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Old November 1, 2012, 09:27 AM   #1
StainlessSteel215
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OCD cleaning after each range trip...or leave it dirty?

The Q-Tip thread was hilariously brilliant...and got me thinking how often and quickly I clean my pistols after range trips. I honestly cannot stand the thought of a dirty pistol after I shoot it. Even my Glock, the gun that can withstand no lube and various water/mud/freezing temp torture tests...I just cannot leave dirty.

I'm curious to see how many folks go RIGHT to the cleaning bench after a range shoot....or skip it and leave it dirty from time to time. Obviously today's ammunition in most popular calibers is non-corrosive so frequent cleanings are more of a preference than a necessity these days.

Right now, I am putting a new Taurus pistol through a 2k round challenge and its already gummed up with carbon after just 500 rounds. Its KILLING me to leave it dirty and track its performance as I reach 2k rounds! I think I need help...

Last edited by StainlessSteel215; November 1, 2012 at 10:08 AM.
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Old November 1, 2012, 10:00 AM   #2
velillen
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Corrosive ammo guns get cleaned immediately no matter what.....for obvious reasons.

My others usually within a few days get a quick 5 minute or less wipe down and re lube more than anything. Boresnake a few times then wipe down the frame and easy to get parts. Everything 2k rounds or so 4th or 5th trip ill do bit more thorough of a cleaning with q tips and the such.
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Old November 1, 2012, 10:07 AM   #3
aarondhgraham
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I clean while watching TV,,,

I usually clean that day or the next,,,
My living room is really my leather workshop,,,
I watch DVD's while working and the same while cleaning my guns.

They probably could go a few trips without a clean,,,
But what the heck, the gun cabinet is within arms reach anyways.

It's not so much a question of "why",,,
It's a question of "Why not".

Aarond

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Old November 1, 2012, 10:08 AM   #4
TailGator
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The first time my dad let me shoot a .22 rifle, he also showed me how to clean it afterward, and he told me I should always clean a firearm after shooting. Fifty years later, I am still doing it his way. Is it overkill? Perhaps, but I don't have reliability problems with any of my pistols.
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Old November 1, 2012, 10:18 AM   #5
StainlessSteel215
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Haaa...yeah this wasnt even a consideration in my mind NOT to clean my pistols right after each range shoot until a buddy of mine (former navy) was busting my chops about how I cleaned my Glock and other pistols directly after a shoot. He carries a M&P XD40 and leaves it go for a few range trips I guess to prove its reliability despite carbon build-ups. Basically he was telling me I am OCD and over-do the cleanings and can leave it dirty for a few range trips before cleaning.

But the simple fact is....I LOVE to clean my guns. Its like Zen therapy to me...lol
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Old November 1, 2012, 11:11 AM   #6
Gaerek
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I always clean after a range trip. I know I don't need to, but I enjoy it, and it assures me my gun is clean, and I don't run into the "Hmm, when was the last time this was cleaned?" problem.
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Old November 1, 2012, 11:29 AM   #7
aarondhgraham
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Basically he was telling me I am OCD and over-do the cleanings,,,

Quote:
Basically he was telling me I am OCD and over-do the cleanings
I've seen guns fail because they were dirty,,,

I've never seen a gun fail because it was too clean.

Again, I say,,,
Why not?

Aarond

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Old November 1, 2012, 11:37 AM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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I used to clean all my guns any time they were used, but I hate it.

After a while, I realized that it was completely unnecessary in most cases. My bolt guns aren't going to quit working because they were fired a few times and not cleaned. Other than a wipe down on the outside with some oil to prevent corrosion, they now get cleaned when accuracy degrades, which isn't very often. My semi-auto shotgun wasn't going to stop working because I fired 25 rounds without cleaning it and it's gone now anyway.

Now, the only gun that gets cleaned every time is my carry gun, a Glock 33. Even that is more of an integrity verification rather than truly for cleaning. I just want to make sure that nothing looks to have undue wear or is broken.
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Old November 1, 2012, 11:55 AM   #9
Mal H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aarond
I've never seen a gun fail because it was too clean.
It is possible to clean a barrel to death, but you really have to work at it and use the wrong tools and cleaners. So, in general, you're right on about that.

However, I do adhere to the wisdom concerning .22 rifles and pistols. It says to not clean the barrels as often as you might with centerfire arms. You want to leave a little of the lubrication that coats most .22 ammo in the barrel. They do seem to be more accurate using that cleaning regimen. Even so, you have to clean the barrels every once in a while. And this doesn't mean to not clean the action and other parts often enough to prevent any jamming or other failures.
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Old November 1, 2012, 12:47 PM   #10
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I'm follow the leave a little residue in the barrel of a .22, but I have to take a cleaning brush and solvent into the chamber and action and after each session though.
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Old November 1, 2012, 12:49 PM   #11
StainlessSteel215
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Right on fellas. Clean is good...but it sounds like to much with the wrong cleaner can be detrimental to certain parts, mainly the barrel

And I completely admit when I first cleaned my first pistol that I cleaned it to death and didnt have a CLUE as to what needed to be cleaned and how to do it properly. Now I clean my semis mostly with dry towels, wire brushes and q-tips and minimal oil....mainly on the contact points/rails and on top of the barrel where it meets the slide.

I used to literally DRENCH my slide in oil like an idiot....amazed my first Glock23 still fired despite the firing pin channel being completely gunked up. I'll be honest, YouTube videos and various websites/forums have come in very handy over the years.
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Old November 1, 2012, 01:19 PM   #12
45_auto
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Quote:
I've never seen a gun fail because it was too clean.
I have.

I can't count how many AR15's and M16's I've seen show up for classes that are so clean that they won't fire.

Most of the time it's because the firing pin was reinstalled incorrectly after cleaning, sometimes it's because the firing pin wasn't reinstalled at all.

It was SOP in my unit to test fire any weapon after cleaning.
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Old November 1, 2012, 01:28 PM   #13
aarondhgraham
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It wasn't because of cleaning,,,

Quote:
I have.

I can't count how many AR15's and M16's I've seen show up for classes that are so clean that they won't fire.

Most of the time it's because the firing pin was reinstalled incorrectly after cleaning, sometimes it's because the firing pin wasn't reinstalled at all.
That's a non sequiter,,,
It wasn't because they were too clean,,,
It was because they were improperly reassembled.

Aarond

.
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Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
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Old November 1, 2012, 02:17 PM   #14
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My defensive arms get cleaned after they are fired, but not because they are dirty, but just to make sure they are in proper working order. My cleaning involves, stripping, wiping off all the old lube, checking the parts/function, relubing and reassemblying.

Other guns. I don't worry about until they stop working.

I never clean the barrel of a .22, I just clean the actions when they get to the point they are choking on unburnt powder.

I have cleaned my Benelli M1 I bought in 2002 a grand total of 2 times.

Once, right after I got it home to lube it. I cleaned it again last year, because I thought it might be a good idea to do it again so I didn't forget how.

All guns do get a wipe down with CLP before going back in the safe though, especially blued guns.
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Old November 1, 2012, 03:50 PM   #15
jmr40
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I'll clean crud from the action after every range trip. I clean barrels when the accuracy starts to suffer.

After a thorough cleaning where the gun has been disassembled I don't trust it until I've run a few rounds through it for a function test. 3-5 rounds aren't dirty enough to cause a concern and worth it for piece of mind.

Putting it back together wrong may well be my fault and not the guns, but if it has to work, I want to know it will work. No excuses, not even if it's my fault.
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Old November 1, 2012, 05:17 PM   #16
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I love to clean my guns...I don't like them dirty or gritty
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Old November 1, 2012, 05:21 PM   #17
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I've been known to leave guns uncleaned for a few days after a range trip when life gets busy, but they never sit long enough to take any harm from it.

If something isn't going to get shot again anytime soon, it gets cleaned and oiled promptly before it goes back in the safe
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Old November 1, 2012, 06:21 PM   #18
Kreyzhorse
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Most often I clean after shooting them. Occasionally they may wait a day or two but they get cleaned before they are ever taken out again.
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Old November 1, 2012, 06:53 PM   #19
chris in va
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I can't leave my guns dirty, the are also my CC pistols.
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Old November 1, 2012, 09:28 PM   #20
p loader
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I've let my guns go up to a week before cleaning them. I don't obsess over it too much, they will eventually get cleaned (when I'm in the mood).
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Old November 1, 2012, 09:36 PM   #21
orionengnr
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I once heard this maxim: "Never let the sun set on a dirty gun". Works for me.

Then again, I tend to wipe my hindquarters promptly as well. Maybe I'm OCD? Nah...
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Old November 2, 2012, 09:02 AM   #22
Strafer Gott
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The practice is a holdover from blackpowder and corrosive primers, when not cleaning a fired gun could cause serious damage. Unless you were or are a grunt or groundpounder, you probably haven't seen a seriously dirty weapon.
I don't think the auto's fail from dirt. They fail because they are dry! Modern lube melts carbon fouling, and flushes out grit and dirt. So unless you have enough crap to obstruct the barrel, hit it with some lube and off you go.
More guns get screwed up by tyros cleaning them!
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Old November 2, 2012, 08:48 PM   #23
berettaprofessor
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I clean right away. Even when I'm on the road I sneak cleaning supplies into my hotel room. Didn't know there was another option.

I'm Berettaprofessor and I'm a guncleanoholic
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Old November 2, 2012, 08:58 PM   #24
Sport45
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I clean them when I think they need it or when I want to. Whichever comes first.

My carry gun is put away after it's cleaned. I'll carry another until it's been to the range and fired a few times.

Quote:
Then again, I tend to wipe my hindquarters promptly as well.
What does that have to do with gun cleaning? Maybe we shouldn't ask where you carry yours.
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Old November 2, 2012, 09:15 PM   #25
JohnKSa
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There was a time I detail stripped and thoroughly cleaned a firearm every time I got it home from the range.

Rimfires would only get cleaned every 500 rounds or so, but it was a thorough cleaning.

After years of that approach, I decided that I was probably doing more harm than good by detail stripping the guns each time they were fired and scaled back to detail stripping centerfires after a decent round count but still doing a field strip & cleaning after every range trip.

Rimfires stopped getting a detail strip & clean unless there were functioning issues and I stopped cleaning every 500 rounds and let it go a little longer.

There were no detectable ill effects as a result of those changes.

I finally realized that it wasn't hurting my guns to have a little bit of gunpowder residue on them from time to time and now I only clean after the round count has run up past a couple hundred rounds. If I do a quick 1 or 2 box range trip, I won't clean and if I follow that trip up with another similar trip I probably still won't clean unless I get bored. Detail strip & cleanings happen pretty rarely.

I've just about stopped cleaning my rimfires unless I note accuracy or function issues (which almost never happens). Usually I end up cleaning them because I get bored and want to fiddle with a gun.

I have actually had a gun get so dirty it started jamming, but that was after over 950 rounds in a single range session and even then it only jammed under one pretty specific set of circumstances. I've had several that shot reliably even when impressively dirty. I bought one used gun a few years back and took it to the range without cleaning it. It worked very well--in spite of the fact that when I got it home and cleaned it I found that it was very dirty. I even found leaf fragments in the action that had been left there by the previous owner.

I have witnessed a couple of situations where a gun jammed as an indirect result of being cleaned. In both cases the guns had been thoroughly cleaned but hadn't been properly lubricated after cleaning.

I'd say that given the human error component that can't be totally eliminated, cleaning (and the associated issues that go along with it like: improper reassembly, disassembly/reassembly wear, improper lubrication after cleaning, solvent in the wrong places, etc.) is probably more likely to result in malfunctions than lack of cleaning, certainly in the short term. As the round count without cleaning grows, at some point that probably ceases to be true.

Should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway--I'm NOT talking about black powder firearms or the use of corrosive ammunition. Those both demand prompt and proper attention after a range trip to prevent damage to the firearm.
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