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After the fun of shooting comes the drudgery of cleaning one's guns. For this purpose most shooters acquire a cleaning kit. If you are starting out, the basics can be acquired as a package deal, the kit from Outers being typical. Cleaning kits typically include a three section aluminum cleaning rod of appropriate diameter for the caliber purchased (one section if it is a pistol cleaning kit), two tips to hold patches, cloth cleaning patches, a bore brush, a bottle of liquid powder solvent, and a bottle of gun oil. Some kits include a small tube of gun grease, and if it is a shotgun cleaning kit it usually includes a bore swab. To use one of these kits, merely follow the directions that come with the cleaning kit.
After purchasing the basic kit, you will need to add patches, tips, and brushes in all the calibers for which you own guns. You may also need to purchase additional cleaning rods. Cleaning rods are generally available in appropriate diameters for .17 caliber rifles and pistols, .22 rifles and pistols, centerfire rifles and pistols, and shotguns. Some shooters prefer to purchase one-piece steel cleaning rods, which are better but more expensive and less portable than the jointed aluminum kind.
In addition to the basic cleaning kit I recommend the purchase of a silicone cloth. This is used to wipe fingerprints off the gun after handling and replaces the traditional oily rag. Silicon cloths are excellent protection against "rust prints."
There are also silicon-based sprays for external use on firearms (which are then wiped down). I have never used silicon sprays myself, but those that do report favorably on them.
Prolix total gun care product is a proprietary cleaner, lubricant, and preservative that can replace both traditional powder solvent and gun oil. I use Prolix on all of my handguns. It comes in 16 ounce plastic bottles with "trigger squeeze" tops, or bulk jugs. Prolix is a one step gun cleaner that will not harm wooden grips, but you should test it on plastics before use. (It does not attack the polymer used in Glock pistols.) I first read about Prolix in Peter Kasler's book GLOCK: The new Wave in Combat Handguns. Prolix is the chosen cleaning product of Glock armorers. It contains industrial grade solvents that penetrate and remove fouling.
I spray Prolix down the barrel and through the cylinder chambers to remove fouling, let it sit for a short time, and clean the gun as I would if using a normal powder solvent. Prolix is the only cleaner/lubricant I will spray into an action. After cleaning, wipe off all the Prolix you can. Prolix has a dry solid lubricant/protectant base that leaves a residue at the molecular level on gun parts that is very long lasting. It completely eliminates the use of gun oil.
An accessory I use to clean my rifle and shotgun barrels is the "Bore Snake." This is a Hoppe's product that pretty much replaces the tiresome chore of running patch after patch through the bore. It is a synthetic cord several feet long and slightly larger than the bore size for which it is intended. At the front of the Bore Snake is the first floss area, designed to remove foreign particles prior to the scrubbing action of the brush. A bore brush is embedded in the next couple of inches of the cord to loosen hard deposits. The rest of the Bore Snake is the main floss, with 160 times more surface area than an ordinary patch. A length of small diameter cord, considerably smaller than the bore size, is attached to the leading end of the Bore Snake; it has a skinny brass weight at its tip.
When I use a Bore Snake I generally saturate the first floss area with Hoppe's #9 bore solvent. Then I drop the Bore Snake's brass weight into the breech of the gun and let it carry the small diameter cord through the barrel and out the muzzle. Next I grab the cord and s"
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