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Proper main­te­nance is re­quired to keep any gun in work­ing or­der and at the ready. The first step is al­ways the most im­por­tant: to clear the gun of any am­mu­ni­tion by re­mov­ing the mag­a­zine and in­spect­ing the cham­ber, while the bolt car­rier as­sem­bly is held back to make sure it is empty. To clean any gun prop­erly and thor­oughly, strip it down to its ma­jor groups—for ex­am­ple, on an AR-15, the up­per, lower, and bolt car­rier com­po­nents—and re­move the bolt. All other parts, like the buf­fer tube and spring, should be re­moved as well. Your owner's man­ual is a great guide to field­strip­ping the weapon.


Use a cloth and wipe off all the ex­cess car­bon de­posits on each of the ma­jor pieces be­fore us­ing any clean­ing prod­ucts; use a paint­brush and dust off the ex­te­rior parts, pay­ing close at­ten­tion to the small nooks. Use a small bowl of gun sol­vent to soak the small parts and break down any ex­cess buildup. Use a cot­ton swab dipped in sol­vent to reach in­side the gas key on the bolt car­rier. The buf­fer spring and tube can be wiped down with a rag and set aside, but use sol­vent spar­ingly. Run a sol­vent-dipped brush smaller than the di­am­e­ter of the bar­rel and at­tached to a T-han­dle down the bar­rel's bore. Al­ways clean from the breech to the muz­zle to push out any de­bris. Do the same thing, but with a slot­ted tip and a clean patch. Re­peat un­til the patches come out clean. After the smaller bolt parts have soaked in the sol­vent, use a wire brush to clean off any re­main­ing de­posits. Make sure to com­pletely wipe down all these pieces with a rag. Dry the cham­ber, re­ceiver and flash com­pen­sator.


Ap­ply a small amount of lu­bri­cat­ing oil to the en­gage­ment sur­faces of the ham­mer and trig­ger. Place a small drop on each side of the ham­mer/ trig­ger pin and safety. Ap­ply a gen­er­ous coat of lu­bri­cat­ing oil to the bolt and its smaller parts and the outer sur­faces of the bolt car­rier (like the bolt cam pin). Put a drop or two in­side the car­rier key and a light coat on the charg­ing han­dle. If there are any pieces par­tic­u­larly shiny from fric­tion, that is where you need to add a drop of oil. Wipe down the ex­te­rior of the gun to re­move ex­cess oil. To store the weapon, ap­ply a thin coat of lu­bri­cat­ing oil on the bore, cham­ber and bolt face. Oth­er­wise, make sure these pieces are clean and no oil has leaked into the cham­ber or car­tridge head.

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