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7 Tips for Gun Care Before and After Your Next Hunt

What’s your routine for keeping your gun in good shape between hunts? It’s not enough to clean your gun every now and then if you want to get consistent performance and a long life out of it. Regular maintenance is simple once you get into the habit, and should include regular servicing before and after a hunt. Here’s what you should know:

1. Semi-Automatics Need More Frequent Cleanings

Did you know that you can’t clean a semi-automatic on the same schedule as other guns? Simply put, semi-automatics have more moving parts, which means more surfaces to collect debris. Whether you are hunting quails on a ranch in the afternoon or doing a 3-day long hog hunting trip in Oklahoma, if you use a semi-automatic, you should consider cleaning your barrel after every shot and fully clean your gun when you’re packed in for the night.

2. Adjust Your Cleaning Schedule to the Weather

Clean more often in rainy seasons: hunting in a monsoon is the right time to break down your gun completely after every hunt. Moisture is not your gun’s friend. Left alone, moisture in your gun’s inner workings can cause permanent damage, including pitting and rusting.

Even if you carry your rifle out into the woods during a rainy day and don’t shoot at anything, your gun has still collected moisture and needs cleaned accordingly. The same holds true of hunting in the snow, fog, or humidity.

3. Oil Your Gun After Each Hunt

Regular oiling is a necessary part of gun ownership. You should lubricate your guns each time you clean them, which helps minimize the damage and wear-and-tear that comes with regular use.

The parts that are most important to oil regularly include:

  • Barrel

  • Slide

  • Guide rod

  • Magazine

Basically, all of the parts that get the heaviest use also require the most regular lubrication schedules.

4. Lubricate With the Right Products

Use synthetic lubricants instead of run-of-the-mill oil. These lubricants are formulated to repel dust and help keep your weapon cleaner for longer. They’re also designed specifically for use with guns, unlike products like WD-40.

Synthetic blends also have the benefit of being more environmentally friendly, which can be a bonus to green-minded hunters.

5. Always Clean These Areas

Be SURE to clean any areas where your fingers may have touched the metal… oils and salts from our skin do the most damage to metal, even if it’s stainless steel. Over time, repeated touches from our fingers can cause rust and pitting, just like excess moisture from rainy hunts.

Hold your gun as if you’re going to fire it (unloaded and safety-locked, please), and notice where your fingers come into contact with metal. If your hand is touching something, then it needs wiped down and oiled.

Some external places you need to clean include:

  • Grip

  • Muzzle

  • Trigger

  • Slide

  • Magazine release

  • Take-down lever

6. Dry Your Gun Thoroughly Every Time

Say it with us: Never put away a wet gun. If your gun has moisture inside it, take it apart. If it has moisture on the outside, then lay it out where it can dry thoroughly. It should never go into a case, rack, or another enclosed area with moisture anywhere on it.

We’ve already talked about the consequences of letting water and metal intermingle for too long on your weapon, so we won’t say it again. Just make sure your gun is dry before putting it away every single time.

7. Hunt With a Fouled Bore

Consider leaving the bore fouled, even when you’re cleaning the rest of the gun, if you have an imminent hunt. A clean bore can affect accuracy negatively, according to anecdotal evidence, so it makes sense to save cleaning the bore for a day at the end of the season. Regardless, still make sure that your bore is dry at the end of each hunt.

Get a Longer Lifespan Out of Your Gun With Proper Cleaning

From drying your gun before putting it away to cleaning your semi-automatic more often, it’s simple to make a few changes to your gun care routine and extend its lifespan considerably. Take better care of your gun, and you’ll enjoy better hunts with better accuracy.

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