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  #1  
Old 05-14-2019, 4:53 PM
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Nasty Nate Nasty Nate is offline
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Lightbulb SA 1911 Cleaning and Maintenance Tools and Schedule

Until a few months ago I was always shooting with my brother-in-law who is a former SEAL. He would take point on cleaning and maintaining my guns, and I was more than happy to let him since he already had all the equipment and loved doing it. Well unfortunately for me, he and my sister divorced and it wasn't pretty. So now we don't go shooting anymore

Sob stories aside I now find myself totally inept at caring for my guns. I have tried looking around the interwebs for a straightforward, reasonable guide on what I need to purchase in order to maintain them but keep finding tons of conflicting advice or model/usage specific recommendations. I'm hoping to get a little clearer picture from you fine folks once I paint a clear picture of my situation. Hopefully this can then also be useful to others who find themselves in my position.

So here's the deal:
The extent of my background on gun maintenance is knowing the names of the major components. The gun I use most often is a SA 1911 45ACP. I try to take it out about once every month or so, and put around 50-100 rounds through.

On the argument of products, I understand that motor oil is likely "good enough" but as an engineer I much prefer using tools that are optimized for their job. I also would much prefer to spend a little extra money upfront if it results in less time/labor (i.e. the product lasts longer or requires less cleanup).

Here are some of my more basic questions. Many of these I thought I knew the answers to until I read something conflicting/confusing, so now I don't know what to believe.
  • Do I need both bore brushes and a bore snake?
  • Are nylon brushes better than bronze?
  • What tools are needed to field strip for cleaning?
  • What tools aren't necessary, but are very useful to have?
  • Do I need both degreaser and solvent?
  • What are "patches" for?
  • What's the difference between grease, lube, and oil in this context (In my profession these are basically synonyms...)?
  • If I use a CLP do I also need oil?
  • Is just scrubbing/wiping out the barrel after going to the range enough for "daily" maintenance?
  • How often should I field strip and clean/re-lube?
  • Which components actually require regular cleaning?
  • Why are people using so much lube on the exterior of their guns?
  • What cleaners/lubricants (if any) are not advisable for longer term storage (say 6 months to a year)?
  • Are there any incompatibilities between products brands/types that I should be aware of?

I would love if someone could list out a basic "kit" of supplies I actually need, as well as some recommended additions. In addition to that, a maintenance schedule based on the usage I described would be quite useful.

Last edited by Nasty Nate; 05-14-2019 at 5:07 PM..
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  #2  
Old 05-14-2019, 5:18 PM
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By chance, have you read the owner's manual specific to your gun(s) make and model? I'd say about half your questions can be answered by starting there. If you don't have the hardcopy manual(s), they can typically be downloaded from the manufacturer's website.

Other than that, the questions to some of the other questions boil down to personal preference. A cleaning kit (basic to extensive) can be purchased to suit your needs, from just about any firearms retailer and beyond (Amazon, Walmart).....just a matter of what you want to spend. Start with a basic kit if you're not sure ($20+/-). Other than that, there's nothing wrong with experimenting with different products. That's how you find out what suits you. You stated the "interwebs" returned "conflicting advice" on the topic. Well, you are still on the interweb, my man. Expect the same here. But, it's not "conflicting"....it's opinion/preference.

Keep it simple. Don't over think it. Don't make it more difficult than it is. You've conducted the research....make a decision....and get to cleaning. It should be fun, not a chore.

Good Luck! (But you shouldn't need it)

Last edited by still919; 05-14-2019 at 5:30 PM..
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  #3  
Old 05-14-2019, 5:59 PM
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I clean according to use, daily is just a wipe down if not fired edc for cc, full clean about once a quarter, plastic brushes, limit use of copper brushes especially when cleaning bore

and as stated what manufacturer states, plus I like what's in the Otis gun cleaning kits for field use and home version is close in size

Last edited by inyocountymark; 05-14-2019 at 6:02 PM..
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Old 05-14-2019, 6:17 PM
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You are seriously overthinking this. Learn how to field strip a 1911, there are probably a million youtube videos on it.

Any standard cleaning kit will work and get a few decent bore brushes, they do wear out. Don't freak out about what oil or cleaning product to use. Hoppes, Break Free CLP, Ballistol they all work.

Bore Cleaner, brush it several times, once a dry patch comes out clean looking, call it good. Oil a patch, run it down the bore. Grease the rails...And get a oily rag to wipe down the outside.

DON'T OVERTHINK THIS!

If you want to know what I use, I prefer Dewey and Tipton Rods, whatever brushes I can find on sale, Ballistol & Kroil, Shooters Choice Grease. Somebody else has their preferences, and that's just fine and dandy! You are likely to get a multitude of opinions on "what is best" - Do what works for YOU.

It's not rocket surgery.
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Last edited by Air; 05-14-2019 at 6:20 PM..
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  #5  
Old 05-14-2019, 6:59 PM
AlHO1966 AlHO1966 is offline
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Clean when it’s dirty or when function becomes an issue.

Good gun cleaning solvent, I use M-pro 7
Good gun oil, I use mil-Tec
Some patches, a good Dewey rod and jag for your caliber and some bore brushes and rags will get you started.

I don’t use a bore snake on anything. You’re going to get 100 different opinions on products to use and how to clean it. The 1911 is easy to clean don’t over think it. It’s not rocket surgery, there are plenty of videos showing how to field strip and fully disassemble the gun.
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  #6  
Old 05-14-2019, 7:50 PM
newbie1234 newbie1234 is offline
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I learn to clean gun in service, the instructor sergeant shown us how clean the gun step by step and what tool is needed. So what you need to have a shooting friend/a buddy/a Calgunner/ somebody show you how to clean your gun step by step right in front of your eyes , just one time then you will become a pro after that.
I had clean all my guns for more than 40 years and your question lists make me even more confused , I may used only less than half of what on your question list .
The process is very simple do not confused yourself man. There was six months time frame that I clean my service rifle with a piece of cloth 3"X3", one shoelace from my boot and couple drop of kerosene and my service rifle shoot like a champ.

Last edited by newbie1234; 05-14-2019 at 8:04 PM..
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  #7  
Old 05-14-2019, 8:09 PM
ErikC12 ErikC12 is online now
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The 1911 is arguably the easiest pistol in existence to maintain, whether you're doing a quick after-range wipedown or stripping every component from each other for an annual deep clean.
Your best bet to start is a cheap pistol cleaning kit from literally anywhere. It will run under $20 and will have everything you need for a few cleanings, then you can start expermenting with one thing at a time as you resupply. Different patches, oils, etc. I find that copper brushes are too aggressive for guns that are cleaned regularly, so I stick to nylom most of the time and save the copper for when I get a gun that's been neglected. Aside from that, just find a 1911 instructional guide or video and give it a go. You'll find it's very simple. Best of luck.
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Old 05-14-2019, 8:15 PM
mtenenhaus mtenenhaus is offline
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Here's some things i keep in my regular 1911 cleaning kit, in addition to paper towels. Many would also advocate light gloves and eye protection.
Hope this helps.

I prefer this type of non marring bushing wrench as it helps control the recoil spring cap:
https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...prod54827.aspx

I alternate using a bronze bore brush with a polymer bore brush depending upon how dirty the bore is.

i use these swabs for a very simple cleaning: https://www.brownells.com/gun-cleani...prod54102.aspx

if the bore is dirtier then i use a bronze brush: https://www.brownells.com/gun-cleani...prod25919.aspx

I know it sounds funny but i keep a chopstick in my cleaning kit, it helps me to push the slide lock through. I also often wrap it with some paper towel and use it to clean the mag well area and some of the nooks and crevices in the slide etc. moistened with a little clp.


I use a rotating handle bore cleaning rod: https://www.brownells.com/gun-cleani....aspx?psize=96

i also keep a tooth brush in my kit along with some CLR that i use all over the different areas of the pistol as needed: https://www.brownells.com/gun-cleani...-prod1683.aspx

I also like to use a light coating of grease onto which i put a couple of drops of gun oil ….personal preference i guess. https://www.brownells.com/gun-cleani...OIL%2bPRODUCTS

I live in a coastal area so if i'm storing (not planning to use) the pistol for a while i have an old piece of sheepskin maybe 4 in x 4 in that i keep moistened with RIG grease and lightly coat the metal surfaces.

I live in San Diego and happy to help you if you're interested. It isn't hard to do. You might want to review a couple of youtube videos so you don't inflict a common scratch near the trigger guard some term an "idiot scratch"

Last edited by mtenenhaus; 05-14-2019 at 8:36 PM..
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  #9  
Old 05-14-2019, 8:30 PM
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Chapped Hide Chapped Hide is offline
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You are going to get tons of conflicting advice here too

Forgot my advice: use lots of frog lube
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Last edited by Chapped Hide; 05-14-2019 at 8:36 PM..
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Old 05-14-2019, 8:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nasty Nate View Post

On the argument of products, I understand that motor oil is likely "good enough" but as an engineer I much prefer using tools that are optimized for their job. I also would much prefer to spend a little extra money upfront if it results in less time/labor (i.e. the product lasts longer or requires less cleanup).
Here is a good article on lubrication. There is no need to spend a fortune on special formulation gun oil.

http://www.grantcunningham.com/2006/05/lubrication-101/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nasty Nate View Post
  • Do I need both bore brushes and a bore snake?
    No.
  • Are nylon brushes better than bronze?
    No.
  • What tools are needed to field strip for cleaning?
    A small punch if you want to pull the extractor and clean it out. The hardest part will be putting the slide stop back in, the best tool with this is a guitar pick or a piece of plastic of similar thickness.
  • What tools aren't necessary, but are very useful to have?
    Tweezers if you are going to do a detail strip (to put the sear / connector back)
  • Do I need both degreaser and solvent?
    No, solvent like Hoppes 9 is all you need.
  • What are "patches" for?
    To clean the gunk out of the inside of the barrel.
  • What's the difference between grease, lube, and oil in this context (In my profession these are basically synonyms...)?
    Personal preference. See the article I linked above.
  • If I use a CLP do I also need oil?
    Personal preference. See the article I linked above.
  • Is just scrubbing/wiping out the barrel after going to the range enough for "daily" maintenance?
    Yes
  • How often should I field strip and clean/re-lube?
    500 rounds or so. If it is a parkerized Loaded you should consider wiping the gun down with a bit of oil before you put it back in the safe.
  • Which components actually require regular cleaning?
    The feed ramp, breach face/extractor, and the chamber
  • Why are people using so much lube on the exterior of their guns?
    Afraid of surface rust. Some people have sweat that can cause rust pretty fast.
  • What cleaners/lubricants (if any) are not advisable for longer term storage (say 6 months to a year)?
    Stay away from Frog Lube
  • Are there any incompatibilities between products brands/types that I should be aware of?

I would love if someone could list out a basic "kit" of supplies I actually need, as well as some recommended additions. In addition to that, a maintenance schedule based on the usage I described would be quite useful.
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  #11  
Old 05-14-2019, 9:29 PM
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In addition to everything that’s been suggested I have Q-tips in my cleaning bag. I make cleaning a part of my day at the range. When I finish and go home, I immediately disassemble/field strip and clean each gun. Walmart has a pretty good gun cleaning kit for about $34. It has everything you’ll ever need. I also purchase patches in bulk as I use a lot of them.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:15 PM
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Can't believe nobody has posted a video.

This guy is competent and shoots a lot. I use his cleaning videos as examples for any firearms I'm trying to clean.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVG-TjClfP4

If you don't want to click that link, here is his channel and you can search there. Or you can type it in by hand, whatever.

https://www.youtube.com/user/Mrgunsngear

For me, it's cut up old white tshirts and CLP for everything, bore snakes are quick and easy, cleaning rods are a bit more hassle but also work quite well.

Last edited by tehDiceman; 05-15-2019 at 12:17 PM..
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Old 05-15-2019, 1:17 PM
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I use an old bamboo chop stick as a cleaning rod and pieces of cloth from old t-shirts to clean the bore

a round wooden tooth pick works well as a guide pin to hold the sear & disconnector together during reassembly

an old tooth brush works as a cleaning brush

Hoppes bore solvent for the bore, and LUCAS gun oil for lube

WALMART has a cleaning kit for the .45 caliber pistol with brass cleaning rod and bore brush, jags, bore mop for around $9.97

I recommend cleaning & lubing after each use even if you only fired a box of ammo, the gun could be sitting for a while, so it's better to clean the pistol before putting it away.

if your just shooting standard FMJ ammo, it's not necessary to run a bronze cleaning brush everytime you clean it, unless it's really fouled from using lead reloads or wadcutters

Last edited by omega; 05-15-2019 at 1:35 PM..
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Old 05-15-2019, 3:36 PM
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A lot of great answers here. Your original list is way overthinking things.

I think the best thing to do is watch a Youtube video, or a few of them, linked in above posts.

Good luck. After you clean your 1911 a few times it truly will become second nature to you. You will have no issues .
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Old 05-15-2019, 4:21 PM
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You need to know Hickok45, check him out in uTube. You will learn a ton about your and other guns, shooting, and also cleaning. Buy some Ballistol and a simple cleaning kit along with a bore snake and you will be good to go. All good advice given by everyone here, including don’t overthink this. Have fun with it!
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Old 05-15-2019, 4:28 PM
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One thing to be careful of ... it's very easy to put an idiot scratch on your gun when replacing the slide stop. Google idiot mark or idiot scratch and you'll see what that is.

What I do is put a piece of electrical tape where the scratch would go (just in case - not a license to be careless) and proceed carefully. You'll probably find a few videos on YouTube explaining other methods to avoid this.
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Old 05-15-2019, 7:20 PM
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I also have a Springfield 1911 (as well as a couple of other 1911's). I'm no expert but I would suggest 2 things that helped me: get rid of the stupid 2-piece guide-rod Springfield uses (if you have one) & get a one piece (GI or standard doesn't really matter). Much simpler IMO. Also, get a tool called a Widget or something similar like a thin dowel of plastic. Really helps with reassembly so you don't scratch the gun up. Works for me. Good luck.
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Old 05-16-2019, 11:07 AM
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I used to obsess about this too. Realize there's a massive industry of cleaning and lubrication products that wants your money. Like other have said - keep it simple. It will save time, money, and your guns.

General principles:
- DON'T over lubricate moving/sliding parts (less is more)
- Wipe the rest of the gun with an oily rag to apply a protective coat to guard against the elements and corrosive elements in sweat. (You shouldn't see any oil on the surface when you're done. The goal is to apply a microscopic barrier against the elements.)

It's pretty much what Air recommended above.

Here are a couple videos that illustrate these points from a Certified armorer, NRA Distinguished Police Expert, and veteran instructor - GunBlue490.

General principles
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQuNgXqWPEo&t=19s

How to clean handguns
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olOzxldPXXI&t=670s
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Old 05-16-2019, 12:36 PM
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OP,

Lots of good advice here. Here is what I did for years....30 plus years...

1) Field strip.
2) Spray with Liquid Wrench and lay on newspapers.
3) Watch a movie.
4) Brush.
5) Spray off with brake cleaner.
6) Lube with ATF.
7) Time permitting I shoot one magazine through the gun. I do this to make sure everything is put together correctly.

Now I use an ultra sonic cleaner for steps 2,4, and 5.

Look at post #11. Interesting info....https://forums.brianenos.com/topic/2...omment-3046317

Last edited by oddjob; 05-16-2019 at 12:53 PM..
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Old 05-17-2019, 8:52 AM
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Field strip and lube your pistol before your next range trip.

After shooting run a bore snake through the barrel and put the pistol away.

Now you have time to tell us what the brother in law did his wife during the divorce.


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Old 05-17-2019, 7:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nasty Nate View Post
Until a few months ago I was always shooting with my brother-in-law who is a former SEAL. He would take point on cleaning and maintaining my guns, and I was more than happy to let him since he already had all the equipment and loved doing it. Well unfortunately for me, he and my sister divorced and it wasn't pretty. So now we don't go shooting anymore
Why are you losing a friend because of your sister?
Unless the guy is a total douche.
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Old 05-18-2019, 7:50 AM
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Do I need both bore brushes and a bore snake? Sure. The snake is good for between deep cleanings, but will never replace brushes. Get both.
Are nylon brushes better than bronze? Nylon is good for cleaning, bronze is better for scraping off buildup.
What tools are needed to field strip for cleaning? None
What tools aren't necessary, but are very useful to have? Bushing wrench
Do I need both degreaser and solvent? No
What are "patches" for? You use them in a cleaning rod. YouTube it. Pretty straight forward.
What's the difference between grease, lube, and oil in this context (In my profession these are basically synonyms...)? Thickness between grease and oil. They are all lube.
If I use a CLP do I also need oil? No
Is just scrubbing/wiping out the barrel after going to the range enough for "daily" maintenance? Just wipe down the pistol and run a bore snake through it.
How often should I field strip and clean/re-lube? Once a month or every 500-rounds should be fine. YMMV
Which components actually require regular cleaning? None really, detail strip it every six month. At your rate that will be overkill. The only other tool you need to detail strip the gun is a punch.
Why are people using so much lube on the exterior of their guns? They are calgunners. Idk, preservation?
What cleaners/lubricants (if any) are not advisable for longer term storage (say 6 months to a year)? Froglube sucks. Never use WD40. 3-in-1 oil. All tend to gun up.
Are there any incompatibilities between products brands/types that I should be aware of? Practically speaking, no.
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Old 05-18-2019, 8:12 AM
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OP,

One of the most neglected areas is the extractor. That should be cleaned every so often. To further confuse you look at this. Schumann makes some decent barrels too...

http://www.schuemann.com/Portals/0/D...l_Cleaning.pdf
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Old 05-18-2019, 9:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WWDHD? View Post
I also have a Springfield 1911 (as well as a couple of other 1911's). I'm no expert but I would suggest 2 things that helped me: get rid of the stupid 2-piece guide-rod Springfield uses (if you have one) & get a one piece (GI or standard doesn't really matter). Much simpler IMO. Also, get a tool called a Widget or something similar like a thin dowel of plastic. Really helps with reassembly so you don't scratch the gun up. Works for me. Good luck.
That was the first thing I swapped out. That damn rod would come loose during shooting, no way to prevent that. I used a Kimber rod.

I also swapped the grips to the thin Kimber rosewood. That makes it feel less like a Glock.
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