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Old July 20, 2011, 02:06 PM   #1
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How far do you tear your guns down?

I have always field stripped my pistols for cleaning but I have never done a detailed gunsmith full out take it all apart cleaning.

I have a very close friend who is mechanically challenged with most things (usually resulting in extremely excessive application of force regardless of item type) I have ever seen him work on, he is a great guy and dang near family; but its a human flaw kind of thing. Anyway he has a H&K USP Compact in 45 ACP that he has detail stripped three times and so far it still fires but I am always cringing everytime he fires it.

Its not the guy I dont trust but its his challenges in doing such things. How safe is it to just take a given pistol apart to its smallest pieces and then re assemble with no training and what are the potential downsides beside a non firing pistol?

Im concerned for his safety and everyone around him... I just cant see any good coming from this..... What do you think?
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Old July 20, 2011, 02:40 PM   #2
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Depending upon how many rounds i fire in a year, will dictate how far i clean. At least every 2 years, all my pistols, revolvers, & rifles are detail stripped, ultrasonically cleaned, lubed, & externally polished. The majority of my firearms are 35+ years old & some are over 60 years old. Everything is in excellent mechanical condition & perform perfectly all the time.

I have been doing this routine for 40 of my 60 years of age.

So long as your bud follows proper procedures, uses the correct tools, & uses common sense, i see no problem with what he is doing.


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Old July 20, 2011, 02:46 PM   #3
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I strip all of my handguns down to a bare frame - at least once a year / or about every 10,000 rounds or so....
Sig 239's, Sig 226's
a variety of 1911's
and a variety of S&W Revolvers ...

Yes, you have to know what you're doing - so you don't break anything / and to get it together right ....but in this day of the internet / there are all kinds of books and DVD's and U-Tube etc out there tutorials on how to do it properly and safely.

Its also not difficult to do ...and personally, I find it satisfying ....and it allows me to inspect for wear - and thoroughly clean and lube the gun ...

As an example Wilson Combat has a 4 part DVD on how to completely take down a 1911 / how to fits replacement parts if you want to ...and how to properly clean and lube a gun ...for long term, reliable service...and satisfaction. You can buy them thru Brownells - or from Wilson / the Sig DVD's I have came from a couple of sources ...and to me pictures and a little discussion on the DVD is a lot better than books ( but bottom line, its not rocket science ...). It takes a little finess ...a few tools ...patience ...
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Old July 20, 2011, 03:05 PM   #4
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"Field stripping" a gun ....doesn't - in general - mean you are taking out the firing pin, firing pin spring, extractor the slide on a semi-auto ...

let alone the trigger, mag release, safety, hammer, sear, etc .....

and when you fire a weapon ...there is a lot of carbon and debris that builds up in the channels where all of these pieces ride make the gun function.

Even stripping the mags down is important ...its amazing how much junk gets in there ...( take spring out, follower, etc ) ...and clean them.
So Field stripping is good ...but its not a great way to take care of your guns long term. Parts that are dirty ....and moving wear out faster than parts that are clean and properly lubed.
Some of us put 10,000 rds a yr thru our guns ....some put 1,000 rds round count is part of the issue.

But if you like to work on things ..learning how to do it is easy. Its not a place where a bigger hammer is better ! Knowledge is important ..and every mfg of a gun has some things that are unique to their design / that make dis-assembly of that gun a little different. Sometimes its obvious you drive a pin out right to left / sometimes its not ...on some guns its easy to get parts back in upside down or backwards ...
But do what makes you comfortable ...not what I do / I like working on my guns ....I hate working on my cars / so I take them back to the dealer and pay whatever it takes. It would kill me to take a gun to a gunsmith .../ but that's just me ..../ at least until I've exhausted everything I know about the gun.

If you buddy breaks his guns ...its his issue / are they dangerous, probably not. If anything - they will probably just malfunction .../ but its his eyes and his hands out there holding that weapon ...its his choice...
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Old July 20, 2011, 03:21 PM   #5
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My Sigs and 1911 get taken down to parade rest after 1K rounds or so. My revolvers not so much: I may take the side plate off and spray out the lockworks but thats as far as I will go.
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Old July 20, 2011, 03:25 PM   #6
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I certainly wouldn't let your friend work on, or clean, my guns. Never, ever force anything. If something doesn't move easily, you didn't look at it correctly and need to figure out what you are doing wrong. I almost always fully detail strip a gun when I get it. I am afflicted with the philosophy of "If it's not broken, I want to find out why not" I want to know exactly how it works and that I know it is completely clean. Hunting guns get torn down at least every two years (bolts disassembled, the whole works. I sometimes will even remove the scope & mounts on a blued gun to check for rust). Duck guns and guns that have gotten wet get it once a year. They get a field strip immediately if wet of course. I enjoy taking things apart & putting them back together, fortunately I'm good at it. I pay attention during disassembly, sometimes acquire a schematic ahead of time on a new type I am not familiar with, ex.- I had never worked on a top break revolver before so i found a schematic before i disassembled the .32 iver Johnson I got last month. I think it is a worthwhile learning experience. you will understand how your gun works better, allowing you to diagnose problems and you will be more comfortable if you are in a situation where you have to take it apart. you will have te sense of saticfaction knowing you have a spotless gun and you did it.
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Old July 20, 2011, 03:28 PM   #7
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My 1911s and Glocks get detail stripped. No real schedule. My cap and ball guns get detail stripped every time I shoot them, because I don't shoot them very often.

Generally, guns are made to disassembled and reassembled very easily, by an average person with minimal training. Most people can handle it from a book or video.
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Old July 20, 2011, 05:11 PM   #8
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So far the only one of my handguns I have taken completely apart has been my Colt Mark IV-I did that after the slide locked back and the "usual suspects"
were unable to release it. In that case enough fouling and debris had built up in the trigger bar mechanism over the years to require complete disassembly and cleaning. I had my copy of the NRA Pistol and Revolver guide, 3 sets of screwdrivers and a properly set up work surface and I took my time. My next project will be the disassembly, cleaning and reassembly of an old Colt Police Positive-with my copy of Kuhnhausen's manual in front of me. The late Professor Richard Mitchell, aka The Underground Grammarian once said, apropos of the Three Mile Island fiasco that while a nuclear reactor may be a very complicated thing, it is also finite and the human mind CAN know it completely. The same is true of handguns.
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Old July 20, 2011, 08:30 PM   #9
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You need to invest in a big steel hammer and an ultra-high-speed Dremel tool. Working on guns without those is an exercise in frustration.

Seriously: stripping any gun all the way to the frame requires patience, a Kuhnhausen manual if available, lots of plastic bags for parts, and a certain amount of cursing and swearing.
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Old July 20, 2011, 08:41 PM   #10
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Ive seen both on his tear down table (dremmel and steel hammer) at the same time as his torn apart H&K, did he use them on it I dont know... I know he tore apart some 30 cal rifle that "needed" both dremel and "Glue" work....

Im praying the glue was for the stock and not some other component.. To the best of my knowledge the rifle has not been able to be fired since the "Repair".
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Old July 20, 2011, 08:59 PM   #11
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Glock 23 so not much maintenance. Remove slide and barrel, brush those with toothbrush and CLP along with lower half. Every 3 or 4 range sessions it gets full break down of slide and trigger mechanism gets pulled and received a complete cleaning.
Bust em
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Old July 20, 2011, 09:48 PM   #12
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With my Glock I'll send it to the manufacturer or a Glock-certified armorer. I simply don't trust myself beyond a basic field strip. I have other guns that will get to be carried in the meantime.
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Old July 20, 2011, 10:46 PM   #13
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After each range session, I tear down my guns as far as my knowledge permits. I guess I'm kinda anal about keeping them clean. With that said, my Glocks get a total disassembly.
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Old July 20, 2011, 11:04 PM   #14
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I field strip after 2-300 rounds, more often for a carry gun. If it looks like it needs a detail strip and I'm at home, I'll do it. No biggie. I seldom detail strip a carry gun away from home, losing a spring or pin converts a carry piece to a poorly designed club.
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Old July 21, 2011, 02:21 PM   #15
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I field strip, never detail strip.
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Old July 21, 2011, 07:56 PM   #16
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I don't normally "detail strip" any of my firearms unless there's something wrong or I intend to upgrade some parts. I do have a couple of Ruger revolvers that have been apart several times to change springs and stuff. I see absolutely no reason to fully strip any gun just for the hell of it. I don't dismantle my vehicles or farm equipment just so I can see a pile of parts so why should I do that to my firearms.
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Old July 21, 2011, 09:00 PM   #17
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I field strip, never detail strip.
Same here, unless, of course, something's wrong.
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Old July 21, 2011, 09:13 PM   #18
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With my Glock I'll send it to the manufacturer or a Glock-certified armorer. I simply don't trust myself beyond a basic field strip. I have other guns that will get to be carried in the meantime.
Take a baby step and try detail stripping the slide at least. If you can field strip a Glock you have the "skills" to detail strip the slide. For instance, enough crud gets into the striker channel even if you keep that area dry. Its nice to be able to clean it out yourself. You'll kick yourself why you didn't do it sooner.
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Old July 21, 2011, 09:32 PM   #19
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Like you, I used to shy away from doing anything other than field stripping but especially on newer guns where replacement parts are easy to find (should the worst happen) I find myself exploring a bit more. I suppose I'm thinking about my J-frame (revolver) and M&P pistol. After you do a little reading/looking, going a couple steps further can really help you understand your gun better. And should a malfunction/breakage occur, you have a bit of a hint as to what parts when wrong. That would be a bit harder to do if you didn't have an understanding of how the parts interact before the problem came along.

+1 on starting with slides/striker mechanisms.

Good luck!
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Old July 23, 2011, 05:21 PM   #20
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I detail strip every gun I buy before it goes out to the range for the first time. After that, only when field stripping reveals a grunge build up. For extra points: detail strip a Mauser C96 w/o a manual or diagram (re-assembly is even more fun).
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Old July 23, 2011, 05:31 PM   #21
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Unless something breaks, or its going in the park tank, etc, theres really no reason to detail strip the gun. In many cases, like your buddy, its just an accident waiting to happen.

Theres nothing wrong with knowing how the gun comes apart and goes back together either, just, its really not necessary for cleaning.
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Old July 24, 2011, 08:32 AM   #22
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I have one very high rd-ct 9mm Witness that has not been detail-stripped since it was returned to me by Accurate Plating & Weaponry from custom work and hardchroming.
Around 1996.

Yeah; lazy bassturd one, conventional wisdom zero.....
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Old July 24, 2011, 10:00 AM   #23
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Old July 24, 2011, 06:06 PM   #24
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Field strip / lube after any type of range activity, ...

the once a year detail for maintenance / part replacement.
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Old July 25, 2011, 07:38 AM   #25
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Field strip. I never detail strip. I don't have the know how. Though, with the right tools and cleaning equipment I can get them pretty clean with a field strip.
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