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Old July 14, 2012, 04:57 PM   #1
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Cleaning without field stripping

I post this question here because it applies to any firearm. This question came up in my mind when someone posted a photo of a Ruger .22. Now Ruger .22 automatic pistols are really nice gun but they're something else to take apart. That is, unless there's some trick I don't know about. Their double-action revolvers were the same. I refer to the older ones. I don't know if the newer GP-100 series can be taken apart the same way.

The question is, do any of you clean guns after firing without disassembly in the normal way? Naturally, the question only applies to things that actually come apart--but with some difficulty. I never found a .45 auto to be all that easy to field strip. The old pre-war .380 was actually a little easier if you knew how to do it at all. And a bolt-action rifle is a snap.

But what about lever actions? And those Ruger .22s? Do you just do the best you can and live with it? I realize that for a typical automatic, though, you really need to take it apart to get it clean enough to pass inspection but some of you sound like you do a lot of shooting. What about you?
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Old July 14, 2012, 08:24 PM   #2
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Yes. If the gun is going to see the range again soon then I'll do a simple clean without disassembly. I do this for pistols (1911s, M&P40 & Bul 9mm) and my semi-auto 12 ga. I'll hose down the action and barrel with a spray cleaner or CLP, run a brass brush through the barrel a few times, a few patches to dry it out, and a couple drops of oil (if I'm not using CLP) in strategic locations. Followed by a good wipe down and, for blued guns, a final wipe with a silicone cloth. Depending on the gun and what I'm shooting, the barrel might get a squirt of moly-based dry lube.
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Old July 14, 2012, 08:49 PM   #3
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The Ruger Mk1/Mk2/Mk3 pistols don't really have a field-strip procedure. They do have a disassmbly procedure but it is a good deal more involved than a typical field strip.

I don't find it necessary to clean rimfires very often, and even when necessary, it can be done fairly quickly without much disassembly required. If you're using quality, lubricated lead bullet .22LR, the bore won't foul much and the action can generally be wiped out or sprayed out fairly easily.

Centerfires get more attention and need to be cleaned more often (at least in terms of round count) in my experience.

That said, unless I'm cleaning at the range, I will disassemble the gun to the level recommended by the manufacturer for cleaning.
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Old July 14, 2012, 09:19 PM   #4
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I tend towards the lazy side when it comes to .22s of any type…. Maybe a patch through the bore and a wipe-down, or maybe not. Well, unless somebody’s gonna see the rifle… then it’ll get a full disassembly and scrub-down. My garage gets the same treatment and my wife would probably throw in a joke about underwear and socks here too.
When it comes to center fire stuff, I almost always strip down and clean after shooting. Like anything else, it gets quicker and easier with practice. As opposed to the rest of the shop, the stationary tools get this treatment … and contrary to my wife’s joking, socks and underwear too.
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Old July 16, 2012, 08:52 PM   #5
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Field strip too much?

I think a lot of people field strip their guns too often. This attitude, that guns must be taken apart and thoroughly cleaned every time is a hold over from the era of black powder arms, and later military practice due to corrosive primers.

Civilian guns, meaning those designed with the civilan sporting market in mind, seldom lend themselves to simple or easy field stripping. Indeed, some are not meant to be taken apart at all, or beyond a very small degree, except by a gunsmith. Those designed with possible military applications in mind are usually just the opposite.

Your typical Ruger, or other similar semi auto .22 will run fine for years/many tens of thousands of rounds, if all you do is clean what you can reach without taking it apart, and a little lubrication.

I have seen many deer rifles(most notably lever actions) that have literaly gone for generations never having had their actions "opened up" and cleaned. Cleaning the bore, and what can be reached has kept them fully operational for decades and more.

Of course, it all depends on the conditions the gun is exposed to. Guns that have gotten thoroughly wet, inside and out, need to be cleaned and dried, inside and out. Guns exposed to salt water, salt air, or other corrosives like the corrosive salts in old/foreign military ammo need care that guns not exposed to them do not.

Look at revolvers and double shotguns, for another example. Cleaning what you can get to without taking them apart will keep them just fine for a long, long time. It's actually easy to damage guns like these by taking them apart, if less than stringent care is used (along with the right tools).

Guns intended for "combat" are built to take abuse, and that includes frequent disassembly and reassembly under field condtions. That's where the term field strip comes from. Partial takedown, done in the field, to clean the gun of dirt/mud, and firing residue. These guns get treated way worse than our sporting guns, and need more frequent cleaning because of it. Hence the military insistance on cleaning at every possible opportunity.

Back in the old days, residue from firing alone could cause rust to begin to form, as soon as overnight, and almost certainly within a few days, anywhere there was any humidity at all, and even in the driest climates rust never sleeps.

Take apart that 1911 or AR/AK as often as you want, odds are you won't hurt it. Do that to a finely fitted sporting gun, and you can wind up with trouble.

I'm not saying never field strip or even detail strip, just that it isn't as necessary for most of us as many people believe it is.

I didn't tear down (open up) a Ruger 10/22 for a decade. Except where the bolt traveled, powder residue was 1/4" thick all over the inside. Only cleaned what could be reached with the action open. That gun never bobbled, jammed or failed in any way. Not saying that's what you should do, only an example of what one gun did do.

Wife's Ruger Mk I has been disassembled twice in 28 years, the second time by my son-in-law, after being told NOT TO! It came home in pieces in a grocery bag, for me to put back together, because he couldn't figure out how to do it.

Lots of us like to take our guns apart, and clean them. Done right, its a good thing. But lots of our guns don't need it nearly as often as we do it.
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Old July 16, 2012, 09:34 PM   #6
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I know one fellow who has never broken down his MK I. He wipes the thing off and runs a brush through the barrel. To my knowledge his gun functions as well as mine which gets cleaned pretty good.
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Old July 17, 2012, 11:42 AM   #7
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I’ve gone 1000+ rounds in each a Ruger 10/22 and 22/45 without field stripping. After shooting, I use Q-Tips dipped in Hoppes to get out the big chunks. Pull a couple of patches down the bore with weed eater line. Dry Q-Tips to get the Hoppes and some more big chunks out. Then another Q-Tip with some oil on it. I don’t take down my .22’s until they start jamming. I’m “one of those guys” that believes taking down a gun too often causes more wear then shooting it dirty. I normally go 300 rounds in a M1911 before take down, just clean as above. 400 to 500 in my 92FS. Just keep them wet with oil, and they keep shooting.
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Old July 17, 2012, 03:31 PM   #8
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I guess I am the one dissenting person so far.

My dad has a pump .22lr (Winchester I think), a 22mag revolver (H&R) and a 12ga Mossberg 500. After years of only cleaning what he could access they all had to be taken to the smith because they would not work properly. The .22lr was jammed partially open and we could not get it to move (I don't remember the issues with the others).

Needless to say I am pretty religious on field stripping and cleaning after a range trip. Even my Saiga in spite of what everyone says about them being able to run dirty and dry.

My S&W 22A is my most difficult to field strip, but it gets easier each time. I think another good thing about field stripping them is that you can catch dangerous wear before it becomes a failure. But, in most cases this wear will only be noticed if you are very familiar with what it is supposed to look like.
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Old July 17, 2012, 07:14 PM   #9
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I have seen a lot of guys with Ruger MK pistols maintain them by simply cleaning the bore and removing the grips and shooting brake cleaner into the action to flush it. Apply enough oil so it will creep into the action wipe. These guns ran very well for many years without being torn completely down. The best investment you can make is a small compressor so you can blow most of the fouling out. I use an M 16 brush on the bolt face and the extractor hook. You must keep the extractor clean or it will start not grabbing case rims. If you can just learn how to remove the mainspring housing and bolt you can reach everything you need to get at. This also allows you to clean the bore from the breech end instead of the muzzle.
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Old July 18, 2012, 03:39 PM   #10
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I recently purchased a Ruger Mk3 .22 and was forewarned that taking it apart would be a bit challenging. I haven't been able to do it, and if I did, I guarantee I'd never get it back together again. I'm too embarrassed to ask the range officer to help field strip it (since I ask him 500 other questions and he's always kind and helpful about answering... but I don't want to seem entirely clueless), so I'll probably wait a few months and then ask him to take me through it step by step. I'm glad to see that's it's not a huge deal that I don't need to take it apart on a regular basis. One less thing for me to figure out right now.
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Old July 19, 2012, 08:52 PM   #11
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In guns that are difficult to field strip, a can of Birchwood Casey's "Gun Scrubber" will allow you to get into areas not easily accesable. After using the aeresol, if you don't ave access to a air commpressor, a couple of cans of the "air" used to clean computers will blow any residue out of the crevices. Then lube the weapon and give it a good wipe down.
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Old July 20, 2012, 02:46 AM   #12
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Majestic Arms - Speed strip kit. Quick field strip kit for rugers and it rocks.

here is a good videol for stripping the ruger, It works on all ruger 22s from Standard throught the 22/45
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