Gun cleaning

Gun cleaning

This is a discussion on Gun cleaning within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Several hundred rounds ago I decided I'd stop cleaning my 1911. Why? Because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Shooting almost exclusively ...

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Thread: Gun cleaning

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    Gun cleaning

    Several hundred rounds ago I decided I'd stop cleaning my 1911. Why? Because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

    Shooting almost exclusively Winchester white-box, a sprinkling of Remington UMC (never again) and Georgia Arms, and a box of Speer Gold Dots, I haven't suffered a malfunction since I stopped cleaning (3 ftfs, all wwb, in the first 400+ rounds I put through it, none since). The purpose of those was/is to see how much I can go before the firearm finally malfunctions due to crud build-up. I'll be cleaning it the moment it gets such a malfunction, or right before we leave in early June for a class by Tom Perroni (whichever comes first).

    Is there anything inherently wrong with this sort of test? Are there any spots I should watch for on my Springer, and would adding any lubrication somewhat ruin the point of the test? I'm really curious as to what it would take to induce a failure, but I'm also cautious about damaging my gun. I don't plan on babying my 1911, but I still like having it around, you know?


    -B


  2. #2
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    As long as it isn't your carry gun, do what you wish with it. I personally could not sleep knowing my pistol was nearby and dirty.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  3. #3
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    I hope the malfunction doesn't happen when you REALLY need the weapon...
    I guess I would clean it regularly and see if 'cleaning' causes a malfunction

    Stay armed...clean you guns...stay safe!
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  4. #4
    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    I haven't lost sleep over it, yet. Then again, I'm the dummy doing the test.

    My "goal" is to hit the 1k without cleaning mark. If I go a thousand rounds without cleaning or malfunction; I like the idea of a tool I'm trusting my life to accomplishing this, provided it the process itself isn't detrimental to the gun. I'm still new enough to 1911s to not yet have learned all of its limitations.


    -B

  5. #5
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    To add: any time metal rubs on another metal surface with dirt and grit and lack of lube it will wear out quicker. Enough to harm the gun? Not sure, it may loosen up tolerances and cause the gun the rattle , maybe affect accuracy slightly and cause rust / corrosion.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    even if i don't clean mine after firing several hundred rounds at the range i tend to lube the rails and barrel bushing
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Array rdoggsilva's Avatar
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    Like Rocky I can not sleep if my weapon is dirty.
    John Steinbeck: Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you.

  8. #8
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Any grit, dirt, or unburnt powder residue would be working on your pistol like sandpaper I would imagine. Loosening tolerances I'm sure, and working it's way deeper into the weapon--farther down than just a normal break down of the pistol for maintained cleaning. When you do go to clean it, I'd detail strip it for sure. I'd venture to guess the first thing to quit moving correctly might be the firing pin. Some failures can be tragic. Personally, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing one of mine was that dirty and begging for cleaning.

  9. #9
    Member Array TonyB's Avatar
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    A buddy of mine had a glock 34 that he didn't clean for 2 years..he shot a least 100 rounds week.
    if it's not a carry gun,I am not real religious about cleaning.my carries get cleaned after every use,others after about 200 rounds.If I'm gonna leave a gun on the shelf for a while,I'll clean it and use extra lube.
    Depending on the 1911,some actually work better when a little looser,so maybe a little dirt would be ok too.
    let us know how long you go.
    "Just because I'm paranoid,doesn't mean they're NOT after me...."

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array Sarge45's Avatar
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    You won't cause any damage to your gun. What you may find though, is the 1911 frame is built differently than say the Glock, in that the Glock has four "short" rails and the 1911 two "long" rails.

    The short rails and minimal contact area on the Glock work to allow crud to fall free from the grooves during cycling and reduce accumulation. The 1911 rails don't have this feature and have much more bearing, or contact area than does the Glock type. If the 1911 rails get dry or can't clean themselves and buildup occurs, the propensity to become sticky or gall is enhanced and a failure will be induced.

    You can try periodic lube during youe test but it may just compound the problem by allowing crud to stick to it. Honestly, I can see a loose, WWII bringhome gun with better odds of passing the test than a modern 1911 with the typical tight tolerances such as a Springfield or Kimber.

    I'm interested in hearing the results of your "test" Keep us posted.

  11. #11
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    I owned a 1942 A1-1911 from '91 till '05 and wow! the original 1911's you could bury in your back yard for a year or two and not have to clean and still have a good shot. I don't think that the 1911 will malfunction no matter ho maney rounds you put through her, she will still bark...and bite!

    My 1911 did develope a bit of a rattle, but it would still put a hole in the target.

    great gun....the 1911....just can't go wrong with it's design

    P.S. if it were my 1911 I would take great care of it...

  12. #12
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    When I shot in steel plate matches, I used a dedicated 1911 for that task exclusively. I broke it down and cleaned it once a season. In the meantime, I'd lube the rails, the barrel hood and end of barrel just before a match, rack it vigorously several times and shoot for score. The shock buff would be replaced whenever it needed it, usually checked at the 1K mark for wear, but the gun didn't get cleaned.

    It also got practice sessions in between enough so that this one 1911 had several thousand through it before the end of the year. When it was broken down, it was "caked" with solidified residue which had to be scraped from some places. It ran like a top throughout the year. The slide rattled some, not a big deal, the slide to frame fit is not where the 1911 accuracy comes from, it's barrel bushing fit to the barrel when it locks up thats important relative accuracy.

    I regularly run a glock 17 first gen for several thousand [ 4-6K ] before even thinking of tearing it down to clean it. That gun has been loaned to students in private lessons with 2-4K though it and they'll run another 2-3K through it in two days with no problems functioning whatsoever.

    At the moment, I've got an M+P9mm thats sitting at about 1K without cleaning it, and it won't get cleaned until the gun fails somehow. It's a test of how durable/reliable the gun is of sorts. It's replacing that first gen g17 I spoke of above presently as a range/training gun.

    I've also got a fairly dirty Sig220 carry that hasn't been cleaned in 1200 rds more or less. Thats only two range sessions of firing, but I'm not worried about cleaning it yet at all.

    I've got two revos that have not been cleaned but only wiped down after shooting them for some time. One hasn't been cleaned for years [ the 65 4" Smith ] but then it doesn't get the rds count like the semi's either.

    Now having said all that-------all my carry "street" guns get thoroughly cleaned after shooting before they see street duty again. The street guns stay well lubed, cleaned and ready at all times if they are carried for defensive purposes.

    Keep your street guns squeekie clean and lubed properly, the rest of the toys don't require the same if they are not going to be carried.

    One last comment on this cleaning thing-----That 1911 that got abused/used all the time in matches for a decade has a barrel that is almost mirror shiny from all the H+G#68 semi wads through her. No parts have been abnormally worn over other 1911's that have been cleaned after every session. Some guns might wear more if not cleaned as some have suggested here, but the powder residue more likely polishes the parts like flitz than abrasively rubs metal away IMO from my rather long experience with not cleaning some of the guns for over a decade at times.

    Brownie
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    Quick Kill Rifle and Pistol Instructor

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input guys.

    This isn't exactly my "street gun". It will be, soon I hope, but I'm still waiting on a letter from Tallahassee before it becomes a carry gun.

    Brownie, I was inspired to do this because of two competition shooters I've spoken with suggesting they wouldn't trust a handgun to carry unless it went through near or over a thousand rounds, no cleaning, no malfunctions, no exceptions. If they didn't make it, the idea is to strip it down, clean it good, and start seeing what parts aren't playing nicely with others. That nothing was said about any harm to the gun, I made the assumption the most that would happen is a little play would eventually develop between the slide and frame. Anyway, theirs seemed like a good idea, so I thought I'd give it a try.

    However, now that I've said that, I have a Dave Berryhill commander ring hammer on the way and, pending a response from King's Gun Works a new grip safety (hopefully soon) a new set of grip (King's #204) and thumb (Wilson tactical) safeties. Since these parts will require fitting, I'll probably have to repeat this to make sure they play nicely. One might say I have trust issues.


    -B

  14. #14
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    I think the 1K mark with no malfs can be achieved by many autos today, even if they initially need a break in to get there.

    When I get the Sig carry back from Sig for the last round FTF issue and the new SRT trigger installed, I'll not carry it for SD until it proves reliable with a case of ball, and a few mags of my carry load.

    It's a prudent endeavor, and good forethought here. Let us know how that 1911 with the parts fairs for you.

    Brownie
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    Quick Kill Rifle and Pistol Instructor

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    I've only got a couple parts in and none installed (does a dab of paint on the front sight count as an upgrade?), but as of yesterday the Springfield made the 1k mark without cleaning and without a gun-related malfunction. My other fake-Colt magazine died on me, but I also picked up another couple McCormick Power Mags which have served flawlessly.

    Tomorrow will really give me a heads-up, as Saturday and Sunday I'll be putting about 800+ rounds total through the 1911 for a class, so it'll be used a little harder than I've used it before. I'm confident any remaining trust concerns will be put to rest.


    -B

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