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While it may not be the most glamorous part of shooting, it is most important. It can extend the service life of your firearm and a safe habit. A thorough cleaning gives you the opportunity to inspect your firearm for any apparent defects or patterns of wear that could cause a serious problem. A good cleaning after each use can do much to retain your firearm's new look and feel. What tools do you need for a good firearm cleaning?

You will need the following: A correct sized bore brush, cleaning rod, bore patches, bore cleaner, rags, gun grease, gun oil, linseed oil, very fine grit sand-paper, very fine steel wool, and protective eye wear.

Each shot causes a slight build up of fouling inside the barrel. A thorough cleaning keeps fouling to a minimum and maintains accuracy for your firearm. The other time a thorough cleaning is necessary is after a long storage period. During storage, oils can become gummy and cause the firearm not to function properly. Congealed oils in a barrel can also elevate pressure upon firing by slowing the projectile's progress down the bore. This could lead to a dangerous over pressure situation. It is a good idea to clean any firearm that you store for more than a few months.

Cleaning the stock:
Before cleaning, put on your safety glasses. If your firearm is especially greasy and dirty, wipe off as much grease and dirt with the rags. Now wipe the stock down with soap and water. Rinse off the stock with warm water and dry it with a rag. This process will eliminate most dents in the wood as water raises the wood grain.

After the stock dries lightly, sand it with a VERY fine grit sand paper. All you are trying to do is smooth any raised grain. Be careful not to remove too much wood. Follow the directions on the stain and stain the stock. Use a lint free rag dipped into the stain and rub the stain on by hand. Allow the stain to dry. Depending on the condition of the wood, you may want to just use the linseed oil. The return of the oil to the wood will darken it. After the stain dries, apply linseed oil to the wood. Put on as much oil as the wood can absorb in one afternoon. Using a lint free rag, remove all excess linseed oil. If you do not do this, the oil will dry and leave patchy, shiny areas on the stock.

You should clean a gun brought out of prolonged storage before shooting. Accumulated moisture and dirt, or solidified grease and oil, can prevent the gun from operating properly.

Cleaning the bore:
It is best to clean and inspect a new firearm. Most manufacturers treat firearms with oils to preserve their finish that you should remove before firing. All these good safety habits will add to the safe practice and enjoyment of the shooting experience.

If there is any light rust, you can use VERY fine steel wool to remove the rust. Use the steel wool lightly, as it will remove bluing. Saturate a patch in the solvent and swab out the bore. Saturate the bore brush in the solvent and run it through the bore. Repeat this process several times. Swab the bore out with a dry patch between swabbing.

Regular cleaning is important in order for your gun to operate correctly and safely. Taking proper care of it will also maintain its value and extend its life. You should clean your gun after every use. Don't forget to oil and grease the little parts if necessary. Always clean you gun according to the owner’s manual. If you do not have the owner's manual seek the advice of a professional.

Oil and grease your firearm according to the manual and remove any excess oil or grease. Admire your cleaned firearm that is ready for the next outing.