Advice for Cleaning a Hunting Rifle or Shotgun

As you probably know, routine maintenance of your firearm is the best way to keep it in safe working order. Rust is one of the biggest problems many hunters face, as these firearms are exposed to harsh conditions that may lead to excessive wear and malfunctions. The problem is more likely in wet, dirty and dusty environments. Fortunately, it’s relatively simple to remove rust from your gun and keep this issue from becoming a problem. While you’re cleaning your gun to remove the surface rust, keep in mind that you should never bear down very hard or you may cause damage to the firearm’s finish. Removing surface rust is one of the easiest things you can do to maintain the integrity of your rifle or shotgun while you’re outdoors, whether you use Saiga rifles, Winchester or another brand.

To remove the surface rust from your gun you’ll need fine 000 steel wool, which is easier on the blueing, and either light oil like 3-in-1 or a normal gun oil like Hoppes. Begin by applying a bit of oil to the rust and use the steel wool to gently rub in a circular motion. If you’re at all concerned about the gun’s finish, avoid sandpaper, abrasive compounds and wire brushes.

Ensure there’s always enough oil as you work to prevent the steel wool from eating into the blueing. Don’t bear down hard, which damages the finish, but instead maintain very gentle pressure until the rust lifts. Keep old shop towels on hand to wipe away the rusty oil as you work so you can see if there’s any rust left.

If you have damaged areas of blued steel, or scratches you want to touch up, use Birchwood-Casey touch-up bluing, which is available as a paste or liquid at any sporting store. Use a cotton ball to spread a thin layer on the damaged area and wait for it to dry. Once it becomes hazy, simply wipe it off. Next, add a small amount of oil to prevent rust. Militec-1 regular oil is very effective for this purpose.

Once all of the rust has been removed from the firearm, remember these spots will be the first to rust in the future. When not in use, your firearms should be kept in a dry, cool environment to reduce the risk of rust. You can also regularly apply regular gun oil with a rag to your firearm in a uniform coat to protect areas prone to rust. Your gun only needs a very light coating.

Field Care of Firearms
Because your gun will be exposed to harsh elements while you’re in the field, take care to prevent serious malfunction and excessive wear. Water is one of the most damaging elements to a gun. Firearms immersed in water or exposed to a great deal of rain and high humidity quickly rust. If you use a pistol, use a full flap holster to protect against rain. Keep shotguns and rifles inside their case until you’re ready to use them. You can also bring along silicon-impregnated wipes to wipe down your gun before and after you head outdoors to apply a thin coat of silicon to repel water.

If your gun is fully immersed in water, make sure you drain the barrel completely before you fire. Tilt the barrel down so water drains out as serious malfunction can occur if you fire a rifle with water remaining in the barrel. If the gun is very wet, it’s a good idea to field strip and clean it as soon as possible to prevent corrosion and rust. It should air out overnight, not in a case, with the action open so any moisture can evaporate.

With dirt and mud, you’ll never be able to fully protect your firearm so don’t worry about small amounts. You do want the muzzle to be free of obstructions, so always check the bore if you drop the gun. Immediately field strip it and look for any sign of obstruction and bring a field cleaning kit with a rod, brushes and jags to quickly remove these blockages.

If you live in a dusty or dry environment, special care must be given to the type of lubrication you use. A well-oiled shotgun or rifle will attract dust, which builds up quickly and may jam the action. Choose a dry film lubricant that lubricates the action without attracting sand and dust.

Finally, consider a shoot-off muzzle cover to prevent dust, sand and debris from blowing down the muzzle and causing malfunctions. These are many types of these covers available and they also offer protection against dirt, water and mud.

This article was written by Legion USA, Inc. Legion USA, Inc. is a an importer of AK-based Saiga rifles and shotguns produced at the Russian Izhmash factory, as well as authentic Russian parts and accessories designed specifically for these firearms. If you would like to learn more about the Saiga 12 shotgun and Saiga rifles you can find us at http://legionusainc.com

Categories: Rifle,Shotgun