Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cleaning, My Way

I've been using the Otis Tactical cleaning kit exclusively to clean everything from rimfire benchrest rifles through .45ACP pistols. I'm pretty confident that the "rods" will not harm the barrel, which I cannot say of rigid push-through rods. The only downside that I can think of is that the rods will probably not be able to push the bullet of a squib load from a barrel. Would be nice if it came with an AR-15 chamber/lug brush (it IS a tactical cleaning kit) and a small brush for cleaning breechfaces and other tight areas. There is a little extra room for cotton swabs (in lieu of the brush) in the pouch, which is about the size of thermos cup.
Updated 1/2/09

The little tube of solvent is a CLP (Cleaner, lubricant, protectant) type deal. Doesn't work horribly well for cleaning bores, but will get the job done in a pinch. At home, I've used Kroil, Shooter's Choice, Butch's Bore Shine, or Hoppe's, whichever is easiest to come by and cheaper.  I still use CLP for rust protection sometimes, but I started to use multi-purpose grease (the $2/pound stuff you can find in the automotive aisle) for lubrication.  A coat of the grease works to prevent rust too.

The patches that come with the Otis kit can't really be used 6 times, 3 times is about the max before they're so dirty you can't tell if you're really making any progress.
Sontara patches don't unravel, so there's no threads to hide in the guts of your guns and make them jam.  You may want to order a size larger if you like your patches to fit tight in the bore.  If you are cleaning a 9mm bore, order the 20 and 12 gauge shotgun patches, for example.

How often to clean depends on the action, ammunition, and whether you NEED the firearm to work 100%. Rimfire target barrels probably shouldn't be cleaned too much, you'll just have to dirty up the bore a bit to get it back to where it was the last time you shot. Carry and defense guns should probably be kept pretty clean. AR-15s bolts and bolt carriers should be generously lubricated.

Pat Roger's Keep It Running article on how to maintain AR-15/M-16 type rifles.

Larry Vicker's tips on AR-15 lubrication.

Shotgun cleaning is not an area of expertise for me, and I will not begin to tell you what to do with scatterguns.

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