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View Full Version : Complete AR-15 cleaning info here: Ask anything you want!


Solidsnake87
11-24-2006, 12:05 PM
I've seen a lot of ppl with questions about cleaning ARs and I have some Qs of my own. Use this thread to ask anything and to provide complete cleaning info. It would be great if a complete walkthrough could be placed here.

I would personally like to know the following

1.) How do I properly use the bore brush?

2.) How often should the barrel be cleaned (solvent, patched, brushed, oiled) versus just cleaning the chamber?

3.) How many complete brush strokes are needed to clean the barrel or chamber?

4.) Does the chamber guide make a huge difference?

5.) Are there any precautions that need to be taken to clean stainless or non-chromed target barrels?

Thanks all,
Clark

ChrisSig
11-24-2006, 12:16 PM
I'll post: How often should copper solvent be used, how is it applied (patch or brush) and how many passes do you make through the bore with it?

What is the best way to clean the bolt, barrel lugs, and the face of the bolt (which seems to collect brass shavings)?

grywlfbg
11-24-2006, 1:07 PM
I have an answer and a question.

On the subject of copper solvent - from the Maryland AR15 site:
http://groups.msn.com/TheMarylandAR15ShootersSite/tipstricks.msnw

"you should only be using copper remover once every few thousand rounds or so (when accuracy starts going bad)."

And I have a question about CLP. The can I bought from my local gun shop is an aerosol. How do you apply this stuff to patches w/o making a mess? I ended up w/ CLP overspray all over the dining room table (wife wasn't too happy). I'm a long time Hoppes #9 user and now switching to Breakfree but the aerosol thing is messing w/ me. Any tips?

Chris

Omega13device
11-24-2006, 1:17 PM
There should be a little tube that goes into the aerosol spray head. Just like with WD-40.

grywlfbg
11-24-2006, 1:24 PM
There should be a little tube that goes into the aerosol spray head. Just like with WD-40.

There is but it's still super-powerful. Guess I just need to develop a lighter touch. :(

Omega13device
11-24-2006, 1:32 PM
Yeah, I am used to it so I forgot about that. Just think of it like a trigger. :D

Solidsnake87
11-24-2006, 2:09 PM
so can anybody answer these for me?

1.) How do I properly use the bore brush?

2.) How often should the barrel be cleaned (solvent, patched, brushed, oiled) versus just cleaning the chamber?

3.) How many complete brush strokes are needed to clean the barrel or chamber?

4.) Does the chamber guide make a huge difference?

5.) Are there any precautions that need to be taken to clean stainless or non-chromed target barrels?

grywlfbg
11-24-2006, 2:11 PM
Don't need to use the aerosol. The liquid non-aerosol is adequate. I buy Breakfree in pint pump spray bottles--I can also use it to refill any of the smaller containers I own.

So they do make it in non-aerosol containers? Cool. I hate the aerosol can. But I guess I'll suffer through and order the regular kind when I run out. I've gotten used to installing a patch on the rod and dipping it into the chemical - works great for me. Guess I'll have to order the non-aerosol as my local shop only carries the spray stuff.

Thanks for the info.

grammaton76
11-24-2006, 2:18 PM
Ok, I'll bite on the only two questions I've got proper answers for you on.

1.) How do I properly use the bore brush?

Take your cleaning rod. Attach your bore guide to it. Do not use a cleaning rod that does NOT have a bore guide, as it can scratch up the sides of your barrel (particularly if your barrel is non chromed). Then, attach your bore brush.

Run the bore brush down the barrel until you reach the chamber, then pull it back out. Unless your brush is POLYMER or NYLON, then by no means should you ever reverse directions on it before the brush has made it completely out of the barrel on the other side. Doing so can result in scratches or pits in your barrel. You can do it with polymer or nylon, but if your brush is brass (as most are), then don't even think about it.[/quote]

2.) How often should the barrel be cleaned (solvent, patched, brushed, oiled) versus just cleaning the chamber?

3.) How many complete brush strokes are needed to clean the barrel or chamber?

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?

It really depends on how dirty your barrel is. You're really just using the brush to loosen up crud - once you've done that, you run patches through the barrel to pick it up and get it out. The first few patches will be dark, if you've shot it much; subsequent patches will be lighter in color.

It's really up to you, when to stop

five.five-six
11-24-2006, 3:31 PM
3.) How many complete brush strokes are needed to clean the barrel or chamber?


Thanks all,
Clark

well that is like asking how many wipes it takes to be clean after you take a dump, was your last meal mexican, chinees or good old burgers? just keep claning till it is clean

SemiAutoSam
11-24-2006, 4:07 PM
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop ? Oneee Twooo Threee BITE...The world may never know.

3.) How many complete brush strokes are needed to clean the barrel or chamber?Thanks all, Clark


five.five-six ROFLMAO

Solidsnake87
11-24-2006, 4:16 PM
So to clarify, I insert the bore brush into the breach, twist in any direction as long as i don't reverse, and pull the brush out?

Solidsnake87
11-24-2006, 7:43 PM
Ok. So just push it in and out of the bore.

well i'm glad you emphasized not twisting then. Just looking at the fat back portion of the brush it seems to make sense to twist so you brush the gunk inside of the lugs off but I can see how that would ruin things by doing so.

http://img174.imageshack.us/img174/3696/untitledfw0.png

Is the chamber guide for the barrel brush only or the bore brush as well? Cuz the bore brush looks way to fat to fit into those small tubes.

Thanks for the help so far guys!

Is it possible for anybody to take pictures of the bore brush and chamber guide proceedures just to finalize things? All the pics i've seen in these walkthroughs have been hand drawn and are soo small its hard to know precisely what to do with their very short instructions.

SemiAutoSam
11-24-2006, 7:50 PM
I couldn't really tell from the text in your last post so I'm just gonna say it here.

You do realise that that is a chamber brush only right ? As in its not a brush you push all the way thru the bore.

I'm sure you did I just wanted to point it out in case others did not know.

Happy Cleaning


Ok. So just push it in and out of the bore.

well i'm glad you emphasized not twisting then. Just looking at the fat back portion of the brush it seems to make sense to twist so you brush the gunk inside of the lugs off but I can see how that would ruin things by doing so.

http://img174.imageshack.us/img174/3696/untitledfw0.png

Is the chamber guide for the barrel brush only or the bore brush as well? Cuz the bore brush looks way to fat to fit into those small tubes.

Thanks for the help so far guys!

Is it possible for anybody to take pictures of the bore brush and chamber guide procedures just to finalize things? All the pics I've seen in these walkthroughs have been hand drawn and are soo small its hard to know precisely what to do with their very short instructions.

Solidsnake87
11-24-2006, 9:08 PM
wow, ok. Thanks for the clarification guys. I just kept looking at that brush and knew it would do nothing it it was not turned. Thanks!

bwiese
11-24-2006, 9:58 PM
If you have a chrome-lined barrel, do NOT use Hoppe's #9 or copper solvent.

These solvents have ammonia and - if any residue is left for an extended time - can attack the chrome lining.

If for some reason you have to use copper solvent on a chromed bore, scrub the hell out of it afterwards with CLP.

somekevinguy
11-26-2006, 10:07 PM
I bought one of the squirt bottles of CLP and a lot of the CLP kind of dribbles down when I squirt it and it makes a mess. Does this happen to anyone else? Should I just hold patches right on the nozzle and then squirt?

Jon
11-26-2006, 10:57 PM
Any feedback on this Otis Deluxe LE Cleaning System kit:

http://www.otisgun.com/cgistore/store.cgi?page=/new/fcatalog.html&setup=1&cart_id=

My main question is if the cleaning rods can be connected to clean a 16" barrel.

Seems like it would be useful for 'quick' scrub downs between range trips.



Edited for clarity.

C.G.
11-26-2006, 11:27 PM
Any feedback on this Otis kit:

http://www.otisgun.com/cgistore/store.cgi?page=/new/fcatalog.html&setup=1&cart_id=

My main question is if the cleaning rods can be connected to clean a 16" barrel.

Seems like it would be useful for 'quick' scrub downs between range trips.

I use Otis for my rifles and handguns. Works fine for me.

Jon
11-26-2006, 11:52 PM
Sorry, it was for the Deluxe LE Cleaning System. I like the potential of being able to clean a variety of weapons in the field, with this kit.

CrazyJeep
11-27-2006, 11:19 AM
With the chamber brush, it's ok to twist (to clean barrel extension lugs) as it's not going to come into contact with the rifling, right? I bought one, and haven't used it as I've been pretty lucky to get the chamber pretty darn clean with just the bore brush.

xrMike
11-27-2006, 11:35 AM
With the chamber brush, it's ok to twist (to clean barrel extension lugs) as it's not going to come into contact with the rifling, right? I bought one, and haven't used it as I've been pretty lucky to get the chamber pretty darn clean with just the bore brush.No, don't twist your chamber brush either (you probably won't be able to, even if you try). You just push it straight into the chamber and pull it straight out.

If you twist it you will force the larger diameter bristles to bend, and you'll probably have a real hard time re-inserting it into the chamber after that.

Ubergeek
11-27-2006, 11:36 AM
If you have a chrome-lined barrel, do NOT use Hoppe's #9 or copper solvent.

These solvents have ammonia and - if any residue is left for an extended time - can attack the chrome lining.

I was also told that copper solvent might damage the finish on your upper and lower receivers (some of them are sealed with nickel acetate and copper solvent is supposed to be pretty nasty to nickel).

JPglee1
11-27-2006, 11:58 AM
http://www.midwayusa.com/mediasvr.dll/highresimage?saleitemid=455866

Any of you guys use those star-shaped chamber swab things???


JP

xrMike
11-27-2006, 12:12 PM
That's why brushes are replaceable at $3-$6 per brush:rolleyes: I'll typically get at least 20 cleanings out of each brush before they are replaced.

RTFMGood for you!

Next time you're cleaning your chamber and twisting it and ruining your brush, feel free to pat yourself on the back with your other hand. :rolleyes:

blacklisted
11-27-2006, 12:19 PM
No, don't twist your chamber brush either (you probably won't be able to, even if you try). You just push it straight into the chamber and pull it straight out.

If you twist it you will force the larger diameter bristles to bend, and you'll probably have a real hard time re-inserting it into the chamber after that.

I have one of these

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=423606

and it is easy enough to twist. I have cleaned my rifle's chamber (and another rifle) 6-7 times with it, and it still works great. Replacement brushes are only $3.69.

After cleaning the chamber with this, I clean the locking lug area by stuffing it with an oversized (12 gauge) patch and rotating it.

For cleaning the bore, I use a Tipton 1 piece rod (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=342014).

rkt88edmo
11-27-2006, 12:36 PM
Above all: RTFM


Reading is fundamental :p

IMO, the chamber brush is meant to be twisted. :eek:

Don't overclean :D

mailman
11-27-2006, 12:38 PM
TTed, how are vanishing the post count sensei???

xrMike
11-27-2006, 12:59 PM
I have one of these

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=423606
For cleaning the bore, I use a Tipton 1 piece rod (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=342014).That's what I use too! I've been pushing it straight in and pulling it straight out (:D). In fact, the longer diameter bristles fit into the lug recesses so tightly, I didn't think it was even possible to twist the darn thing. I'll have to try that.

The reason I was doing it that way is NOT because I'm a cheapskate who's worried about ruining a $3 brush, but I figured that if you twist it you're going to bend all of those longer diameter bristles, and then they aren't going to do as good a job of cleaning the lug recesses as they do when they are straight (and you use a straight in/out technique).

After cleaning the chamber with a Hoppe's-soaked brush, I also do a final cleanup by soaking up the remaining dirty solvent in the chamber with Q-tips, pushing them in and out until one comes out clean.

About the brush -- maybe I'm just over-thinking things. Wouldn't be the first time. :o

Ted, go take a nap, tiger. Heheh. Maybe you'll have an "actual post" when the board software recognizes a useful one from you?

bwiese
11-27-2006, 1:27 PM
After cleaning the chamber with a Hoppe's-soaked brush, I also do a final cleanup by soaking up the remaining dirty solvent in the chamber with Q-tips, pushing them in and out until one comes out clean.

Hahahah. Maybe you can clean out your gas tube with a pipe cleaner too ;) [#1 cause of gas system obstructions.]

Just don't ask Ted or I to fix your rifle. Brushes are a 'consumable'. Guys too cheap to use them as such often save money buying Model1 uppers as well.


Ted, go take a nap, tiger. Heheh. Maybe you'll have an "actual post" when the board software recognizes a useful one from you?

Ted's posted more quality, valid info about ARs (and helped many folks get theirs running) than you'll ever know. He's a respected member around here.

If you don't know how to clean an AR, RTFM the military M16 manuals. 'Nuff said.

mltrading
11-27-2006, 1:47 PM
Sorry, it was for the Deluxe LE Cleaning System. I like the potential of being able to clean a variety of weapons in the field, with this kit.

It should be enough to handle our self-load 223 rifles. The threads of the attachments are pretty common. You can find proper adaptors easily.

Oh, you might need something extra for gas tube cleaning.

However, personally I am using a Dewey one-piece rubber-coated rod.:)

JPglee1
11-27-2006, 1:49 PM
Oh, you might need something extra for gas tube cleaning.



You will destroy the upper long before you wear out the gas tube...BUT if you're that anal you could replace the tube every 10,000rds or something.

IT is essentially self-cleaning and does NOT need maintence... Even the FM from the army says leave the tube alone.

I spray brake cleaner down it, thats all.


JP

xrMike
11-27-2006, 1:49 PM
Ted's posted more quality, valid info about ARs (and helped many folks get theirs running) than you'll ever know. He's a respected member around here.If you say so.

All I know is, my chamber ends up spotless the way I currently clean it, my brush lasts a lot longer than yours, and when either one of you can shoot as well as I can with open sights, I'll probably pay more attention to your advice regarding shooting and/or cleaning. :D

Edit: And my upper is WOA, btw.

bu-bye
11-27-2006, 1:49 PM
I'll have to side with Ted. Ted has helped me more times then I can remember and is my "Go-To" guy for all my AR questions. He has probably burned through more barrels then we know and has seen just about every problem. I have taken Ted's advice from a while now and he has never pointed me in the wrong direction. Don't let his post count fool you, he has been around longer then any of us.

C.G.
11-27-2006, 1:55 PM
Ted, go take a nap, tiger. Heheh. Maybe you'll have an "actual post" when the board software recognizes a useful one from you?

xrMike, Technical Ted has been here since Calguns v1. At the time that I joined he had over 3,000 posts (I think that was Calguns v3) and all of them of substance. He taught me many things as well as others and he probably forgot more about ARs than you will ever know. On top of that he is a nice guy in person. He has sent stuff to people for free when they lost a detent, for example. Just because he choses to have his number of posts remain at O; well, there is something about don't judge a book by its cover.
Now go take a nap yourself, you are obviously cranky.

xrMike
11-27-2006, 1:56 PM
Okay, fine then, I'll try twisting the damn thing and see if that works any better. :D I don't see what difference it makes, as long as the end result is a nice shiny chamber when you're done.

somekevinguy
11-27-2006, 7:16 PM
0.75 oz or 4 oz bottle? The 4 oz bottle should have come with a small diameter tube that fits in the nozzle. In either case, with or without the tube, you could hold the bottle nozzle down and squeeze...and it doesn't hurt to hold the patch closer to the nozzle.

Like the sign says: our aim is to keep these facilities clean; your aim will help.It's this one. 16 oz It didn't come with a tube. Whenever I pull the trigger it squirts out good but towards the end of stroke it just kinds of dribbles all over the place. It sucks.

http://www.midwayusa.com/mediasvr.dll/highresimage?saleitemid=667637

somekevinguy
11-27-2006, 11:13 PM
Yeah. The 16 oz squeeze bottles don't come with a tube.

Pour some of it into a 2 or 4 oz squeeze bottle. Or get a 4 oz bottle of Breakfree with the extension tube and use the larger to refill the smaller.
http://www.midwayusa.com/mediasvr.dll/highresimage?saleitemid=840573

The smaller bottle is easier to handle and allows for more precise lubricant application.

BTW, Thanks for the support guys :)Yeah that is what I was thinking about doing. I have one of the mini .68 oz sqeeze bottles. Maybe I will get a 4 oz bottle.

PLINK
11-27-2006, 11:30 PM
Ok, I will play. How do you get all of the carbon build up off of the back side of the bolt? Or do you not worry about it? I have tried a few things and want to see what others are doing, if anything.

rkt88edmo
11-28-2006, 12:16 AM
Ok, I will play. How do you get all of the carbon build up off of the back side of the bolt? Or do you not worry about it? I have tried a few things and want to see what others are doing, if anything.

Do nothing - ARs are easy - Lube bolt and shoot :)

JPGLee's post is typical for AR owners "ya, don't need to clean the gas tube - but here is how I clean it" ha ha ha. I clean mine on the outside just because I don't like looking at crud buildup, but since I can't see the inside I leave it alone :p

7.62MM
11-28-2006, 3:18 PM
I know this link is for a M14 / M1A rifle cleaning but it lays it all out for you the number of times ect ...and there is other good info for shooters on his site . Good for Highpower starters

http://www.jarheadtop.com/article_m14.html

blacklisted
11-28-2006, 3:47 PM
Ok, I will play. How do you get all of the carbon build up off of the back side of the bolt? Or do you not worry about it? I have tried a few things and want to see what others are doing, if anything.

I use an old toothbrush.

ChuckG
11-28-2006, 6:59 PM
If you have a chrome-lined barrel, do NOT use Hoppe's #9 or copper solvent.

These solvents have ammonia and - if any residue is left for an extended time - can attack the chrome lining.

If for some reason you have to use copper solvent on a chromed bore, scrub the hell out of it afterwards with CLP.

Bill or anyone else that might know.. what about this product from KG Coatings (http://kgcoatings.com/firearms.html#11) for use on chrome.

From their product description...

""KG-12 was developed to clean the copper fouling from large bore military weapons. KG-12 will provide shooters with a product which will remove the toughest of copper fouling without harming any other metal. Unlike other etching, ammonia based cleaners, KG-12 will not hurt the metal of the bore. There is no need to "neutralize" KG-12 like you do with other Ammonia based products and no need to "get it out quick" like ammonia based enchants. KG-12 contains no ammonia . KG-12 is water based . KG-12 will remove the worst of copper fouling, and it will do it fast. KG-12 contains no synthetics. KG-12 was field tested on howitzers (One Million Dollars each) and other large bore guns with outstanding results.When used in conjunction with KG-2, KG-3 and KG-4 you will find no better cleaning system on the market. In general you can call KG-12 the Million Dollar Gun Cleaner!""

JPglee1
11-28-2006, 7:23 PM
Ok, I will play. How do you get all of the carbon build up off of the back side of the bolt? Or do you not worry about it? I have tried a few things and want to see what others are doing, if anything.

Dental pick, plastic scraper and preventive maintenance. Don't let it build up to begin with. Attack that area after EVERY shooting session.

Keep it well lubed and it will prevent carbon build-up as much as is possible.


JP

ChuckG
11-29-2006, 8:14 AM
I use it and it does a great job of removing copper from the bore without permeating the air with an annoying odor. Important if you live in a condo that doesn't have separate garage for a workspace.

I use a parker-hale or pointed jag instead of a patch loop and flush the bore with brake cleaner.

I use their KG-1 carbon remover as well. Once it cuts through the carbon layers it does remove copper (indicated by the blue on patches), which means I have to use the copper remover less frequently.

Thanks for your thoughts.. I had read that these were quality products. Still I felt compelled to verify there use on my chrome barrel. And you're absolutely right about the KG-1.. I have seen traces of easter egg blue on my cleaning pellets too.

xrMike
11-29-2006, 9:29 AM
This has been known to Army armorers for years. Even simple green has addressed the problem with a formula specifically designed for use on aircraft.
http://www.aviationtoday.com/am/categories/maintenance/655.htmlSG has two kinds of "extreme" cleaners. One is a retail product you can get from Sams and other places. The other is "Extreme Aircraft Cleaner", which is almost $20 per gallon and not available in the retail marketplace (I've never seen it on the shelf, anyway).

The only reason I know this is because I frequent a few dirt-biking websites, and that's where I found out you can get a free sample of the "Extreme Aircraft" version by going here:

https://secure.simplegreen.com/extreme_sample/ind_prod_ext_form.php

and filling out the on-line form. (You can "fake" the info re: your business, phone number, etc., but give them a real address to send the sample to).

They sent me and hundreds of other dirtbikers a free 1-quart spray bottle of the aircraft version. I've never used it on gun parts, but it works GREAT on the aluminum-cased motor of my bike. I dilute it 1:2 or 1:3.

EDIT: If they're still giving out free samples, it may take 1-2 months before you actually get it in the mail.