In this article, we'll discuss the importance, schedule and methods of cleaning your 10/22. You need to know this because if you don't know when and how to clean your Ruger, you'll end up messing with its performance, especially accuracy.
Rifles, just like any other machine, need to be serviced properly. You'll learn the right ways to clean your rifles, as well as some do's and don'ts while doing it. Regular and proper cleaning of your rifle prevents it from jamming and additional wearing of its parts.
Why Is It Important To Clean Your Ruger 10/22
The best answer to why cleaning your gun is so important is it will help maintain the accuracy and function of the rifle. Some good reasons to clean your Ruger 10/22 rifle regularly are:
- With regular usage, residue of dirt, grime and gunpowder build up on different parts such as the trigger assembly and the bolt assembly. This affects the normal functioning of the rifle.
- Improper bolt function affects the accuracy of your rifle. You don’t want your shots moving off target, right?
- Another problem which arises due to dirt is jamming. Your charging handle and the bolt assembly have to be lubricated and cleaned for optimum performance. Of course, you’re not going to fight a war with your Ruger 10/22, but jamming is still annoying. Plus, it makes you look careless and as if you don’t give a damn about cleaning your guns.
- Not cleaning your 10/22 will also lead to improper cycling of rounds. Due to the blow-back operation of the rifle, burned gases, unburned powder and bullet lube get sprayed into the action and the magazine.
- Even though the 10/22 doesn’t have high bullet velocity and pressure in its barrel, fouling even on a minor scale can affect the performance of your rifle. So, the barrel needs to be cleaned as well.
- Prevent rust. It may sound somewhat arbitrary with respect to rifles, but it’s true. If you plan to store your 10/22 for a longer duration, you should clean and lube it properly to prevent rusting.
In simplest terms, if you really love your 10/22 rifle and want it to function properly,you should clean it regularly and properly.
Why Should You Clean A New Ruger 10/22?
To be upfront about it, not everyone believes it’s necessary to clean your brand-new gun. We’ll just talk about some of the reasons you may want to.
The Ruger 10/22 rifle is sprayed with a preservative inside its barrel before leaving the factory. This oily coating inside the barrel is meant to prevent it from rusting or any other damage before it becomes operational.
This preservative coating, if not cleaned, becomes more hardened and messy with time and is difficult to clean later. At that stage, you may want to remove it vigorously with a brass brush, which in turn may damage your barrel.
We recommend that when you get your new Ruger 10/22, you should field strip the rifle and clean the barrel first. You can use a bore snake or the cleaning rod to do so. After removing the preservative coating, lube the barrel with solvent using swab tips on the cleaning rod.
When To Clean Your 10/22
Different people have different opinions on a cleaning schedule. Some say that you should clean your 10/22 after 500 rounds, others say that you should do it after 5000 rounds.
It actually depends from person to person and their own experience. The best answer is - "it depends."
If you are a benchrest shooter aiming for minute groups, you might like to do a cleaning after every 100 rounds. Some people clean their rifles when they begin to malfunction. Some do it daily, following the military rule.
If you don't use your rifle in humid or soggy environments, the only reason for you to clean your rifle is fouling. Different grades of ammunition have varying fouling affects.
A quick visual inspection of your rifle would allow you to decide whether to clean it or not. If the parts look dirty, a cleaning session is definitely required.
The frequency of cleaning the rifle also depends what kind of cleaning you do. If you clean your rifle frequently using patches and solvent, you won't need to use a brush.
It is, however, recommended that you clean your 10/22 every time you use it, especially if you are not a regular shooter. That's because as your rifle spends more time on the rack, and may get vulnerable to rusting.
Regular cleaning also ensures proper feeding, firing and ejection operations. Don’t forget that your guns are a complex machine, and like any other machine, they need proper maintenance.
Steps In Cleaning Your 10/22 Rifle
Before we begin the step-by-step process, let's take a look at the parts we are going to clean, and the tools we will need.
What Parts Will Get Cleaned
The Tools We Need To Clean Our 10/22:
- Gun Cleaning Solvent
- Aerosol Spray(optional)
- Lubricating Oil
- Bore Snake(used instead of cleaning Rod)
- Cleaning Rod
- Cleaning Rod attachments: Swab, Metal Brush, Slotted tips/Patch tips.
- Small Brass or plastic Brush
- Flat Blade Screwdriver
- Small Hammer(for ejecting the pins)
The task is divided into three parts: disassembly, cleaning and reassembly. You don't have to field strip your 10/22 entirely. The magazine, trigger assembly and bolt assembly don't need to be stripped. However, you can disassemble and clean them if you want to.
Before you start disassembling the rifle, ensure you have taken all the safety measures. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Remove the magazine and optic sight (if any), lock the bolt back and check the chamber to ensure there is no round in it.
Disassembly Of Your Ruger 10/22 Rifle
These simple steps will get your rifle disassembled sufficiently to clean it:
- Loosen the front band screw and remove the front band.
- Loosen the screw under the barrel stock.
- Push the safety button so an equal amount is exposed on both sides. Now slowly swing the rifle mechanism upwards from the stock.
- Remove the pins keeping the trigger and bolt assembly together. This should separate the trigger assembly from the bolt assembly for proper cleaning.
- Remove the bolt and the charging handle.
Cleaning Your Ruger 10/22 Rifle
Cleaning The Barrel And The Receiver
In cleaning the barrel, it’s advisable to use a muzzle guard to keep your barrel in position. This prevents you from damaging the crown (inside end of the barrel) while cleaning it. If you don't have the muzzle guard, your hands can serve equally well. Just handle it with care.
- You can either use the bore snake or the cleaning rod with patches to clean your barrel. Here we’ll use the cleaning rods because the bore snake need to be washed after every use as the dirt and grime stick to it. If you do not have the muzzle guard, you may prefer the bore snake to prevent yourself from damaging the crown. It makes for a little less work. Carry on with the rod if you’re not skeptical or acquainted to firearms.
- Fix the bore brush attachment to the tip of the cleaning rod, and apply some bore cleaner solvent on it. Now push down the rod through the barrel. Once the brush has passed through the barrel, remove the bore brush and slide back the rod. Do not pull the rod backward with the metal brush on it, because it may damage your barrel. Once you pull out the rod, attach the metal brush again and repeat this step 5-6 times, until the barrel is clear of dirt and grime.
- Remove the bore brush from the cleaning rod and attach the patch tip to it. Now, put on a clean, dry patch over the tip and slide the rod through the barrel. Once through, replace the patch with another one. Repeat this process 4 or 5 times until you are satisfied that the barrel is clean.
- Take a clean new patch and lubricate it with lube oil. Put this on the patch tip and slide it through the barrel. Repeat this process with new lubricated patches 3-4 times.
- Use a soft metal wire brush and the solvent to clean the receiver. Dry the breech and receiver with a clean rag. Clean the extractor channel and oil these parts lightly to prevent rusting.
Cleaning The Trigger Assembly
The trigger assembly is the least likely to get dirty unless you wander through the woods a lot. So, there's probably no need to disassemble the trigger assembly for cleaning; you can do it as a single piece.
- Spray the aerosol liquid over the intact trigger assembly. You can strip the assembly and apply aerosol spray if you want to.
- Let the assembly soak for five minutes. Meanwhile you can clean the other parts.
- Take a dry rag and clean up the assembly to make sure no liquid or dirt lies over it.
Cleaning The Bolt Assembly
The bolt assembly plays a vital role in maintaining the accuracy of your 10/22. It is quite easy to clean it even though it has quite a few components.
- Use swabs or Q-tips soaked in the cleaning solvent to clean the bolt assembly.
- Use dry rags or Q-tips to remove the excess solvent from the bolt assembly.
- Apply two drops of lube oil to fresh Q-tips and apply it to the bolt.
Cleaning The Magazine
Cleaning and lubricating the magazine is essential because it leads to proper feeding of rounds while shooting. Here we are not going to disassemble the magazine because it is not required. Moreover, no lubrication is needed inside the magazine - that could actually attract gunk and create sludge. So it's better not to take it apart..
- Use a soft metal/nylon brush (an old toothbrush would do) to clean up the magazine. Remove dirt, grime and any powder residue.
- Use Q-tips dipped in gun cleaner solvent, to remove any residual dirt. Clean thoroughly so that no dirt or grime is left.
- Use dry Q-tips to remove and excess solvent from the magazine. Use a dry rag to ensure that no solvent remains on or inside the magazine.
- Use a drop lubricating oil on each side of the rotary magazine shaft.
Assembling The Rifle
Now that we are done cleaning your 10/22, let's assemble it. Since we haven't stripped down the rifle to nuts and bolts, it can be assembled easily.
- Turn the receiver upside down and insert the charging handle from the ejection port and align it in the receiver.
- Slide the charging handle all the way back to align it and put the bolt assembly in place. Replace the bolt stop pin.
- Attach the trigger assembly to the base of the receiver and put all the pins back in place.
- Wipe a little amount of lubricating oil over the barreled action to prevent rusting.
- Attach the action with the stock and put the front band back in place.
- Wipe the entire rifle with a lightly oiled rag to protect it from rusting.
This video guide goes beyond our recommendations in some areas but helps illustrate what we've explained.
Cleaning your 10/22 regularly will maintain its accuracy and functionality. How often you clean your rifle depends on your usage. It is a good practice to clean your guns every time you use them. However, if you find this difficult, at least clean your 10/22 after a couple of shooting days.
If you are looking to store your 10/22 for a longer time, don’t forget to wipe some oil over it and make sure you use air dehumidifiers in your gun cabinets.