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The Right Way To Clean Your Slug Gun

Michael Warman is a professional gunsmith and operator of a full-service shooting range and training center near Polk City, Iowa. We asked Warman how to clean shotguns to maximize their functionality and longevity. Warman recommends two levels of cleaning: (1) a light routine cleaning after every use; (2) a serious annual cleaning to inspect and maintain the gun’s internal parts. The annual cleaning involves disassembly, and is best handled by a gunsmith. You can perform the routine cleaning, yourself, using this simple four-step procedure: Note: Put the gun in a dry indoor space when you come in from the field, and allow the gun to come completely to room temperature before you begin cleaning.

shotgun cleaning

Step 1:

Apply a few drops of cleaner/lubricant to a bore mop, and thoroughly swab the bore to remove moisture and powder residue.

shotgun cleaning

Step 2:

Apply a few drops of cleaner/lubricant to a soft cloth. Remove the forearm and wipe the magazine tube.

shotgun cleaning

Step 3:

For autoloaders, also wipe any gas pistons, valves or springs, and then reinstall them on the magazine tube.

shotgun cleaning

Step 4:

Reassemble the gun and wipe all exterior metal surfaces with the lubricated cloth.

According to Warman, there is no need to scrub the bore with bristle brushes or solvents after every use. He only cleans his shotgun bore to a “mirror shine” once a year, before putting the gun away for the off-season.

For routine cleaning, Warman’s favorite combination cleaner/lubricant is Prolix, which is biodegradable. After cleaning, store the gun in a clean, dry, ventilated safe or cabinet.

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