Cleaning a Handgun
by Teddy Jacobson
I have gotten more requests for this subject than any other topic of discussion. I clean hanguns everyday and I think the best approach is to tell you how I do it and what I use. I even made a video on this subject a while back. YOU MUST KEEP YOUR HANDGUN CLEAN AS YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT. Some powder burns cleaner than others, if you were to use Winchester Win Clean ammunition you would find that your handgun will remain cleaner. Many powders burn filthy. BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING BE SURE YOU ARE WORKING WITH AN UNLOADED HANDGUN, BE IT A SEMI AUTO OR A REVOLVER.
After experimenting for years I now buy a contact cleaner that is safe on plastic and it cleans very well and it dries instantly. It is not made by a gun related company, it has a red extension spout that is about 5 inches long for directing a pin point spray, it is LPS MICRO X contact cleaner www.lpslabs.com I buy 2 cases every 2 weeks from an industrial supply. You can purchase it from www.mscdirect.com
I also have different cleaning rods that have a dedicated Jag tip on each one in a different caliber, I can not be bothered changing Jags as I work on so many different calibers, so I have a different stainless steel or brass rod for each caliber. If a handle gives me trouble, I discard it and install a permanent wood handle, that can never be removed. I like to buy Dewey or Parker-Hale or Pro-shot cleaning rods, each is about 12 inches in length. I do not buy cheap products of any kind.
I buy different size cotton patches in bulk from Brownells. www.brownells.com I use either KG bore clear or I like Remington Bore cleaner or Accupro. Its a matter of personal choice which is better, they all do the job for me. I jave JB bore paste that I mix with STP oil treatment. In a semi auto pistol I clean the barrel from the chamber side and then clean the slide. If its filthy and caked up I use a small tooth brush and a dental pick. You could use a discarded battery operated tooth brush. I put everything on a towel and use paper towels. I spray everything with LPS MICRO X until it runs clean.
I spray all the internals in the frame and in my specific case I usually disassemble everything, but in your case it is not necessary because the 5 inch extension spout will allow you to reach every area of the internal parts in the frame and in some cases the slide. When your spray runs clean over paper towels you will be fairy certain you have gotten most of it clean. Its hard to explain in words that is why I made the video. You may need to brush some areas and use cotton Q-Tips where needed.
After you clean the bore of the barrel, the final patch should be fairly clean. If you have lead in your barrel you will need to buy and use a Lewis lead remover. I do not clean leaded bores, I leave that for the customer, after all it was his decision to save money and buy lead, now its his problem. The lewis lead remover comes in specific calibers. On the final patch thru the bore you can use some Militec gun oil, www.militec-1.com you want only a very thin film. I also like to have and use LPS No. 1 lubricant. It is an excellent general purpose spray lubricant.
Now that the gun is clean and there is no lube at all in your handgun, use Militec gun oil in all friction points or contact areas. You do not need much as a little goes a long way. I now use Militec lithium base grease on the rails of a semi auto. I use a very thin film of it and you can put some, using your finger or a Q -Tip in the barrel locking lug areas depending on your specific model.
I spray each magazine with LPS MICRO X also, until it runs clean, in some cases where the metal follower is really filthy I take it out to better clean it. Never use a penetrating oil in your magazines, it could cost you your life. You must keep your breech face dry as well as your extractor. If you have a 1911 pistol with an internal extractor you must remove it once in a while along with the firing pin and firing pin spring to clean it. If you accidentally bend the extractor and change the tension of a good working extractor, you will have created a problem. That is why I like and prefer the external extractor system. You can now use a cotton Q -Tip and MICRO X to clean the tunnel of the internal extractor and the firing pin tunnel in the slide.
If you have a revolver you must clean each chamber of the cylinder using a bore cleaner. Run patches from the entry side of the cylinder chambers as you would insert a cartridge. You can and must clean the revolver barrel from the muzzle end being careful you do not damage the edge of the rifling. Then again using a very thin film of militec on the last patch after it has been cleaned. If you have lead all over the inside, well then maybe you will learn your lesson in the savings you have made, in that a few dollars may not be worth all the trouble you have to go through to clean the lead out. That will be your decision.
The average person should not remove the plate on their revolver if in fact you have one depending on the revolver brand you own. If you have a S&W revolver you can remove the larger screw that holds the cylinder which is on the right side above the trigger guard. Slide the Crane/Yoke assembly out of the cylinder and spray everything with MICRO X. When clean reassemble using militec lubricant. If you have an exposed hammer you can pull the hammer back and secure it in the single action engagement, Spray some MICRO X down into the action until it runs clean. Then you can put in some Militec gun oil into the revolver action while the hammer is locked in the single action mode. I will discuss hammerless and other brands of revolvers in another commentary.
Always put some type of rust proof lubricant under your grips. Stainless Steel handguns will rust also, but they have chromium in the steel that retards rust better than carbon steel. I use a very thin film of Militec grease under the grips. I see more rust on the frame under the grips than most anywhere else. Any questions please email me and I will point you in the right direction. I hope this cleaning and lubrication commentary will help you.
AUTHORS PERSONAL NOTATION: This commentary as well as all my previous commentaries are my personal opinion and my viewpoint only. I mean what I say and I say what I mean. You will always know where you stand with me. I just tell it like it is even though I have an abrasive manor, I stand for honesty and integrity. Thats much more than a lot of people can say. I am not here to make friends and influence people, I am here to help you by giving up my time and a great effort, without any compensation because I want to. This is not about BENJAMIN FRANKLIN or TEDDY ROOSEVELT.
Teddy Jacobson / Pistolsmith