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AR-15 Maintenance

Due to a large number of requests for this information, I have put together a cursory passage on maintenance of your AR-15 rifle. Your rifle must be carefully maintained. While the AR-15 can take much abuse, improper maintenance over time can cause your rifle to malfunction or worse make it dangerous to shoot!

Like almost any task, with the proper tools, one can make a tiresome chore pass much more quickly and effortlessly. Everyone is going to have a bit of a different system, so by no means are the following methods carved in stone. Over time, according to your shooting patterns and level maintenance-inclination, youíll develop your own system. So letís start by look at my shopping list of maintenance materials:

1. .22-caliber cleaning rod
2. .22-caliber brash brush
3. .22-caliber jag
4. .223 cleaning patches
5. Cleaning Solvent
6. a cleaning rod chamber guide
7. dental picks
8. AR-15 Bolt Carrier Scraper Tool
9. plenty of clean 100% cotton rags
10. Lubricant
11. Q-tips

First, as always, with your rifle pointed in a safe direction, remove any magazine attached to the rifle, and confirm that it is unloaded! Then, disassemble into its major components. The extent to which you disassemble is up to you. In general, I separate the upper and lower assembles, and then I disassemble the charging handle and bolt carrier group (I actually disassemble the bolt carrier group as described in the USMC Technical Manual). Thatís it as far as disassembly. Thereís a reason this is a military rifle.

Maintenance must be easily accomplished in the field. (Note: I do not regularly disassemble the trigger group. This is not necessary most of the time. Should the area where the trigger grouping is installed become fouled to the point of affecting function or even your aesthetic liking, then disassemble and clean the parts. Otherwise, thereís no reason to.)

I, personally, spray down all the parts with MP-7 and let soak for about 15 minutes. Then using a cleaning rod chamber guide (this tool is essential to keep you from scraping up the insides of your upper receiver chamber area with the cleaning rodóit also keeps the solvent confined to the bore), I scrub out the bore once, run a dry patch through, soak with MP-7 again for a minute or two, scrub, and run a dry patch through. And Iím done. (Note: if Iím not going to fire my rifle for a while, then I run a patch lightly coated with oil through the bore. I am always careful to run a dry patch through it before firing it again! Do not fire a rifle with an "oiled" bore! This can be extremely dangerous and cause hydraulic failures in your rifle.

Iím sure to carefully and meticulously clean out the chamber area with solvent-soaked rags and use my Q-tips to a great extent here. Be careful to get out all the "gunk" that collects between the locking lugs. This may take some scraping. Then, I clean out the rest of the insides of the upper and lower receivers.

The bolt carrier grouping is rather simple to clean out with the exception of the inside of the bolt carrier itself. Carbon residue just seems to collect at the bottom of what Iíll call "the well"óyouíll know what I mean when you see itóand no amount of solvent-soaking, scraping with Q-tips/dental picks, etc. seems to get it out. I finally resorted to buying Brownells AR-15 Bolt Carrier Scraping Tool, and voila, a 20 minute chore was turned into a 2 minute chore!

After cleaning everything, I apply a light coat of Breakfree CLP to everything while being careful not to get any in the chamber or bore area. On surfaces subjected to great friction, i.e. the outside of bolt carrier, I put on a light coat of Snake Oil. Be careful not to get any oil on the face of the bolt itself!

I wipe down my magazines with a solvent-soaked rag, and occasionally disassemble them for a detail cleaning. You can also get these instructions for disassembly of the magazine from the technical manual.

After all this, reassemble, and perform a quick function check. With everything in order, my rifle is ready for storage.

 

 

 

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