How often do you clean your firearm?...after every trip to the range?, or every other trip?...or every third trip?

190k miles, much of it towing with the little 4cyl.

.

2 Likes

That one above was gets 5k intervals because I’m in love with it. This second car has the same engine (but with much lower miles), after 7.5k intervals and nearly 100% towing time. Note that the leftmost column of data is this interval and that the prior oil change (third column from left) is at 5k interval, for comparison. Enjoy!

2 Likes

Every trip or every other trip to range. 400-700 rounds.

1911s I clean every trip.

4 Likes

For my precision rifles (and most of them are) I will clean them at about 1000 rounds or when they get above sub MOA right before I go to the range and then put 50 or so rounds through them to get the bore settled back down. Bolt faces / BCG I will inspect after each range trip and scrub if needed. Pistols after a couple thousand rounds or if they start slowing down. Revolvers are the only thing I will religiously clean after a range trip and only the cylinder especially if I shot .38’s out of a .357.

Cheers,

Craig6

5 Likes

I’m curious about this. Do you find that having a spotless precision rifle effects accuracy? I’m not a competitive shooter but get a lot of satisfaction out of developing loads and shooting sub MOA groups at 300 yards, the longest range where I shoot on a regular basis. I would appreciate learning more about this, especially settling the bore down.

2 Likes

@Boyd Ohh Boy! This might be a long one.
When I was on the Navy Rifle Team back in the 80’s and 90’s I dutifully scrubbed my bore after each match just like everybody else until I started working with a SEAL sniper that took me under his wing. He said “Why do you do that?” meaning cleaning the rifle. Me: “UMMM it’s dirty.” Him “No it’s seasoned, I just watched you shoot 12 straight X’s at 1000 yards, I’m willing to bet that tomorrow if we start at the 1K yard line it will take you AT LEAST 20 rounds to get back in the X Ring.” The next day he proved his point and it took me 27 rounds to get my first back to back X’s, the first shot was a 7 and it was PERFECTLY lined up. Like an idiot I started chasing the bullet around the target until he thumped me in the back of the head and said “Put on yesterdays dope and leave it alone.” It took me 4 rounds to start stacking X’s. We were up and down the range shooting various yard lines and it was quite possibly the best day on the range that I had to that date.

Prior to that I had always thought I was a “cold shooter” in that I had to warm up to shoot consistently, the next day I blew my previous scores out of the water and not only broke 90 (had only broken 90 twice in 2 years) on standing “awfulhand” but ended up at a 97. I swore that i would never clean that rifle again. 1200 rounds later accuracy started to go to hell and I was frustrated. Mark (the SEAL) asked me “When was the last time you cleaned your rifle?” Me: “When you told me to stop cleaning it.” I saw bright lights, my head hurt and I was suddenly flat on my back staring at the sky. Him"Dumb A$$!! Now you know how long your barrel will last. Go clean the Pi$$ out of it and then shoot 3 boxes through it and see if it comes back." It did and it did and that planted the seed in my head. At that time I was shooting government guns and didn’t need to shoot my own.

Fast forward about a decade and I got back into long range shooting but more into bolt guns than my beloved M1A and National Match as I was stationed in CT so I couldn’t have it anyway. I spent a day on the range absolutely drilling a 400 yard target with my bolt gun and decided to clean the rifle while at the range. For some reason Mark popped into my head and I said to myself “Self, lets see if it still works.” Fist round out of the gun and I MISSED the target. 40 rounds later I was back to drilling the target but the groups were bigger. 10 rounds later the group size was shrinking. 10 rounds after that and it was back to where it was before I cleaned it. I came back the next day and my CBS (Cold Bore Shot) was perfect at 400 yards straight out of the gate. Angles sang, the heavens opened, I felt a hand print on the side of my head and I finally figured out what Mark was telling me.

Your CBS is the most important round you will fire. WHY would you take a perfectly zeroed and accurate rifle and CHANGE the inside of the bore which of course is where all the magic happens. Modern primers / powders do not corrode the bore like mercuric primers and powders of old. The “plating” of fire formed copper inside the bore is a GOOD thing and makes for a very consistent rifle once it reaches “equilibrium” or “settles down”. As long as you shoot the rifle at least once a month or so (one round into the ground counts for this) that plating remains and your bore is consistent. If you let the copper corrode then you will have bore changes much the same as if you let your steel barrel oxidize.

Since you mentioned you are a reloader I will add two other variable that I cannot quantify but have noticed. Changing powder is like cleaning your bore, albeit not as extreme , it takes time to settle back down. Additionally shooting different bullet brands or coated bullets MAY have the same effect. The exception to the last observation is the 210gr Berger and the 208gr AMAX. They are interchangeable in my 30-06 but stuff a Sierra or Barnes in there and things go wonky.

That was long but I hope I shed some light on your questions. Feel free to ask more or start another thread or PM me as there is a whole lot of back story to my discoveries.

Cheers,

Craig6

10 Likes

Fantastic post

6 Likes

@Craig6 thanks for your post, very detailed and informative.

3 Likes

@Craig6. Thank you for this post. When I read it, I had one of those moments of pure clarity and insight that says this is the truth and there is no doubt about it. I am a Johnny Come Lately to the precision shooting game, I only took it up after I retired about 10 years ago. Every time I go to the range I usually shoot around a hundred rounds and it is only the last 50 or so that I get zeroed in and see consistently accurate results.

I don’t know very many competitive shooters, but the ones I do know always “warm up” with at least 20 rounds before the match starts. I always thought that this was a necessity just like the closer warming up in the bull pen before coming in finish the ballgame in the ninth inning. I was at the outdoor range yesterday and as I always do, when I got home took my rifle down to my shop to clean it. It must be providence because I was tired and said to myself “I’ll clean it tomorrow.” As soon as I read your post I took my rifle off the bench and put it away. The weather has turned cold here and it will be a while before I can get back to the 300 yard range, but I am going to take to Elite next week, which has a hundred yard indoor range.

I have a Ruger Precision chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and load Hornady brass with Hornady 140 grain match bullets using H4350 powder. I know this is basically entry level stuff, especially to your SEAL sniper mentor and serious competitors, but I enjoy it and get a lot of satisfaction out of it. I just hope that maybe one day I’ll be good enough that someone of your caliber and you SEAL friend will allow me honor of carrying their range bag.

4 Likes

@Boyd I’m glad it made sense to you and that you had noticed things previously, All too often I see long gunners happily banging away at steel and not paying attention to the details. I’ve spent more than a few years in the precision rifle world for work and fun and have learned quite a bit on the subject from a number of great shooters as well as my own discoveries. I am not that familiar with the 6.5 Creedmore but I understand it is a pretty doggone good cartridge. My go to competition gun is a 30-06 which raises a few eyebrows but I fully expect to get a 4 - 5,000 round life out of a tube unlike a 300 WM which is 1200 rounds if you are lucky. For making shots in excess of 1K it is an absolute hammer.

My other passion is reloading for distance and have made a few discoveries on that topic as well that you may find interesting. I invite you to look up the Optimal Barrel Time Theory (It’s not a theory, it’s a fact and another one of those epiphany moments when it happens) The long and the short of it is that vibrations in steel move faster than the bullet and given a certain barrel length you can TIME the exit of the bullet to coincide with the vibrations being at the receiver as opposed to the muzzle. The other unintended and monstrously huge benefit is that it almost erases variations in not only loading but temperature. My .308 and 30-06 loads are POI insensitive to a 70F temp shift based on a 70F day. In other words my CBS will hit sub MOA at 35F to 105F. It also eliminates up to 0.4gr of powder variation. Vibration in steel is a constant so that load will work in EVERY rifle with the same barrel length. Ever wonder why Federal GMM works well in any gun?

If you ever get down SE VA way bring your stick and we’ll go play out to a mile.

Cheers,

Craig6

4 Likes

Spent my entire working life as an auto technician. I change my oil a lot. One thing is for sure: oil is cheap and engines (and transmissions) are expensive. On a lesser level (at least financially) this can be true of firearms too. Probably more so if a fail-to-fire costs you valuable seconds in a critical situation. For this reason I clean after every time at the range.

5 Likes

Does this same logic apply to Handguns?

1 Like

My $.02 is that this is highly suspect (no offense intended). Following this sort of approach, we’d replace light bulbs…just in case, tires on every drive, etc. Oil is engineered to work within certain tolerances. Changing it early solves nothing; it just uses up more oil and introduces extra risk.

From the research I’ve read, this is much the same for firearms (or nearly anything mechanical (and many non-mechanical things). I don’t believe that firearms require this sort of care to function flawlessly. I read more than one article where Mark II Rugers were run 100k rounds without more than basic cleaning/oil (no disassembly) and worked just fine.

4 Likes

@Scott52 I don’t have imperial evidence to support accuracy claims for hand guns. My contention with them is in a purely mechanical sense. In order for me to trust a hand gun to operate in all environments I must evaluate it to operate in the worst conditions that I can control. Given the dirtiest powders that I can use I expect it to operate to the point that I can physically feel it begin to slow down. The worst I have experienced was shooting “Bullseye” for the better part of 2K rounds in an Officers Model 1911. The slide physically slowed down to the point that I was faster than the pistol on 2nd shots.

I experienced a similar slow down with the M-16 in the dust and sand of Saudi Arabia prior to the jump off of the first gulf war. I went into the breach with a totally DRY weapon and given the contact was inclined to “pick up” an Egyptian HK-G3 to use for the duration. Of course the paper work I had to fill out for the “loss” of the non functional M-16A2 took more time than the prosecution of the entire war :roll_eyes:

I have not had reason since that early time to evaluate powder residue or other consideration in hand guns. Essentially I run my hand guns until they slow down or it just seems like a good idea to clean them (somewhere on the order of 3 - 5 years). My standing exception being revolvers as described above. I equate it to “When was the last time you deliberately lubricated your 3/8” ratchet.?"

Cheers,

Craig6

3 Likes

@Craig6 My go to competition gun is a 30-06 which raises a few eyebrow

I think the 30-06 is a great cartridge. I live in the northern part of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and considering what our governor and legislators are trying to do I am looking for a M1 Garand which, if I’m reading the proposed legislation correctly, will remain legal in Virginia. The M1 is the rifle that won World War II and the original assault weapon. I’ve run into a gentlemen at the range who occasionally brings his M1 and is able to consistently get 1 MOA groups at 300 yards with iron sights. Not only is the M1 a good self defense firearm, it has significant historic value. The downside is that it cannot use modern 30-06 loads without modification to the gas system. This is not a big deal to me because I am a reloader and there are plenty of recipes for M1 compliant cartridges. As far as cleaning goes, I will guarantee that these rifles were rarely cleaned during combat in WW2 or Korea and went bang every time.

I am very interested in the communities thoughts are on this.

4 Likes

Hey Brad, I did the same thing with a Hyundai I owned several years ago. At the time I was commuting 90+ highway miles five days a week. I found that, with conventional Pennzoil 5W-30, my oil was good to 7,500 miles. Out of caution I changed at 5,000 miles. For the record, I sold the car with 286,000 miles on it, original engine/transmission, still running like a Swiss watch.

3 Likes

Nothing wrong with clean, done right.

3 Likes

I break mine down and clean every time I shoot them regardless of how many rounds i put through them.

3 Likes

Don’t Glocks float? :rofl:

4 Likes

I really want want to run my G26 through the dishwasher. My wife won’t let me. :cry:

5 Likes