Gun Cleaning Shortcuts

YH Cleaning a rifle
Begrudgingly cleaning my NEW Ruger Hawkeye Compact .308

Question: Who has time to clean guns?  Answer: Dudes who have nothing better to do.  If you were expecting the cleanliness-is-next-to Godliness-when-it-comes-to-firearms line, you came to the wrong place.  Billy Corgan even said so in Zero.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like clean functioning guns as much as the next guy, and yes, I do clean my guns, but how much is enough?

People that know me (see “Bob” below) may think I’m a bit obsessive about stuff but I don’t think that it is necessary to clean your gun after every use.  There.  I said it.

Dirty Bore Award

There was a time about 15 years ago when I was freakish about cleaning my guns after every use and was quick to chastise those that didn’t do the same.  The dirtiest bore award goes to a gun I know up in Michigan who is an avid woodcock hunter.  For purposes of anonymity, we’ll call him “Doug”.  Doug drove a truck nicknamed “Bobo”.  I was woodcock hunting with Doug and my buddy Bob when Doug suggested that he and I swap guns for a few shots.  Doug’s classic Browning over-and-under 20 gauge was a travesty.  I figured John Browning must have been rolling in his grave.  Bob still talks about the time I was appalled by Doug’s lack of attention to his gun.  Nevertheless, I killed a woodcock with Doug’s gun and it functioned just fine.

Flash Forward

This past summer I was admonished by a shooting instructor at Woodcock Hill.  He said that the barrels on my customized Beretta 686 were filthy.  He went on to say that there was excessive plastic fouling in the  bores and if left unattended, the plastic coating would trap corrosive matter and eventually cause pitting- even in chrome-lined barrels. He even suggested that he could clean my gun after shooting.  I begged off and insisted I would take care of it .  I was embarrassed enough that I came home and immediately started soaking the barrels with solvent.


But still, I don’t subscribe to the notion that guns need to be cleaned after every single use.  Today’s loads are much less corrosive than our grandfather’s fodder.  A simple wipe down with a silicon cloth will often suffice.   I try to avoid gun cleaning as much as is practical.  For example, once my rifles are sighted in with a particular load, the bore won’t get cleaned until after the season has ended.  I like the bore to remain fouled rather than taking the chance of altering its performance.  Another trick I use is to spray my guns down with Howe’s Penetrating Oil.  The stuff works wonders.

Howes Ya Like Me Now?

I don’t always clean my guns, but when I do, I use… well, you get the picture. Before I actually clean my guns, they get hosed down with Howes Penetrating Oil.

I never knew why Howes worked so well until I talked to Jeremy Edwards, VP of Sales at Howes.  Jeremy explained to  me that Howes Heavy Duty Lubricator and Penetrating Oil  is not a solvent, but it’s a petroleum-based product so by nature it does not attract dust, in fact, it actually REPELS dust.  Jeremy is an avid hunter and spends a lot of time waterfowling off the coast of New England. To ward off rust and corrosion from fresh and saltwater, Jeremy’s guns get a coating of Howes both before and after he hits the blind .  The treatment also prevents the adhesion and buildup of mud and grime hat waterfowlers are prone to encounter.

Howes is non-corrosive and will not harm metal , plastic, electrical connections, glass, or rubber.  For instance, a guy does not need to use excessive care to avoid getting Howes Penetrating Oil on a scope when coating a rifle.  And one can goes a LONG way.

Howes Lube CanHere’s Why I use Howes

  1. It’s preventative maintenance and actually reduces the need to clean.
  2. It doesn’t attract dust
  3. It disperses crud
  4. It prevents screws from seizing. aiding in dis assembly.
  5. Howes is a born-in-the-USA family-owned business since 1920
  6. Howes smells GREAT!

Click here to give Howes Penetrating Oil a try.  I think you’ll be pleased!




I don’t always clean my guns, but when I do, I use…Howes

Leave a Reply