Gun maintenance is caring for your firearm to keep it in a good condition and ready for use whenever needed. It includes careful cleaning, proper handling and safe gun storage. Maintenance is an important part of gun safety. A neglected firearm can malfunction when used and the consequences can be life threatening. 

What makes guns go bad?

Guns are precious belongings that require maintenance for one of the listed reasons:

  1. Use- Whatever you use, needs maintenance. For guns, each time you fire a shot, some amount of unburnt powder leaves a trail in the barrel. Bullet fragments also start getting deposited. This sediment begins to affect the overall functioning of the firearm and if the grime gets to the firing pin, it can even interfere with the accuracy of the firearm and also its gun safety levels. 
  2. Exposure- Exposure to natural elements like moisture and dust can also cause trouble for the gun. Like the bullet deposits, it can also hamper the smooth functioning of the gun. The longer the neglect, the greater the chances of expensive repair or a major accident.
  3. Storage time- If the firearm has been stored for a long period of time and not been used, even then it needs cleaning. Over time, moisture and dust start accumulating on the machinery, making it harder to use, causing parts to get  jammed, often even causing a safety hazard.

How often do guns require maintenance?

It is a little like cars- there is no one fixed rule about when to take the car in for a service. The criteria can be the miles or the time.  A car that has been sitting around for a while will demand maintenance, even though it hasn’t been driven much. The same way, for guns, it is a matter of weighing in a couple of factors, especially the manufacturer’s recommendations.

A session at the shooting range (after say about 300 rounds), warrants a light cleaning session. Once you are through with approximately 3000 rounds, you most certainly need a  thorough cleaning session. It is normal for unburnt powder, tiny fragments and dirt to get deposited in the barrell and so, it should be a regular practice to clean it up too. 

When you are out hunting, you won’t be firing as many rounds, but your weapon's exposure to dust and moisture is a lot more pronounced outdoors. If not cleaned well after each trip, your weapon could be home to unwanted grime and even rust.

As for the guns stored long term at home, they need to be cleaned even if they are stored in gun concealment furniture, hidden gun shelves or mirrors. They are much safer from the natural elements in a gun safe that is both airtight and waterproof, but then not every gun owner owns a gun safe. So chances are that your gun safety is at risk if you don’t clean it at least once every six months.

The bottom line: 

If you love the gun, your hard earned money and your life, clean your gun. Period.