There are a lot of questions about how much gun cleaning to do and how often. This is what we do for our shotgun gun maintenance and our advice about taking care of your shotgun. It’s not all encompassing, but it’s more than a lot of people do and it will help your shotgun look good and perform better for longer.
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Also, if somebody is telling you something that sounds crazy weird and says something like, “You HAVE to do this EVERY time,” … it probably is weird. Just keep it simple. While we don’t “endorse” these products, we use them in the shop because they work (and don’t knock us out with their smell).
Make sure to be the one that knows how to clean and maintain her shotgun … even if you “let” someone else (lovingly) do it for you.
Basic Shotgun Gun Maintenance
Post Shooting Wipe-Down
This doesn’t need to be a major endeavor, just a quick wipe-down of the barrels and stock before you put it into your case.
Why: Oils from your hands, face and skin, along with bug spray and/or sunscreen, get on your gun and need to be wiped off.
How: We like to use “flour sack” cloths because they don’t have any lint. You can get them cheaply and they’re great as dishtowels (not the same ones that you use at the gun bench, though). It’s good to have one in your range bag, along with one at home, too. We use G96 Gun Oil because it works on both metal and wood. The more you use the cloth, the better it will be, so 1 will last quite a while.
Note: Don’t spray anything from a can directly onto the gun, as the propellants can damage the metal – always spray onto the cloth, and then wipe onto the gun.
Clean Out Old Grease Before Adding New Grease
While the time for this task will be different for each person, if the grease is dirty, clean it out.
Why: When you mix dirt and grease, you create a lapping compound – think of getting caught in a dust devil with a fresh coat of lip gloss on. That gloss sticks to your lips and makes for a great exfoliator. It’s good for great looking lips, bad for the metal in your receiver.
How: Take a Q-tip and clean out old grease from where the barrels join with the receiver. Don’t be stingy. Use as many as needed, until the last 1 is clean. This technique applies to your screw-in choke tubes and ejectors also.
Next step: Apply a small amount of new grease where needed. See these videos for information and placement of grease.
There is a Difference Between Grease and Oil
In the world of gun maintenance, there is a difference between applying grease and applying oil. Also, in both cases, more is not always better.
Why: Lubricating the necessary hinges and parts is important to ensure a well working gun. Adding grease and oil, especially where it’s not needed or advised, will just cause issues. See #2 and remember that clean grease on top of dirty grease is NOT good. Just like the lip gloss, a little dab will do ya, so don’t over apply or it just gets goopy. Using oil to lubricate guns needs to be used sparingly and NEVER spray oil into the firing pins (I cringe every time I hear this). See videos for oiling the semi-auto models here.
How: For the most part, there isn’t a lot of oil needed. See video link for application of how much and where. If you still have questions, please feel free to call the office for additional information at 410-901-1131.
Remember: If you use too much oil, it can seep into the wood of the gun – especially around the receiver – and it will make the wood weak. Ultimately, it could cause damage to the wood that would be irreparable and require a new stock. If you will be storing your gun for an extended amount of time after putting oil on it, those in the know will say it’s a good idea to store with the barrels pointing down; this position will allow the excess oil to drain away from the wood.
Why: According to my online research, rust is another name for iron oxide, which occurs when iron or an alloy that contains iron, such as steel (this is what most of our gun receivers are made from, except the “light field models,” which are aluminum alloy), is exposed to oxygen and moisture for a long period of time (this can also be a VERY short amount of time in very humid or wet conditions). Over time, the oxygen combines with the metal at an atomic level, forming a new compound called an oxide and weakening the bonds of the metal itself.
This means that when you put a wet gun away wet, or a damp gun in a damp padded case that will hold moisture, or even a dry gun in a case in a very hot and humid environment (like a trunk or car in the south in the summer), it can and will develop rust. This is NOT the fault of the gun.
Solution/Prevention: If you end up shooting in a rainstorm, take the gun apart, wipe it down with your oil cloth, and don’t forget to unscrew your choke tubes and dry them out and put a dab of grease on the cleaned threads. Please don’t store your gun in a confined space, damp/wet hard or soft case for extended periods of time. Soft cases are good for transporting to and from your event. They are not ideal for long term storage.
How: See #1 above. Wiping down your gun with oil will help prevent rust, but won’t stop it if the conditions are right.
Cleaning the Barrel
Unless you are shooting “dirty” shells and seem to have a lot of junk in your barrels, it’s not necessary to clean them every time you shoot. Running a bore snake through them is good.
Don’t shock your gun stock by changing environments drastically. Wood expands and contracts in heat and cold (includes hot summer and cold air conditioning, or cold winter and a warm fire) and that can affect how the metal fits to the wood. Take care to not move your gun from 1 extreme to another. Let it acclimate if possible, such as car to garage to house or vice versa.
For more information about the line of Syren shotguns and basic shotgun gun maintenance visit Syren USA online.
Lynne is on to her next adventure after over four years in Maryland with Caesar Guerini and Fabarm as the Brand Manager for Syren (a line of shotguns made for the ladies). She has attended dozens of demos and events and has been honored to get to meet and introduce hundreds of ladies and young girls (and lots of boys and men too) to all 3 brands and to shotgun shooting! Lynne has learned so much about shotguns – gun fit, eye dominance and mechanics – that shows her just how much more there is to learn. She now is doing marketing and branding consulting and also plans to stay active in the outdoor industry, do more hunting and sporting clays, shooting lessons and add some fly fishing to her repertoire. She’ll be based in the Dallas Fort Worth area.
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