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How To Clean An Ar 15: Best Practices For Keeping Your Ar 15 Clean
Did you recently get an AR-15 rifle? Do you know how to keep its performance level high?
Even if you own a brand new rifle, it is only a matter of time before dirt, dust, and grime creep inside its spaces. Leaving all the dirt inside your gun may lead to all sorts of problems. Gun experts note that 80% to 90% of gun malfunctions stem from dirt and poor maintenance.
As a newbie, you want to learn how to clean an AR 15 the right way. Continue reading below as we give you the most efficient steps and best practices in cleaning your rifle.
The Importance of Cleaning Your Guns
As we mentioned earlier, accumulated dirt and grime are the main causes of almost all gun malfunctions.
But apart from preventing malfunctions, there are other reasons why regular care and maintenance of your rifle is a must.
First, cleaning extends the life of your gun. It ensures durability that is essential if you wish to pass the rifle to the next generation. Your rifle comes with many different metal parts.
When dust, moisture, and grime come in contact with metal, a chemical reaction occurs. Eventually, the metal parts become susceptible to rust.
Another reason why you need to learn how to clean an AR 15 is it increases your accuracy in the firing range. Part of gun maintenance is regular lubrication. When you lubricate your rifle, you increase its precision.
Apart from rust, copper may also build up inside your rifle. Copper, in turn, can affect its accuracy.
Moreover, when you have corrosion or rust inside your gun, the cartridge may fail to extract after firing. This may cause your rifle to explode.
Last but not least, cleaning your AR-15 rifle helps you understand your firearm a little bit better. Cleaning involves taking your firearm apart. During this process, you will get to know the different parts of the rifle including the smallest ones.
You will have a better understanding of how each part works. You will also sharpen your skills in fixing your rifle in case it malfunctions in the shooting range.
How to Clean an AR 15: Best Practices to Follow
Cleaning an AR-15 may easily confuse newbies at first. There are several parts that you need to cover. Failing to clean any of them may affect your gun’s performance.
Furthermore, you cannot wipe or lube any part that you one. There is an efficient way of covering all the parts. Check out this step-by-step guide and the best practices to follow when cleaning your rifle.
1. DIY Your Cleaning Kit
Before you proceed with the cleaning, you must first have the right cleaning tools. There are two ways to go about this. You can buy a pre-made gun cleaning kit from the gun store.
Or you can build your own AR-15 cleaning kit.
Though buying a cleaning kit is the easiest route to take, it comes with some disadvantages. You may get a kit that comes with the cleaning tools that match your gun. But there may be one or two items that do not match your gun’s caliber.
Hence, you may want to consider building your own cleaning kit. Taking the DIY route ensures that all the tools you will use perfectly match your gun’s specifications.
Start by investing in a nice case. It doesn’t have to be expensive. As long as it features durable plastic, you should be fine.
Next, get a good gun cleaning mat. You can find one on Amazon that comes with a parts list. You can use this list as a guide during cleaning.
You also need to get a good set of brushes and bore snakes that match your rifle’s caliber.
Lastly, you want to invest in some cleaning solvents and lubricants. Talk to your friendly neighborhood gun store for suggestions.
2. Prep the Cleaning Area
With your cleaning kit complete, you can start preparing your cleaning area. Take your cleaning mat and lay it out on a sturdy table. Ready a pair of all-purpose gloves on the side.
If you still have your rifle’s ammunition on the table, transfer all of them to a different area. Next, you need to make sure your rifle is safe to handle.
Take your AR-15 and point it in a safe direction. Remove the magazine and place your rifle in safe mode. Hold the bolt and lock it to the rear.
Give the chamber a round of inspection. You want to make sure that there are no more bullets that did not eject. After inspection, release the bolt.
Place the rifle in safe mode again.
3. Break Down the Receiver
Now you are ready to strip down your rifle. The first step is splitting the receiver. You want to separate the upper receiver from the lower receiver.
To do this, push out the take-down pins then pull apart the upper and lower halves of the receiver. If you cannot push out some of the pins, try using a punch. It is best to use a nylon punch to avoid scratching the rifle’s finish.
4. Remove the Bolt Carrier Group and the Charging Handle
Next, you need to remove the charging handle, as well as the bolt carrier group. This may seem like a chore at first but the process is quite simple. Both parts slide back and out of the upper receiver’s body.
5. Disassemble the Bolt Carrier
Your next goal is to disassemble the bolt carrier. Take the bolt carrier group and push the bolt to the rear. Remove the firing pin while retaining it using your pick tool.
After taking out the firing pin, put it on the side for now. Take the cam pin and rotate it 90 degrees before taking it out. This will allow the bolt to slide out.
6. Break Down the Bolt
Next, you need to take apart the bolt to remove the extractor pin. Get a mallet and one of your punches to push out the extractor pin before setting the latter aside.
Make sure to remember where you place the extractor pin. A lot of AR-15 owners lose the pin as it tends to roll off the table.
7. Clear the Buffer Tube
After covering the bolt carrier group, you can now move to the buffer tube. Your goal is to remove the buffer and the buffer spring from the buffer tube.
Take a punch or use your finger to press down the buffer retainer. It is best to use a calloused finger, as the buffer retainer may be hard to push down at first.
Thereafter, remove the spring and the buffer from the buffer tube. Keep in mind that there is already some pressure on the retainer. Hence, avoid pushing down too far on it.
If not, it will slip and spring off right across the room once all the pieces are out.
8. Start with the Chamber and Barrel
After disassembling all the parts, you can start with the actual cleaning. Begin with the chamber and barrel. Take one of your brushes and clean both the chamber and barrel from the rear going slowly to the front.
You want all the dust and debris to come out of the barrel’s front portion. Also, make sure you insert your brush from the back, taking the same path of a bullet.
Furthermore, you can also use your bore cleaner to enjoy the best results.
9. Move to the Bolt Carrier Group
Go back to the bolt carrier group and scrub it thoroughly. You want to focus on any carbon buildup, which you may find at the back portion of the firing pin.
Make sure to use a brush that is appropriate for cleaning this part. Move to the extractor and wipe it clean using a soft, clean rag. But make sure to use only one side for cleaning while the other side for inspection.
After cleaning the bolt carrier group, reassemble it with the bolt fully extended to the front. This makes it easier for you to reinsert the bolt in the upper.
10. Wipe the Buffer Assembly
Get another rag and start wiping the buffer assembly. This is arguably one of the easiest parts to clean in an AR-15 rifle. Don’t forget to use some lube while wiping.
11. Move to the Upper Receiver and Charging Handle
Using another rag with a little lube, begin wiping the upper receiver and charging handle. Keep on wiping until the inspection side of your rag no longer picks up any carbon residue.
12. Brush the FCG and Lower Receiver
Take your brush and put a small amount of oil. Start cleaning the fire control group (FCG) and the lower receiver. Your goal is to clean the hard-to-reach areas.
Also, inspect the hammer and lower receiver for any cracks. If you find any damages, consider investing in an AR 15 lower parts kit and replace them accordingly.
13. Reassemble Everything
After brushing and wiping all the parts, you can start reassembling everything. Simply work your way backward for every section. After assembling the rifle, put a drop or two of the lubricant on key areas.
These areas include the bolt catch button, the safety selector, the FGC, and the mag release button.
14. Close Out with a Function Check
End the cleaning process by giving your AR-15 rifle a function check. Point your rifle in a safe direction then pull the bolt to the rear. Release it forward and place the rifle on safe.
Pull the trigger and see if the hammer drops. If it doesn’t, then your rifle is good up to this point.
Move your rifle on fire and squeeze the trigger. If the hammer falls, then congratulations! You successfully reassembled your rifle.
Discover More Rifle Tips and Tricks!
Now that you know how to clean an AR 15, you can extend your rifle’s life and ensure its topnotch performance. But cleaning your rifle is only one of the many lessons you need to learn.
We invite you to check our other articles on guns. We discuss topics and tips that will help you maximize your guns to the fullest.
In case of an emergency, the customers can avail us for the same day services. Whether you want residential or commercial cleaning services, our professional teams can reach you.
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