In this, the month of love, be sure to love your gun too. Some loving will go a long way to ensuring your gun is in tip-top working order at a time when you might need it most.
It takes very little effort to maintain your gun. Ideally, maintenance should be done every time after you’ve fired it. And if your gun is relegated to the safe for long periods, it needs to be cleaned every few weeks.
What you need
You’ll need a set of polymer cleaning picks, a nylon gun cleaning brush set (or a toothbrush would also do the trick) and battle rope for cleaning the bore. Better yet, simply buy a good handgun cleaning kit.
In terms of consumables, get yourself a supply of cotton patches. Or save the planet by recycling an old T-shirt to do the heavy-duty cleaning. This will be used for getting the crud out of the gun’s receiver.
Cleaners and Lubricants
Don’t overdo the chemicals. Use just enough to clean, lubricate and protect. Using lubrication too liberally may cause all sorts of problems.
There are a number of non-toxic, non-staining, odourless and non-flammable cleaners on the market. If you’re stuck for choice, chief ranger Geoffrey Coetzee is the ultimate pro and he’ll definitely point you in the right direction.
The cleaning process
Step one is disassembling your gun. Most revolvers require virtually no disassembly. For other handguns, if you’re stuck and Geoffrey isn’t on hand to help, YouTube has good video resources.
Remember, only field strip your gun – always sticking to the four golden rules of gun safety. Then start by cleaning out all the old lubricant and gunk from every part of your pistol. Pay special attention to the feed ramp, spring, areas around the safety and mag release, the outside of the slide, the magazines behind the trigger, and the areas where the upper and lower frame meet. Clean until the cotton patch comes away clean.
Apply cleaner inside the bore, followed by the bore snake. Maybe also use the brass brushes to get it extra-clean. Once the bore is clean, apply a small amount of oil to a cloth patch and run it through the barrel using either the tip of your cleaning rod or a plastic pick.
For revolvers, clean the inside of the cylinders and run the bore snake through each cylinder.
Anything metal should have lubricant. So, with a precision applicator, oil the spring and any external parts, including the outside of the barrel, the spring, and the rails. Only apply enough lubricant to ensure that your firearm cycles without impedance. Too much will only give rise to grime.
You’re all set now to reassemble your firearm and check it for function.
Gun ownership requires responsibility. And part of this responsibility is to love your gun with regular maintenance.