How to Clean a Rifle – An Ultimate Guide for Cleaning a Rifle


All mechanical devices need proper care and maintenance every now and then. Likewise, firearms also require the same attention if you want the best performance at all times. Maintaining a rifle is very important regardless of its cost, age, or even the action type. We will discuss the importance of cleaning your rifle and how often you should do so. Learning how to clean a rifle will guarantee its accuracy and good performance. In this article, we will detail everything you need to know about cleaning a rifle.

How to clean a rifle

What you will need to clean your rifle

Before we get into details on how to clean a 22 rifle, you need the right cleaning tools and items. Let’s check out what you will need.

Rifle Cleaning rod

You will need the best caliber copper wire brushes to clean the bore. Also, you can purchase a four-piece aluminum rifle cleaning rod which you can break down easily for easy transportation and storage.


You will find quite a number of rifle cleaning solvents on the market. We suggest you review some of them and then choose the best. However, if you feel that it is a lot of work then you can try Hoppe’s number 9 which can help you to clean gunpowder. You can turn it up with Hoppe’s bench-rest copper solvent, Montana extreme copper killer for cleaning the barrel fouling. Remember you can always choose a solvent of your choice.

Rifle cleaning patches

We suggest you go for cloth patches because they are affordable. Get some for the caliber rifle you own.

Here you can check out the price of rifle cleaning patches in here.

Rifle holder

Look for vice or anything that can hold the rifle in place as you clean it. Whatever you select should be able to hold the gun securely and safely.

Lubricator or rust protector

Also, need gun oil such as Remoil, ballistol multi-purpose oil, among others. This will be used as a Finishing Touch once you’re done cleaning.


You will need some tools which you can use to disassemble your gun and later put it back. Although some rifles require special tools for this they may not be necessary and you can use the normal tools. You will also need to have a guide that shows you how you can disassemble the rifle. It will have instructions on how you can remove all the parts and then put them back. If your rifle didn’t come with this manual guide you can buy one at any gun store.

You can check the price for various rifle cleaning kit here in accordance with your demand and budget .

A place to work

You will need a well-ventilated special area to claim from. This is because the solvents are toxic to breathe. Always be careful as you clean the rifle and ensure that you wear protective gear. Remember before you start anything the rifle you are going to clean should be unloaded.

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How to Clean a Rifle

Cleaning a rifle is essential for a god performance and durable use. The following are some effective tips on how to clean a semi auto rifle.

Step 1.  Unload the rifle

The first and most important thing you should do before anything else. Check the chamber to see that there is no bullet loaded. Take out the magazine as well. Do not assume anything otherwise, you may end up injuring yourself or anybody near you at that moment. It will take you less than 20 minutes to unload your gun so make sure you do it.

Step 2. Disassemble the rifle

When cleaning a rifle, have to take the rifle parts apart. Unless you are doing some quick cleaning then you can take apart some few parts. When un-mounting the scope just unscrew the bolt on the base.

Step 3. Inspect the inner part

Check to see that there is nothing out of place when you take apart the different parts of the rifle. After, take a cloth and wipe the dust off. Since you are using some toxic chemicals to clean the rifle we suggest you put a towel under the parts of the rifle you are going to clean. This can help to keep the solvent from spinning to other things.

Step 4. Clean the barrel

Cleaning a rifle barrel will require a cleaning patch and cleaning Rod. Place the patch into the jib at the end of the cleaning rod. Once it is secure on it soak it in the solvent.

When you get enough solvent onto the patch, slide the rod into the muzzle and then push it until it reaches the barrel of the rifle. Leave the patch to soak the barrel and then get a brush to scrub the inside of the barrel. Remove the copper brush and then return the rod into the barrel with the patch until it comes out from the receiver. When the patch pokes out of the receiver, remove it and then pull out the rod without the patch. When you pull the rod with the patch, it will put back that dirt it had collected from the barrel.

Continue the same process until you see that the barrel is clean. You can tell from the last patch or by looking down the barrel. Now you know how to clean a rifle barrel.

Step 5. Clean the Bolt

Inspect the bolt and see that it is in good condition. Now soak a cloth in solvent and then wipe it thoroughly. Understanding how to clean your rifle bolt is easy and quick. Once you are sure it is clean you can reapply oil on it and then wait to put it back into the receiver once you’re done cleaning the rifle.

Step 6. Clean other metal parts

Soak a cloth in solvent and use it to wipe the other metal parts of the rifle. Wipe the magazine box in and out thoroughly, do the same for the trigger guard and all the other parts. Once you are done wiping them with the solvent you can now get a fresh cloth or paper towel to wipe off the solvent.

Step 7. Wipe the stock

Although the Stock won’t require much attention you can still wipe off the oils or solvent.

Step 8. Apply Lubrication or rust preventer

Wipe the metal parts with the oil or any rust preventer. Remember you can only spray oil onto a paper towel and then wipe the parts. When you spray oil directly it will end up going to places it shouldn’t.

Step 9. Reassemble the rifle

Once you clean everything you can you put the parts back together. Putting it back should be easy using the manual guide. When you succeed in reassembling it, you can then dry test it. Here you can dry fire the gun to see that you have put everything back safely and correctly.

In case you are not going to be using it immediately, store it in a gun safe. Place the cleaning items also in a safe place that cannot be reached by kids. Once you clear the working area you can now also clean yourself up.

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How to clean a lever-action rifle

Since lever-action rifles are a little different from other rifles below will show you how to clean a lever-action rifle.

Step 1. Unload the gun

The receiver, lever, bolt, and ejector. Open the lever a little and then remove all the lever’s screws. After, pull out the receiver bolt from the receiver. You will see that the ejector will be left to loose inside.

Step 2. Soak the bore with solvent

Use a bore mop or a bag of the right size and place a cleaning patch on it. Place the jag with a patch into the bore and leave the solvent to soak the bore for a few minutes.

Step 3. Brush the bore to loosen fouling

After soaking the bore, remove the jag and then insert the right wire brush into the bore. Brush the bore and then pull out the patch. Repeat the process until you see the last patch is clean.

Step 4. Dry the bore

Once you finish scrubbing the bore, use a dry patch and jag to dry it. Continue drying it with different until you are satisfied that the bore is clean.

Step 5. Lubricate the bore

When the bore is clean and dry, it is vulnerable to rust. Use a clean dry patch and spray it with oil and push it down the bore. Do not put too much oil on the Perch as some may drip to other places.

Step 6. Wipe the receiver

Although it won’t get very dirty you will still need to wipe it to remove even the dust. Wipe the bolt as well as the lever and put some grease on the bolt.

Step 7. Put back the lever and the receiver

Reassemble the rifle to its original state. Back the ejector, bolt, lever, and receiver.

Step 8. Do light oiling on the whole rifle

Apply a little gun oil on the entire rifle. Doing this will prevent gun parts from rusting.

Why it is important to clean your rifle

Since you have learnt how to clean a gun let’s show you why it is important.

Cleaning your gun regularly can help to maintain the performance and accuracy of the rifle. This is the basic answer anyone will give you.

Also if you use your rifle regularly, it will have grime, residue, dirt and gunpowder building up in all the parts. Cleaning will prevent the chances of these affecting the normal functioning of the gun.

Furthermore, it will ensure proper bolt functioning. When your bolt is functioning well, you will always have shots which will be on target.

You will do away with problems of jamming. Proper cleaning and lubrication will eliminate the annoying issues of jamming. Sometimes when your loaded gun jams, it can be dangerous to be with even when it is on safety. It can end up firing when you least expected it and you can get injured or someone else might.

It also prevents rusting and improper cycling of rounds. Therefore, regular cleaning is a must for every gun.

When to clean your rifle?

Some people always wonder when the right time they should clean their rifles is. Cleaning a rifle will entirely depend on one person to another. There is no specific schedule that we can give you to have your rifle cleaned. However, there are things you can do to know when it’s time to clean the rifle.

You can choose to clean your rifle after 100 if you are a bench rest shooter. Also, you can choose to do a regular inspection to know when to clean the rifle. Look at the different parts of the gun and see if they look dirty. Doing this will alert you on when the rifle needs to be cleaned.

If you are a regular cleaner, you won’t need to clean your gun with a copper brush. You can always use cleaning patches to wipe the different parts. Also, learn the environment you should from. Humid or soggy environments need you to be cleaning your gun regularly for proper functioning. Likewise, if you do not shoot from such areas then you won’t have to do regular cleaning.


That is everything about how to clean a rifle. How often you choose to clean your rifle will depend on how often you use the gun. Regular maintenance will not only ensure proper functioning and accuracy, but it will also save you from embarrassment when you go to the shooting grounds. Whether you need information on how to clean a bolt action rifle or any other rifle (except nerf sniper rifle off course), I believe the above tips will help you. If you find that cleaning regularly is a pain, then do so after a while provided that you still get it done and you do not use your gun regularly. The cleaning process of a gun is general for most types of Guns, therefore, endeavor to follow the steps above to ensure proper maintenance. Lastly, when you are going to clean your rifle, ensure that you wear all the necessary protective gear to protect you from the chemicals you will be using in the cleaning process. We hope this guide was helpful if you are going to be cleaning your rifle for the first time. Remember to stay safe.

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