Weapons Cleaning and Maintenance
On this and other boards, a topic that has many proponents preaching very different approaches, is weapons maintenance and cleaning. Some people never clean their weapons, only applying lube, others are of the "white glove" mindset, intent on removing every dirty particle in the weapon after firing. And there are people who approach it some place in the middle of these two views.
I would appreciate your perspective on this subject.
Artic1, I did reply to this question shortly after you posted it but I guess it didn't post?
Either way, here is my answer to your question...
My professional background in shooting began with my time served in the Australian Defense Force, in particular the Special Operations Command where I spend 12 years as a Special Forces soldier, six years within a Commando unit that focussed heavily on amphibious operations and then I was posted after selection to SASR where I spent a further six years as a member of a Sabre Squadron. The majority of that time was spent in a team whose primary focus was again water operations.
Having said that, I have a great deal of experience when it comes to not only firing but cleaning and lubricating all kinds of weapons, including individual weapons through to crew-served, belt-fed weapons.
We always ran the policy of cleaning company weapons before any individual weapons. This meant that we broke down all the crew served weapons, cleaned them, and had them inspected then oiled and returned them to the armory. Following that, we moved onto individual weapons; pistol and carbine etc.
We would clean the weapons extremely well in order for them to be inspected at the time by an NCO, who would let you know to keep cleaning or go ahead and oil it up and return it. This check and balance ensured that all weapons were maintained to a standard that was consistent.
We also institute a very impressive preventative maintenance program where our unit armorers would routinely inspect any weapons and replace parts that were worn or needed replacement of other reasons. Bi-annually we would also conduct a non-technical inspection of the weapons IOT identify any worn, broken, damaged parts that needed to be replaced.
Throughout my time in both Special Forces units, I never had my personal weapon (M4) break or go down due to maintenance issues. We as a whole were very diligent about maintaining not only our weapons but also associated equipment such as magazines, ammo and other accoutrements.
When on operations, we would always, always ensure that we confirmed zero, and test fired the weapons and magazines prior to the insertion. This is super important so that each team member has a warm and fuzzy that his weapons and magazines are in serviceable order.
Since leaving the Army and now a holding the position of professional trainer, I have taken that ideology learnt from the Army with me into Redback One as the standard for cleaning and maintenance of our weapons for training.
At the completion of a heavy training session or course, I break the weapon down and clean off all carbine using a rag and brass brushes. I meticulously clean the entire weapon paying particular attention to areas such as the bolt, barrel extension and barrel. These are areas that see heavy build up of carbon.
If available, I will use an air hose on the fire control group or put it in fresh water and hose it out (a must when conducting training /ops in or around salt water). Once all the parts are dry, I will inspect them for wear and tear and conduct preventative maintenance as required.
When it comes to lubrication, I have used every name brand product that there is to use on the market to lube up my weapons. I recently changed to a new non-petroleum based product called FIREClean. I had never really bought into the hype about one lube is better than the next until I tried the FIREClean lube.
As an instructor that moves around the country a lot for training, I need a product that lasts a long time and reduces my cleaning time. I now use FIREClean on all of my weapons. I apply a light coat on all metal surfaces and a good coat on any area that sees metal on metal contact including aluminum parts like the charging handle. Not as a rust preventer, but to ensure slick movement of the handle. I pull the barrel through with FIRECLean and keep the bolt wet during storage or transit. When I get to the training site, I will prepare the weapons for firing by pulling the barrel through dry and drying off the face of the bolt. I will alter the amount of lube used to exterior parts based upon the location, weather and environmental conditions.
If I were on operations, there would be time allocated for a quick confirmation of zero and/or test fire.
I use this ideology for direct gas impingement guns as well as short stroke piston guns such as the HK 416.
I have not had any issues with my weapons since instituting this program.
Hope that is informative and helps out.