There’s an age-old controversy about whether rifle maintenance is needed or not. It’s a contentious issue and topic on which there are a number of opinions and multiple answers. Ask a dozen owners and you undoubtedly will receive a dozen different answers. Therefore, today’s question is: is it necessary to clean your rifle, and if the answer is yes, in which manner and how often?
Dirty barrels are likely the top reason otherwise great shooting rifles go bad, and they absolutely require routine cleaning. The method and frequency of cleaning differs from shooter to shooter; however, one thing we do know is that it’s important to clean the working parts and barrel to prolong service life and sustain accuracy. Not doing so might result in an inaccurate, pitted, and worn-out weapon system. My suggestion includes performing a routine clean after every shoot, and deep clean about every 300 rounds.
As a shooter, it’s your job to determine precisely how frequently a clean is needed then to keep cleaning sessions consistent. The cleaning routine you choose to follow will more than likely differ from one caliber to another. I’ll talk about my cleaning routine below and explain precisely which tools are needed to correctly clean your sniper rifle and make sure that it’s well maintained.
How frequently should you clean your sniper rifle?
Before getting into how frequently to clean the rifle, let us first touch a little more on why cleaning is needed.
When you fire the rifle, it gets increasingly dirty. Fouling starts filling a barrel’s pores in the metal, and deposits copper from the bullet, as well as carbon from the powder residue, embedding as more firing takes place. Eventually, this leads to a time in which consistency gets lost, and a clean is needed. If left untreated, moisture sets in over a period of time and ultimately causes pitting.
Now let us answer the following question: how frequently should you clean your sniper rifle?
While a few shooters stick with one extreme by oftentimes over-cleaning their barrels and firing most of their rounds just through bare metal, other ones usually avoid cleaning, whatsoever. That’s frequently because shooters usually follow whichever rituals they’re told, remaining reluctant to change and stubborn.
My suggestion includes finding a happy medium between the two, in which a routine clean and light oil ought to be followed after every shoot; before the sniper rifle goes back inside storage then every once a while perform a deep clean, around every 300 rounds.
What equipment is needed?
This is a list of equipment needed to correctly clean your rifle and barrel:
- One-piece high-quality barrel rod that freely spins
- Chamber guide
- Nylon bore brush
- Bronze brush
- Spear-tip or wrap style jag
- Cleaning patches
- Carbon cleaner
- Bore cleaner
- Degreaser and solvent
- Preservative and lubricant
Carbon Cleaner – This removes carbon fouling deposits from a bore. It should be used during routine cleaning. Over time, carbon fouling may become rigid, thereby causing variations in muzzle velocities and irregular groove depths. This might impact the placement of your shot.
Bore Cleaner – Combined product that removes copper deposits and carbon fouling alike. This should be used while deep cleaning. Particles of copper and carbon fouling may form layers.
Bore Cleaning Foam – This effectively removes copper, carbon, and other residues from the barrel through chemical reactions. Follow cleaning directions according to the product’s description.
Degreaser and Solvent – This removes residue that is loosened by copper and carbon cleaning products. They should be applied after a bore or carbon cleaner is used.
Preservative and Lubricant – Long-lasting lubricant that penetrates and significantly decreases adhesion of grit, sand, and additional abrasives which otherwise can cause damage and wear.
Regular cleaning routine
The measures for post-firing carbon removal are discussed below and must be followed at the end of every day’s firing.
- Clear the sniper rifle safely and remove its bolt. Insert the chamber guide if you own one.
- Use a carbon cleaner to saturate a nylon brush then connect it to the end of the barrel rod. In a back-and-forth motion, pass it through the bore numerous times to loosen massive carbon deposits.
- Remove brush from the rod then wipe down the rod using a rag.
- Attach a dry patch and a jag then pass it through the barrel numerous times, mopping the grime and dirt up that was loosened. When you’re satisfied, unscrew the jag from the rod’s end before you pull it back through the barrel. It’ll prevent the jag from scraping against the crown.
- Put a bronze brush into the cleaning rod then move it through the barrel numerous times. During this step, no cleaning agent is needed.
- Replace bronze brush with a wet patch (soaked in carbon cleaner) and a jag then move it through the barrel numerous times, scrubbing the barrel in order to remove any more stubborn spaces.
- Attach the dry patch then move it through the barrel several times and mop up the grime and dirt one more time. It ought to come out black because of the carbon fouling.
- Repeat numbers 2 – 7 again.
- Connect a dry patch then move it through the barrel and inspect the patch’s cleanliness. If needed, repeat the above procedure until the patch passes through clean.
- When cleaned, run a final lightly oiled patch through the rifle’s barrel in order to protect it when stored.
- Using a cleaning rag or some patches, clean the chamber.
- Clean the crown of the barrel using a rag or wet patch.
- Wipe the inside of the action.
- Wipe the bolt then apply a tiny bit of lubricant to the bolt body and lugs. Don’t lubricate the bolt face as it must stay dry.
When you are cleaning a sniper rifle always make sure your weapon is unloaded before stripping it down. Safety always should be your main concern when you are manipulating any type of weapon. With that said, always keep in mind — a clean firearm is a happy firearm. Taking some time to completely clean your weapon will ensure its continuous operation and increase its longevity.Last modified: April 30, 2021