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May 09, 2020 | 07:24 pm 3785 0

How To Clean an AR-15

How To Clean an AR-15

It's not a secret that we all approach cleaning and maintaining our firearms individually. While you are cleaning, you can also make a few simple maneuvers to catch possible problems before they cause you grief during trigger time. You've done everything right if your AR stays undamaged and clean.

Today we are going to give you a quick tutorial on how to properly maintain and clean an AR-15. There are a million ways to clean your firearms and no strict rules. That's why you shouldtake this with a grain of salt.

When you’re done reading this, you’ll be able to take your gun apart, clean it completely, and put it back together again with satisfaction and pleasure.

Let’s jump right into it.

First, let's reveal what is needed to start this process. A solvent, gun oil, bore brush (choose such one that is tight but not so much that they cause you to bend the cleaning rod on the push stroke), patch adapter, cleaning brush, patches, cotton swabs and a sturdy object.

A good bore scrubbing after shooting should be a regular practice. Avoid segmented rods made of steel and better use a one-piece rod or bore snake. Most bore brushes made out of Bronze are abrasive enough to remove the fouling without scratching the bore. The only essential tool you’ll need to pick up for your AR-15 is a bore brush for your particular caliber. Don’t worry, you won’t spend an arm and a leg on cleaning tools because a great bore brush can be found for less than five bucks.

Remember: they work best in conjunction with a good copper solvent like Shooter’s Choice or Hoppe’s Number 9. While working in the other parts of your gun, soak your brushes in the bore. You don't need to worry because these cleaners are safe for barrel steels and covers.

Don't forget about the gloves that will be useful from the start to the end of the process. They’ll save you from trying to get gun oil off your fingers. And besides, some cleaning substances can be toxic.

Once your gloves are on and your AR-15 is laid out, let's get the process started!

Step 1

Before you begin disassembly, ensure that the firearm is empty. Then disassemble the lower receiver from the upper one. Pull out the two takedown pins, bolt assembly, and take off the firing and the cam pin. Remove the bolt from the bolt carrier.

The following step you don't always need to do but we usually like to pull the extractor out, so you pop out the extractor pin with the firing pin.

Now your bolt group is completely disassembled and we are ready to move forward.

Step 2

The next part includes pulling the buffer and the spring out of the buffer tube. There is a little detent you need to depress. We like to use the edge of the charging handle. And then from there, we will clean all individual pieces.

Cleaning inside the trigger group is what we like to do before going on. Just release the hammer, take the foaming cleaner, spray it inside and let it do the job while you are cleaning the other parts.

The bolt

All you really need for the bolt is a good cotton rag like a patch. You may also use an old t-shirt. Spray a little bit of gun cleaner on the rag and start to wipe down each piece. If it is excessive you can use your brush, lightly scrape on the side of the bolt, and wipe it out. That'll help to knock off all the carbon.

Extractor and cam pin

Wash the extractor putting a little bit of cleaning solvent on the rag and then wipe it down. Be careful: don't displace the extractor spring and the nylon bushing, they are very small and easy to lose if you are not neat. Then give your cam pin (that gets very dirty) a good wipe down. Don't forget about the extractor pins!

Bolt carrier

This detail has a lot of surface area, that's why it takes a little bit longer. Pick a spot and start cleaning. Make sure that the key is properly staked in. Then get inside where the bolt chamber takes the edge in the cloth and start feeding it in and twisting. Sometimes it can be hard to do the same with the other side, so to get it in as best as you can, use the firing pin.

The firing pin

Firing pins tend to accumulate carbon on the backside where the hummer strikes. Put a little solvent and twist it in the cleaning rag. You can also use the bore brush.

The buffer and buffer spring

Buffer systems usually stay pretty clean and don't take much to clean. But we can't say the same about the buffer spring. Start rotating the spring down with an edge wrapped around one of the coils.

Step 3

Now we have all the individual parts clean and we are going to start on the upper receiver.

Put some cleaner on the rag and then just start from the inside wiping down all the surfaces. The place where the cam pin usually sits, collects a lot of carbon. This is the perfect moment to squirt a little bit of solvent inside and use the brush. Get close to the chamber and the edge of the chamber. Once you gave it a pretty good scrubbing you can go and start wiping down.

Step 4

The next step is to clean the barrel. You'll need the thirty-inch cable, the slotted tip, T-handle and some patches to do it. It's really kind of art! The Otis patches come up with three slots and you are going to put one of them through the slotted tip. Then you pinch part of the patch and stick it back into the slot, pull it through creating the good patch to get the entire circumference of the barrel. Put some solvent on the patch and go from the chamber to the muzzle like the bullet travels. Take the t-handle and turn it in a few times. Once you get into the chamber pull it through.

The following step will be to pull the brass brush through the barrel. Take off the slotted tip, replace it with a brush, and repeat the previous procedure. Displace the brush with the slotted tip again and run patches through until they are clean.

Step 5

The lower receiver

Take the lower receiver that has been soaking in the foaming cleanser. The easiest way to get all that carbon out is to do it with your rag. It is important to make sure that the entire lover receiver is clean and you get all of the gun cleaners out of here. It takes a while, you need to be patient!

Oiling and inspecting individual pieces.

What you'll do next is to put a light coat on every part and іnspect all the pieces. While doing it with the extractor make sure that the spring is intact and the nylon bushing is still there. Make sure all the surfaces look relatively flat. Put a little bit more oil to the buffer sprіng to make іt not so loud.

Step 6

When you have all the pieces inspected and oiled, reassemble them.

First, put together the lower receiver that includes the buffer and the buffer spring. Then you need the lower receiver to put the spring and buffer back into the tube.

Afterward, put the extractor into the bolt, insert the pin and make sure it is flush on both sides. Then you put the bolt into the bolt carrier, insert the cam pin and turn it ninety degrees, insert the firing pin and retaining pin. The bolt has to be all the way forward, so just pull it out to the extended position.

Take the upper receiver, insert the charging handle into the slot (make sure it's down and floating freely). Take the bolt carrier and the bolt, insert it into the groove and push it all together!

Now, let's talk a little bit about pre-made cleaning tools. Is it as necessary as we think? There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to buying them. But the thing is that it is always better to put them together on your own, no matter if you are a starter or a professional shooter.

Nevertheless, we've prepared the top-5 AR-15 cleaning kits we like most of all. It’s a low-budget extraordinary choice for firearm lovers. Last but not least, all of these kits come with a guarantee that makes everything even better.

Precision Tactical Gun Maintenance Brass Cleaning Kit w/ Wood Box

Gloryfire Universal Gun Cleaning Kit

Real Avid Gun Boss AR-15 Cleaning Kit

Militaria M16 & AR-15 Cleaning Kit

DAC Winchester Super Deluxe Soft Sided Gun Care Case


Congrats! Now you understand and know the steps you need to clean and maintain your AR-15. However it's a long process that requires a lot of concentration, there is nothing complicated. If you follow this guide, you should have a long and positive experience with your AR-15.

Remember: If you are damaging some detail during cleaning the gun, you may do it wrong. In such a situation, stop and ask for help from someone that’s done this several times.

Be sure to take your time when cleaning and pay attention to the condition of all elements. Happy hunting!

You can find more information here:
Things You Need to Clean a Gun
Top 5 AR-15 Accessories
A Quick Guide on How to Select a Weapon Light
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