Congratulations, you have just picked up your new firearm. What do you do now?
Gun salesmen often try and coax buyers to take it out of the box and “break it in” at their indoor firing range. Oh, how the temptation is great. Brand new gun, you are at the range, just when will you have chance to get back there?
Do not give in. There are some very important steps that must be done before you fire your new gun for the first time.
Read the Manual
Take your it, find a quiet spot and pull out the instruction manual. We know, we know it does not sound like what you bought a new gun for, is it? But you can never go wrong with reading the instruction manual. Although difficulty in reading instruction manuals is a real thing, you would need to overcome that in this case. Even if you have owned many firearms, have been through numerous firearm courses, worked in a gun store, or even had firearm training in the military, you MUST always read the instruction manual for a new gun.
The instruction manual will provide important information. Information like safety tips, recommendations for types of ammo and maintenance instructions. All firearms have the same basic components, and it is pretty easy to figure out how they are all similar. However, every firearm also has its own nuances. This is where the instruction manual comes into play.
Here you will learn how to properly disassemble your new gun. It will cover warranty information and how to get your firearm repaired, if necessary.
If you have bought a used firearm, and it did not come with an instruction manual, you can always go to the manufacture’s website and download it, at no cost.
Once you have read the instruction manual you are now one step closer to using your gun.
Clean your gun
Remember that salesman? He probably told you that the gun came from the factory lubed and ready to go. Well, this is not exactly true. There is an indeterminate amount of time from the moment it leaves the assembly line until it reaches your hands. That lube the salesman was referring to is gun grease, not the same as gun oil. The grease is added by the manufacturer to protect it from moisture.
Gun grease is thicker than oil, and not as smooth. The purpose is only to repeal moisture. Another complication is that while gun grease repeals moister it also attracts particulates; dust, grit, lint, etc.
Now, if it is a “new to you” gun, it should still be cleaned. Believe it or not, there are many gun owners who do not properly maintain their guns. Not to say the gun will not function properly, but it may need a good cleaning. On the other side of the coin, gun oil also can attract the previously mentioned particulates. If there are selling their gun, it may be because they do not use it, meaning it has been collecting particulates.
So it is very important that you thoroughly clean and oil your gun before using it for the first time. And the bonus benefit to cleaning your gun first off is that it gives you a chance to become familiar with your new gun. It will also help in your future cleaning sessions, as maintenance of gun is extremely important.
Detailed instructions for breaking down a gun for cleaning are found in the owner’s manual. The owner’s manual should always accompany a gun when sold or traded, so the new owner can learn to operate the firearm safely. If you buy a modern gun without the manual, contact the manufacturer for a copy. For old or discontinued firearms, the internet or gun parts suppliers may have the schematic you need.
Steps in Cleaning a Gun
It would require an encyclopedia to list every step of thoroughly cleaning every firearm model out there, but the following steps apply in general to most guns.
Be certain the gun is unloaded. After the gun is disassembled to the stage recommended by the manufacturer, take a good bore brush, cleaning rod and a good bore cleaner and get started.
Wet the bore brush with the bore cleaner and push it from the breech or rear end of the barrel to the muzzle or front of the barrel. Push all the way through the barrel in one smooth pass until the brush exits the muzzle completely. Then reverse direction. Be certain that the brush exits the barrel with each pass. Do this until the bore is thoroughly scrubbed. Ten passes in and out should be sufficient unless the bore is heavily fouled.
If your particular gun has to be cleaned from muzzle to the breech, exercise great care to avoid damage to the crown of the muzzle. Now that the fouling is loosened, use a cloth patch wet with bore cleaner on your cleaning rod to run through the bore. Again, make complete passes so that the patch exits the barrel completely at each end. You’ll need to change patches as they get dirty. When the bore looks clean, run a dry patch through the bore.
If it comes out clean, put two or three drops of a good quality oil on the patch and wipe the bore several times. Clean and oil the action as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Wipe all metal surfaces lightly with an oil dampened cloth.
Firearms are like any other tool. They must be cleaned and maintained for safe operation. While many guns will operate for years with even poor care, the best accuracy and reliability is obtained with a clean gun.
Now, your new gun is ready to go back to the firing range for that long overdue “break-in”. Here is another bonus: you can bring your own, less expensive ammo with you, instead of buying the much more expensive range ammo. Buying your own ammo gives you more chances of learning more about your gun, too. So, if you don’t have any idea yet about the proper ammo and gear that should accompany your gun, you better start your research. Sites like the Exile Machine and other blogs by gun experts should help you out easily. Happy shooting.