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I am not new to shotgunning, but am new to owning a nice Browning O/U, and am now looking for some input from all of the pro's out there on cleaning techniques. With my Mossberg pumps, I would just thread a brush on the end of my rifle cleaning rods and go to town, but I have read a few replies and the shotgun cleaning basics article and am ready to do it the right way. I never had any problems with my Mossbergs, but I also never spent 1600.00 on a shotgun before, so now I am a little paranoid. Any and all input is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Hi EB--

Here's a recent post on the topic by one of the forum's designated shotgun experts, Ulysses. Food for thought:

"Many people who began their shooting careers by shooting rifles or pistols and then switched over to shotguns have the wrong priorities in their gun cleaning habits. With a rifle or pistol, it's necessary to keep the inside of the barrel CLEAN in order to preserve accuracy.

With a shotgun, basically the barrel is just a smooth steel tube. It will function just fine even if this tube is dirty or has caked on plastic from wads. From my experience, the plastic buildup is self limiting. By that, I meant that once the bore/cone/choke has a thin layer of plastic, following shots will remove as much of the existing plastic as it deposits. If it didn't, then a 12 gauge would quickly become a 16 gauge or 20 gauge due to plastic buildup. I can tell you from my own personal experience with shotguns, I have shot thousands of rounds through some guns without ever using a bore brush or snake or anything abrasive. When I used to shoot an O/U a lot, I went several years of active shooting without using any brushes of any kind on the bores. The gun still worked just fine and patterned just fine. Now that I shoot an automatic most of the time, I clean the bore about every 1500 to 2000 rounds and even then I seldom use anything but some solvent and rags. I may use a brush on it about every 3000 or 4000 rounds, but that's about it.

Some people would say that I neglect my guns, but I disagree. I pay attention to the parts that need the attention and spend my valuable time doing other things that are more important than polishing on the inside of the bore of a shotgun. You can clean them and polish them all you want. It won't hurt anything, but you may be neglecting the parts that really DO need attention while polishing on the one part that needs very little attention." --Ulysses, Shotgun Expert

Ulysses has alot of guns and needs to prioritize time. I doubt whether he'd say a few extra patches down the bore would hurt anything--just that they are not essential. I also know he's recommend a thorough cleaning if exposure to saltwater's involved, but of course that's relatively rare.

Best,

Jeff23
 

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I'm on the other end of that spectrum. As I mostly hunt with my guns I generally clean the bore and action out every time I get home from hunting. It's amazing how many seed and feathers get into the action. As for the trigger group I get it out about every 500 rounds or so. Once a year I also send my guns into the gunsmith to have any worn parts replaced, all things that need greasing greased and a good professional cleaning.

I might be a little pinched up on this but cleaning and keeping your guns lubed and in good working order can't be a bad thing.
It only takes 10 minutes and I think it is time well spent.
 

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Yup, for anyone who's been in the military, your piece just can't be too clean. I'd never argue with Uly, since I don't have his experience, but I'm a neat freak when it comes to my weapon.

Jeff23
 

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Here's yet another of Ulysses' interesting posts on the subject, this time about wiping down bluing aftewr you touch it:

"As Bill said, whether guns need wiping down after each handling depends a lot on the person's acidity (or perhaps even salt content) of their skin. Fortunately for me, my skin doesn't seem to have a lot of whatever it takes to make guns rust quickly.

As for how often I wipe them down, that depends on a lot of factors. First, I try not to get my paw prints all over the metal in the first place. If possible, I'll just touch the wood. On some guns, that just isn't possible. If it's a gun that I don't use much, I'll wipe it off before I put it back up because it may be weeks or months before I handle it again. If it's a gun that I use or handle frequently, I'm less particular about wiping it off every time I handle it. Still, it doesn't take but a minute to wipe a gun down with a cloth. Also, I try to keep some oil on the metal surfaces of the guns all the time.

And finally, I have a few guns which I seldom if ever wipe off. They have little finish left and they don't get cleaned unless I think that they really need it to continue functioning. They don't have much resale value so I don't worry about a finger print on them. As long as they function, I'm not concerned about the appearance of them.

So really, it's my variety of experiences with different guns I own and different levels of care that they have had which gives me my opinions about gun maintenance. Naturally, I'll take better care of my expensive O/U shotguns than I will a cheap .22 pistol which has seen a lot of rounds through it. It's just that what I think is important in gun care may not agree with what someone else thinks is important in gun care." Ulysses, Shotgun Expert
 
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