How to Clean a Gun Without a Cleaning Kit

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To clean a gun without a cleaning kit is rather easy. One must be relatively knowledgeable with firearms to know what parts are the most essential to clean and what parts are simply cosmetic. When cleaning a gun, the purpose is to make the gun's functions work properly, not necessarily to make it look good. When you are required to clean a gun without a cleaning kit, it is most likely because one is not available due to you not being at home, you are a new firearms user, or you have simply misplaced the kit. In this article you will find out how to use basic objects and materials to clean your gun.

Items you will need

  • Gun -- rifle, shotgun or pistol

  • Clean rag -- can be T-shirt, towel or paper towel

  • Cutting tool - knife or scissors

  • Ramrod -- Something long and skinny enough to reach and fit down the entire length of your barrel, a clothing hanger or stick

  • Oil -- gun oil, WD-40 or silicone

Ensure that the gun is not loaded. Take apart the gun; every gun disassembles differently. You need to take it apart enough to where you can clean the bolt in its entirety, chamber and barrel.

Take your clean rag and use a cutting tool to cut a few small squares out of it. These squares need to be small enough to fit down the barrel. Place them to the side.

Using what's left of your clean rag, dab a little bit of oil on it, grab the bolt with it and begin wiping off all old oil, carbon and foreign materials from it until you have a nice shine coming from the metal. Ensure the firing pin located inside the bolt gets extra attention. Once done, place to the side.

Grabbing the part of the rifle that has both the chamber and the barrel (most firearms are this way), you are going to clean it so that all mess goes out the barrel, not into the chamber. Put a little bit of oil on one of the squares you cut out of the rag and place it onto the chamber. Take the object that you're using as a ramrod and force the small piece of rag down and out the front end of the barrel; do this as many times as it takes.

Still holding onto the chamber and barrel section of your gun, use what's left of your rag to wipe the inside of the chamber the same way you cleaned the bolt, wiping off all oil, carbon and foreign materials from it until you have a nice shine.

Reassemble your gun, recheck to make sure its not loaded and perform a "functions check" by dry-firing it to see if it is correctly assembled.


  • When you are cleaning a gun without a cleaning kit, or one that's not not complete, there are only a few items you should clean. To try to clean everything without proper tools and cleaning materials could risk damaging the gun. Always treat the gun as if it is loaded at all times. Never dry-fire the gun more than is needed. Never use oil in desert conditions; the oil will attract dust instead of helping protect the gun.
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