By Bob Brownell
Fall is here and with it comes the beginning of hunting season.
crisp, clear mornings and the comfortable afternoons with the
sweep of changing
colors making a trip to the fields and timbers a pure joy. I love it;
is fresh and has that “fall” smell about it. Crops
leaves turning, and the hint of cooler weather to come.
For many of us, this is the only time our guns come out of closets
and gun safes.
When preparing for an upcoming hunt, you really need to get your
or your granddad’s shotgun out and get them cleaned
and sighted in.
Guns are like almost anything else; they need to be taken care of
and used a little
once in while to keep them in good working order and also to be
sure they are
safe to use. This is the key to a successful hunt: clean, safe
firearms, and you
and your buddies getting home safely (and the dog, too, of
course), with plenty
of game to put on the table is usually all most of us ask for.
out after critters is just plain fun and it beats the heck out of
For this installment of Beginner’s Bench
, I decided
to pull out a Remington
870 that’s been in my gun safe for longer than I care to
think about and
I’m pretty sure in dire need of a good cleaning before I
head out hunting.
With pheasant season opening this weekend here in Iowa, I
decided I really needed
to get it ready and also try to find a place to hunt.
When doing some research into the products I would need for this
project, I spoke
quite a bit with one of our Gunsmith Techs, Mike Watkins. He
explained when it
comes to guns, people generally are looking for a product that will
the best overall results.
“Our customers are a very smart group of people when it
comes to their firearms.
They want to know what the best product is and what’s
going to give them
the most outstanding results for their particular project. Since
cleaning a 20 gauge shotgun, Brownells
Shotgun Wad Solvent
will both do a great job not only on a
shotgun, but on
AR-15’s, .22’s, and any other gun you want to
clean really, really
This sounded good to me and really, paying a little less for
something that won’t
do a superior job doesn't make sense to me either. My granddad
always said, “If
you’re going to do a job either for yourself or someone
else, you just as
well do it right the first time.” I agree; there’s
nothing more aggravating
than having to go back and redo something again and again. After
all, before I
went to college I did construction work for thirteen years pouring
building houses, definitely a quality driven pursuit.
Once again, I logged on to brownells.com
to check out some of the products I would need. I just typed in
cleaning” and got lots of options to review. When cleaning
the bore of a
shotgun, or any other gun you own, you’ll need a handy
tool called a Dewey
Rod. Brownells sells a large variety of these and they come in
lengths, calibers, gauges and materials depending on which
cleaning. These rods come in nylon-coated spring steel for all but
nylon-coated aluminum for shotguns to helps protect the bore; or
steel for all but shotguns and uncoated aluminum for shotguns.
Since I was cleaning
just the shotgun, I decided to go with a 34” nylon-coated
which being in two screw-together sections, can be
taken apart and easily
stored for the next cleaning job. These also come with a
removable threaded nylon
patch loop, and a solid fixed handle to ensure a good strong grip
on the rod when
you’re running patches and brushes through the bore.
Since it had been several
years since I had really cleaned the shotgun, I chose a Heavy
Weight Nylon Shotgun Bore Brush
which come in 3 Paks or in
a Pak of a dozen.
These tough brushes are extra-stiff with large diameter bristles
that are safe
on the inside the barrel and won’t deteriorate when using
such as the Brownells
and the Brownells
Shotgun Wad Solvent
that I’m using.
The beauty of these brushes is you can screw them right onto the
end of the J.
Dewey Rod when you’re ready to start cleaning. As I
mentioned in the first
Beginner’s Bench article, always, always check to make
sure your firearm
is unloaded and the safety is on before doing any work on a gun.
With a Remington
870, this is pretty easy to do. Simply push in the little release
button on the
front of the trigger guard and pull the slide handle back. If there
are any shells
left in the shotgun this will kick them out. After doing this a couple
I left the slide back in the “open” position and this
left the ejector
port open so I could look inside the action to make absolutely sure
no shells left in the shotgun.
To get started, I went into my work area which is well lighted and
has good ventilation.
When working with any solvents or cleaning chemicals, it’s
always a very
good idea to keep this in mind. Also, have some old rags, towels,
or floor dry
handy in case of spills.
Ready to start cleaning, I unrolled myBrownells
, which is nice because it’s flexible, and has
a non-slip backing
on it. They absorb a lot of liquid without it dripping onto the bench
and can be washed out after each use. The surface on these is
also nice and soft
so you don’t have to worry about scratching your gun.
But, you've got to
keep it clean.
Laying the shotgun on the mat, I unscrewed the magazine cap on
the end of the
magazine tube and gently pulled off the forearm. Next, slid the
barrel off. The
next step was to take the trigger assembly out by carefully
tapping the pins out
with an appropriately-sized punch. With the pins removed, simply
and the entire assembly will come right out. Whenever
a gun, make sure you keep track of every part you remove and try
to keep each
step in mind. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to keep a pen and
paper nearby just
in case you need to take a few notes along the way.
I assembled the Dewey Rod and screwed the Nylon
Shotgun Bore Brush
onto the end. Next, I got out the jar of
and shook it vigorously for a few minutes to make
sure it was mixed
well. Before I go much further, I should recommend using safety
you’re using solvents, especially with a bore brush. Once
with chemicals, you run the risk of splatter when you pull it out of
(imagine running your finger across a wet toothbrush.) Trust me,
want this stuff in your eyes.
Placing the jar of Brownells
Shotgun Wad Solvent
on the mat, I dipped the brush into the
liquid and started
pushing it down the barrel scrubbing it back and forth a little as I
went. I expected
it to slide fairly easy, but I discovered it was stiff and it took some
probably because I was forcing the bristles to reverse in the bore.
This is okay.
You want to encounter some resistance when cleaning out the
bore of a gun. Just
to make sure it was going to be really clean, I repeated this
process a couple
With this done, it’s good idea to let the barrel sit for a few
the solvent breaks down any more crud that’s left. I then
moved on to the
magazine tube. Taking a small screwdriver and slowly turning the
retainer proved to be a little more difficult. These are usually
tightly in shotguns and I also had to make sure I didn’t
have it pointing
at my face when it came loose. The springs inside magazine tubes
are under pressure
and you don’t want this to hit you in the face if it comes
flying out. With
everything removed, I dipped the brush in the Brownells
Shotgun Wad Solvent
and ran it down the tube a couple of
times. Again, I let
this set for a while and I moved on to clean the inside of the
receiver and the
sized for a 20 gauge, I dipped a small part of a patch
in the Wad
and wiped all of the powder residue out. I also wiped
down some other
nooks and crannies on the barrel and choke tube I didn’t
get cleaned. Remember,
when you’re using these solvents make sure you
don’t go overboard
and slosh it all over the parts. A little goes a long way and you
want to get any on the stock since it will take the finish right off.
Now for the trigger assembly. Taking the EZ
and shaking it well, I unscrewed the lid and simply
dipped the entire
unit in the jar. I let it soak for a few minutes and pulled it back out.
amazed at how much dirt came off! It looked like it hadn’t
for a few years. Taking a nylon Super
I lightly scrubbed entire assembly and then
wiped off the excess
fluid with a fresh cleaning patch. (According to Mike, unless you
weekend you really only need to clean the trigger once or twice a
year. This will
cut down on cleaning time considerably!)
Since the barrel, magazine tube, and the receiver had been
soaking for about fifteen
minutes, it was time to get everything wiped down well and oiled.
Taking the Dewey
and unscrewing the nylon bore brush, I screwed a patch
loop onto the end
and put a new cleaning patch through it. And ran that patch down
the barrel, which
came out mighty dirty. Since I was getting quite a bit of junk on
the patch, I
repeated six more patches through it, and they eventually came
out clean, which
is what you want. Taking a clean patch, I spraying it lightly with
Rust Preventative Number 2
, which comes in a handy pump
spray bottle, I simply
ran the oiled patch down the barrel. I repeated this two step
process of cleaning
out the solvent and then oiling with the magazine tube, and then
down everything else that had solvent on it including the trigger
get the solvent and crud removed, then with an oiled patch for
you have everything clean and oiled, the last thing to do is wipe
until all the parts are fairly dry. Finally, reassemble the shotgun
This ended up being a fairly simple project to take on and I was
amazed at how
good my shotgun looks, as well as how smooth it operates now. A
few days after
completing this job a group of us went out and shot some clays
one gorgeous 65-degree
afternoon. The shotgun performed really well after the cleaning,
although I can’t
say the same about my shooting abilities at clays. Anyway
it’s a lot of
fun. After cleaning a shotgun really well like this, keeping it clean is
just a little solvent, patches to clean it off, oiled patch for
be sure to wipe all of the shotgun surfaces with a Silicone
. If you do this after each shoot you’ll
always be set for
the next trip to the range or the fields.
Until the next time, if you have any
questions about what products
to use, or
need a little help getting "Part A" back onto "Part
you just want some good gunsmithing advice, don’t
hesitate to call any one
of the guys in our Tech Group; they’ll steer you in the right
If you’re headed out to hunt this year take a friend, take
your kids, or
find a co-worker who’s never hunted and introduce them
to this great sport.
Remember, have fun and be safe!
Now, I need to find a place to