Whatever type of shooting you’re into its your shotgun which is your most prized possession in the equipment list. To keep it running smoothly and working at its best it needs to be well cared for and maintained regularly. This is most important if you store it during the off season and of course to keep it safe when in use. Below we are going to cover 7 shotgun cleaning and maintenance tips to hopefully extend the life of your shotgun.
Our tips for Shotgun Cleaning and Maintenance
Never avoid the cleaning of your shotgun
It may be very tempting to just stick your gun in its case after a day’s shooting or just put it up in the cabinet for next season. All this is very easy to do but cleaning your shotgun is perhaps the most important aspect of gun maintenance. Giving it a good clean means that it can then be kept in good condition and preserve its pin-point accuracy and remain rust-free whilst in storage. You can however have your gunsmith clean it for you or you can get stuck in and make the effort.
Storing your gun
Making sure you store your gun muzzle down after giving it a good clean will ensure that any excess oil and cleaning fluid will run on to the floor of the cabinet instead of back into the chamber, the mechanism and eventually seeping into the wood of the gunstock. This will cause serious damage to your wood and can sometimes be irreversible.
Be careful of storing your Shotgun in a gun slip
Be wary of keeping your shotgun in its slip for long periods of time. Its best to take it out and keep it in your secured cabinet to keep it secure and give it some air.
Look after your Chokes
The screw-in chokes for a shotgun are very common and it is extremely important that you maintain them properly and keep them in their choke tubes when you can. If you leave them in place for long periods of time without cleaning them then you may find it hard extracting them! So be sure to to take them out regularly with the choke key, remove all the old lubricant, dry them and then lightly grease before refitting.
If your Shotgun gets wet
When you have been caught out by the wonderful UK downpours and your gun is soaking wet it is important to wipe it down with a small towel and keep it out of your slip during the journey home as the wool lining of the gun slip can act as a sponge and the warmth of your car can be the perfect environment for rust to set in. Once home don’t be tempted to speed up the drying process by placing the gun near a radiator or fire as this will cause the stock to dry out rapidly and crack. Instead, dismantle the gun, give it a once over with a dry cloth and leave it to dry slowly in a warm room.
Keeping the shine
As time goes by you may notice that the shine on your stock has become dull, but the good news is it’s easy enough to recapture its shine. However, if your gun was finished by a varnish in the factory, there’s no need to use any oil. Just some hard-wax polish and use a decent amount of elbow grease to regain that shine.
If the gun stock was oil-finished, take a trip to your gunsmith and ask them their advice on which brand of oil they’d recommend. They can also offer you some advice on how to achieve the best finish with the chosen oil. Your gun will look as good as new in no time.
Watch out for bulges or anything out of the ordinary
If you notice any dark rings starting to appear down your guns barrel then you be recommended to take it to the nearest gunsmith as soon as possible as this could be a sign of barrel bulges. If the gunsmith gives the gun a clean bill of health it is wise to get them to give the barrel bores a good polish using a bronze brush. After that make sure to continue cleaning the barrels after every shoot with a clean cloth and a cleaning rod to prevent any further worries.
Its often quite easy to forget about shotgun cleaning and maintenance when returning home, however, just a few minutes of TLC can make a huge difference to the life and longevity of your firearm.
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