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Old May 18, 2013, 09:18 PM   #67
JohnKSa
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Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 18,409
It is not critical that you clean after every range trip, although that is the most common recommendation from manufacturers. I usually clean after a range trip but will sometimes skip the cleaning if ALL of the following are true:

1. The gun was clean before the range trip.
AND
2. Only a box or two was expanded during the range trip.
AND
3. Another relatively light round-count range trip is coming up in the near future for that gun.
AND
4. I am familiar with the gun and don't feel the need to take it down to check it out. So a new gun would likely be cleaned and checked before its first range trip and after it gets home from its range trip even if the round-count was light. A gun that was having some sort of issue/malfunction, would also get a teardown and cleaning/checkout after even a very light round-count range trip.

That said, it is important to wipe down any part of the gun (and any other metal surfaces such as magazines) after everytime you handle it or shoot it before you put it away. The firing residue from modern, non-corrosive ammunition is relatively benign, but the salts that are often found on the skin can be pretty hard on gun finishes.

The idea with a wipedown is to leave the metal surfaces of the gun free of fingerprint residue and with a very, very light coating of oil for protection.
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