How often should you clean your gun

How Often Should You Clean Your Gun?

To achieve the highest performance of your weapon, proper and regular cleaning and maintenance is vital. Regular gun cleaning is essential; each time you fire your gun, propellant carbon residues are left on your muzzle and barrel. Over time, these materials will build up in your gun and cause inconsistency in use. Therefore, how often should you clean your gun?

Since most components of your gun are metallic, your gun will be susceptible to corrosion. This is through the rust caused by moisture in the humid environment or even the dirt and sweat in your body. The metal components will oxidize and wear out. To avoid this, you should clean your gun each time with a gun cleaning solvent.

Lead and copper in bullets cause fouling in your barrel. Shotshells can easily damage your gun over time. Therefore, it is essential to remove dirt and clean your gun using gun cleaning oil regularly.

How often should you clean your gun?

The Gun cleaning routine is depended on several factors. These are the items to consider when selecting your gun cleaning schedule.

Level of usage

If you use your gun daily, it is recommended that you clean it periodically. You should clean your gun immediately after heavy usage or extensive shooting session. This will increase the performance, trajectory, and boost the lifespan of your gun.

However, if you use your gun once in a while, you might not need to clean it regularly. Whether you use it frequently or not, it is advisable to disassemble your gun and clean each component thoroughly.

Type of your gun

Handguns should be cleaned daily. When you conceal your gun in your body, it will get dirt and sweat. Therefore, daily cleaning is recommended. If you are using a revolver, you should clean it based on the frequency of usages to get rid of the buildup of carbon in the cylinders.

Owing to the proximity of dust and dirt buildup, semi-automatic guns should be cleaned regularly. However, when using bolt action guns, frequent cleaning is not required. Once stored, you will clean your bolt action gun after 3 months.

Purposes of usage

Gun cleaning schedule changes with each type of use. You might be using your gun for practice, hunting, or for defense purposes.

When using your gun for recreational activities, regular thorough cleaning is not required. However, you will need to keep the surface of your clean at all times.

You ought to clean a gun used for defense and shooting range daily. Since your gun will be prone to impurities from carbon and fouling, you need to thoroughly clean your gun and apply gun cleaning oil to optimize its performance.

During hunting expedition, your gun might get in contact with mud or other debris. The build-up materials on your barrel obstruct the movement of bullets in your barrel. This can pose a great danger to you. Hence, you should clean your gun immediately!

Type of ammunition

Dirt from the copper coats in your bullets could affect the trajectory of the barrel. Lead metal in the bullets could cause fouling in your muzzle. When ammunition is exposed to dust or moisture your gun will be adversely affected.

Therefore, constant cleaning is required to avoid corrosion and wearing out of your gun. Some military ammunition contains corrosive primers. Corrosive ammunition will lead to gun rusting and the damage of vital parts of your gun.

Ammunition made of stainless steel reduces the damage in your gun and the cleaning frequency. However, you should clean your gun regularly since it is susceptible to corrosion due to rust.

You should consider cleaning your weapon with a gun cleaning solvent that can remove every corrosive element in your gun.

What happens if you don’t clean your gun?

Your gun will foul

After firing a bullet, residues are left in your gun’s chamber, barrel, and action. When you engage in heavy shooting or many rounds, there will be a lot of residue build-up. This will result in fouling as a result of and powder buildup.

These are the four types of fouling you will experience for not cleaning your gun;

Carbon: This is caused by the residue of the burning powder as it propels bullets in the chamber through the barrel.

Copper: When you fire a bullet, the residues from the bullet coat are left on the barrel.

Lead: This results from the residues from lead bullets as they leave the barrel.

Plastic: Shotshells leave plastic wads which cause fouling in the barrel.

Your gun will rust and corrode

Moisture and dirt can cause rust in your gun chamber and barrel. The rust will eat up the metal components of your gun. When firing ammunition with primers, salt residues will be left in the barrel. Almost all ammunitions are corrosive. This will cause wear and tear in your gun.

Fouling and corrosion can cause malfunctioning in your gun’s components. Your gun might fail to load or fail to fire. This will cause inconvenience when using your gun for emergency purposes. A foul bore will affect the trajectory of your bullet. This is because the bullet will travel in an inconsistent path inside the barrel thus affecting your accuracy. Your bullet will go to a different spot than you sighted for.

How long can a gun go without cleaning?

For the efficient and proper functioning of your gun, you should keep it clean for all times. However, factors such as usage and climatic conditions will determine the frequency of your gun cleaning intervals.

If you use your gun daily, you should consider performing a daily gun treatment. After heavy usage such as an extended shooting expedition, you should thoroughly clean your gun. This will allow you to get rid of debris and residues in the barrel.

When working in a humid area, you should clean your gun frequently to avoid rust.

If you are using a handgun, you should consider a thorough cleaning of your weapon after every two weeks of usage. This helps in removing the acidic sweat which may corrode the metal parts of your gun.

You could also set up a service interval. The recommended service interval is between 3000 – 5000 rounds fired. This is the time to disassemble your gun to the last piece. If you are not familiar with disassembling your gun, you should consider taking it to a qualified gunsmith or the manufacturer.

Taking your gun for cleaning by the manufacturer is important when your gun’s warranty is still in place. You are also sure to get genuine replacements of parts that have worn out such as extractors.


As a responsible gun owner, you should always keep your weapon in perfect condition. Regular inspection and cleaning are recommended. You are advised to set a schedule for thorough cleaning of your gun. This will depend on the frequency of use of your gun, the rounds of ammunition fired as well as the type of your gun.

It is important to use certified gun cleaning oil that can remove all dirt, rust, and corrosive elements from your gun. Keeping your gun’s components clean ensures proper functionality and accuracy of your gun. When a gun is clean and properly lubricated, it will be convenient to use. It will also last longer in good condition.

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