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Even with modern ammo, you still need to clean that gun

The Remington Arms Company lays claim to the invention and introduction of the non-corrosive primer for rifle, shotgun, and center fire pistol cartridges. Before the introduction of the non-corrosive priming, it was necessary for the owner of a shotgun or rifle to laboriously scrub the bore with soap and water, flushing out the fouling left by the ammunition of the day. Black powder shooters too, had to scrub the bores and work at cleaning the actions of their guns, as the fouling left was corrosive and would damage metal severely if left unchecked.

Leading too was always a problem, as the bullets were soft lead, no hardening materials such as arsenic and antimony. Cleaning was always a chore, but needed to be done -- and soon after returning from the hunting fields. Smokeless powder and non-corrosive priming has changed that a great deal, but there is still an urgent need for cleaning a gun, be it rifle, shotgun, or handgun.

Today guns need cleaning to remove powder fouling. This is carbon that builds up in the crevices of the firing mechanism, and in time can cause malfunction. I talked with several gunsmiths; Milo Martinson, Bruce Nettestad, Archie Wiedewitsch, and Pat Laib, each of them saying that a large number of guns brought to them for repair, were only in need of a thorough cleaning. Of course, guns do break down, parts wear out and a trip to the gunsmith's bench is the only remedy.

The introduction of the plastic wad in shotgun shells is one of the important advancements made in ammunition. While it does a great job of preventing lead fouling in the barrel, it leaves behind streaks of plastic residue in the bore. The plastic residue continues to build as thousands of rounds are shot at trap, skeet, or sporting. It isn't a problem for the casual hunter who will not fire that many rounds in a lifetime. So leading, plastic buildup, and residue left from firing are three of the most common problems and all should be attacked by a gun owner. You can do it yourself, and you should, on a regular basis.

The equipment needed consists of cleaning rods, bronze brushes, wool swabs, bore fitted patches of cotton, and there is a wide array of solvents. And then there's gun oil. A good rifle or shotgun kit is probably the best way to start, and if you've been a shooter for very long, you probably have already got on hand such a kit.

For years, I've used a product named Break Free CLP. It is a solvent that really does work to get out powder fouling in the trigger group, which can be worked free of the gun by punching out a few pins.

A properly fitting cotton patch saturated with Break Free will do it nicely. There is also a very old and reliable product named Hoppe's No. 9 solvent. Either or both will work for you.

WD-40 is a fine product for squirting into a lock mechanism, or to take the squeak out of a door hinge, but it isn't adapted for gun maintenance. WD-40 will also affect the blue finish on your guns. A discarded toothbrush is a good way to get into the crevices in the bolt of a rifle or the trigger group of a shotgun. Over-under shotguns are best left intact, clean the barrels, clean up the area of the firing pins with solvent and lightly oil the whole works. A little oil goes a long way, so use it sparingly. The hinge mechanism of an over-under should receive a spot of gun grease, but here too, sparingly. Many men wipe the grease away every time they put the gun in its case, and put a bit of grease on the hinge area just before reassembling the gun for a round of trap. The wood parts should receive a light coating of stock wax, which comes in a small bottle and will bring out the grain of the wood beautifully.

Screw in chokes should be taken out on a regular basis. Put a drop of oil on the middle of the threads, spreading it around with your fingers and re-installing the chokes into the muzzle. A common mistake is to use too much tightening. The choke should be snug but not really screwed down in there. Don't scrub the barrel without having choke tubes in place, as crud can get onto the threads easily, and make reinsertion difficult.

Like plastic wads, plastic hulls get heated upon firing, and they do leave a residue. That wasn't a problem with the old waxed paper shells. Chamber rusting won't happen if you apply a little solvent, scrub with a brush and a light coat of gun oil.

How clean is clean enough? The patches plunged down the barrel on a gun rod need not come out absolutely pure white. Two or three times should scrub out leading, powder solvent and plastic build up, to make a gun ready for hunting or a visit to the gun club.

Most gun owners take enough pride in the ownership of a fine gun and do a credible job of gun maintenance. If this isn't your habit, you should assemble the necessary components that will aid and accomplish the cleaning job of gun maintenance.

Great new stuff for hunting this fall

The competition for your sports equipment dollars is fierce. When a manufacturer builds something that sells, all the rest work with a frenzy to duplicate it. If you are in the market for an upland bird shotgun, there are several great choices that won't cost you the two or three grand that have been the case the past few seasons. Stevens Arms offers a new stack barrel that can be yours for $500, named the Goldwing. It is finished well, with good wood to metal joining. It is imported from Turkey and the walnut is exceptional for the price. Choke tubes too, and a fitted gun case.

Remington has a new big game rifle, competing with the Ruger 77 and the Model 70 Winchester. But this one is a semi-automatic and is chambered for the shorter version of cartridges, like the .245 and .308 Winchesters. It has Mossy Oak camo and a pistol grip. Many like this style, but personally it's not what I want! It sells for over $1,500 so that will deter sales to some extent.

Spanish gun maker Lanber has a high quality over-under featuring a very light alloy, resulting in a 12 gauge at 6 1/4 pounds. Okay for the uplands, where the shots are spaced, but it is not for the duck blind, especially if the birds are decoying well and the hunter gets lots of shots. There will be a trap version at 8 1/2 pounds. The fit and finish, walnut quality, choke tubes are plus factors and the price is about $850.

Browning is tempting you with an offer to deliver $500 worth of their accessories to the buyers of their popular Citori over under shotgun. The competition for this style of hunting shotgun is great. Browning's price is somewhat high, but the gun is widely discounted and you can get one for a lot less than the asking price. It's the way that business is done these days.

The pistol makers are in the market too. Especially in models that are intended for concealed carry, or for keeping in the bureau drawer at home. Most retail for around $400 and the choice is many. Calibers range from the ponderous 45 Colt, to the .380 and the nine-millimeter. Beretta is a popular choice, but Sig-Sauer, Ruger, Glock, and Smith & Wesson all have models that are lighter and smaller than personal protection guns were a few years ago.

This trade has quickened since the U.S. Supreme Court made its ruling in June that the Second Amendment meant that citizens who are reliable may own, possess, and use handguns and long guns -- even in Washington D.C. and the other U.S. cities where gun control was carried out to the extreme. This is no longer the case, and citizens of the eastern cities are flocking to the gun stores in states like Maryland and Virginia, to select from the many choices available. We live in hope that all guns now being purchased will end up in the hands of responsible persons who will use them properly. It has been a big step, this interpretation, and may make a difference in the crime scene in many heavily populated areas. Here in the Midwest, there may be little or no change in the way we approached gun ownership, especially the handgun for personal protection.

Ducks Unlimited

My personal participation in the sport of ducks, by paying $30 for a membership and dinner to Ducks Unlimited is one thing that I do with promptness and good will. I've mailed my $30 to 1046 Timber Drive, Detroit Lakes. This gets me in on the Early Bird awards, and pays for a delicious dinner at the Club House Hotel.

The DU dinner will be held at the Club House on Tuesday Sept. 16 this year. Cocktails are at five and supper at 6:30 p.m.

You should join too! Your $30 will help a great deal in the preservation of habitat for waterfowl. This year, there are young birds showing up in the secluded sloughs and cattail swamps of Becker County. Hunting hereabouts may not be as great as it was three decades ago, but habitat preservation is a continent wide thing and only Ducks Unlimited can do it properly. You should also be a member of the Minnesota Waterfowlers. We need you in both organizations.

Correcting An Error

A few weeks ago, in these columns, I stated that the Bristlin family had motored to the World Series of Trapshooting, The ATA grand at Sparta Ill. Of course, it was the family of Brett and Stacy Friesen, which had made the trip, six weeks ago. I was accurate in taking note of the fine shooting of dad, Brett, but more notably, that of the shooting of sub-junior 15 year-old Tony Friesen. He was pointing that Krieghoff 32 accurately and assuredly, as he took honors at Sparta. Tony is going to be a shooter that's heard from as he advances through the age grades and complicated categories of the Amateur Trap Shooting Association. The very early start, adequate coaching and exposure to gunning pressure is going to have a telling effect in future matches. Tony is becoming a natural shooter and his effectiveness at this early age will be a great, advantage in the future. We regret the error in reporting about the trip to the event, but we're happy and enthusiastic about the young gun. About his dad, too!