Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How To Clean a Bolt Action Rifle

Gun season is over. So, it is time to clean my .308. I generally only clean my rifle at the end of the season. Before the season begins I sight it in, just to make sure the scope did not get bumped. I like to hunt with it dirty. Sometimes the first shot through my rifle with a clean barrel is a little off. It simply shoots better with a dirty barrel. After I sight it in I don't touch it again until it is time to hunt. I'm afraid that I will bump something and change its point of impact. At the end of the season I give my .308 a good cleaning and don't touch it again until next season. I've had this rifle for most of my life. Since I only shoot it five or six time a year, I plan on using it for the rest of my life.

Every hunter has their own process for cleaning a gun. It becomes a ritual, almost sacred. Cleaning your rifle is easy and pleasurable. The smells and motions involved invariably brings back memories of seasons past.

This is how I clean my bolt action rifle:

You will need a cleaning kit that contains:

  • a cleaning rod
  • a wire bore brush that matches the caliber of your gun
  • a bore plunger - used to push cleaning patches down the barrel
  • a dozen or so cleaning patches
  • a bottle of nitro solvent
  • a bottle of gun oil
  • a couple paper towels
Before you begin UNLOAD YOUR GUN! A friend of mine in college was killed while cleaning his gun. He forgot to unload it.

Lay down the paper towels. This will catch any dirt and oil drops.

The first step is to remove the bolt. With most rifles this is very easy to do. Check your guns manual for instructions. With my gun you simply have to pull the trigger while pulling back on the bolt and it will fall out. Set the bolt aside.

Soak the brush in nitro solvent, screw it onto the cleaning rod, and run it up and down the barrel a few times. It will take some effort.

Wrap a cleaning patch soaked in nitro solvent around a bore plunger. Pass it through the barrel. The cleaning patch will be very dirty.

Follow this up with clean, dry patches until they come out clean.

Repeat the process with the brush, wet patch, and dry patches until everything comes out clean.

Finish by pushing a patch soaked with oil down your barrel.

Wipe down all of the metal parts on the outside of the gun with a rag soaked with oil. You just want a very thin layer of oil on it.

Look how dirty it is around the firing pin.

The last step is to clean the bolt. Take a cleaning patch soaked with nitro solvent and wipe it down. Pay extra attention to the area around the firing pin. You may need to use a wire brush to get all the grime out.

When it is clean, wipe the bolt down with a light coat of oil.

That is all I do. It usually takes less than half an hour and is time well spent. A well cleaned gun will outlast its owner.

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