10 Rifle Cleaning Tips: Keeping Your Gun In Top Shape

10 Rifle Cleaning Tips: Keeping Your Gun In Top Shape

If you want to dramatically extend the lifespan of your firearm, you’re going to have to keep it clean. Of course, the cleaning technique that you use is going to depend on the kind of gun that you are working with, as a handgun will be a little simpler to clean out than a full-sized rifle.

You may be wondering how to properly clean your rifle, and you’ve come to the right place, as we’ll be giving you some of our best advice for cleaning out your long guns. Keep in mind that this advice can also apply to shotguns, which aren’t rifles thanks to their smooth bores.

Man Cleaning Rifle

We'll be going over some safety tips to ensure that you won't be potentially injured while working on your gun and we'll also look at some practical advice for doing so the right way. By the end of this guide, you'll be a master at cleaning out your rifle, and you'll feel confident enough to do it whenever.

Always Double Check To Make Sure The Chamber Is Clear

The most crucial thing that you can do before you start cleaning your gun is ensuring that it is not loaded.

Even when you’ve made sure that there’s nothing in the chamber by cycling the bolt a few times, you will still want to avoid being reckless with a gun, as you should treat them like they’re always loaded. This is the most important safety tip for rifle cleaning.

Get All Of Your Tools Together

When you clean your rifle, you’ll typically want to keep the things that you need to do so together. Most of the time, you’ll want to store your gun cleaning kit somewhere like the garage, where you’ll be able to get a little dirty.

Some rifles will come with their own cleaning rod, and you may prefer to use that, and you may find it somewhere underneath the buttcap of the stock.

Use The Right Cleaning Solution

When choosing the liquid that you’ll be using to clean out your rifle, you’ll always want to make sure that you purchase the highest quality possible. Low-quality cleaning solution may rust your gun or leave a residue caked on.

There’s nothing wrong with spending a little bit more money on the right solution to clean out your rifle, as a few extra dollars may save you from some costly repairs at the gunsmith. Avoid a horror story by finding a brand that you can trust.

Clean Out Your Gun Every Time You Shoot

While this may cause some debate, there are those who argue that you should clean out your rifle after every time that you shoot it, as it will be easier to eliminate the residue. If you wait to clean your rifle, it will end up caked along the interior walls, making cleaning a tougher job.

Cleaning Rifle Barrel

Even though cleaning your gun every time may seem tedious; it is worth the effort as it makes cleaning much easier and more enjoyable.

Make Several Passes With The Rod

When it comes to how to clean your rifle, you'll usually want to avoid making a single pass and then saying the job's done. You'll have to run the cleaning rod and patch through the barrel and chamber a few times to get all of the residues.

Keep running it through your gun until you notice that there is less gunpowder residue on the cleaning patch with each pass.

Buy A Cleaning Rod Guide

One of the more useful pieces of equipment that you can use while cleaning your rifle is a guide for your cleaning rod. A guide will make it much easier for you to run the rod through the gun without any trouble.

Of course, if you already have a lot of experience cleaning out your rifle, then you probably won’t need a guide to make it a simpler process.

Avoid Cleaning Rods That Screw Together

While some military rifles will feature cleaning rods that screw together from multiple parts, you’ll typically want to avoid these because they won’t always run straight down the barrel.

If a cleaning rod hits the side of a rifle’s barrel, it can damage the rifling which will diminish the accuracy of your shooting. Try to stick with single-piece cleaning rods that will always be sure to run directly down the middle of the barrel.

Don’t Forget The Stock And Furniture

Other than the internals of your gun, you’ll also want to make sure that you clean the exterior as well. Handling the weapon will result in it getting dirty, and gunshot residue will end up caked around the receiver of the rifle, so you’ll have to clean that too.

When you decide to clean out your rifle, you’ll want to do a thorough job of it, but not just with the internals. A quick external cleaning can make all the difference.

Detail Work

Sometimes, a cleaning patch and a rod will be a little too big to clean out the dirt from all of the nooks and crannies inside your rifle, so you may want to break out the cotton swabs.

Cleaning Rifle With Cotton Swabs

Cotton swabs are integral when it comes to cleaning rifles, so we’d recommend keeping a box of them near the kit that you use to clean your gun.

Keeping Your Gun Clean

After you’ve finished cleaning your rifle, you’ll want to store it so that it doesn’t get dirty once again. We’d recommend keeping your gun in a sealed case or another area that is relatively dry and dark.

Ensuring that your gun is properly stored is one of the best ways to improve its lifespan, especially if it’s an older model with full wooden furniture.


We hope that these ten tips have helped you when it comes to rifle cleaning, as many may not be well-versed in the topic. Thank you for taking the time to read through this article.