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 New to AR-15...How often do I clean it????
ACDCdude953  [Member]
9/14/2011 1:23:37 PM EST
Hey guys I am relatively new to firearms and now that I have my AR i was just wondering how often i need to clean the bore, BCG and internals. I have a can of hoppes 9 solvent, i use this only for the barrel and hoppes 9 lubricant. What other kind of lube/ cleaner solvent should i get? Thank you
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Jdude  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 1:31:38 PM EST
Originally Posted By ACDCdude953:
Hey guys I am relatively new to firearms and now that I have my AR i was just wondering how often i need to clean the bore, BCG and internals. I have a can of hoppes 9 solvent, i use this only for the barrel and hoppes 9 lubricant. What other kind of lube/ cleaner solvent should i get? Thank you


I clean mine within an hour right after shooting. Hoppes#9 is a good solvent. I personally use remoil to lube the weapon.
Reservist  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 1:34:16 PM EST
You will get a million different answers and the problem is 50% of them are right. A good routine is to clean it whenever you feel like it but if you shoot it 4 or 5 times its time to clean it. It DOES NOT NEED a white glove inspection type cleaning not only is that pointless most of the time it actually damages the weapon.

A good all around cleaner and lubricant is CLP its what the military uses and it has served me well.




I also have heard really good things about slip2000 but haven't tried it due to it being insanely expensive.
Jonnysixguns  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 1:37:09 PM EST
Oh boy...

Not saying it's right but I....
Remove the upper half from the lower.
Clean out any visible crap from the lower with a tooth brush and maintain lubrication with CLP.
(Occasionally I make sure my buffer tube is in working shape and slightly wet)

Disassemble the upper...
- Pull out bolt and charging handle
-Disassemble bolt carrier group (remove firing pin, bolt, extractor) and clean it with CLP and a tooth brush.
-Clean charging handle in the same manner.
-Reassemble the bolt.

Clean the bore...
-I use a copper and powder foam that sits for 15 minutes doing the hard work chemically.
-Brush the bore 5 (or whatever) times.
-CLP with patches alternating wet and dry until it's satisfactory.

Sometimes I use brake clean to completely strip the metal dry and relube from scratch.

*When you use strong solvents like Brake Clean, wear glasses. It isn't a joking matter to get get "methyl ethyl bad stuff" and Toluene in your eye. I know...

ETA: Get a dewey cleaning rod (almost synonymous with coated 1 piece rod these days) and a bore guide. Anything else is really preference.

ETA2: I fail at reading. My AR is a service rifle so I clean it every time. I've been meaning to see what happens if I do it less.
iNeXile556  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 2:09:23 PM EST
Shooting factory brass ammo I field clean, (quick boresnake through the bore, pull BCG and wipe the crude off, relube) every 300-400 rounds or so. Scrub bore and chamber, more detail cleaning to the BCG and FCG about every 1500 rounds or so. Some of my ARs have 40-45k without problems on this schedule. My oldest has 80+K although most everything has been replaced at some time except the bare receivers. When parts are replaced I do a good cleaning. None of my guns have ever seen brake cleaner or any kind of degreaser.

In dirty, dusty environments that changes to much more frequent cleanings. But in Tennessee hills and hollers the above works just fine for me.
Checkmate762  [Member]
9/14/2011 2:16:09 PM EST
Originally Posted By Reservist:
You will get a million different answers and the problem is 50% of them are right. A good routine is to clean it whenever you feel like it but if you shoot it 4 or 5 times its time to clean it. It DOES NOT NEED a white glove inspection type cleaning not only is that pointless most of the time it actually damages the weapon.

A good all around cleaner and lubricant is CLP its what the military uses and it has served me well.


I use CLP for most of my firearm cleaning chores. An old toothbrush and towel with a little CLP can do wonders. I also agree with the idea that excessive cleaning is not good.
jBoy723  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 2:29:34 PM EST
I usually have an estimated round count interval. Somewhere between 2000-3000 rounds. Other than that, I just make sure I lube it well and go. The only reason I feel it's a necessity is so I can inspect for any worn/damaged components.

If I happen to not shoot a certain rifle/handgun for an extended period of time, I make sure I at least lube it lightly so it won't develop any rust. I live near the beach in Florida so, I have to take the salt atmosphere into consideration.
apierce918  [Member]
9/14/2011 2:39:08 PM EST
how does too much cleaning damage the weapon?
Pacodutaco  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 2:42:02 PM EST
I clean all my firearms after every trip to the range. It is just a habit I got into as a kid. I use CLP, cleaning rod and old toothbrush to do all the work.
86HMMWV  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 2:44:41 PM EST
I do a complete teardown and clean each time after I shoot my rifles. I will not shoot it again until it has been cleaned. Same goes for my shotguns and my one and only () pistol. I have a very obsessive compulsive nature.
boarklr  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 2:51:46 PM EST
Originally Posted By apierce918:
how does too much cleaning damage the weapon?


Excess wear on chamber and bore especially with wire brush.

To the question....

I shoot regularly on our place. I normally have two or three dirty guns at a time....usually a rifle and a couple of pistols. I shoot them off and on for a few weeks. Though the round counts aren't normally exceptionally high, they are shot on multiple occasions as I have time in the evenings or on weekends. When I'm ready to shoot something else, I give them a good clean and rotate them to the back of the safe. Wash, rinse, repeat. I do not have malfunctions due to my firearms being in poor condition / state of repair.

I use clp cleaner and clp lube. I just bought some non-chloro brake cleaner for my CMMG 22lr conversion. Haven't tried it yet, but I may start using it for my regular bcg's as well.

Krinkplinker  [Member]
9/14/2011 2:53:41 PM EST
Originally Posted By apierce918:
how does too much cleaning damage the weapon?


Quite simple, the more you clean, the more you wear down the metals in the gun.
NissanGuy08  [Member]
9/14/2011 2:59:16 PM EST
i clean mine about every 500 rounds.
Progun1911  [Member]
9/14/2011 3:11:17 PM EST
I pull the BGC out and spray it with CLP and wipe it down quick with paper towels then just get what you can with the same towel on the inside every 2 or 3 range trips.Then every 1200 to 1500 rounds I will clean the gun completely.No need to over clean any weapon unless it has a problem being dirty and starts to jam then you will know how many rounds you can fire with out cleaning.

Mostly every gun I own I just wipe out the crud I can reach with a rag or paper towel then just oil it up and its GTG.
Weapons that I use for self defense get cleaned a little more often,but I still don't go crazy with them.Having the gun properly oiled is more important than having it spotless.
I have been doing it this way for 30 years and have had no major problems with my firearms.
Gamma762  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 3:29:46 PM EST
http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_2_138/196990_Filthy_14_is_now_over_40_000_rounds.html
apierce918  [Member]
9/14/2011 3:42:43 PM EST
Originally Posted By Krinkplinker:
Originally Posted By apierce918:
how does too much cleaning damage the weapon?


Quite simple, the more you clean, the more you wear down the metals in the gun.


I would love to see how many time you can run a bore snake through a gun to equate to shooting say 250 rounds through it.

worrying about excessive wear from cleaning too much is anal retention at its finest
Gamma762  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 3:53:18 PM EST
Originally Posted By apierce918:
worrying about excessive wear from cleaning too much is anal retention at its finest

Not really. Many people go wild scraping every last hint of carbon off the bolt, that kind of thing, and actually do end up doing damage.
Alaskacajun  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 3:55:28 PM EST
When I come back from the range I blow out the big chunks with GunScrubber... then wet everything back down with CLP

It takes about 3 minutes per gun....

- Clint
pappy177  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 4:23:35 PM EST
Originally Posted By Alaskacajun:
When I come back from the range I blow out the big chunks with GunScrubber... then wet everything back down with CLP

It takes about 3 minutes per gun....

- Clint


This and an air hose

tatsngats  [Member]
9/14/2011 4:26:42 PM EST
Originally Posted By Krinkplinker:
Originally Posted By apierce918:
how does too much cleaning damage the weapon?


Quite simple, the more you clean, the more you wear down the metals in the gun.


Using the right equipment there is no way you are going to wear down a gun by overcleaning it. The stress of shooting is 1,000,000 more stressfull. This is a fallacy.
Reservist  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 4:37:27 PM EST
I just use Q-tips for the star chamber and bolt carrier group and then I run some cleaning swabs down the barrel. I don't scrub any part of it and I don't use any copper bristle brushes. I clean it until it is about 80% clean and then stop and leave just a little bit of oil and carbon in there. It seems like they run the best with just a little bit left in. I also don't use any solvents the only think I use is Rem-oil or CLP.
Barbara  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 4:43:30 PM EST
Once a year/every five thousand rounds or so. Or if I upgrade parts or take an armorers course or something.
Reservist  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 4:52:33 PM EST


I love the filthy 14 its the perfect example of why "White Glove Inspection" cleaning is completely pointless. At the same time it also proved not cleaning your rifle at least a little is the same as running dirty oil in your car; parts will start breaking down. Your car does need an oil change every now and then, but to use the same analogy when you get your oil changed the mechanics don't pull your oil reservoir out of your car and scrub the interior walls of it with harsh chemicals and wire bristle brushes like crack heads.
Henny  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 4:59:11 PM EST
Ever since the Army reprogrammed me I never let the sun rise or set on a dirty gun. My AR cleaning process is pretty simple. Throw the bolt and bolt carrier in my ultrasonic that's filled with mineral spirits. I then clean the bore with MPro-7 and patches. I lube things up with Slip 2000 or Miltech and sometimes Rem Oil - the ultrasonic makes the bolt and carrier bone dry. I like to keep my ARs on the wet side.
boarklr  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 5:12:55 PM EST
Originally Posted By tatsngats:
Originally Posted By Krinkplinker:
Originally Posted By apierce918:
how does too much cleaning damage the weapon?


Quite simple, the more you clean, the more you wear down the metals in the gun.


Using the right equipment there is no way you are going to wear down a gun by overcleaning it. The stress of shooting is 1,000,000 more stressfull. This is a fallacy.


Do you have a source for this information?
apierce918  [Member]
9/14/2011 5:15:16 PM EST
Originally Posted By Gamma762:
Originally Posted By apierce918:
worrying about excessive wear from cleaning too much is anal retention at its finest

Not really. Many people go wild scraping every last hint of carbon off the bolt, that kind of thing, and actually do end up doing damage.


scraping with what? a grinding stone? who are these people?
53vortec  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 5:21:29 PM EST
When it gets gunky. On average I probably clean every 300-400 rounds, so say every 2-3 range trips. This may be inside a week, or spread out over a few months.

I used to clean guns every time I shot 'em. I got over it.
Lootie23  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 5:24:06 PM EST
Every Fall. Gets really gritty from riding around on my 4 wheeler and truck.
Blacktide  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 5:24:23 PM EST
I clean about once every 1000 rounds.
Krylancelo  [Team Member]
9/14/2011 5:58:57 PM EST

Originally Posted By Gamma762:
Originally Posted By apierce918:
worrying about excessive wear from cleaning too much is anal retention at its finest

Not really. Many people go wild scraping every last hint of carbon off the bolt, that kind of thing, and actually do end up doing damage.

I think things like excessive scrubbing with a non-coated rod, steel brushes, and/or no bore guide can certainly cause damage to the barrel.

However, scraping carbon off the bolt tail? You think that causes serious damage? Why? As long as you don't mess up the bolt rings, it shouldn't make a difference at all one or or another. The bolt tail never touches the inside of the carrier and isn't subject to a whole ton of stress.
SYSTEM  
9/14/2011 6:59:40 PM EST
Topic Moved
Barbara  [Team Member]
9/15/2011 12:35:34 AM EST
I wanted to clarify for the OP..I clean my 5.56 AR pretty much never..and while I don't shoot as much as I used to, I've still put a few thousand rounds down it this year.

HOWEVER..I also shoot a 5.45 version sometimes, and the ammo is super corrosive..last time I neglected to clean it, it got jammed up tight in day. If you re shooting corrosive stuff, clean it as soon as you get home.
Gamma762  [Team Member]
9/15/2011 7:30:53 AM EST
Originally Posted By Krylancelo:
Originally Posted By Gamma762:
Originally Posted By apierce918:

Not really. Many people go wild scraping every last hint of carbon off the bolt, that kind of thing, and actually do end up doing damage.

However, scraping carbon off the bolt tail? You think that causes serious damage? Why?

Because the close fit of the bolt tail to the inside of the bolt carrier forms a gas seal - it's the seal at the other end of the cylinder from where the rings are. Start scratching that up and you not only start ruining the fit between those surfaces but now the combination of rough surface and embedded fouling accelerates wear to the inside surface of the BC, exacerbating the problem.

There are specialty scraping tools marketed just for the AR to do just this sort of thing.

I've also seen abrasive cleaning done to and around the bolt lugs and even inside the bolt face and extractor.
Krylancelo  [Team Member]
9/15/2011 7:47:14 AM EST
Hmmm. I pretty much just use the AR multitasker "cool guy tool" scraper on my bolt tail. I also don't do it a whole ton and I don't scratch things up with it. Seems to work well for that.

As far as spraying CLP into the barrel extension... I cover it multiple times in CLP before using the chamber brush and then wipe it out with cotton swabs. Is that not good enough? It's chrome lined, right? I don't think I have any rust or wear there but if you're supposed to oil it beyond what I'm doing I suppose I could spray some CLP onto a cotton swab and dab it around the chamber star and the barrel extension locking lugs. I also coat my bolt in a lot of lube so it probably gets some run off from that too.
chuck1022  [Member]
9/15/2011 1:31:57 PM EST
My ar I clean every 1000 rounds. My glock ...every 3000 rounds. My 10/22... every 10,000 rounds.
Reservist  [Team Member]
9/15/2011 2:17:38 PM EST

Originally Posted By chuck1022:
My ar I clean every 1000 rounds. My glock ...every 3000 rounds. My 10/22... every 10,000 rounds.

You might want to rethink that. I shoot competitively with a Glock and a 10/22 (USPSA and Steel Challenge) if you want 100% reliability and you don't want your bolt slowly destroying it self you should clean them more often. All both of those guns take is a squirt of CLP and run 5-10 Qtips through the bolts not big deal and it only takes a few minutes.
BillyDoubleU  [Team Member]
9/15/2011 5:43:55 PM EST
CLP/RemOil get sprayed down the barrel after shooting as well as the FCG and BCG (goes for all guns). I eventually wipe them down, run a few patches down the barrel and other parts. Reoil with CLP and there you go.
chuck1022  [Member]
9/15/2011 5:56:46 PM EST
Lol....I was told to clean the 10/22 whenn it started to jam or fte. 10,000 rounds later it jammed a few times...so I cleaned it. Always kept it it lubed....it was a bitch to clean... had to drag it behind my car for a few miles to knock the big chunks off..... the glock is to hard to clean....too many pieces
Indrid-Cold  [Member]
9/18/2011 9:49:42 AM EST
People tend to over clean their weapon when not in combat conditions.
If your AR is going to sit for a month after a day out, even though you only fired a few rounds.........clean it.
Going out again within a week? Skip it and clean as needed.
Generally speaking, just cause it's a dirty filthy bitch inside, does not mean it will malfunction.

When planning to shoot over 1000 rounds, I carry a small airtight capped plastic tube with a
cleaned BCG iswimming in CLP. Any malfunction, FTE, FTF or whatever, I swap out the BCG in seconds.
Dirty BCG goes in the tube where the CLP starts to field clean it. When I finally get around to
a complete cleaning, the dirty BCG usually just needs to be lightly detailed and sprayed with solvent.
48down  [Member]
9/19/2011 10:49:01 AM EST
My thoughts are:

1. you can probably get away with not cleaning the gun much, but the more dirt and grit that is in the weapon the quicker the moving parts will wear out. For most people this probably isnt much of an issue since most people don't shoot enough to make a difference.. I clean my gun every day that I shoot it although that probably isn't totally necessary.

2. there is no way that PROPER cleaning is going to cause any significant wear to a firearm. Sure if you use metal picks and stuff to scrape your gun you could cause damage. Use the proper tools and clean as much as you want. I feel that not cleaning causes more wear by leaving dirt and grit in the weapon than does PROPER cleaning.

Again, just my thoughts.
Rojodiablo  [Member]
9/19/2011 10:05:30 PM EST
Originally Posted By Krinkplinker:
Originally Posted By apierce918:
how does too much cleaning damage the weapon?


Quite simple, the more you clean, the more you wear down the metals in the gun.


Ahh, only with abrasive cleaners. A swipe with a cleaning cloth does no damage, and you could oil and jack that barrel 100 times a day, and all you'd have is an oily barrel with zero rust in it.

The question is not how much you clean, but do you really clean it, or is it just cursory? After 1,000-2,000 rounds, the bolt should come apart and be cleaned. It's 10 minutes of your life, and the innards will last a lot longer with the buildup removed. Extractors, feed ramps, etc. enjoy being clean and they simply perform better in the long run. Old carbon buildup is a grinding paste when left inside to muck things up. Yes, any metal on metal operating parts need to wear in, just like a piston in an engine. But, once seated and all the edges are use-polished??? Slick and smooth, clean is the way to go if you want it to last.
Rojodiablo  [Member]
9/19/2011 10:14:22 PM EST
Originally Posted By Reservist:


I love the filthy 14 its the perfect example of why "White Glove Inspection" cleaning is completely pointless. At the same time it also proved not cleaning your rifle at least a little is the same as running dirty oil in your car; parts will start breaking down. Your car does need an oil change every now and then, but to use the same analogy when you get your oil changed the mechanics don't pull your oil reservoir out of your car and scrub the interior walls of it with harsh chemicals and wire bristle brushes like crack heads.


They sure as hell do on my race bikes. And in NASCAR, every race the motors are torn down to the floor. My father in law works for TRD; used to build their Indy motors. Lemme tell you; you have no idea what lengths they go to to clean an engine. Furthermore, using engine flush properly every 75kcan really save certain motors from costly problems like stuck lifters.......
Now; using the street car analogy; using synthetic oils (High quality) and frequent changes make for better fuel economy. It leases itself to longer engine life. And, it does free up performance, as friction is reduced. If you really want to run the same parts in a rifle for 20, 30 years or more.... clean it well, and lube it well. Especially in a rifle that is meant to cycle ammo at the rate of a semi auto high caliber.
SkagSig40  [Team Member]
9/20/2011 10:51:45 AM EST
Originally Posted By apierce918:
how does too much cleaning damage the weapon?


It dosn't and is a myth thos other keep spreading. What damages weapons is using the wrong tools and techniques.
Gamma762  [Team Member]
9/20/2011 12:08:21 PM EST
Originally Posted By SkagSig40:
Originally Posted By apierce918:
how does too much cleaning damage the weapon?

It dosn't and is a myth thos other keep spreading. What damages weapons is using the wrong tools and techniques.

The two often go together, especially when it's an AR15 type firearm. Overzealousness in combination with all the fallacies leads to things like using a file to remove carbon off the bolt, or a bore brush on a cleaning rod chucked into a power drill and run into the gas tube and/or barrel.

Absolutely nothing wrong with wiping away fouling and applying reasonable and proper lubrication, and if you've done the latter the former is usually trivial.
lonewolf223  [Member]
9/22/2011 4:01:30 PM EST
After every shooting session.

1) Run patch with Hoppe's Benchrest thru bore while still warm.
2 ) Run nylon brush thru bore 5-6 times
3) Run new patch wet with Hoppe's and let sit overnight
4) Remove carrier & bolt from upper and wipe down with
solvent.
5) Use compressed air to blow-off anything lose.
6) Lube with EWL

Next day...

7) Run wet & dry patches thru bore until patches are "pretty clean" (i.e. not 100% sanitary)
8) Clean receiver locking lugs
9) Run mop with Hoppe's Synthetic Gun Oil thru bore
10) Make sure gas rings are "clocked" correctly
11) Lube bolt and firing pin with EWL and reassemble into carrier
12) Lube carrier with EWL and install into upper

I do this and it never gets so ditry that cleaning becomes a big job.

Good luck finding your "routine".....
OneManGang2  [Member]
10/21/2011 10:48:30 AM EST
One aspect that no one in this thread has mentioned yet... Are you talking about the firearm that you would rely on in a self defense situation in your home?

If its just a range gun then I usually inspect it and use my best judgement on when to do a full clean.

If its the gun I would go to when the glass breaks at night, then I clean it after every use, every time.
mcnizzle  [Team Member]
10/22/2011 6:46:31 AM EST
Every gun gets cleaned and lubed after every shooting session. Not white glove clean but clean enough for my standards.
-DesertFox-  [Team Member]
10/26/2011 12:04:17 AM EST
All of mine get cleaned thoroughly after every day at the range. Depending on how many rounds fired, I've give 2-3 more cleanings after that. I tend to hold fairly high standards on weapons cleanliness (not white glove though). But my primary cleaning tool are Q-tips, so the wear is pretty minimal.


Besides, weapons cleaning is theraputic. Well, at least for me, it is.
Camu  [Member]
10/26/2011 2:43:55 AM EST
Originally Posted By Krinkplinker:
Originally Posted By apierce918:
how does too much cleaning damage the weapon?


Quite simple, the more you clean, the more you wear down the metals in the gun.


Especially using hard metal tools to scrape the bolt. The phospated finish on most parts is designed to be porous to absorb oil to prevent corrosion. Wear that off and you now have etched steel. Not near as good at absorbing clp or whatever. Just my two cents...

I'm also of the "go easy on the barrel" crowd. Get a bore guide or use a snake or suffer decreased accuracy. Your call...
SkagSig40  [Team Member]
10/26/2011 9:50:45 AM EST
Originally Posted By Camu:
Originally Posted By Krinkplinker:
Originally Posted By apierce918:
how does too much cleaning damage the weapon?


Quite simple, the more you clean, the more you wear down the metals in the gun.


Especially using hard metal tools to scrape the bolt. The phospated finish on most parts is designed to be porous to absorb oil to prevent corrosion. Wear that off and you now have etched steel. Not near as good at absorbing clp or whatever. Just my two cents...

I'm also of the "go easy on the barrel" crowd. Get a bore guide or use a snake or suffer decreased accuracy. Your call...


You can't wear out anything on a gun by over cleaning it if you use the proper tools and techniques. If you are stupid and keep scrubbing long after the fouling is gone you may wear off the finish but you wont harm the steel. By proper tools I mean coated Dewey Rods, brass core bronze brushes and modern non ammonia cleaners. With a little knowledge and proper tools you can have a "white glove" clean firearm every time with no harm to the gun....and yes, scrub that bore to maintain accuracy!
Camu  [Member]
10/26/2011 1:36:17 PM EST
Originally Posted By SkagSig40:
Originally Posted By Camu:
Originally Posted By Krinkplinker:
Originally Posted By apierce918:
how does too much cleaning damage the weapon?


Quite simple, the more you clean, the more you wear down the metals in the gun.


Especially using hard metal tools to scrape the bolt. The phospated finish on most parts is designed to be porous to absorb oil to prevent corrosion. Wear that off and you now have etched steel. Not near as good at absorbing clp or whatever. Just my two cents...

I'm also of the "go easy on the barrel" crowd. Get a bore guide or use a snake or suffer decreased accuracy. Your call...


You can't wear out anything on a gun by over cleaning it if you use the proper tools and techniques. If you are stupid and keep scrubbing long after the fouling is gone you may wear off the finish but you wont harm the steel. By proper tools I mean coated Dewey Rods, brass core bronze brushes and modern non ammonia cleaners. With a little knowledge and proper tools you can have a "white glove" clean firearm every time with no harm to the gun....and yes, scrub that bore to maintain accuracy!


You go ahead and wear off the finish...just don't try and sell me any of your guns...what is the point of the phosphated finish if you are gonna dig it off?!

Most noobs don't have the "knowledge" and tend to scrape and scrape with dental picks and other such devices. Most noobs cain't afford the good tools at first. So their better off lightly cleaning until they know what they are doing.

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