How to Clean a Rifle or Shotgun Faster Than Private Pyle

Anybody who knows his rifle from his gun can tell you how essential it is to keep a firearm cleaned and lubricated. So after a long day at the range (or at the top of a clock tower), here's how to keep your rifle in perfect working order.

You Should Do This If:

You want to be prepared for the proletariat revolution/zombiepocalpyse/Mel Gibson.


Moment of Satisfaction:

The smell of a clean rifle in the morning.

Biggest Pain in the Ass:

Cramming those damn cleaning wipes down the barrel of a .22 without getting them lodged in the bore.

Materials and Tools Required

  • 1 Marlin Model 60 .22-caliber Bolt-Action Rifle
  • 1 Remington Model 870 20-gauge Shotgun
  • 1 bottle of firearm solvent
  • 1 bottle of firearm powder solvent
  • 1 bottle of lubrication oil
  • 1 bottle of firearm treament
  • 1 pack of terrycloth cleaning wipes
  • 1 cleaning rod

Difficulty and Cost

Easier than shooting yourself in the foot. About $25-40 for supplies.

Doing It

Unload It

Open the bolt and make sure there is not a round in the chamber or the magazine. If there is, shame on you.


Check It

Once the gun is definitely unloaded, open the bolt and aim the breech towards a light source. Then hold the rifle by the barrel and look down the bore (back towards the breech, as if you were going to shoot yourself in the eye—which is exactly why you make sure it isn't loaded first). You're looking for clumps of powder, dirt, residue, and grime clinging against the barrel wall.


Clean It

Depending on how dirty the barrel is, you can either first scour it with a wire bristle brush tip or you can simply start with a bit of powder solvent liberally applied to a cleaning cloth. Either way, you'll attach it to the end of the cleaning rod and start jamming it down the barrel back towards the breech. Give it three or four swipes down the barrel before rechecking for contaminants.


Once you're satisfied that most of the grime has been removed, apply a bit of firearm solvent to another cleaning wipe and give that a few more passes through the barrel. Continue to clean it—replacing the wipes as needed—until the wipe comes up clean.


Oil It

At this point, you've been manhandling your rifle for a good 10-15 minutes and it is covered in your fingerprints. As any responsible gun owner can tell you, this is death for firearms. The chemical makeup of the oil in your hands causes accelerated oxidation when left in contact with metal—that is, your prints cause them to rust, quickly. To prevent this, oil the gun. Take a cleaning wipe, give it a dab of lubricating oil, and wipe down the entire metal exterior of the rifle. Be thorough.


Store It

Before you put the rifle back in its case or vault, make sure to wipe down the wood parts with a clean, cloth rag to make sure all the solvents and oils have been removed. Then, slide the rifle back into its storage sock and put it away.


Or, if you're lazy:

Buy a Taser.


Share This Story

Get our newsletter