Gun maintenance is simply a series of regular preventive maintenance practices aimed at ensuring the proper functioning of a firearm, and often using various specialized technical tools and chemical products. The aim of these procedures is to prevent damage, reduce wear and tear, and improve the overall lifespan of the firearm. These processes need to be performed periodically, depending on the type and quality of the firearm. In general, this maintenance requires the firearm to be completely unplugged while undergoing maintenance. However, there are instances where maintenance can be performed while the firearm is in operation.
The first step in proper gun maintenance is cleaning. This cleaning procedure is generally applicable when the gun is not being used. Care must be taken to avoid spraying any cleaning agent into the gun's bore or barrel, as the agent can easily seep inside and damage sensitive parts. Proper cleaning procedures include removing all expended cleaning fluid from the action, making sure the action is empty before loading another round, replacing any BBs to a fresh magazine, and cleaning the entire action. After cleaning, a gun should be left for fifteen minutes to allow the cleaning material to sink into the action and out of the barrel. This will insure that all contaminants have been removed from the firearm.
Gun maintenance requires that every time you take it out to shoot, you clean the action. Although it is not mandatory for hunters to clean their guns after each use, it is highly recommended that you do so anyway. It helps to eliminate problems that may arise from the accumulation of unwanted dirt and debris inside the firearms case and over time can cause the action to jam.
The next step in proper gun maintenance involves inspecting the bore for accuracy issues and addressing them. One of the most important things to check is the level of lube oil or fluid. A low level of oil will significantly reduce the life of your pump, thus requiring you to replace it more often. Likewise, if the gun has an improperly installed lube valve then the gun may continually jam or shoot erratically due to a lack of lubrication.
Every gun maintenance procedure begins with a thorough cleaning. Since it is virtually impossible to clean your weapon without harming it in the process, it is important to always use the appropriate cleaning agents when cleaning a firearm. Make sure that you use a gun-cleaning solution that is designed for your weapon's finish. Also, always wipe the outside of the firearm with a non-abrasive cloth, avoiding abrasive substances like steel wool.
Some guns require cleaning rods to assist in keeping them clean. Cleaning rods are designed for use on firearm blanks and thus may not always be compatible with some cleaning methods. It is important that you choose cleaning rods that are made specifically for use on the type of gun you own. Additionally, it is extremely important that you follow the cleaning instructions included with your cleaning rod.
Although brass bore brushes can be used for general cleaning purposes they are not as effective as their stainless steel or nickel-plated cousins. Brass also tends to attract more grime and does not polish as well as other metals. To maintain a properly functioning firearm it is best to purchase a gun-cleaning kit that contains a brass bore brush and a polishing compound.
Finally, another aspect of proper gun maintenance is spotting. Spotting refers to any imperfection on the exterior of the firearm that is either caused by oxidation or rust. In order to spot clean any oxidation or rust, you should first remove the spent BBs from the gun and fill the chamber with some rubbing alcohol or other mild antiseptic. Once the chamber is properly clean, you will then be able to safely prime the bore and apply the anti-rusting compound.