What Happens When You Don’t Clean Your Gun

Posted by oldglory on March 30, 2015

Gunsmith in NH from Old GloryWhile there is no set-in-stone rule as to how often you should clean your firearms, it can not be understated that cleaning your guns is an integral part of proper gun ownership. You don’t have to be one of our many certified NH gunsmiths in order to know that. That said, we here at Old Glory Guns & Ammo, your premier gun shop in New Hampshire, would like to take a moment to talk to all our fellow gun owners about what can happen to your beloved weaponry if you don’t make regular cleaning a priority.

Each and every time you fire a firearm, particles known as fouling residue build up within the barrel and mechanisms of the gun. These particles are most commonly lead, copper, carbon and sometimes even plastic (particularly if you are shooting a shotgun). These things build up over time and with every round of ammunition you fire. If present in great enough quantities, they can certainly lead to malfunctions and fouling. Please be aware that there is no such thing as ammunition that does not leave fouling particles in your weapons.

The two most common types of fouling malfunctions associated with dirty firearms that have not been properly cleaned are Failure-To-Fire and Failure-To-Feed. While these may sound surprisingly similar, they are in fact very different. A Failure-To-Fire event is, quite simply, when the gun doesn’t discharge the round of ammunition within. Fouling residues in great enough quantities can cause this event by gumming up the internal mechanisms of the gun so that the firing pin doesn’t move with enough force to fire the round, (just to name one example). Failure-To-Feed events are when other parts of the weapon are kept from properly functioning – in this case, the ones responsible for chambering the next round of ammunition after the previously discharged round is ejected.

Most occurrences of these fouling events can be eliminated with proper gun cleaning routines. That only leaves the question of when you should clean your guns. Unfortunately this is a topic on which many gun owners cannot seem to agree. The consensus, if we can call it that, seems to be that it all depends upon how often you shoot, and what type of gun you are shooting. If you know it is going to be a long time before you get to go shooting again, cleaning your firearm before you set it aside for a time in storage is always a good idea.

To address the other issue at hand, the need to remove fouling residues within your gun increases depending upon the type of usage. If you are just looking to fire some lead downrange and not hit anything alive, then you probably don’t need to clean your weapons as often. However, if you are a precision shooter, especially in competitions, the reverse is true. In fact, many professional shooters claim to clean their weapons after every match to negate the possibility of fouling particles affecting their aim.

We here at Old Glory Guns & Ammo are proud to be your chosen source for firearms in NH or MA. We are located in tax-free Mason, NH and we hope to see you soon!