Firearm maintenance is a periodic preventive maintenance procedure to ensure the proper function of a firearm. Typically firearm maintenance is performed by the owner of the firearm using simple methods such as cleaning the firearm with gun oils, and lubricating with similar oils and greases. When a firearm presents with physical damage related to the ordinary use of the firearm, or when a firearm malfunctions in a life-threatening manner a professional gunsmith should perform advanced maintenance to determine if the firearm is repairable and/or safe to shoot. The consequences of neglecting such maintenance can be serious, and can lead to damage of the firearm, injury or death.
It is critically important that a firearm is free of ammunition before beginning maintenance. The National Rifle Association teaches gun owners that "before cleaning your gun, make absolutely sure that it is unloaded. The gun's action should be open during the cleaning process. Also, be sure that no ammunition is present in the cleaning area.
The ordinary action of a firearm releases fine particles of gunpowder, metals, and other contaminates into the inner-space of a firearm, which may cause malfunctions, or in rarer cases of extreme buildup may cause the firearm to explode upon being fired. It has been widely reported that firearms without a spring to control the inertia of the firing pin require constant cleaning of the bolt assembly; as extremely dangerous phenomena such as slamfire may occur. Slamfire is a malfunction in which a firearm which is normally semi-automatic may temporarily and involuntarily become fully automatic, firing repeatedly—without another pull of the trigger—until the firearm is out of ammunition.
Every major firearms manufacturer provides detailed information on the proper methods used to disassemble, clean, and reassemble a firearm they produce. This information is usually packaged with the firearm. In the event that this information is not present with the firearm at the point of purchase, it is advisable to ask the manufacturer where this information may be obtained. For safety reasons the manufacturer's directions for cleaning, maintenance, and care should always be followed.
Firearms produce massive momentary forces upon firing a bullet. A typical 9mm projectile produces a maximum of 34,084 psi of pressure in the instant of firing. The amount of pressure a firearm may endure for the first few milliseconds after the cartridge fires can be over 230,000% more than the normal atmospheric pressure of one atmosphere. Therefore it is important for the safety of the shooter, and the longevity of a firearm that it is properly lubricated as per the manufacturer's specifications.
When in an extreme and life-threatening situation such as preparing for combat the manufacturer's recommended lubricants may not be available to soldiers, or others who may enter these scenarios. If there is time to perform firearm maintenance before a life-threatening emergency (such as daily cleaning of a rifle in a combat zone) it may become necessary to use other sources of lubrication, as a firearm will function better with some lubricant than it will with none.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED