How Often should you clean your rifle?



hello all,

So I’ve been to the range once, since I purchased my Savage 64F rifle. So far, I’ve put 50 rounds through it. Sadly, my upper body strength is very low. So that’s all I could do, before my left arm stopped working in protest.

Now I was planning to take it to the range again tomorrow. Should I clean it before I put another 50 rounds through it? Or do I need to wait for it to start malfunctioning first?

The manual is only says to clean it after “Extensive Use”. But I’m not sure what that means in the firearms world.


Every 5k are normal cleaning intervals. 50 rounds is absolutely nothing.


A new gun should be cleaned right away to remove any grease from manufacturing. As well to ensure everything is lubed up right. Once that’s done, cleaning can be after 1k or 5k rounds. Depends on the ammo used, some is cleaner than others. There is no harm in cleaning after every use, but it’s not needed.


so it might be a good idea to clean it before I take it to the range again? because I bought it, kept it sitting for a couple weeks, finally got to the range, put the 50 rounds through it, and had it sit for 3 weeks again. So far, I haven’t cleaned it once.


You need not bother. 50 rounds isn’t even close to a warm-up. Routine 5k round intervals are the drill.


58marine’s right. It depends how long you stored aka haven’t used the rifle. Keep it in “moth-balled” condition if you don’t use it for extended periods.


What is considered ‘extended’ periods of non use?


Pat Rogers put 40k rounds through his AR with only one or two cleanings. He used the rifle for his classes so it got ran hard, he also believed that the military over cleans their guns and that all the white glove stuff is more harmful then helpful for a rifle. Im not sure if thats true but he was a combat vet and one of the top tactical instructors so his opinion was developed from experience instead of theory unlike alot of the theories you hear online. I personally just lube my guns every 300-500 rounds and clean every 3-5k.


I clean my precision weapons thoroughly after every outing, except during the hunting season, then I only bore snake, oil patch through the bore and a quick wipe down with oil on the outside due to the elements. My AR-15’s and other carbines, borer snake and oil patch in between uses and a thorough cleaning every 500 rounds or so. Handguns & my edc pistol get a thorough cleaning after every outing. I would never store a firearm for any length of time weather would be days or weeks without at least preservative down the bore.


That’s in the eye of the beholder. As a rule of thumb I’d say 2 to 3 weeks. It also depends on the storage conditions. Humidity is a crap environment, extreme cold is a crap environment. It’s always good to keep guns well lubed though, dirty or not. Keeping any ‘foreign’ moisture away/out of your guns is the most important thing, oil helps.


Also depends on the weapon. Never, and I mean never put a black powder away without cleaning it after it’s been used. I made that mistake once.


Ive never used black powder guns, they were before my time.:laughing:


I started with pointy sticks.


If it helps, I do keep it in a plastic case between uses. Also, it stays in the case between uses.

But there is typically a 2-3 week gap between when I can get the time and money to head to the range again to shoot. Also, the case itself does sit in my basement. Which does flood during the rain. And gets very dry during the long periods between the rain.

So far, I don’t think any water has gotten into the case (the water is, typically, less then a quarter inch in height).


Don’t store a gun in a case. The foam holds moisture.


what about if I toss in a few dehydration packets? Would that help?

I use the hard case, because my living conditions don’t allow for a safe.


Better than nothing. Just don’t put a damp gun in the case.


What do you store them in?


Personally, I’m using one of these:

Its working for me so far.


Clean your firearm after every outing. If anyone asks why? I answer why not? Oil and solvents are cheap, and you can inspect for bad or worn parts. Learn your tool, keep it clean, use it properly.
I once had a friend that told me I was damaging my barrel by cleaning it… the brass brush/ cleaning rod going down the bore at 5 mph vs a copper jacketed bullet being propelled 2000-3000 feet per second with fire behind it? No! that made me laugh.
Here’s the deal, it’s your tool and you can treat it how ever you want to, but wouldn’t it be nice to know that the next time you take it out to shoot that it is in top condition, and you know the wear and fitment of all your parts? I know that it gives me peace of mind.
It’s like what a mechanic tells you “ oil is cheap, a motor is not cheap”. Food for thought I hope.