Proper Care and Cleaning of a Bolt Action Rifle
By Heather Madsen
One of the most important aspects of owning a firearm is making sure that it is properly cleaned and maintained. A clean and well oiled gun will be more accurate, less prone to misfire, and will last longer than a gun that is neglected. In this article we will cover the proper tools and procedure for cleaning a bolt-action rifle.
To start, you will need to assemble your cleaning products. You can get a kit that comes with everything or buy the individual products you need here. Either way, you’ll need a solvent or cleaner, gun oil, a clean rag or patches, bristle brushes, a cleaning rod with attachments, and a gun mat to work on. Q-tips are also a very useful and affordable tool you can use to help clean the hard to reach areas of your firearm. There are also a few alternative options for some of these items, and what you use will just depend on personal preference. For example, you can use a bore snake instead of a cleaning rod, or a clean cloth instead of a gun mat. Experiment with your options and pick the choice that works best for you. When cleaning any sort of rifle, you’ll also need a vise to keep your firearm steady and so you can safely use both of your hands. Once you’ve gathered all of these items, you’re almost ready to get started.
When handling any firearm, the most important thing to remember is safety. Before you start cleaning or disassembling your rifle, you’ll first need to make sure it’s unloaded. Always do a visual and physical check to make sure that your magazine is out (if your rifle has one) and that there is nothing in the chamber. Once you’ve made sure that your gun is empty, you’ll want to move any ammunition or magazines away from you and the firearm you’re cleaning. Placing them in a drawer or a separate room is a great way to ensure your safety, and the safety of anyone nearby.
Now you can begin the cleaning process. You’ll want to start by taking apart the different components of your firearm. For most gun owners, you’ll only need to know how to “field strip” your gun. Field stripping a bolt-action rifle is extremely simple and only requires you to remove the bolt. Refer to your owner’s manual for this step as different models have different take-down methods. Dismantling your firearm further is called “detailed stripping,” and unless you are a trained professional, you should not attempt it, as it is very easy to damage the smaller and more delicate pieces of your firearm if they are removed incorrectly. Once the bolt is separated from your firearm, you’re ready to clean.
To start cleaning your rifle, spray a patch with solvent and attach it to your cleaning rod via a jag or patch-holder attachment. Run the patch through the barrel, starting at the receiver and moving towards the muzzle. Once the patch exits the muzzle, remove it and pull your rod back out. This will keep any of the debris or carbon buildup you just cleaned from being dragged back through the bore. Repeat this process with new patches, until the patches come out clean.