A clean firearm pays off in the field

Is your gun clean?

General Rifle hunting season for southwest Manitoba opens Nov. 12 and there are some things hunters should consider when gearing up to stalk white tailed deer.

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Wolverine Supplies near Virden is a hunting supply store with the equipment and expertise to help hunters.

We asked owner Matt Hipwell about gun maintenance.

“Too often we leave it to the last minute to prepare ourselves for the upcoming hunting season,” said Hipwell. “We often get last minute requests for repairs or maintenance on a firearm.”

Minor repairs and maintenance pay off in the long run, just like the upkeep of a car, or any piece of equipment.

“It affects the longevity of a firearm and how it will perform for you. One of the common things we see, is firearms are stored with a dry surface,” he says, referring to the barrel and bore of the gun.

“If they are stored dry, in people’s basements which can be on the damp side, they’ll get rust. Rust is metal’s number one enemy.”

Dry, in this case, means the gun has been stored without the all-important light coat of oil to protect the metal.

But first, the gun should be cleaned.

Note, if you are a diligent gun owner, and have stored your gun in a clean and oiled condition, before you go out to confirm the ‘zero’ of your firearm, be sure to wipe dry the bore of your barrel to remove that oily film.

Incidentally, the sighting-in process “removes the frustration of why you may have missed when you are out hunting.”

New guns come with an owner’s manual which, if actually read, provides information about setting the sights and maintenance.

You will see surgical gloves can be worn during the cleaning process to protect the skin from cleaning solutions and lubricants.

A special cleaner is used to remove rust on any kind of gun. However, some firearms have special needs.

“Black powder is different,” says Hipwell. “It’s corrosive in nature.” The powder carries a salt and that is the corrosive element.

“To remove corrosion, the simplest product out there is hot water. As hot as possible and pour it down the barrel. That helps remove that salt.”

Whether you have a .30-6, .270 or any bore size or gauge of shotgun, it is important how you clean it. Most gun barrels are steel, although some newer guns can have a slightly different composite.

There are a number of cleaning products carried in firearms stores and some hardware stores. Hipwell names Bore Tech, Hoppes 9, Sweets or Rem Oil as reliable products.

Bird guns or shotguns will require a slightly different cleaning procedure because of the polymer or plastic shell casing.

In general, a cleaning rod is made of a softer material than than the barrel steel. A nylon or copper brush is first run through the barrel to remove rust, carbon or shell casing residues. That’s the scrub process.

A jag is a cotton patch that is shoved through the barrel to wipe the bore clean.

At the end of the season, clean your gun. It’s just a 20-minute job, once you know how. “If you’re not using it for an extended period of time, you want to make sure there’s a light coating of oil on the barrel surface. The barrels are often overlooked, we find,” says Hipwell. “People often wipe down the outside but forget to leave something on the inside.”

© Virden Empire-Advance