29 Tips For Cleaning Your Firearm Safely

Safe Firearm Maintenance

Maintaining your rifle, shotgun and/or pistol is a critical survival skill. The proper care of these, as well as all your survival tools, assures their workable availability when you really need them.

This post is not a gun cleaning/safety tutorial. There are links below that cover that. Also check out the Source reference at the bottom of this article.

pistol against a log

Firearm Do’s And Don’ts

It’s more of a “Safe Tips” and “What to Do … and Not Do”. Again the “Source” material below also covers:

  • why you should never use gasoline or kerosene to clean guns,
  • cleaning cosmoline from new or surplus weapons,
  • using WD-40 and mineral spirits,
  • using a heat gun to remove cosmoline from firearms,
  • using plastic bags to remove cosmoline off all the wooden parts, and
  • using an oven to bake off the cosmoline (Whoa!)

And, as always, Learn, Act and Share.

10 Tips for a Safe Gun Cleaning

  • 1) Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded. It seems like every few weeks there is an article in the paper, or a story on the news about an accidental death from a firearm.

Many times this occurs when the weapon is being cleaned, when the person did not realize it was loaded, and it went off. To avoid this happening to you while cleaning your gun, always treat the gun as if it is loaded.

  • 2) Never point at anything you wouldn’t shoot at to begin with. Even if you have removed the magazine and emptied the chamber, only point your gun at things you are okay with shooting at.
  • 3) Disassemble your gun in a safe place. Interior walls don’t stop bullets, so know what lies behind them. Safely cleaning a gun means making sure that if an accidental firing were to happen, nothing you value would be damaged.
  • 4) Slow down. Cleaning your gun is not something you rush. When you rush, mistakes can happen. Clean your gun when you can give it your full focus and attention.

Be methodical. It is best to clean your gun when you can be alone, without interruption or distraction from others.

  • 5) If you don’t want to kill, injure, or maim, don’t let the muzzle of the gun point at a living thing even if in your mind you only think you are in the process of cleaning your gun.

The gun is like any other machine, it will do exactly what you make it do within the limits of its mechanical tolerances and condition: if you pull the trigger and there is a bullet, then the gun will fire at whatever the muzzle is pointing at.

rifle leaning on backpack

Proper Rifle Care

This seems like common sense, yet many gun owners point the gun in irresponsible direction while cleaning; and then spend the rest of their lives wishing they could take that bullet back.

  • 6) Keep the muzzle pointed at the ground during any kind of transport, and pay attention to what would be hit if the gun were to fire.
  • 7) When cleaning your gun, keep your hand away from the trigger. Once you are ready to clean that area, deliberately pick a target (even though the gun is empty), and keep your gun aimed there while cleaning.

In other words, if the firearm was to fire, where would an acceptable place be for a bullet to go? Aim it there before you ever allow your finger near a trigger.

  • 8) Reassemble with care. Keep ammunition away from the gun while reassembling, and reassemble with the same care and precision used to disassemble. Again, only point the gun at something you are okay with destroying.
  • 9) Return to safe or case immediately. Do not leave a gun out after it has been cleaned. The sooner it is returned to a locked case or safe after cleaning, the lower the risk of accident and injury.
  • 10) Sometimes when people are cleaning 22 caliber rifles or pistols with a multi-section cleaning rod they push the cleaning rod too far out the front of the muzzle of the rifle or pistol.

This could cause the crown at the end of the barrel to be slowly chipped and damaged over time in such a way that it can cause loss of accuracy.

The spot that actually does the damage to the crown is where the jag on the cleaning rod is screwed in. Push the cleaning rod to the end of the barrel crown, and then make sure that only the jag (but not the area where the jag is screwed in) exits the rifle barrel.

The 8 Golden Rules of Gun Cleaning

Definitely, the first golden rules of gun cleaning is safety.

  • 1) Always handle any firearm as if it were loaded.
  • 2) Always make sure your firearms are not loaded before cleaning, storing or traveling.
  • 3) Always be sure that the gun is unloaded with the action open and a magazine out. Remove all live ammunition from the cleaning area. This includes any ammunition that might be in the magazines.
  • 4) Be sure you know how to disassemble the firearm you are working on. If you do not, review the manufacturer’s manual for the weapon you are working on before you start to disassemble the weapon.
  • 5) Before loading any firearms be sure that the barrel bore, chamber, and action are clean and clear of obstructions.
  • 6) Always wear safety glasses when cleaning firearms.
  • 7) Always keep and store your firearms and ammunition in locked receptacles out of reach and sight of children and untrained people.
  • 8) Just like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain operable. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of the gun’s general upkeep.

If there is any question concerning a gun’s ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it. Taking proper care of it will also maintain its value and extend its life.

array of different firearms

Taking Care Of Business

Your gun should be cleaned every time that it is used or by the number of rounds that the manufacturer suggests.

A gun brought out of prolonged storage should also be cleaned before shooting. Accumulated moisture and dirt, or solidified grease and oil, can prevent the gun from operating properly.

Remember to only lubricate those parts of your firearms that require it.

The 11 “Do Nots” Are On Page 2

Best Survival Food For Your Bug Out Bag

Nutrition & Calories

What food should you pack in your bug out bag? It’s has to provide enough energy to help you get where you’re going. It should be lightweight … you have other important heavier stuff you need to carry.

The food for your bug out bag should have some healthy nutritional value. And maybe it should even taste good … at least a little.

The following article provides the info you need. Although this is one man’s idea of bug out survival food, I think it gives everyone enough “food for thought” (sorry).

backpacker on beach

Food-Packed Bug Out

There is one point I want to emphasize: as stated below, you should purchase stuff you already like to eat. Why? So you’ll eat it now and keep your bug out stock fresh. Remember, first in, first out.

Bug Out Survival Foods

Food for your pack needs … thought.  Nutritional value, weight, ease of preparation, calories ( Because you will be burning them up quickly ), and lastly, but very important, taste …

… I will lay out a few ground rules.  ‘We’ should be looking for food that will stay good in your pack for a year.  Can be eaten without cooking or just add water.

Will give you the nutrition you require to push through to achieve the objective.  It should be stuff that you currently eat, so you can use it and replace it regularly. [My emphasis] Last is affordability.

Alexander Wolfe over at TEOTWAWKI blog said something a while back that stuck with me …  [E]ach ounce needs to have about 100 calories.  I liked the sound of that and have been using that as a benchmark in my purchases …

Energy Bars

This is a big category … I stock 5 different Energy Bars here, so I will use them as examples.  My favorite is the Clif Bar.

1. Clif Bars – Many great flavors … I could live on Clif Bars and water, for a long time.  Great sustained energy.  My experience with them is that one year is about its lifespan …

2.4 ounces    260 calories  Fat 7g   Protein 9g   Carbs 41

2. Tiger’s Milk Bar –  Tigers Milk Bars won’t stand up to the heat very well due to the chocolate coating.  Not only do you get some good stuff in you, but the morale boost gives it extra credit points.

1.23 ounces   140 calories   Fat 5g   Protein 6g   Carbs 18g

3. The Power Bar –  Power Bars have improved greatly in taste.  Shelf life is years, if kept fairly cool.

2.29 ounces   240 calories   Fat 4g   Protein 9g   Carbs 44g

4. Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut Granola Bar Peanut – Nature Valley Bars are amazing tasting … They are slightly fragile … and can get melty.

 1.2 ounces   170 calories   Fat 9g   Protein 4g   Carbs 20g

5. Fig BarNature’s Bakery Stone Ground Whole Wheat Fig Bars.  They come in Blueberry,  Raspberry, and Fig … Shelf life is a year or better.  As always fresher is better.

 2.0 ounces   220 calories   Fat 5g   Protein 4g   Carbs 40g

Jerky

Pacific Gold Original Beef Jerky made from Top Round Steak.  Some jerky’s seem to lose their flavor quicker than others, this ain’t one of them …

1.25 ounces   90 calories   Fat 1g   Protein 14g   Carbs 8g

Krave Beef Jerky Sweet Chipotle.  Very tender pieces, excellent quality … Flavor is deep, made in the USA …

3.25 ounces   315 calories   Fat 4.5   Protein 24g   Carbs 36g

I may have saved the best for last,  Epic 100% Bison Bacon Cranberry Bar … These ‘bars’ are amazing … These may be the most expensive price per ounce item in this post, but nothing beats the quality.

Dehydrated Meals

First the bad, maybe the only problem, you need water and heat, most of the time.  That means time and energy.  Don’t forget about the smells and light associated with heating water or cooking …

Backpackers Pantry Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce.  It’s sauce over brown rice and veggies … it is meatless so for some of you carnivores it might not sound great, but trust me they are great.

8.1 ounces   1000 calories   Fat 52g   Protein 40g   Carbs 112g

Those numbers represent 2 servings as indicated on the package.  Cost about $6 …

More Options

Hot cereals, oatmeal, and soup mixes all can be had for cheap with good shelf life.  My favorite quick breakfast is Quaker Real Medley’s Oatmeal cups. … The stats that follow are for the Maple Pecan Raisin cups.

2.46 ounces   270 calories  Fat 7g   Protein 6g   Carbs 49g

Now that may seem like small numbers, but I can say from experience that a cup of this can sustain you for hours of hard work …

MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat)

Careful when buying these, check the expiration dates.  There are many on sites like Ebay that are getting old and their storage has been suspect.  Manufacturers are making civilian offerings, go that route.

They are on the heavy side, but need no cooking, maybe a little heat.  They are also affordable … The whole point of this post is to show you options that are inexpensive, easy to use and give you the energy you need …

Source: Father, coach, and “gear junkie”, Pineslayer, contributes must-read articles to both SHTFBlog and Survival Cache.

Image: Tookapic

[Video] Planting A Wilderness Survival Cache

Buried Emergency Supplies

Burying a cache of supplies you might need in an emergency situation is a great survival strategy.

You could plant more than one cache along your bug out route, or in different locations if it’s an “urban cache”. However, never bury it too close to your actual bug out camp in case it’s now occupied by others outside your group.

What’s In The Cache

One of our favorite folks, Survival Lilly, uses a plastic, general purpose first aid container to store the supplies to be buried: no rust and the rubber seal makes it waterproof (for a few years).

emergency cache

Cache Container

So what’s in it? Here’s the list:

  • contractor trash bags,
  • tissues,
  • hand-crank flashlight,
  • mirror to inspect facial injuries/signalling,
  • canteen set,
  • folding knife,
  • candle …

The LIST Continued And The VIDEO Are On PAGE 2

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What To Do AFTER Bugging Out: A Survival Guide

Bugged Out? Now What

Well, it’s happened. Some disaster, or the SHTF. Doesn’t really matter.

You and your crew are bugging out. All the planning, discussions, and stocking is paying off. You know where you’re going, how you will get there, what you are bringing. It’s all set. Been set for some time.

And there you are. At your pre-determined bug out location.

forest path

We’re Here. Now What?

Now you can’t just stand there, or haphazardly start doing “stuff.” Hopefully you have a plan for this part of your bug out scenario. A plan or a step-by-step survival guide for after bugging out. A guide that deals with:

Continued On Next Page (#1: Camp Security)

[Video] Safer Travel Routes After The SHTF

3 Low Profile Alternate Travel Routes

Okay. We start with the S has HTF scenario. You have to (want to) to get from here to there, wherever here and there are.

stream bed

Following A Stream

You know what you must do once you arrive at your bug out location (if that’s where you’re going), you just need to get there safely. You don’t want to attract any undue attention. You want to maintain a low profile … which means staying off the roadways.

VIDEO Describing 3 Alternate Routes On Page 2

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