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Gun care tips for the offseason

With the end of turkey season Tuesday, there is no traditional hunting season again until the Labor Day openers for dove and goose. The off-season for hunting is embraced by those looking to get in some fishing, but due to our humid climate, firearms should be looked after before being stored for a few months. The Hoppe’s company has been making gun-cleaning products for 100 years, because they want sportsmen to preserve their guns for future generations to use.

It’s true that guns can be shot for sport all year long, but a majority of outdoorsmen store their guns during the summer. The Bench Rest cleaning kit gives you all the tools needed for a simple and quick barrel cleaning, as well as an oil lubricant rub down. The Bench Rest kit comes in an attractive hardwood box and is outfitted with #9 solvent, lubricant oil, cleaning pads and brass cleaning rod. A bore light is also included to check for fouling inside the barrel before and after cleaning.

Whether cleaning a rifle, shotgun or black powder firearm the Hoppe’s Guide to Gun Care covers what any shooter must know. Starting with a bore brush attached to the cleaning rod, clean the gun from the breech end of the barrel. Moisten the brush with solvent and work back and forth to loosen any powder residue. Then place a cloth cleaning pad on the rod and swab the inside of the barrel. Use as many cloths as necessary until the barrel is free of fouling.

A newer and separate option for cleaning a shotgun barrel is the BoreSnake, a rope of cloth that cleans the barrel in a fraction of the time. The BoreSnake has bronze bristles that scour the inside of the barrel and the padded rope that follows provides more surface area than a cleaning patch. What the BoreSnake does well is that it travels in a pickup truck or even in a coat pocket, providing gun-cleaning mobility.

After cleaning the barrel, use the silicon cloth and gun oil to wipe down the outside of the gun. A utility brush in the Bench Rest kit will help to deal with any surface rust that needs removing, so that any problem area does not expand during storage. The kit also comes with a wipe-down rollout pad that serves as a barrier between gun oil and your work area. For more information visit the Internet at www.Hoppes.com.

Once cleaned of metal fouling and subsequent fingerprints from handling during cleaning, any firearm should be ready to withstand a storage time of a few months. Nothing is worse than the feeling of going to retrieve your firearm for the start of hunting season, only to find out that it was put away improperly. With high humidity, some gun cases require intermittent checks to visually verify that no rust is occurring.

Sometimes breaking down a firearm and cleaning it is the last thing one wants to do because it signals the end of another hunting season, and because it is tedious. However, this is a case where the benefits from gun cleaning far outweigh the alternative. Whether the gun was purchased by you, handed down by your grandfather, or won at a local conservation banquet, a shooter bears the responsibility of gun safety and gun cleaning.

Of particular interest to this shooter is an old antique shotgun-cleaning outfit I have from the old Sears brand called J.C. Higgins. The cleaning outfit came in a small tin box (which makes for a nice collectible) with a slogan on it that says “Keep your gun clean.” A cleaning rod, brush, cloth patches and a cloth swab are all of its contents. Although this kit seems primitive today, it demonstrates that cleaning firearms will always be a part of shooting sports, and that just a few essential tools can help to accomplish this task.


Jeff Dennis, Contributor (341 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com