In two weeks the hunting season openers will begin to fall like dominoes. Dove season will be followed by teal season, and on their heels comes archery season and hunting with Managed Lands Deer permits, the regular deer season and then duck season.
With summer ending hunters are getting ready for the fall seasons and on their to-do list should be a thorough cleaning of their shotgun.
“My single busiest time of the year is the week after the opening of dove season fixing all the guns that were shooting single shots opening day,” said Tyler gunsmith Dexter Jordan.
Jordan said there are always a lot of hunters who put up shotguns after the season ends meaning to have them fixed, but forgetting by the time another year rolls around.
He said there are just as many that are put up dirty that need to be cleaned inside and out before the season starts.
For most hunters cleaning a gun is something that can be done at home, especially if they do nothing more than clean the barrel. Jordan said the keys are to use the right products and pay special attention to the right parts.
“Any kind of gun cleaning oil is good,” Jordan said of products like Gunslick and Rem Oil, two of the most commonly found in stores.
However, he warns that WD40 is not a product for shotgun. While good at what it was designed to do, WD40 was not designed to clean guns and can cause a shellac build-up over time on moving parts.
A bore cleaning snake has become one of the easiest ways to clean a shotgun barrel either at home or in the field immediately after the hunt. While it does a good job cleaning the barrel wall, Jordan said that is only part of what needs to be done.
“A lot of hunters look down the barrel and see a lot of powder residue, but that doesn’t really hurt anything. Where the shell expands in the chamber is the important thing,” Jordan said. “The main part of the chamber is so critical. It has to be slick. If you haven’t cleaned that you may be shooting a single shot.”
He said chamber damage can be caused by the pressure created by firing the gun or from minute pieces of material left from plastic hulls.
Hunters should use a small copper or nylon bristle brush on the chamber.
An often overlooked part of the gun is the screw-in choke tubes. Jordan said stuck tubes are a common problem these days.
“You are going to have pressure from the end of the wad causing moisture to build up in the threads,” he said. Overtime that can cause rust and make a choke hard to remove.
Preventive maintenance is as simple as removing the tube and putting on a dab of bearing grease before each season or when switching tubes.
During the first days of the season Jordan said hunters should wipe down their shotguns and spray them with a coat of protective oil after each hunt. Sweat and bug repellent can damage bluing and stocks if not quickly removed.