AR-15 Cleaning Instructions

by Ken White

Eugene Stoner designed the AR-15 rifle while working for Armalite. The design was sold to Colt in 1959 and the AR-15, designated M-16 by Colt, became the primary infantry weapon for the U.S. Military in 1967. Bushmaster, Olympic Arms and other companies sell civilian versions of the AR-15. Clean the AR-15 after firing, when it gets wet, or twice a year when it hasn't been fired.

1.

Disassemble the AR-15. To properly clean the rifle, it must be broken down into its component parts so you can access all parts that need to be cleaned. Separate the lower receiver from the upper receiver. Pull back the charging handle and remove the bolt carrier and bolt. Remove the charging handle and firing pin retaining pin. Push the bolt in and drop the firing pin out of the bolt carrier. Remove the bolt assembly from the carrier. Push out the extractor pin and remove the extractor and the spring. Release the buffer from the retainer and remove it and the action spring.

2.

Screw the three sections of the cleaning rod together. Moisten a patch with CLP and place it on the rod tip at the end of the cleaning rod. Swab the inside of the bore with the patch. Screw the bore brush to the end of the cleaning rod and pull the brush through the barrel from the rear to the front. Repeat this six to eight times. Run a moist patch through the barrel again to remove the material the brush has loosened.

3.

Dip the chamber brush in CLP and run the brush through the chamber. Rotate the cleaning brush as you push through the chamber to remove built-up powder fouling, corrosion, dirt or rust. Swab the firing chamber with a moistened cotton patch on the tip of the cleaning rod to remove the material the brush has loosened.

4.

Wipe carbon and powder residue from the gas tube with the moistened bore cleaning bush. Run a pipe cleaner through the gas tube to clear it and remove build-up. Use the bore cleaning brush and a tooth brush to clean the bolt locking lugs, bolt rings, firing pin and other components of the upper receiver. When finished, wipe all parts dry to remove excess CLP.

5.

Wipe dirt from the trigger mechanism with a moistened toothbrush and clean the buffer, buffer tube, and action spring with pipe cleaners dipped in CLP. Wipe all parts dry when finished.

6.

Pour three to four drops of CLP on the ejector. Place an empty cartridge case under the lip of the extractor and press down against the ejector. Repeat this motion five to seven times, replacing the CLP as needed. Dry the excess CLP when finished.

Items you will need

  • Cleaning rod
  • Cotton flannel bore patches
  • Wire bristle bore brush and chamber brushes
  • Cleaner/lubricant/preservative or CLP
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Tooth brush

About the Author

Ken White began his writing career in 1972 as a reporter for a local Florida newspaper. With a career in public safety as a police officer, firefighter and emergency manager, his fiction has also been published in magazines such as "Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine." White studied history and psychology at Mercer University.

Photo Credits

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