How to clean your rifle - Smith and Edwards Demo

How to Clean your Rifle

- posted by Rose Marion

Did you get a gun for Christmas? Looking to get a good deal at our Gun Auction? Or maybe you’re a hunter who needs extreme accuracy for shooting an elk 350 yards away.

Did you know?
You can see part of our hunting department on SmithandEdwards.com! (click here) We’ve got a selection of our most popular hunting and range accessories for you online. There’s way more in-store!

Eric from Smith and Edwards demonstrating how to clean your gun

You may know how to keep your gun dry and safe, you also want to know how to clean your rifle to keep it accurate and firing properly. Every gun needs a good cleaning to keep it functioning the way you need it to in an emergency, on a hunting trip, or just going out to the range for practice.

Eric Halter from our Gun Counter will walk you through the basics of cleaning your handgun so you can keep yours in great condition.

Eric knows how to keep a gun clean and firing properly because it’s what he does. When he’s not at Smith & Edwards, Eric spends his time as a gunsmith – something of a family trade, he’s had over 30 years of experience gunsmithing.

Every time your gun is fired, carbon and copper residue gets deposited and builds up in your bore. A boresnake is a fast way to clean out that residue, and for a deep cleaning after a hunting trip or a session at the range, you can use brushes and patches along with cleaners to restore your gun to pristine condition.

How to clean your gun in the field

A field cleaning is a basic cleaning to get the residue out of your rifle while you’re out in the field. So if you’re not in a place where you can set out all your supplies like your gun vise and cleaning rod, and take the time to give your gun a good cleaning, all you need is your boresnake to do a field clean.
Boresnakes for cleaning your gun

If there’s rain and you’ve gotten water down your bore, if you’re in inclement weather, or you’re in a harsh, dusty, and dirty environment, this is the #1 method to get your rifle back in shape from breech to muzzle.

  1. Take your rifle, making sure it’s unloaded, and remove the bolt.
  2. Drop the weighted end of an oiled boresnake down the barrel and pull through the bore, out the muzzle.
    Dropping the boresnake in the borePulling the boresnake down the muzzle
  3. Do that 2-3 times, and you’re good to go.

Gun Cleaning Tip:
Before you go on your trip, lay your boresnake on your bench and wet the first 1/3 of the bore with a bore cleaner like Hoppe’s #9.
Put bore cleaner on the first third of your bore to prep for field cleaning

Then coil it up and put it in a ziploc bag.

Coiled boresnake

Now when you’re out in the field to do a field cleaning, you pull out your ziploc bag, take out your boresnake, and pull that through your rifle and clean out the residue.
Nylon bristles of a boresnake

The brass bristles in the boresnake will help give your gun a good brushing.

When you get home from your trip, you’ll still want to give your gun a good cleaning. A quick & easy field cleaning like this will help you in the field to get the majority of the carbon out, keeping it lubricated and water-resistant, but it won’t take out the heavy copper deposits or carbon deposits like a good deep-cleaning at home.

So Eric’s going to show us how to give a long gun the good cleaning it needs. You can follow the same steps on a shotgun or pistol.

How to clean your gun at home

We should mention that your first step ought to be to read your owner’s manual. This will help you see exactly how to disassemble your gun and clean it. Get familiar with your weapon and how to take care of it.

OK, once you get home from the field or the range, set aside a half-hour to give your gun the TLC it deserves.

You’ll need: your gun, a gun vise (and a counter or bench to set it on), a cleaning rod with a brush and a jag attachment, cleaning solution, lubricant, flannel patches, and a shop cloth.

  1. Make sure your gun is unloaded, and then remove the bolt. Rest your gun in a vise.
  2. Take your bore brush and screw it onto your cleaning rod. Dip your brush into your solvent (we use Hoppe’s #9 Copper Solvent).
    Bronze bore brush on your cleaning rod
  3. Push the brush and rod through the bore through the end. Do about 20-25 strokes back and forth, then take it out and set your cleaning rod to the side.
    Bronze bore brush cleaning the bore
  4. Let it set for about 5-10 minutes for the chemical reaction. Let the bore cleaner work on the copper fouling and the carbon deposits.
  5. Take your patch jag and screw it onto your cleaning rod. Take a flannel patch and pull a corner halfway through the jag, and fold it over the end.Placing a flannel patch in the jag to clean your gun.Then, take the patch and run it down through to clean out the dirt in the bore.
    Placing flannel patch in bore on cleaning rodFlannel patch coming out the muzzleDirty patch from cleaning this gun
  6. Repeat brushing with solvent as needed.
  7. Keep running fresh patches down through the bore til they come out clean.
    Dirty patches from cleaning the rifle
    Now it’s time to lubricate the bore.
  8. Drop 8-10 drops of oil onto a patch and run it down your bore.
    Dropping gun oil onto flannel patches to clean your gun
    This is a preservative, so that humidity and moisture won’t get in there and rust the bore.
  9. Take a dry patch and run it down the bore to remove any excess lubricant or cleaning oils that are in the bore.
  10. Take one of your patches that had cleaner on it and clean your bolt. Then, lightly oil the bolt.
    Reuse a patch to clean your rifle bolt
  11. When you’re done, take a good clean shop rag and wipe down your gun so it’s clean and dry, removing any oils, dust, and dirt.
    Wipe your rifle down with a clean shop ragPut the bolt back in the rifle.
    Place the bolt back in your clean rifle

And you’re all done!

That's a clean rifle! - Eric at Smith & Edwards

These steps are identical for handguns, revolvers, and shotguns. The only difference with a handgun is you’d use a shorter cleaning rod.

Handguns typically don’t get cleaned as often as they should, so for best performance try to do it after every trip or every other trip to the range. Just use the same cleaners and process to get rid of the copper and carbon residue in the barrel.

How often should you clean your gun?

You know your gun best. Eric recommends you do a good cleaning like that every other time you shoot. You should run a boresnake through it after every shooting session.

If your goal is extreme accuracy, you’ll want to clean after every shooting session. Your rifle can shoot through a certain amount of fouling without a problem, but after anywhere from 30-100 rounds, you’ve got fouling in there that will affect your accuracy. If you’re out looking for an elk across a canyon or really needing to hit a target, you’ll want your barrel clean.

If you’re a waterfowl hunter, you’re out in harsh environments – rain, cold, sleet, snow, mud – and your shotguns really take a beating. It’s vitally important to clean your shotgun thoroughly after every usage – making sure to oil it well to keep it water-resistant.

If you’ve got a handgun for home defense, even if you don’t shoot it during the year, the preservative oils can evaporate over time. So while you don’t need to clean it, because you haven’t fired it, you do want to re-oil your home defense firearm once a year – whether it’s a rifle, pistol, or shotgun.

What gun cleaning supplies we recommend

There are a lot of companies that make gun cleaning supplies. Hoppe’s is a great company that has brushes and cleaners, and Outers and Gunslick make great cleaners too. You can also get kits from gun manufacturers, such as Winchester and Remington.

All these are pretty affordable, you’re looking to spend about $20-40 on a kit.

Eric picked out some kits - these are just a few of the dozen or so gun cleaning kits we have here in the store. The small one is a universal handgun cleaning kit.

Eric picked out some kits – these are just a few of the dozen or so gun cleaning kits we have here in the store. The small one is a universal handgun cleaning kit.

We’ve also got Tipton’s Best Gun Vise $99.99 – this vise can adjust to fit rifles, compact pistols, and everything in between. You can find all these gun care products and much more in our Sporting Goods department here at Smith & Edwards.

Tipton Best Gun Vise

Bore snake – a must-have.

Bore Snake for cleaning your Gun Barrel

Bronze brush and a Slotted Jag – they come in a huge range of sizes, so get the one that fits your bore so you don’t have to scrub as much.

Bore Brush and Jag by Hoppe's

We’ve got tons of flannel patches, a bag will run you about $5.

Hoppe's Gun Cleaners

Orange-label  Hoppe’s #9 Gun Bore Cleaner: your standard, all-purpose cleaning solution.

Brown-label Hoppe’s #9 Copper Remover is a copper solvent that will dissolve the copper out of your bore. You’ll know it’s working when your patch comes out with a turquoise-green tint to it. Keep running the patches down til they don’t have that blue tint on the patch.

This copper remover is what you’ll want to use frequently if you’re an extreme accuracy shooter or into long-range shooting, to get the pristine bore you need. If you’re familiar with your rifle’s trajectory and exterior ballistics, you don’t want to waste that knowledge by having a dirty rifle and not being able to count on the bullet’s trajectory.

Hoppe’s lubricating oil is a great choice for keeping your bore dry and rust-free til you use it again. It doesn’t have much of an odor at all. Break-Free CLP is another good choice.

Cleaning rod: Pretty basic, you’ll want either a rifle cleaning rod or a handgun-size cleaning rod. This particular one has a sliding piece of brass that fits on the rear of the action, so the rod stays aligned in the center of the bore, so you get a good clean, and faster.

Rifle Cleaning Rod with Brass Alignment disc

Your turn

How do you clean your handgun or rifle? What are your tips & tricks? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Sitka waterfowl jacket

Duck Hunting Season is here – We’ve got what you need

- posted by Rose Marion

First day of duck season and we’ve got what you need here at Smith & Edwards!

Come on in and you’ll find camouflage shirts, pants, hats, gloves, warm boots, and much more. All types of hunter orange gear that you can use the rest of the season, too. We stock a huge variety of camouflage patterns and accessories – the ducks will never see you coming in your duck hunting camo. And we’ve got Under Armour and hoodies as well as good socks to keep you warm on those cold mornings.

We know hunting gear because we hunt, too. Craig, our camo buyer, and Scott, one of our Hunting buyers, gave us all the details on what gear you’ll need for a great waterfowl trip.

Craig and Scott know all about duck hunting - just look at the proof! Get their gear and advice at Smith and Edwards.

If you take their advice, maybe you’ll have as great a day duck hunting as Craig and Scott did!

It can be tough to keep track of all the gear you need for a simple morning of duck hunting, so take a look at what we’ve got for all your waterfowling needs.

Smith & Edwards’ Duck Hunting Picks

If you haven’t been to Smith & Edwards for hunting gear before, come on in the front doors and head to the north wall, on your left. You’ll be able to find the waterfowl hunting gear you need fast.

Waterfowl camo shirts

Waders

We’ve got the waders you need for a dry socks after a long, successful morning of duck hunting. You’ll keep your feed warm and dry with insulated boots. Even if you’re in the marsh rather than in a blind, a good pair of camouflage waders can be a solid investment – and the difference between a good hunt and a real success.

You’ll find several types of camo waders, including blades camo, at Smith & Edwards. We also carry regular fishing waders in solid colors for fishing.

Browning Blades Waterfowl camo

Blades waterfowl camo by Browning

Waterfowl Camo

You’ll find great waterfowl camo at Smith & Edwards – camouflage that has natural grassy shapes and a lot of earth tones and shading, compared to blocky, solid camo. This will help you blend right in with the blind and the swamp. We’ve got lots of camo patterns so you can see what works for you.

Blades, Max 5, and Sitka are our best-selling waterfowl camo patterns.

Browning Realtree Max 5 waterfowl camo

Browning Realtree Max 5 waterfowl camo

Sitka’s got a very different take on waterfowl camo and camo in general than other brands. Sitka’s scientists are interested in what the ducks’ eyes see, rather than how humans see camo.

This Sitka waterfowl jacket is designed to look like a wetland when viewed from overhead.

This Sitka waterfowl jacket is designed to look like a wetland when viewed from overhead.

So that’s why Sitka’s camo has a honeycomb or mesh look to it: Sitka’s betting that the birds will see Sitka camo as a more realistic view of the environment, because the camo is designed to blend in when viewed from overhead – so the ducks don’t see you as they fly.

Sitka waterfowl jacketRemember, you might have camo on, and you might be in a blind, but the most important thing is to keep still! Try to only move your eyes and keep your head as still as possible for the best shot at your birds.

Gamehide waterfowl pants

Gamehide waterfowl pants

Duck Hunting Gloves

Sitka waterfowl gloveWhen you’re duck calling, you don’t want your hands to stand out. Keep warm and put a bit of camouflage on your hands with these hunting gloves.

Waterfowl gloves are waterproof, so you can go in and get your decoys or get your ducks out of the water without getting your hands wet! Again, Sitka makes its own special camouflage gloves so you’re even more hidden, since they’re designed for how ducks see you rather than how animals on the ground see us.

Sitka’s gloves are great as stand-alone gloves, or, you can wear them as a base layer because they’re form-fitting and not at all bulky, so almost like a second skin. You can slide on another pair of gloves on top of them when it’s really cold.

Camouflage Gloves at Smith and Edwards

Keep your fingers warm in the blind with these camo gloves. You’ll find your size in a variety of patterns and levels of warmth.

Duck at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Brigham City

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Brigham City

Hat

For the best chance of success, use our lucky Smith & Edwards hat. And we’ve got tons of styles of hats so you can pick your favorite. Black, Hunter orange, and several patterns of camo hats that’ll keep your head warm on those cold mornings.

Sitka waterfowl beanie hat

Sitka waterfowl beanie hat

Hand Warmers

Keep warm with handwarmers in your gloves. We’ve got both reusable hand warmers and single-use handwarmes. Both will give you several hours of nice, glowing heat. Put ’em in your gloves, with or without a liner, to keep your fingers flexible and ready for action.

Now that you’ve got your camo and you know you’ll be warm next time, let’s make sure you’ve got all the gear from sporting goods you need. Head over to our east wall to our Sporting Goods department for decoys, duck calls, and shot.

Dog

We don’t stock dogs, sorry. But we do have nice dog treats and bones for your hard-working retriever.

We’ve also got training dummies, whistles, leashes, training collars, and scents – both duck and pheasant scents.

Working on training your own retriever? Check out this video lesson:

 

Decoys

Sure we’ve got decoys! Get your ducks in a row with duck decoys and a mesh decoy bag to pack them out.

Tanglefree Mallard Duck Decoys and Bag at Smith and Edwards

This Tanglefree® mesh decoy bag and mallard decoys are a great place to start with decoys.

We’ve got duck decoys and geese decoys. The ducks above were a favorite in 2013. In 2014, we now carry Deek Decoys made here in Utah! Call 801-731-1120 for any questions, we’ll be happy to help.

Duck Calls

You knew all about duck calls way before Duck Dynasty was cool.

We’ve got Duck Commander duck calls that will work great on your next waterfowl hunt. If you prefer Primos duck calls, we’ve got those, too.

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Brigham City

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Brigham City

Shotgun and Ammo

We’ve got the shot and ammunition for all kinds of hunting this season at Smith & Edwards, and we’ll be happy to recommend the ammo as well as guns for your hunt – whether you’re duck hunting, turkey hunting, or looking at four-legged game.

Come on back to the Sporting Goods counter – we know the guns and ammo you’ll need because we hunt ducks ourselves – as well as elk, deer, and more game. We’ll get you what you need.

For shells, you need to use steel shot for waterfowl. 3″ is a good place to start – you want to use 2s, 3s, or 4s for ducks. We’ve got a huge selection, and we’re happy to help you choose the best shot.

For shotguns, Scott’s pick is the Benelli Nova, hands-down.

If you’re looking at semiautomatic, take a look at Benelli, Winchester, Beretta, and Browning. You’ll want a gun with a synthetic stock, and we’ve got those in black and camouflage. You’ll get a gun you can rely on to function well in cold weather.

Remember to give your shotgun a good cleaning after a day in the swamp. Mud, grit, and all sorts of crud can build up on your gun. Doesn’t hurt to carry some cleaning equipment and a cleaning rod with you into the blind, too, so you don’t have to go back to the truck or worse, home, if your equipment gets too dirty to function.

Duck hunting at Bear River Bird Refuge in Brigham City

Duck hunting at Bear River Bird Refuge in Brigham City

Cooler and Thermos

Nothing like hot cocoa or warm soup after a long morning of duck hunting. We’ve got both thermoses and coolers, so you can keep your hot drinks hot and keep your ducks on ice til you get home.

Duck Stamp

You can get your federal duck stamp right here at our Sporting Goods counter. They’re $15 and they’ll get you in to all the waterfowl areas here in Northern Utah, like Farmington Bay and Ogden Bay. When the federal government gets its act together, check out Bear River up by Brigham City – it’s a federal wetland, so it’s not open at the moment, but it’s a great location for duck hunting.

Duck hunting camo pants

Get duck hunting gear in our web store

Do you have a good bag for all your gear? We’ve got a great selection of gear bags in the store, and you can find our favorites online, like our 5.11 tactical bags and Voodoo tactical bags.

You might also want to bring a headlamp and a compass so you don’t wander around the swamp longer than you have to. And we’ve got a huge selection of paracord in-store and in our online store, so you can keep your gear where you need them.

Hunting Camouflage Paracord at Smith and Edwards

Choose from camouflage paracord as well as bright and solid colors of paracord, both in-store and online.

Come in for great deals on hunting gear!

Don’t forget to stop by our Sporting Goods department for all your shot, too. They’ve got some great sales and rebates for the beginning of hunting season, so come on in today.

Hunting camouflage at Smith and Edwards

Whatever season you hunt, we’ve got the camo and gear to help you have a successful hunt. Maybe you’ll bring us back a souvenir!

What are your duck hunting tips?

Leave us a comment below with your duck hunting tips & tricks. What gear do you use year after year? What are your favorite spots? We want to hear what works for you!