When it comes to your shotgun, keeping it cared for and clean serves two purposes. First, it will keep the gun in good condition, which means it will last longer and remain in proper working order. The second purpose is safety. With a shotgun that has been properly cleaned and cared for, you will ensure that your gun is safe for handling and reduce the risks of accidental injuries. With that said, let’s take a look at the proper ways of caring and cleaning your shotgun.
The Cleaning Kit
First things first, you will need a cleaning kit. This is an essential aspect of owning a shotgun and just as important as having the right ammunition for your gun. Let’s look at the different aspects of a cleaning kit.
• Appropriate Length Cleaning Rod
• Brass Bristle Brush
• Patch Holders
• Bore solvent
• A hard toothbrush
• Gun Oil
If you own several guns, you will want to make sure that you have one brush, rod, and patches for each of the different guns you own. Do not use the same components for each gun, as you may not get the adequate amount of cleaning that is required. It is ideal that you separate the components for the different guns and gauges into a freezer bag or other storage for safe keeping.
Remember, you want to keep safety in mind first. Therefore, make sure all items in your cleaning kit are kept in good condition and the appropriate items are used for the appropriate guns.
Cleaning Your Shotgun
You may get tired of hearing it, but safety is first and foremost. It is necessary to practice gun safety at all times, to prevent accidental injuries during cleaning or afterwards.
Keeping safety in mind, the first thing you should do before you attempt to clean your shotgun is make sure that gun is unloaded. An unloaded gun cannot accidentally fire a shell. You should also check with the manual that came with the shotgun for proper instructions on how to disassemble the gun prior to cleaning – particularly if this is a new hobby for you.
Next, check and look closely at the bore for signs of leading, rust, or blockages.
You will then want to take the bore solvent and apply it to steel wool or the brush and clean out the barrel of the gun.
Next, using the dry patch, run it down your bore. You will be looking for rust and leading.
If you do not find any rust or leading, you can then oil a patch and run it down your bore.
Using a cloth soaked with bore solvent and a brush, remove any debris or dirt from the shotgun.
After you have cleaned the gun thoroughly, use the gun oil, applying a slight coat onto the metal exterior and interior surfaces.
Reassemble your shotgun properly then put into locked storage for safe keeping until its next use.
Caring For Your Shotgun
With proper care, cleaning, and safety in mind, your shotgun will last for a long time. Here are some tips for caring for your shotgun properly.
Know the different features of your shotgun – This means knowing how to properly load, unload, and use the safety features that come with the shotgun. You want to know every aspect of your gun; no two guns are exactly alike. Before using it for the first time, make sure you thoroughly read the operating manual that comes with the gun. Knowing the ins and out of the gun will help you better use it, which will help in proper care and maintenance as well.
The Proper Ammunition – It is absolutely necessary to use the right ammunition with the right pressure, gauges, and calibers specific for your gun. We cannot stress this enough, the proper ammunition is required for proper care of your gun as well as safety. Without the right ammunition, you may have something too powerful for your particular shotgun, which could result in destroying your shotgun, or even worse injury to yourself or someone near you. While, you may not believe it, the wrong ammunition could literally destroy the whole gun. For ammunition with too much pressure for your particular shotgun, the gun could blow up right in your face, literally. For a cartridge that is too small for your gun, the whole gun might explode, when the right ammunition is loaded.
Always keep your gun clean and free from any type of obstruction. If you drop your gun in any type of substance such as snow, dirt, or mud, you will want to clean the shotgun right away. Open the gun, unload it and look down the barrels to ensure there is no blockage or obstruction.
Regular Checks – Generally, about once a year, you should have a professional check your shotgun. This will help in inspecting for broken or worn parts and making any necessary adjustments that might be needed.
This video shows how to use a boresnake to clean your shotgun barrels which will be fairly obvious to most of us but there are some general cleaning tips and suggestions on the video also that some of you may find useful.
Do not make any modifications – Modifying your shotgun could have several different results. For one, the gun may malfunction, which may cause injury to you or someone near you, or even result in complete failure of the gun. Second, any warranty that may be left on the gun will be null and void. Third, it may be illegal according to the laws to modify the gun.
Know the Laws – It is important that you know the laws in your area about storage, carrying, and other firearm ownership laws. Storing your gun should be a priority rather or not it is a requirement in your area. Your gun should be stored in a clean, locked compartment that is adequate for its size. At all times, your gun should be unloaded during the storing period, never keep a loaded gun in storage. You should also keep your ammunition and guns separate from each other, just in case someone gets a hold of either that should not have access to it.