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10 Things You Need Before You Even Think About Cleaning Your Gun

Are you cleaning your gun the correct way? Then you already have all these items, right?


If you’re a die-hard hunter or shooter, then chances are pretty good that your rifle or main firearm is one of your most prized possessions.

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However, no matter how much you spent on your gun, and no matter how accurate or powerful it was touted to be by the company that sold it to you, it won’t stay in very good shape if you don’t expend the time and energy to keep it well maintained. In order to keep your gun clean and running in tip-top shape, there are a few tools, objects, and other miscellaneous items you will need to get the job done.

View the slideshow to learn about the 10 most essential gun-cleaning accessories.

Organization Tray

Photo via Tool King

You don’t want to lose any screws or internal components of your gun while you are cleaning it, and you certainly don’t want to spend 20 minutes crawling around on your garage floor looking for loose items.

Buy an organization tray so that you can keep track of the things you remove from your gun while you take it apart. This step is easy to forget, but will make the job of putting your gun back together that much easier.

Multi Tool

Photo via Bass Pro Shop

Some rifles will come with all the tools you need to take them apart, but usually, you will need some day-to-day toolbox essentials of your own to take your gun apart so that you can clean it properly.

Whether this means a Phillips, a flathead or an Allen wrench, you might have what you need lying around somewhere. If not, invest in a multi tool. You will be thankful you did. In addition to your multi tool, make sure you have a few everyday cleaning objects – a roll of paper towels and an old toothbrush, specifically – for different steps of cleaning and wiping down different components of your rifle.


There are many different types of gun solvent out there, and most of them will do the job just fine. Spray a liberal coating of solvent on every piece of your gun, especially ones with visible build-up of gunpowder, lubricant, dirt, or carbon.

Let the solvent sit for a few minutes, then use a brush to scrub the solvent into the nooks and crannies of your weapon and a paper towel or an old t-shirt to dry the weapon and remove any remaining build-up of filth.

Bore Brush

Photo via

When you see a person cleaning a gun in a movie, or read about it in a book, chances are the cleaning of the barrel is the image that sticks in your mind.

A bore brush is the tool you need to accomplish that particular job. Make sure to run the brush all the way through the barrel and then all the way back. By repeating this full motion several times, you should be able to break up and remove any build-up of material in your gun barrel rather than just spreading it around or getting it caked on the bristles of your brush.

Cleaning Rod and Patches

Photo via Bass Pro Shops

Once you’ve brushed your barrel, soak a few patches in solvent and run them through the barrel using a cleaning rod. The cleaning rod, patches, and solvent will help to remove any remaining debris from your barrel.

Once your patches are coming out clean, replace the solvent-soaked fabrics with a clean dry one to eradicate any moisture from inside the barrel. (Note: the patches you buy will differ depending on the caliber of your rifle.)

Gun Vise

Photo via Sportsman’s Guide

Cleaning a rifle can be a difficult and potentially damaging process if you don’t have some way to keep the gun firmly held in place while you work. A gun vise serves this role and is especially essential if you have multiple firearms or are going to be cleaning your rifle on a regular basis.


Photo via Sportsman’s Guide

Every firearm needs lubricant to continue working as a well-oiled machine, and there is no better time to lubricate your weapon than when you have the whole thing disassembled and are cleaning the pieces.

Look in your gun’s manual for specific instructions on where oil or lubricant is necessary. If you don’t have a manual or have simply misplaced it, lubricate the moving parts of the weapon – specifically the bolt and the trigger – and examine the rest of the body for signs of wear. If a part of the weapon is wearing, a nice dose of lubricant might help to extend the lifespan of the gun significantly.

Rust Protection

Photo via Sportsman’s Guide

Most gun owners know how important it is to keep their weapons cleaned, oiled, and lubricated at all times, but it’s significantly easier to forget about rust protection.

If you hunt in the winter or the rain, your rifle will be facing the dangers of rust, and there’s no easier way to ruin a weapon than to let a rust problem get out of hand. A can of rust protection, sprayed or wiped onto the metal parts of the gun prior to the lubrication step, can help add years of life to your rifle and is an easy item to add to your gun cleaning shopping list.

A Spacious and Well-Ventilated Place to Work

The chemicals involved in the gun cleaning process – from solvents to rust protection sprays and lubrication oils – can all create the kinds of fumes that you don’t exactly want to be breathing in. If possible, take your workbench outside and clean your gun in the open air. If it’s the winter or late fall and an open-air clean would be too cold, at least open up your garage door to help ventilate.


Photo via Sportsman’s Guide

Speaking of ventilation, if you do need to work in your garage or inside your home, then a small and inexpensive fan can be just what you need to send the fumes from your rifle-cleaning project away from your work cloud and out the doors or windows into the open air.

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