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Posted: 8/24/2004 8:12:31 AM EST
I just cleaned my first AR today, using the instructions provided by Bushmaster and the US Marines. It was messier and more time consuming that I had expected... there are lots of nooks and crannies in there!

What's the smart way to do this - the best products for making it easy to do a good job? For example, I don't like using wire-core pipe cleaners in the gas tube because I'm afraid I'll scratch up the inside. How about foaming bore cleaners? A special tool for getting at those locking recesses? Soaking the removable parts in something?

What are your secrets, guys?
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 8:17:40 AM EST
Best new tip I've discovered in the last six months: buy some nitrile exam gloves (NOT latex). Makes cleanup a snap afterward, and besides, the liver you save might be your own.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 8:18:21 AM EST

Originally Posted By Mike_Jackmin:
I just cleaned my first AR today, using the instructions provided by Bushmaster and the US Marines. It was messier and more time consuming that I had expected... there are lots of nooks and crannies in there!

What's the smart way to do this - the best products for making it easy to do a good job? For example, I don't like using wire-core pipe cleaners in the gas tube because I'm afraid I'll scratch up the inside. How about foaming bore cleaners? A special tool for getting at those locking recesses? Soaking the removable parts in something?

What are your secrets, guys?



Don't clean the gas tube. You don't need to, and you're more likely to clog it by screwing with it.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 8:19:55 AM EST
I use some type of CLP (G96) to do most of the rifle. However, for the barrel you only need to know one thing...Bore Snake. Bore Snakes are the best thing to happen to guns since ammo.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 8:22:28 AM EST
trying to find a short-cut is not the way. do it the like bushie and the usmc have instructed you to. it will prolong the life and functionality of your rifle. i use break-free clp and nylon brushes (old toothbrushes work great) to clean and lube and some kind of bore cleaner for your barrel - i use a bore snake to clean the barrel. also, the pipe cleaners won't hurt your gas tube.
mp
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 8:31:47 AM EST
Q-tips. I'm able to get the medical ones with small cotton heads and wooden shafts. They work great for the gas key and bolt carrier.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 8:36:47 AM EST
I use Ballistol which is a safer product for your health. Though it does smell like used gym socks stuffed with licorice. I would also reccomend getting a good 1 piece cleaning rod. If the lint from the patches / rags that get all over the rifle bug you, just use an old tooth brush SLIGHTLY dampened with a light gun oil to brush iti all off. Or, use a black rag.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 8:44:03 AM EST
I guess I meant the "carrier key"? The little tube that's attached to the bolt.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 8:50:28 AM EST
Gas tubes don't need cleaning. The 14,500-19,000psi gas pressure pretty much keeps then clean. Gas keys do need regular cleaning. Use a worn .223 bore brush to scrub out the key and follow it up with pipe cleaners. I've never heard of a clogged gas tube. I have seen wear gas tubes wear at the bolt carrier end not making a good enough seal to cycle. I have also seen broken, clogged and loose gas keys.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 9:13:38 AM EST
Gloves and glasses. Then I spray the parts down with carb cleaner good, blow them off with compressed air and then relube
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 9:22:03 AM EST
You might want to check out the Otis cleaning kits. I take mine to the range (USMC), and there is always one Marine who didn't clean his bore, and it has to shine for me to approve it. The neat thing is that you can put a brush on one end, then an eyelet on the other. Speeds it up real quick. For the action/receiver, use Scrubbing Bubbles, BUT BE SURE TO LUBRICATE AFTERWARDS! It removes all forms of lubricant. A red rifle is not a fun thing to have.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 9:33:45 AM EST
Otis kit for chamber and bore.

Dental pick set (with patches wrapped around the tips) for getting the nooks and crannies.

3m scrubbie (green scouring pads) for the tail of the bolt.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 9:37:30 AM EST
The other option is to do what I do - wait until something stops working, then clean the part causing it. This rarely happens - I usually end up cleaning only if I see rust.

I will pass the occasional boresnake down the barrel, though.

I hate cleaning rifles.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 9:53:09 AM EST
I like boresnakes for a quick cleaning at the range, but to really clean the barrel I use an OTIS kit. Breakcleaner works OK to get any crap off your rifle but you need to relube as it strips it dry.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 10:14:06 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/24/2004 10:29:49 AM EST by Forest]

Originally Posted By Mike_Jackmin:
I just cleaned my first AR today, using the instructions provided by Bushmaster and the US Marines. It was messier and more time consuming that I had expected... there are lots of nooks and crannies in there!


It should take you 15-20 minutes - if it takes longer than that then you are being too anal.



For example, I don't like using wire-core pipe cleaners in the gas tube because I'm afraid I'll scratch up the inside. How about foaming bore cleaners


WTF? NEVER EVER stick a pipe cleaner in the tube and NEVER EVER put ANY liquid down the gas tube. That part of the AR is 'self cleaning' - don't dick with it or you'll dick it up.

There is NO instructions on cleaning inside the tube and warning against it in the military manuals.

Tips for speeding it up?
- Don't be so anal about getting in every nook and cranny.

- Only field strip the rifle - never detail strip it for cleaning. If you don't know what a 'field strip' is then download the -10 from the Information tab above (under Manuals&Downloads)

- Use a bore snake to clean the bore, its quick and easy, do 2 passes. When accuraccy goes to crap (every few thousands rounds) from copper build up then break out the copper remover and really scrub the barrel with a good cleaning kit (like the Otis cable system).

- A used .308 cartridge case is a good tool to remove the carbon buildup on the tail of the bolt.

- Q-Tips make cleaning up the bolt extension lugs and the workings in the lower a quick/simple job.

- A decent rag will let you wipe down the exteriors of the bolt carries, bolts, and inside of the upper reciever pretty quickly. (save the pathches for the bore).

- SLIP 2000 Carbon Cutter makes quick work of the bolt, bolt carrier and related parts while you're cleaning the bore & upper. I use this stuff and it works pretty much as advertised.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 10:14:47 AM EST
I assume you have an AR15 chamber brush, yes? the kind with the larger section in back to clean out the bolt locking recesses?
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 10:23:44 AM EST
If the weapon is going away for a week or less I remove the bolt carrier ass'y and wipe it down with a cloth, apply a small amount of CLP and set aside. Then I wipe down the upper and boresnake the bbl.

Reassemble and shoot next week.

If it's more than a week I disassemble the bolt carrier and clean it completely. Again, CLP is all I use for solvent/cleaner. Works well, esp if you keep using it. I still clean the bbl, but I also make an effort to clean the chamber and locking recesses.

I always treat exterior metal with CLP, allowing it to sit for an hour or so. Then I wipe off and reassemble. I cycle the action and test - (dry) fire ONCE. I then disassemble and wipe down with the CLP-soaked (but otherwise clean) rags, then I reassemble wet. It takes long enough before I get back around shooting that the lube dries. CLP's real good about not gumming up.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 10:26:43 AM EST

Originally Posted By Forest:
WTF? NEVER EVER stick a pipe cleaner in the tube and NEVER EVER put ANY liquid down the gas tube. That part of the AR is 'self cleaning' - don't dick with it or you'll dick it up.



He clarified his original statement. He meant in the gas key.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 10:30:32 AM EST

Originally Posted By markm:

Originally Posted By Forest:
WTF? NEVER EVER stick a pipe cleaner in the tube and NEVER EVER put ANY liquid down the gas tube. That part of the AR is 'self cleaning' - don't dick with it or you'll dick it up.



He clarified his original statement. He meant in the gas key.



Gotcha - in that case he should be using the pipe cleaner as its the only thing that will make the bend and not get stuck.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 11:23:05 AM EST
That foam stuff in the barrel works great.
Get a Chamber bore guide and the Chamber brush.
Bore snake ok for fast clean.
Coated rod with Jag and brush, for the barrel.
Plastic picks and toofth brush for hard to reach place.
CLP, Shooters Choice, Hoppes 9, Sweets crud cleaned or what ever its called.
Lots of paper towels, rubber gloves and goggles if needed.
Sit down take your time and make it a normal part of your after shooting day.
There is no easy way, but if you do it often it will take less time then trying to clean off caked on carbon.
You don't need to do the Gas tube, but run a pipe cleaner through the tube on the carrier if you want.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 11:28:53 AM EST
what do yall use for a bore cleaner after typical shooting? I usually use a copper solvent and Remington bore cleaner on my bore snake. Any thing else better or recommended to use on a bore snake?
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 11:34:39 AM EST
It also depends on your build. Steel bbls will be the hardest to clean, chrome lined bbls and stainless steel bbls will be pretty easy.

None are difficult to clean unless you're using junk ammo. I have to clean a 17 Mk IV and a 17 HMR after the wife gets done shooting them. I don't wanna hear it about cleaning out a 223! It's simple enough to clean the chamber to satisfaction with a boresnake and some CLP.

Locking lugs are more difficult but they're still very cleanable with some patience and the right tools. I mutilate a bore brush for this task with a pair of lineman's pliers but you do as you like. Just get in there from time to time and clean it out.

Oh, and yen was right. Hot wok, cold oil food won't stick! If you -must- immerse - clean your components for whatever reason you might as well do it HOT. Though I don't recommend this, a good hot water bath can help some situations, esp in an all-stainless and synthetic rifle.

DO be aware, though that you still have parts that will rust.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 11:43:19 AM EST
A trick for cleaning the lower receiver is to run it under very hot water. It blasts out the old lube and any sand / particles. Shake it off and the heated lower receiver makes the remaining water evaporate quickly. Then just relube the necessary parts. Make sure none of the trapped water stays in the buffer spring area, and that it is dry before reassembling the buffer and spring. I learned that after being in the field in Georgia and Kentucky for months on end. I was drinking beer while the rest of the troops were still cleaning.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 11:44:26 AM EST

Originally Posted By u-baddog:
Gloves and glasses. Then I spray the parts down with carb cleaner good, blow them off with compressed air and then relube



+1 if ya got compressed air. Why do people make this into an event?

Link Posted: 8/24/2004 11:51:37 AM EST
Dishwasher works great if you get the granular detergent, not the pouches....
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 11:59:57 AM EST

Originally Posted By WARDOG7366:
A trick for cleaning the lower receiver is to run it under very hot water. It blasts out the old lube and any sand / particles. Shake it off and the heated lower receiver makes the remaining water evaporate quickly. Then just relube the necessary parts. Make sure none of the trapped water stays in the buffer spring area, and that it is dry before reassembling the buffer and spring. I learned that after being in the field in Georgia and Kentucky for months on end. I was drinking beer while the rest of the troops were still cleaning.



I don't think this is very smart. You are going to get water trapped in the small detent holes which will rust the springs and detents. You are also going to cause corrosion of the trigger group and pins, mag release, screws, etc.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 1:49:25 PM EST
Unless you are planning on going swimming with your AR or hanging out in a jungle for days on end without time to maintain your rifle, don't over-lube your AR. There are precious few spots on the AR that need lubrication. The bolt carrier rails, cam pin, gas rings, gas tube/gas key interface and the support surface near the bolt head on the bolt.

By not drowning the AR in lube it is much easier to clean. Most of the fouling will be dry carbon instead of something that looks like old motor oil.

I clean my AR like this:

1) Pull bolt carrier group and disassemble.
2) Spray bolt carrier group with you favorite carbon cutter and let sit. I like to use Sea Foam Deep Creep. Its not horribly toxic.
3) Wipe out inside of upper receiver with a paper towel wrapped around a shotgun bore mop.
4) Wipe off end of gas tube in upper receiver with a paper towel.
5) Scrub chamber 10 stokes with a chamber brush using a good solvent. Make a couple of spins with the brush to clean the area behind the locking lugs.
6) Flush barrel extension and chamber with break cleaner with muzzle pointing down.
7) Scrub barrel 10 strokes with brush using the cleaner of your choice and let sit. I currently like Blue Wonder (non-toxic). Using a bore guide is a good idea.
8) Rinse all parts of the bolt carrier group with your favorite break cleaner and let sit to dry.
9) Scrub barrel 10 more strokes with brush and solvent and then patch clean. Follow with a patch using a good gun oil. Lube the locking lugs using a toothbrush and a little CLP.
10) Using a toothbrush apply CLP to all parts of the bolt carrier group. Don't overdue it! Just a nice thin coat.
11) Reassemble bolt carrier group. Add a little extra CLP to the bolt carrier guide rails, cam pin and gas key mouth.
12) Replace bolt carrier group.
13) Spray fire control parts in lower receiver with self-cleaning dry-lube spray.
14) You're done. Total time: about 15 minutes.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 2:41:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By QuietShootr:
Best new tip I've discovered in the last six months: buy some nitrile exam gloves (NOT latex). Makes cleanup a snap afterward, and besides, the liver you save might be your own.



Why not latex
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 3:37:03 PM EST
Latex breaks down under physical and chemical stresses, is more permeable, and causes allergic reactions in some people.

Nitrile is also more stylish.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 4:02:11 PM EST

Originally Posted By Not_A_Llama:
Latex breaks down under physical and chemical stresses, is more permeable, and causes allergic reactions in some people.

Nitrile is also more stylish.



I agree. I was using Latex and "QuickScrub" - I felt it burn right through the gloves.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 4:58:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By Sharpshot:
I use some type of CLP (G96) to do most of the rifle. However, for the barrel you only need to know one thing...Bore Snake. Bore Snakes are the best thing to happen to guns since ammo.



Finally, someone loves the bore snake besides me.

I put a bit of Montana Extreme on the front portion just above the 'brushes'.

One pull-though and I'm done!
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 5:35:43 PM EST
I have started using brake/electric cleaner after using Tetra Action blaster for some time.
You can get a a large aeresol bottle for $3-5 at auto store (as opposed to a $10 bottle of Tetra),
with a spray straw to aim it where you need it.
(Keep it off the plastic handguards, they can melt/discolor)
It makes short work of the upper and chamber and bolt.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 5:56:27 PM EST
i clean mine every 500rds. don't want to over do it you know.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 6:11:12 PM EST
Got enough cleaning to do, seems like every range trip I take so many guns I wind up cleaning almost as long as I was shooting. (What? Take fewer guns? Bite your tongue, sir!)
Bolt guns- patch/scrub/patch/scrub until clean, CLP soak the last patch through.
ARs- wet patches down the barrel until they come out (reasonably) clean, several passes with a nylon brush, then patches until clean and then a CLP-soaked patch. Bolt gets either hosed with CLP and wiped until it's only damp, or disassembled/cleaned/CLP'd and reassembled if it's going to be a while (hah!). Hose out the upper with brake cleaner, wipe clean and let dry, then apply CLP as needed. Reassemble. Once in a while I strip the bolt and clean/lube, as needed, and usually I run a chamber cleaning brush while the bolt group is out.
Shooting IPSC and IDPA, my 1911's run better 'wet' and so do my ARs. Sunday a friend wandered over to see why the AR was smoking- was the CLP burning off. Not like it drips out every hole or anything, but the stuff is cheap and well lubed = no problems, at least for me.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

1911fan
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 6:27:00 PM EST

Originally Posted By Sharpshot:
what do yall use for a bore cleaner after typical shooting?


Breakfree CLP
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 6:27:36 PM EST
Somebody may have already done this. A quick way to get most of the crud of the back portion of the bolt is to take the charging handle and put the portion that has the hole in it over the bolt and give it a twist or two-takes it right off!

Mark
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 6:33:26 PM EST
ks_shooter,


13) Spray fire control parts in lower receiver with self-cleaning dry-lube spray.



For the above, which is your suggested product?

Thanks.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 6:53:47 PM EST

Originally Posted By Forest:

Originally Posted By Sharpshot:
what do yall use for a bore cleaner after typical shooting?


Breakfree CLP



I didn't know you could put CLP down the bore. I use G96 CLP, would that be okay to put on my bore snake Forest?
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 7:15:21 PM EST
The only easy way I know is to invest in a sonicator then throw the parts in the bin and run it a few minutes, wip then off, lube, and reassemble. Other than that that there is no really easy way.
Two thumbs up for the Otis bore and chanber cleaning system. You'll hate a rod once you get used to it.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 9:17:13 PM EST

Originally Posted By Mike_Jackmin:
I just cleaned my first AR today, using the instructions provided by Bushmaster and the US Marines. It was messier and more time consuming that I had expected... there are lots of nooks and crannies in there!

What's the smart way to do this - the best products for making it easy to do a good job? For example, I don't like using wire-core pipe cleaners in the gas tube because I'm afraid I'll scratch up the inside. How about foaming bore cleaners? A special tool for getting at those locking recesses? Soaking the removable parts in something?

What are your secrets, guys?



Congratulations on your purchase and welcome to the forum.

The Training Manual provided by Bushmaster and used by U.S. Marines is fine. The manual is available on "ar15.com" as a download. As you gain experience from each "by the numbers" cleaning session per the instructions in the manual you'll become more proficient. Proficiency will lead to increased efficiency.

U.S.G.I. cleaning kits are fine. Purchase extra rod sections if more length is desired.

BreakFree-CLP will serve you well. BreakFree-CLP is a good general-purpose cleaner in the field or at home. Apply, scrub, wipe clean, and re-apply as a lubricant. It works. I only use special purpose bore cleaners at home.

BreakFree Bore Cleaning Foam is a nice product, you can let it work on the bore while you clean something else for 10 minutes (use as directed). Remington Bore Cleaner is good on stubborn copper fouling. With a chrome-lined bore, you probably won't need something stronger than Hoppe's #9 or Shooter's Choice bore cleaner.

A worn bore-brush scrubs the carbon build-up from the rear of the bolt nicely. The chamber brush works well too.

A stripper clip is a field-expedient tool to scrape the carbon from deep inside the bolt carrier. Place a wet-with-CLP patch over the end of the stripper-clip, insert into the bolt carrier and twist it around a few times. Or you could purchase a special tool from Brownell's for about $25 dollars.
There are some who say this is unnecessary because it isn't important to remove all the carbon. The carbon deposits only build-up to a certain thickness and then flake off during shooting. If you feel the same, then wiping the inside of the bolt-carrier with CLP & Q-tips should be sufficient.

After applying CLP to your chamber brush and scrubbing the chamber, the bolt-lug recess is difficult to wipe clean with .223 sized patches. Use a .30 caliber sized patch instead. Slip it one-third of the way through and then wrap it around the slotted rod attachment of your USGI cleaning rod. Then use it to wipe the bolt-lug recess of the chamber.

Expendable supplies:
Paper Towels
Q-tips
Pipe cleaners
.223 caliber sized patches
.30 caliber sized patches
BreakFree-CLP
Your favorite Bore-cleaner (optional)

Items which wear-out with use.
Bore brush
Chamber brush
Toothbrush or equivalent
Cleaning rags

To protect your workbench or kitchen table from cleaning solvents, use newspapers, a dropcloth, a towel, or special purpose mats. These are expendable or machine washable, your choice.

To adjust the front sight without using a bullet, purchase a nail from a hardware store. Use a whetstone or grinder to sharpen its' point like pencil, if you like. Special purpose front-sight adjustment tools are also available from retailers.

As for the nooks and crannies? The rifle should be clean enough to function properly. The M-16/AR-15 rifle wasn't meant to operate clean as a whistle and dry as a bone. A thin film of lubricant is expected to protect it from the environment and lubricate it during firing. Again, the Training Manual is fine and will serve you well.

Good luck and enjoy your rifle.

Sincerely,
Craig
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 10:55:55 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/24/2004 10:58:06 PM EST by SchutzStaffel]
In my opinion Sinclair International has some of the best cleaning products on the market. Those boresnakes are crap, if you are concerned with highest accuarcy possible you need to clean your barrel with high quality products. I apply the same techniques for cleaning my barrels as benchrest shooters do. I use a Jag and a fresh patch with each pass down the bore. A bore guide makes things alot easier as well as a good quality solvent like Butches Bore Shine or Shooters Choice. However "soaking" the bore for long periods of time is not recommended with chrome-lined barrels because of the solvents containing ammonia from what I've heard. I like coated cleaning rods with ball-bearing handles from Bore tech also. I've tried Boresnakes before, but after looking inside my barrel with a borescope, my previous cleaning methods were clearly seen as being poor as evidenced by numerous streaks of copper fouling. Once that copper fouling builds up too much you'll never get all the fouling out and your rifle's accuarcy will suffer. One thing Im surprised at is that I don't see alot of people clean their guns at the range instead of at home. I don't have to stink up the house with the solvents, make a mess with all the dirty patches and rags. Seems alot easier just to clean while Im there.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 1:45:21 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 4:43:41 AM EST
ddc,

Here is the stuff I am using now.

Dri-Film

I can usually find it at the local Home Depot. I also use it one the charging handle and inside the upper receiver. Any part that needs a little lube but doesn't operate under high pressure and/or friction is a good candidate for this stuff.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 4:45:43 AM EST
Mod,

Should this thread should be moved to Maintenance and Cleaning?
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 6:03:21 AM EST
ky_shooter,
Thanks, I'll check it out.
ddc.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 6:28:15 AM EST
M-Pro7 works great. Non toxic and biodegradeable. I use FP-10 to lube.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 7:56:53 AM EST

Originally Posted By Sharpshot:

I didn't know you could put CLP down the bore. I use G96 CLP, would that be okay to put on my bore snake Forest?



I've never heard of G96 but I don't see why.

The 'C' in CLP is supposed to be Clean so it should work.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 2:08:55 PM EST

Originally Posted By Forest:

Originally Posted By Sharpshot:

I didn't know you could put CLP down the bore. I use G96 CLP, would that be okay to put on my bore snake Forest?



I've never heard of G96 but I don't see why.

The 'C' in CLP is supposed to be Clean so it should work.



gotcha! I have two kinds of CLP: Breakfree and G96. I'll try the Breakfree down the bore.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 2:13:11 PM EST
Simple green and the shower head on pulse. Run a wipe down the barrel ,Dry it off and a lil clp afterwards.

10 minutes and I'm done.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 4:23:32 PM EST
I've heard of so many different ways to clean ARs in this thread alone. Perhaps the question is "What not to do when cleaning your AR" or "No No's when cleaning your AR"
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 4:27:17 PM EST
Throw out every caustic chemical you own and buy MPRO-7. I get it by the gallon from Brownells. I have an impressive shelf of chemicals that don't work as good as the 7.


Shoot more, clean less. There is no Marine armorer to inspect your weapon, and it DOES NOT need to be white glove clean, I don't care what anyone tells you.

If you want to be anal and get it completely clean, you need a full length ultrasonic cleaner. My bro has to have his iron inspection clean, so I gave him my ultrasonic tank. You get a white glove near my gun and you won't get any beer from me.
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