How to Clean a Shotgun

Written by ehow sports & fitness editor
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A universal shotgun cleaning kit can be used with all gauge shotguns including the 10, 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauge. The procedure is different for all types of guns, such as the pump, semi-automatic and single or double barrel shotgun, but the basic directions are the same. First and foremost ensure your gun is unloaded before attempting to clean.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Universal shotgun cleaning kit

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    Disassembling the Gun

  1. 1

    Break down the action on a single shot. Take the forearm off first, and then remove the barrel from the frame.

  2. 2

    For the pump action gun, slide the pump action all the way back, then unscrew the top of the tubular chamber so you can twist off the barrel from the gun. The cleaning procedure will be the same as below, except that all steel parts of the pump action need to be greased with Teflon oil to keep the action smooth and crisp. You can purchase Teflon oil at any gun store.

  3. 3

    Pull the semi-automatic action all the way back, then unscrew the cap at the end of the forearm. This allows you to slide the forearm off, freeing the barrel to slide off the frame. The cleaning procedure for the semi-automatic is the same except for the gas chamber. This chamber must be removed, cleaned and lubricated for the gun to continue to work properly. Because there are variations in the removal and cleaning instructions for different models, clean the gas chamber according to the owners manual.

    Cleaning the Shotgun

  1. 1

    Attach the accessory tip to the cleaning rod and insert a patch. Wet the patch with cleaning solvent so that it's wet, but not soaked through. Run the rod down through the barrel with the wet patch. This will break up any powder and lead residue in the barrel. Push rod clear through the barrel.

  2. 2

    Run the brush through the barrel to break free any residue. Run the brush clear through the barrel as needed.

  3. 3

    Wet another patch with solvent and run through the barrel to clear and clean the barrel. Then run a dry patch through the barrel to remove any excess solvent and leftover dirt from the barrel.

  4. 4

    Run one patch, damp with gun oil through the bore. This will keep the bore from rusting during the off season.

  5. 5

    Wipe all metal with a rag damp with gun oil. All wood should be wiped down with a dry rag to remove fingerprints, cleaning solvent drips and gun oil.

  6. 6

    Reassemble the gun and wipe with a dry rag, then store in a childproof, humidity controlled safe. Your shotgun is clean and ready for use.

Tips and warnings

  • It can't be stressed enough - makes sure the gun is UNLOADED before attempting to clean!!!

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