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How to Clean a Semi Auto Rifle Properly in Just Minutes?

How to clean a semi auto rifle
Written by Erik Himmel

Owning a firearm puts the owner in a place of safety and gives such person confidence in the face of perpetration into his or her home. However, beyond the courage and confidence of owning a firearm, there is the responsibility attached to ensuring that it is properly cleaned. Cleaning a firearm differs depending on what type of firearm it is.

In this article, we are concerned about a semi auto rifle. So, we shall be examining the need for cleaning one as well as how to clean a semi auto rifle. These procedures presented are one that makes it easy for anyone to be able to keep the semi auto rifle clean in just a few minutes. For more information, read safety instructions that came with the semi auto rifle on purchase.

What Makes Semi Auto Rifles from Other Guns?

In understanding how to clean a rifle, you have to know that semi auto rifles differ from other guns. Other guns like automatic rifles, hand guns and machine guns will require different cleaning mechanisms than semi auto rifles. Also, cleaning a semi auto rifle properly doesn’t take as much time as it might take with other guns. If mastered, it can be properly cleaned in minutes.

Considering that semi auto rifles differ in structure and function from other rifles, it becomes necessary that they are cleaned in a special way. When cleaning, more attention needs to be paid to certain specific part unlike with other guns. At this point, it is very important to note that it is dangerous to apply a cleaning procedure for one type to another.

How to Clean a Semi Auto Rifle?

Now you know that a semi auto rifle differs from other rifles and should be cleaned specially and differently. In cleaning a semi auto rifle properly, the most important, but neglected stage is the preparation stage. The preparation stage is very important because it is at this stage you prepare every material and knowledge needed in the cleaning.

Failure to take the preparation stage seriously, will mean that you might get stuck in the process due to lack of materials, tools or knowledge of what to do. On the contrary, when all these are readily available, the whole cleaning process is quick and very effective. With this in mind, let’s now run through the procedure one after the other.

Gather the Must-Have Tools

It is not enough to know how to clean a semi auto rifle, you also have to know what tools are required. These tools are often times referred to as must-have tools and the need to be gathered before starting. These tools and their purposes in the cleaning process includes.


  • A good cleaning rod that is used specifically for a semi auto rifle. In selecting this today, it is very important you ensure it is soft so as not to damage your rifle.
  • A jag which is an attachment to the cleaning rod is also very much needed. It is what aids the cleaning patch to clean well.
  • Cleaning patches are also needed to remove grime off the semi auto rifle. It is a good wiping tool both for the bore as well as other parts of the rifle as well.
  • A cleaning brush that is not so hard is also needed. Make sure you get a very soft brush so that the inside of your semi auto rifle is not damaged in the course of cleaning.
  • Solvents and lubricants also acts as fluids that aid the cleaning process, and also serves as lubricant to the semi auto rifle. So, when cleaning is done, rifle is able to function effectively.
  • Other materials include gloves and goggles to be one in the course of cleaning the semi auto rifle. This helps in keeping you save from any harm while cleaning.

In some cases, buying a top-notch gun cleaning kit is better than getting every single item separately, especially when you consider the prices of the separate items going up a way higher than those combined in a kit.

Disassemble the Rifle Appropriately

Here is how you can disassemble a semi auto rifle.

  • Unload your gun, this is the most crucial step, as if it is not done someone could get terribly injured or even die.
  • The next step you want to take is to remove the piston, they usually made of metal and are two in number. Drop them aside.
  • Next, carefully remove the bolt and action as this would enable you detach the trigger assemble without stress.
  • After doing the above, the final step is to remove the link of the spring. You can easily remove them by using pliers.

When following the above steps to disassemble your rifle, be very careful so as not to damage or lose any of its parts. Clean all the disassembled parts carefully with the right fluids, let it sit a while before assembling it again.

By opening up your semi auto rifle, you are able to access its nooks and crannies and take off any dirt and grime lurking in certain areas. Disassembling your rifle facilitates easy cleaning.

While this can be done to clean the rifle, it is not something that should be done always. Do not always disassemble your semi auto rifle. Make sure there is a time frame for this which could be once or twice every year.

Often times, many gun experts always refer semi auto rifle owners to a gun smith to help carry out a complete disassembly of the gun. While this is good, you can refer to the instruction and safety manual of your gun to disassemble it effectively by yourself. This manual spells out certain directions to field strip the rifle as well as how to clean a semi auto rifle.

Apply the Solvent to the Chamber, Clean and Dry It

When your semi auto rifle has been correctly disassembled, that makes it ready for cleaning. In cleaning, applying solvent is the first most important step to take in dissolving funks and fouling that many times prove difficult to take away. Solvent used in gun cleaning differs based on the type of gun to be cleaned.

The type of solvent purchased, also determines its use on the semi auto rifle. You should avoid using harsh or unfavorable solvents to your semi auto rifle as such, Hoppe’s Elite is the bathroom solvent recommendation. While it can be said to be quite expensive unlike other solvents, it is what works well for a semi auto rifle. Coming in a spray bottle, even distribution becomes very possible.

Make sure to spray solvent to the chamber, bolt and every other place where gunk and fouling is known to accumulate. It is also advisable to apply the solvent to the patch so as to allow it to run through the bore, clean and dry it. Make sure this process of applying the solvent to the chamber and other necessary parts of the semi auto rifle is done carefully and evenly.

Be Careful About the Barrel

Cleaning the barrel is one of the vital parts of cleaning the rifle as a whole. This is what makes knowing how to clean a rifle barrel necessary. Being a very sensitive part of the rifle, cleaning the rifle barrel is quite different from how other parts of the rifle is cleaned.

How to Clean a Rifle Barrel?

In cleaning the rifle barrel, you have to carefully and continuously pass clean clothes patches down the bore of the barrel. Take your time to do this until the rifle barrel is properly cleaned. After this has been done, make use of your lubricant to clean the outside of the rifle barrel and leave it for a while to dry off.


Clean the Bore

Cleaning the bore requires that a solvent cloth patch is run down the bore to wipe it clean. Another clean cloth patch is run through the bore again to absorb the solvents in it and ensure it is dry. A bore brush is then used to clean the bore of the barrel. This bore brush initially needs to be dipped in a solvent used for cleaning metals.

Continually run the bore brush through the bore of the barrel like three more times rotating it until the bore is totally wiped clean. When this is done and the neatness of the bore is ascertained, you can now separate the bore brush from the cleaning rod. A patch holder is then placed on the cleaning rod that has been detached and run through the barrel.

When the patch has been run thoroughly through the barrel until it is totally clean, then there is a need to lubricate it. Lubricant like the gun oil should then be applied to the bore. To wrap this up, you can make use of a soft rag or cloth to remove excess solvent. With this, you are good to go on with the next step.

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Continue Your Actions on the Bolt, Cam, and Firing Pin

Cleaning the semi auto rifle is a complete process and as such, no part should be left alone. After cleaning the bore, you need to clean the bolt, Cam and firing pin as well. To do this, get a rag with solvent on it and make use of it to clean these parts. All you need to do is to carefully wipe the surfaces of these parts with the rag that has solvents on it.

As soon as you are done cleaning any of these parts, set it aside and go to the other. For any of these parts, make use of a patch that is soaked in solvent for metal surfaces. This well help to quickly remove fingerprints, body oil and residue of any kinds from it leaving them sparkling clean. Upon completion, lubricate parts so as to work well with other parts when assembled again.

Work on the Magazine

Just like the bore, cam, firing pin and other parts, you need to have the magazine if your small auto rifle cleaned too. To do this, you just have to get a cloth or patch and have it lightly oiled. Make sure the rag or patch is soft, then begin rubbing on the magazine. Do this until all signs of wear is removed off and the magazine looks clean, then keep it aside.

Cycle Your Actions as Long as You Dim Necessary

In the course of cleaning your semi auto rifle, there are certain steps that you will have to repeat over and over again. Make sure you do so, until your desired result is achieved. However, it is important that you cycle your actions over time with the same initial care as the first. Also, make sure that every step taken, considers the part of the rifle cleaned.

Cleaning your rifle is not something to be done every day, and as such, it is wise to do it well when you do. So, make sure you cycle your actions as long as you seem it necessary to ensure your auto rifle is clean.

Reassemble the Parts Properly

After the whole cleaning process must have been successfully completed, all that is left is to couple your rifle. Reassembling your auto rifle requires adequate attention to every part. Make sure that the same care exercised in the disassembling process, is also what is exercised when reassembling. I advise you take down notes if possible when disassembling.

Just like you did when you were disassembling the semi auto rifle, you can also refer to the rifle manual when assembling it again. In the manual, you’d will find out laid down procedures as to how to easily couple back your rifle in no time. Note that, for semi auto rifles, you should always avoid storing a loaded gun with a shell in its chamber.

Don’t Forget About the Safety Measures

Certain safety measures have been provided to for you to take note of before, during and after the cleaning process. This safety measures can be found in the manual that comes with your auto rifle on purchase. It is very important that you adhere to these safety measures all through the process.

Make sure to where gloves and goggles through the process to avoid exposing yourself to the chemicals. These chemicals are dangerous to and can damage your body if it directly touches you. Also, being a semi-automatic rifle, please make sure it is offloaded before commencing.

Among many other reasons why a semi auto rifle is being properly cleaned it to ensure it functions properly and lasts longer. This makes it very important for you having one to follow these steps provided above to the latter.

With the steps followed, you will know how to clean a semi auto rifle properly and quickly. Just make sure in the course of doing so, you also follow safety measures. Then, you are just as save as your auto rifle is.

About the author

Erik Himmel

A Part-Time Firearm Instructor

Hi, this is Erik. We all know firearms are dangerous, but only when one doesn’t know how to use and care for them. I have 15+ years of experience with different types of guns and for the last 10 years, I have taught numerous people how to hold and shoot a gun while staying safe and keeping the surroundings unharmed. My neighbors are some of my biggest admirers who enjoy talking to me about their guns, firearms safety and maintenance.

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