Written by: John Rano, Gun Room Manager
There are really two kind of people when it comes to gun cleaning. The ever conscious shooter who cleans his gun in a meticulous manner, ensuring the gun is properly wiped down, the bore scrubbed and oiled, and the action hinge properly lubed. Then there are people like me, a quick wipe of the barrels and maybe a cleaning rod through the bore. That is if I don’t plan on shooting with in the next week, otherwise it goes back in the case. I remember asking the late Gene Hill how often he cleaned his guns. He gave me a quizzical look then rolled his eyes and went back to drinking his glass of wine. I guess you know the answer.
This tip is really for the fanatics and meticulous gun cleaners. It is all well and good to do the job thoroughly and correctly, and I highly recommend that at least once a year, a gun that has been shot a fair amount be sent in to be professionally cleaned by a qualified gunsmith. The problem that I see time and time again on guns owned and cleaned by the meticulous gun cleaner is OIL. Many people drench their gun with oil when cleaning. This causes a serious problem with the wood. What happens with over oiling your gun is that the oil seeps into the wood, both the forearm and stock, and can cause the wood to crack easily, badly discolor. Worse, if something were to happen to the stock, it can make it impossible for a gunsmith to fix because the wood has broken down and become too soft to work on with out further damage. If something does happen to the wood on an over-oiled gun can cause, you can spend a great deal of money repairing it. In most cases we see the stock is so damaged it has to be replaced.
All this said, the best way to oil your gun is sparingly. A great tip is to spray a cleaning rag with the oil rather than applying oil directly to the gun. Do not leave excess oil on any part of your gun especially where it can run or seep into the wood. Yes go ahead and be your fanatical self, but go easy on the OIL. In the end, it will save you money.
John Rano is the Orvis Gun Room Manager, an Orvis shooting instructor, and gunfitter for the Orvis Wingshooting Schools. You can contact John about New Orvis guns and consignment guns at : 802-362-2580 or firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our line of shotguns at The Orvis Gun Room