What should you expect from your AR-15 cleaning kit? What parts should you clean every time? Should you use a bore snake or a rod with a patch? There are plenty of questions you might have when you are cleaning your rifle, even if you have a basic understanding of the cleaning process. Here are some tips for performing regular maintenance on your rifle to make your cleaning session more effective and help your AR-15 operate at its best. As always, before you get started take the proper measures to make sure your firearm is unloaded.
Use a Bronze Rod
You can find two types of rods for cleaning your guns. For an AR-15, chances are good you will need a bronze or steel rod. Bronze and steel rods won’t harm the barrel as they are not as hard as the actual metal of your barrel. You will want to make sure you get the right caliber for your rifle so the rod will fit. Generally, if you buy a premium AR-15 cleaning kit, you can expect it to come with bronze rods. The best kit will even include attachments, such as brushes made of bronze or patch holders.
Bore Snake vs. Bronze Rod
Which is better, using a bore snake or a bronze rod? The bore snake is often a good choice for a quick cleaning after a trip to the range rather than a deep cleaning. However, when you perform a deep cleaning, you might prefer a bore snake to run through the barrel a few times to start your cleaning process. It can help loosen carbon build-ups. After that, run your bronze rod with a patch with cleaning solvent, then a brush, and then more patches to clean it.
Choose an AR-15 Cleaning Kit with the Right Solvents and Lubricant
Choosing the right gun cleaner CLP is vital. Modern solvents don’t require the harsh chemicals of yesteryear to clean your gun. They don’t have to smell terrible and make cleaning your gun a miserable experience. The only thing solvents should do is clean your firearm. CLP stands for cleaner, lubricant, and protectant, meaning you only need a single bottle to clean your gun. A good AR-15 cleaning kit will come with a bottle of CLP or bottles of solvent and lubricant.
Lubricate the Contact Areas
You will want to put at least a drop of CLP or lubricant on any part of your gun that moves or comes into contact with other parts. For example, you will want to ensure the bolt carrier group (BCG) is well-oiled. It should move smoothly and without resistance. However, too much CLP or lubricant can gum up the works, so use it strategically. It can attract dust and grime, which can stop your rifle from functioning properly.
Use the Firing Pin on the BCG
One of the hardest parts to clean is inside the bolt carrier group. An easy way to scrape carbon away is with the firing pin. Flip the pin and use the tip to get down into the BCG, where it can be hard to maneuver a patch or brush in such a small space. Put a drop or two of gun cleaner CLP in there, scrape with the tip, and then use the pin to move a patch and clean any remaining areas.
Be Careful with the Hammer
Finally, be careful with the hammer. Do not pull the trigger if the hammer is cocked and the upper and lower are separated, or you may crack the lower frame. You can put cardboard or another cushion between the hammer and frame to protect the frame. It’s a precaution that prioritizes safety and the performance of your firearm once it’s clean.
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