How to Clean a .22 Rifle

A .22 rifle.

For this particular article, the 22 caliber rifle I am using is a Marlin 925 bolt action .22 caliber rifle. This was my very first rifle. My father gave it to me when I was 9 or 10. My brother was given the exact same model a year or so before. I went through thousands of rounds of ammo running around in the woods. Many volleys of lead are still buried deep within the flesh of trees around our property. Someday my dad is gonna find some lead with his chainsaw, and he is gonna be super pissed.

Every time I returned home from an outing with my rifle, my dad would almost always ask me two or three questions: Where did you go? Did you see anything? Did you clean your gun? He always wanted to know if I was taking care of my things like he tried to teach me. Most of the time I did clean it, especially if it had gotten wet. One time, I forgot to dry the rifle, and it got a little rust spot on it. Man, did I get in trouble for that. Well ,anyway, the information in the article below should help you learn how to clean a 22 caliber rifle.

Steps to Cleaning a .22

  1. bolt out of the .22 rifleRemove the bolt from the .22 caliber rifle. If your .22 is not bolt action, this may prove to be more challenging. First, make sure the rifle is unloaded. Then turn the safety off. Undo the bolt and pull the trigger down, hold the trigger down while you slide the bolt all the way out the back end. This is the way my bolt comes out. If you need more help removing the bolt, refer to your owner’s manual.
  2. bore with moistened patchApply bore solvent to the bore. Bore solvent helps to break up stuck-on fouling and copper dust. Use a ramrod with either a jag or patch holder attached, or use a bore mop. Soak the patch or mop with bore solvent and push it through barrel starting at the breech end. Once the patch or mop is through to the other side, pull it back through. Do this two times. Let the solvent soak in the bore for 10 to 20 minutes before moving on to the next step.
  3. bore brushBrush the bore with a brass bore brush. If you have a bore guide, install it now. The bore guide will keep the brass brush from dumping a bunch of fouling into the receiver and gumming up the works. Starting at the breech end, push the ramrod with the brass brush all the way through and out the other side. Then pull it all the way back through. Do this 10 to 12 times. If you don’t have a bore guide on hand, remove the brush once it goes through the first time, and reattach it after you have pulled the ramrod back out.
  4. using dry patch on boreClean the loosened fouling with a dry patch. For this step, the preferred tool is a jag. A jag is made specifically for each caliber rifle. Once a patch is stuck to its tip, it fits snugly in the bore and removes the loosened-up fouling with the fewest patches. The jag fits on the tip of the ramrod, just like the other tools. It is made either of plastic or brass. Use the patch holder, if you don’t have a jag. Push 10 to 12 patches through the bore until they come out clean. Then soak one last patch with oil and push that through the barrel to keep out moisture.
  5. picture of .22 on sideClean the breech, and oil the whole rifle. The last step to cleaning a .22 caliber rifle is to wipe down the breech and the bolt. If they are extremely dirty, use a little bore solvent to clean them. Once clean, use a clean microfiber cloth or other non-lint forming material to lightly oil the bolt and receiver. Then wipe down the whole gun with a thin layer of oil. You don’t want any pools forming, as with time, oil can become thick and gummy, like varnish.

Tips for Cleaning a .22 Caliber Rifle

  • Always make sure the weapon you are cleaning is UNLOADED!
  • Using bore solvent in an unclosed space may kill a few thousand brain cells, so open a window or turn on a fan or vent.
  • When reinstalling the bolt, apply a spot of bore grease to keep the action smooth. Oil could work, but it won’t last as long as bore grease.
  • Keep your weapon clean and in proper working order if you expect to use it for its intended purpose. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when you have a misfire.
  • The owner’s manual has a lot of information that you may find useful. If you have lost your original copy, print one off the Internet.
  • If at any point you are unsure how to use your weapon properly, take a gun safety class.

Gun Cleaning Products

A jag setA jag set would be a very smart investment for those of you with outdated cleaning kits. The jag is the best, quickest, and most efficient way to dry a bore and remove the loosened fouling after it’s been brushed.

Picture of a Bore GuideThe bore guide is shaped just like a bolt and fits right in its place. It is hollow down the center to allow you to pass a ramrod down and through it. It will keep the receiver from getting gummed up with fouling.

A silver bore snakeThe bore snake is a good alternative for cleaning the bore for people who would rather not or are not capable of removing the bolt.

Bottle of Hoppe's Number 9Hoppe’s Bench Rest Number 9 Copper Solvent¬†is the upgraded version of the old solvent. This is specifically formulated to remove copper as well as powder fouling. You can find Hoppe’s Bench Rest No. 9 from Amazon.