First and Most Important!

Never attempt to clean, disassemble or reassemble a firearm unless you are absolutely certain that it is empty and unloaded. Visually inspect the chamber, the magazine (Always remove detachable magazines) and firing mechanism to be absolutely certain that no ammunition remains in the firearm. Disassembly and reassembly should follow the manufacturer's instructions. Use the owner's manual that came with the gun. Believe it or not, there's actually some very useful information in there. If you do not have a manual, you can download one from the manufacturer's website.

When to Clean
If you are cleaning a range toy rather than a defensive gun, you can probably allow the crud to build up a little bit before cleaning it, even though it is usually somewhat easier to remove the crud when the cleaning is done immediately. If you are using corrosive ammunition, clean immediately.
The fouling can and often does affect reliability. Unclean guns are more apt to jam when you most need them. Because the crud can slow down the slide, dirty semi-automatic firearms are prone to failures to feed or failures to completely eject the spent cases. Unclean revolvers are prone to binding up, and the double-action trigger can become difficult or impossible to pull if the cylinder isn't turning easily. Poorly-cleaned or unclean firearms are thus far less reliable than their well-cleaned and properly lubricated counterparts.
For this reason, I highly recommend that you clean your defensive firearms immediately after every trip to the range, no matter how many or how few shots you fire.

Tips

Clean from the chamber to the muzzle in the direction of the bullet when possible. If you clean from the muzzle to the chamber, you will push the fouling and abrasive dirt into the receiver. If you clean from the muzzle there is a chance of damaging the crown of the barrel which will degrade the accuracy of your rifle. Cleaning an AR15 from the chamber to the muzzle can be tricky. But 223 Targets and Tactical has an AR15 cleaning link that holds the upper/lower receiver apart and stops any movement. With this device you do not have to separate the upper from the lower. If you need to clean from the muzzle, use a muzzle guide to protect the crown. You can also purchase muzzle guides at Sinclair's.

Barrel manufacturer's recommend that you lubricate the brush that you use to clean the barrel, if you are using a metal brush. You can use Gun-Werkz® to lubricate the brush and help clean.

Chambers are often over looked when cleaning firearms. Failure to eject the spent cases are a result of dirty chambers. Obtain the correct size chamber brush for the firearm that you are cleaning from your local firearms dealer or on line at Sinclair's. Apply Gun-Werkz® to a cleaning patch and coat the inside of the chamber to loosen fouling. Brush the chamber with the chamber brush. Then wrap a patch around the chamber brush, coat it with Gun-Werkz® and patch until clean.

When cleaning a firearm after using corrosive ammunition, flush the barrel and any part that is covered with the corrosive salts with water. Water will dissolve the corrosive salts. Dry immediately and clean again with Gun-Werkz®, just as you would normally clean your firearm. Use Gun-Werkz® to coat the metal parts for protection.

Watch the video for instructions on how to clean your gun with Bore-Tips by Swab-its.

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