Cleaning your 12 gauge shotgun regularly is essential to its maintenance, regardless of whether you’re a pro shooter or weekend warrior. In this article we’ll outline the necessary steps for cleaning each part of a shotgun’s exterior, bore and action – see for more.
When cleaning a shotgun, always use a lint-free cloth to wipe down its barrel. A smooth and spotless barrel allows the bolt to move more freely.
Cleaning the Bore
A shotgun’s bore is an integral component that needs to be regularly maintained. It determines its performance and effectiveness at killing game, but many hunters forget this step resulting in underperforming guns that may no longer perform optimally.
Cleaning a 12 gauge shotgun doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming. To stay safe and avoid accidents or malfunctions, it is vitally important that you know how best to go about this.
A shotgun’s gauge measures the diameter of its bore. This measurement is determined by weighing a solid lead sphere that fits inside its bore; simply stated, the higher its gauge number is, the larger its bore diameter will be.
To accurately gauge the bore of a shotgun, you’ll need to measure from its muzzle end all the way back through to its breech. To do this, unscrew and remove its barrel from its receiver before placing it on a horizontal workbench with thick fabric protecting its threads swabbed well from muzzle to breech. If it features a choke tube as well, be sure to unthread it so you can access its threads easily for cleaning purposes.
Once your barrel has been sufficiently cleaned, you should be able to see through it to assess its condition. Next, apply gun cleaning solvent before using a bronze bore brush repeatedly swabbing each bore until all surfaces appear smooth and shiny.
As part of maintaining your shotgun’s proper operation, it’s also vital that the bore remains free of debris and carbon fouling that could compromise firing, potentially leading to malfunctions and reduced accuracy.
Once you have finished swabbing the barrel, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any leftover solvent and keep the gun dry. Reassemble your shotgun and conduct function testing to make sure everything works as it should be.
Make cleaning your shotgun easier with the Big Brute Rod and Stabilizer kit from Big Brute Gunsmithing. It includes a 3/8″ cleaning rod designed to slip easily into your drill, as well as a stabilizer to hold it steady and heavy duty brass brush designed for thorough cleaning of both 12-gauge and 20-gauge shotguns.
Cleaning the Exterior
Barrels and vent ribs tend to become fouled with rust over time, so regular cleaning of these areas is necessary in order to keep your shotgun functioning at its optimal levels. Doing this also ensures proper functioning.
Failing to regularly maintain and clean your gun could mean difficulty shooting it due to faster wear-and-tear. This could cause malfunctions which limit how well you shoot it while also diminishing its resale value.
Starting to shoot can be extremely daunting and frustrating, particularly for beginners. Unfortunately, you cannot always wait until you return home to clean your shotgun; so to maintain its condition best practice would be to clean it every time it is used.
First and foremost, make sure your shotgun is unloaded before following its owner’s manual to disassemble it.
Once you’ve disassembled the gun, place it on a soft surface to avoid scratching its receiver or barrel. A hard surface may cause scratches to form quickly on their surfaces, so ensure they rest against something soft for best results.
Apply lubricants to both receiver and barrel of the gun as part of its maintenance, which helps prevent rust and corrosion as well as extend its life. Many specialized firearm lubricants work well on shotguns such as Rem-Oil, Hoppe’s No. 9, FP-10 or Clenzoil; popular choices may include these options.
After you have lubricated your shotgun, the next step should be cleaning it. In particular, remove any loose dirt and debris from the barrel and hood using a brush if possible.
Brushes designed specifically for this task or even soft-bristled toothbrushes should be used. Be sure to focus on cleaning the barrel ribbing for optimal results before wiping down with a cloth for drying purposes.
Bore snakes or brushes are another effective tool for cleaning out barrels, featuring gauge-specific bronze bristles to scrub away residue and any build-up in the barrel. Each type comes in various sizes so be sure to choose one specifically tailored to your shotgun’s requirements.
Cleaning the Action
A shotgun should be regularly maintained to prevent malfunctions that could potentially result in injury or even death, so keeping it clean will keep it working efficiently while prolonging its lifespan.
Are You New or Experienced Hunter? Learning How to Clean a 12 Gauge Shotgun Properly is essential – both as an experienced hunter or newcomer – as it will allow you to keep your firearm in top shape for many years of safe hunting experience. A properly cleaned shotgun will last many more, giving you confidence when shooting safely in any hunting scenario.
Cleaning a shotgun doesn’t need to be complex or take long; all it requires are some basic tools, cleaning solvent, and some time.
Before disassembling a shotgun, first remove its stock and forearm for an improved view of its action as well as to more easily clean its barrel, trigger, and bolt.
Once the gun is disassembled, grab some cleaning solvent and a soft-bristled brush to give all surfaces a thorough scrub with this solution. There are brushes specifically designed for this task but using an ordinary toothbrush will suffice just as effectively.
Now, spray the inside of the barrel with solvent and allow it to set for several minutes in order to loosen any plastic wad buildup that may exist. After this has settled, use either a bore snake or rod and bronze brush to clean out your barrel, paying special attention to areas such as behind choke tube threads where fouling often forms quickly.
Once the barrel has been thoroughly cleaned, apply a small amount of oil to its interior to help prevent metal-on-metal wear and corrosion and slow its rate of growth. This step should help safeguard against metal fatigue as well as reduce corrosion rates over time.
After assembling and disassembling, reassemble your shotgun to check that all parts are functioning as they should by testing with some dummy shells. If any issues arise with its operation, return it immediately for repair or resale at your local gun store.
Cleaning the Stock
A shotgun stock is the front portion of a gun which houses its bolt and barrel, typically covered with an anticorrosion coating such as resin or polymer materials to protect its surface from damage or corrosion.
Material quality of a shotgun’s stock is critical to its performance, so regular cleaning and maintenance is necessary in order to increase lifespan and enhance performance.
Clean a 12 gauge shotgun thoroughly to remove all dirt and debris accumulated through use. There are various techniques you can use, such as using enzymatic cleaners or solvent-based solutions for this process.
Another effective method for cleaning the stock of a shotgun is using a soft bristled brush with soft bristles to gently remove dirt and debris. Depending on the amount of dirt present, additional cleaner may need to be added as well.
Utilize a soft cloth to wipe away any extra dirt; ensure it is lint-free to ensure safety of use for the gun.
Once all dust and debris has been eliminated, the next step in cleaning a 12 gauge shotgun should be applying Tru-Oil Gun Stock Finish. This will protect it from further damage while helping retain its beauty.
Alternative Method: Use a cloth pretreated with special oil to make cleaning simpler and faster.
Lubricate all exposed metal parts. This will prevent dirt accumulation on the gun and thus hinder its performance.
Once your gun has been lubricated, the next step in cleaning and reassembling it should be cleaning and reassembly. This allows for you to identify any damage or irregularities which have arisen during cleaning as you might find signs of wear during disassembly or assembly.
After reassembling your shotgun, take time to carefully examine all parts to ensure they remain in excellent condition – this will ensure your shotgun will continue functioning reliably over time.