrication, and occasionally Hoppe’s #9 beforehand for severe fouling.

    I’ve never needed more.

  14. avatar Gunner442 says:

    Scrub with CLP, Gun Slick foaming barrel cleaner, bore snake the barrel, scrub with old GI toothbrush, pick at some gunk with GI Q-tips. Wipe off CLP, and wipe guns down with Sentry Solution’s “Tuf Cloth” which dries and leaves a dry lube behind. Used Tuf Cloth while deployed to SWA, great product( IMHO)

  15. avatar Vigilantis says:

    Yet another vote for Hoppe’s #9 and Rem Oil. I’ve got a Model 60 that I’ve never used anything other than WD-40 and paper towels on, and it never lets me down, regardless of ammo quality (or lack thereof).

    1. avatar Van says:

      I’ve also found bamboo chopsticks handy for pushing cleaning patches into hard to reach areas, especially on my Ruger Mark III.

  16. I clean my competition 1911 after every weekend (200 rounds) and my carry 1911 every month or so. I generally field strip and clean using M-Pro 7 products or Wilson Combat products. I lube them with Wilson’s Ultima Lube Oil and Universal (in the hot months). Once a year I do a complete disassembly and cleaning on each gun.

  17. avatar Ben Eli says:

    After every range visit I do a simple wipe down. Dry patches in the barrel until one comes out clean, and use a soft cloth to wipe down the whole exterior with special attention to the muzzle, barrel, and area around the ejection port. Only lube when really needed. I break down the mag when it starts to stick and wash it in warm water with dishwasher detergent. But this is for a .22 that I only use to kill paper. I wouldn’t suggest this to anybody who does serious shooting, or who carries.

  18. avatar Rebecca says:

    We used to use CLP for cleaning and lubing the gun, every time we came home from the range. Then I watched Hickok45’s videos on gun cleaning. (Here’s one: ) Then I bought some Ballistol based on his usage (he is an expert, IMO) and tried it out. It cleans better than CLP! So I’m sold. I use patches and generic q-tips and pipe cleaners to get into tight spots. I do this every time I take the gun to the range. A clean gun is a happy gun.

  19. avatar Chaz says:

    Ballistol then Hornady One Shot Gun Cleaner & Dry Lube.

  20. avatar Matthew says:

    Rem oil after shooting, patches down the barrel until clean. I just wipe everything else down until the oiled rag quits picking up carbon. Then a dry rag to pick up the excess.

  21. avatar Sid says:

    I try not to drop it in the mud. It should be okay? If I do, I hose it off with the garden hose while I am reloading….. we are talking about SuperSoaker maintenance…. right?

  22. avatar Blake says:

    Barnes CR-10 for copper fouling, CLP for barrel cleaning lubrication and Tri-Flow for general lubrication.

    I clean my guns after every trip to the range.

    Otis gun cleaning kit.

  23. avatar Andrew Wiggins says:

    Ballistol, Gunzilla & Water

  24. avatar Joe Grine says:

    Prior to the current recessession and the Obama-induced rise in ammo prices, I used to frequently shoot long range precision rifles. These rifles can often be very sensitive to copper fouling, esp. if they are pushing bullets at speeds greater than 3000 f/s. For these rifles, I try to run a few wet patches (hopes copper solvent) after every 10-20 rounds while I am at the range. Once I get home, I use JB Bore Paste, Kroil and VFG bore pellets to get the barrel to a mirror polish.
    On other guns, I use a copper solvent and a few passes with a nylon brush, then 10-50 patches and a jag – until they come out clean. Higher quality barrels usually clean up faster. Then I run a lightly soaked patch (using a light oil such as Rem Oil or Butches) for storage. Rem oil seems to dry up after a month or so, and for that reason I will use a heavier oil on guns that don’t see much use. I live in a wet / rainy climate so dry storage of a firearm can be problematic.
    Occasionally, I will give barrels a more thorough cleaning using Sweets 7.62, which is a very aggressive copper solvent. Its nasty smelling stuff, but it works much faster than others (compared to hoppes, for example). You have to be careful not to leave it in the barrel for too long, and also you should neutralize any remaining residue when you are done using hydrogen peroxide or Butches gun oil.

  25. avatar Sean says:

    CLP overall, #9 for barrel and breechface, any gun specific oil

    Dewey rods, any patches that’ll fit snugly, and always gloves and glasses (splash)

  26. avatar Rocky says:

    Hoppes 9 to clean if really dirty. Then slip 2000. Or just slip2000. Works great

  27. avatar Dogman says:

    Shoot. Clean.

    At the range, I use a bore snake, wipe down with a cloth. At home, I field strip and use Hoppe’s #9, Shooter’s Choice, Kroil, Breakfree, Weapon’s Shield, M Pro 7, whatever–some type of cleaning product. Scrub with patches and brushes, scrape with picks, flush with Gun Scrubber (or another type of action cleaner), blow out with air compressor. Lube: autos get grease on the rails–Wilson Combat’s Ultima Lube II, TW25B, Shooter’s Choice, whatever. Revolvers and the action of autos get a thicker type of oil–Ultima-Lube Universal, Gun Butter, again–whatever, but I don’t like water-thin oils. Remove excess lube, reassemble, check function, wipe down…good to go.

    For self defense guns that may not get enough range use, a monthly field stripping with the old lube wiped out and new grease/oil applied.

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