How to Clean an AR15

by Dan Seitz
Keep your weapon in good repair.

Keep your weapon in good repair.

The Armalite 15, or AR-15, is a semi-automatic rifle that has been available to the public for 50 years and remains "one of the most popular rifles around," says AR-15 Pro. The wide variety of upper receivers it can take make it a great choice for rifle sports and hunting. However, like all firearms, the AR-15 requires regular cleaning in order to operate safely and prevent jamming or other failures. Fortunately, it was designed with easy disassembly and cleaning in mind, and cleaning the AR-15 is a simple process.

Cleaning the Bolt

  1. Remove the magazine and completely unload the weapon. Depress the take-down pin and open the action.

  2. Remove the charging pin and the bolt action. Disassemble the bolt action and lay out the individual parts carefully.

  3. Spray all the parts with solvent and let them soak for five minutes. Wipe off the parts with the rags.

  4. Use the brass brush to scrub away any carbon or other buildup. Dry the parts with compressed air and set them aside.

Cleaning the Barrel

  1. Attach the bore patch to the bore rod, and apply the penetrating oil to the patch. Thread it through the barrel from the action. Run the patch through once or twice to ensure the oil gets into the barrel.

  2. Apply more oil to the bore brush, and run it through the barrel six to eight times from both ends. Then run another oiled patch through the barrel.

  3. Allow the rifle to sit for half an hour, then run a final oiled patch through to completely clean the barrel.

Cleaning the Chamber and Lubricating the Weapon

  1. Scrub the chamber thoroughly with the chamber brush. Apply solvent and use the toothbrush to scrub out any deposits or other grime that may have collected.

  2. Spray the chamber with more solvent, and then dry it with compressed air.

  3. Reassemble your bolt, lubricating it with gun oil, and put your action back together, lubricating parts as needed.

  4. Once assembled, work the action a few times to spread out the lubricant. Wipe any solvent from the outside of the rifle.

Items you will need

  • Solvent
  • Toothbrush
  • Brass brush
  • Rags
  • Compressed air
  • Bore rod
  • Bore patch
  • Penetrating oil
  • Bore brush
  • Chamber brush
  • Gun oil


  • Clean your gun after every shooting session. It will extend the life of the weapon.


  • Always use solvent in a well-ventilated area.

About the Author

Dan Seitz has been writing professionally since 2008. He has been published on Cracked.com, Spike.com, AMOG.com, OverthinkingIt.com, Zug.com, TheDeadbeat.com and Gunaxin.com. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater and is currently earning his Master of Arts in film at Emerson College.

Photo Credits

  • sniper rifle image by AGphotographer from Fotolia.com