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Mastering the Art: Expert Tips for Cleaning Your AR-15 Rifle

July 20, 2023

Owning an AR-15 rifle comes with a responsibility that extends beyond the firing range. Proper cleaning and maintenance are essential for ensuring the longevity and reliable performance of this iconic firearm. In this article, we will delve into the topic of AR-15 cleaning, outlining the recommended steps for achieving a thorough and meticulous cleaning process. So, grab your cleaning kit, roll up your sleeves, and let's get started!

Step 1: Safety First

Before embarking on any cleaning endeavor, it is imperative to prioritize safety. Ensure your rifle is unloaded and the chamber is empty. Confirm that the firearm's safety selector is engaged in the safe position. Always work in a well-ventilated area and wear appropriate eye and hand protection to shield yourself from any solvent splatter or debris dislodgement.

Step 2: Disassembly and Inspection

Begin by separating the upper and lower receivers of your AR-15. This disassembly facilitates access to all the crucial components requiring cleaning. Conduct a thorough inspection, paying particular attention to the barrel, bolt carrier group, and gas system. Look for any signs of excessive fouling, carbon buildup, or potential wear that might require attention. This step is also a good time to consider replacing existing worn or broken components or upgrading standard factory rifle accessories with new upgraded accessories

Step 3: Barrel and Bore Cleaning

The heart of your rifle is undoubtedly its barrel, and meticulous cleaning of the bore is paramount. Start by attaching an appropriate bore brush to a cleaning rod and apply a high-quality solvent to the bristles. Insert the rod into the chamber end of the barrel, ensuring the brush passes through the entire length of the bore several times. This action will dislodge fouling and deposits that can impede accuracy.

After brushing, attach a cotton patch soaked in solvent to the cleaning rod and run it through the bore until it emerges clean. Repeat this process until the patch comes out free of residue. Finish by running a dry patch through the barrel to remove any excess solvent. A light coating of oil on a patch can be used to prevent corrosion if storing the firearm for an extended period.

Step 4: Bolt Carrier Group (BCG) Cleaning

The BCG plays a crucial role in the operation of an AR-15 and demands meticulous cleaning. Start by removing the retaining pin and extracting the bolt assembly from the carrier. Inspect all parts for excessive fouling or carbon buildup. Utilize a nylon or brass brush along with an appropriate solvent to clean the bolt, carrier, and firing pin. Pay attention to the extractor and its spring, ensuring they are clean and functioning optimally.

Once cleaned, lubricate the bolt and carrier with a high-quality gun oil or lubricant, focusing on the friction points and any moving parts. Apply a thin coat, avoiding excessive oil accumulation, which can attract dirt and grime.

Step 5: Lower Receiver and Small Components

Cleaning the lower receiver involves attention to detail. Use a soft brush or toothbrush dipped in solvent to scrub any accumulated grime or carbon from the lower receiver, buffer tube, and trigger group components. Pay particular attention to the trigger and hammer areas, ensuring a clean and smooth operation.

After cleaning, apply a light coat of lubricant to the appropriate points, such as the trigger and hammer pins. Wipe away any excess oil to prevent excessive accumulation.

Step 6: Reassembly and Final Inspection

With all components cleaned and lubricated, it's time to reassemble your rifle. Ensure all parts are properly aligned and seated before applying any force. Take this opportunity to conduct a final visual inspection, ensuring that no areas were missed during cleaning and that all components are functioning correctly.

Cleaning an AR-15 rifle is an essential aspect of responsible ownership. By following these recommended steps, you can maintain the performance, reliability, and longevity of your firearm. Exact step-by-step videos for all above listed steps are available from a variety of reliable online sources. Remember, regular cleaning and maintenance are key to preserving the integrity of your AR-15, ensuring it remains a dependable tool for years to come. Happy shooting and stay safe!

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