How to Clean the Lever Action of a Rifle

How to Clean the Lever Action of a Rifle

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The lever-action rifle is popular for hunting and recreational shooting. Available in a wide variety of calibers and configurations, lever=action rifles are an important symbol of Americana. Lever=action rifles are also much simpler to maintain and clean than other forms of repeating rifles. With the proper cleaning supplies and preparation, lever=action rifles can be cleaned with relative ease.

Items you will need

  • White towel or cloth

  • Screwdriver

  • Ramrod

  • Jag

  • Cotton patches

  • Solvent

  • Rags

  • Brass bore brush

  • Lubricant

Spread the white cloth or towel out over your work area. This will protect your work area from solvents and dirt, and will also make it easier for you to keep track of small parts.

Unload the rifle and switch the safety to the "ON" position. Pull back the hammer to cock it.

Move the lever to the halfway position and remove the lever screw using the screwdriver.

Remove the bolt by pulling it rearward over the hammer. Tilt the rifle over on its right side. The ejector should fall out of the ejection port. The rifle is now ready for cleaning.

Fit the jag to the ramrod. Moisten one of the cotton patches with solvent and attach it to the jag. Run the patch through the barrel two or three times.

Remove the jag and attach the wire brush to the ramrod. Dip the brush in the solvent and run it through the bore several times.

Reattach the jag and run a clean patch through the barrel. Repeat with fresh patches until the patches start to come out clean. At this point the barrel should be clean and free of fouling.

Dip the rag in solvent and wipe down the inside of the receiver and the parts that you have already removed from the rifle until they are clean.

Reassemble the rifle by reversing steps 3 and 4, and spray the outside of the action lightly with the lubricant. Work the lever two or three times to let the oil seep into the action.

Wipe down the outside of the rifle with a clean rag.


  • Lever action rifles, like all firearms, are deadly weapons. Be sure to consult your owners manual before performing any disassembly or maintenance and follow all safety guidelines it outlines.


  • Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • Always remove any ammunition from the room before cleaning your gun.
  • Always keep your finger off of the trigger and out of the trigger guard during firearms maintenance.
  • Most sporting goods stores sell an "all in one" gun cleaning kit. This kit should have everything you need to clean a lever action rifle.
  • Make sure to use the appropriate jag and brush sizes corresponding to the caliber of your particular rifle.
  • There are a wide variety of lever action rifles available for purchase. Disassembly details may differ slightly between brands. When in doubt, consult your owner's manual for disassembly instructions.
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