How to Clean a Double Barrel Shotgun

A double barrel shotgun.

Cleaning a shotgun is an often-overlooked simple procedure that can add life to your weapon. You should clean your shotgun each time you fire it. If you put the gun away without cleaning and oiling it, you run the risk of developing rust on your gun. The double-barreled shotgun is the easiest shotgun to disassemble and clean. It breaks into three basic pieces. And if you have the proper cleaning equipment, you will be able to fully clean and oil your gun in a few minutes—a few minutes that may add a few years to your weapon’s life.

At the bottom of the page, you will see a few basic items that are necessary for cleaning a gun. There are also some things that are not necessary but make the job easier, the first being a gun vise. With a gun vise keeping the gun stationary, it will be much easier to clean. But it is not necessary. An old blanket will work too. That is what I used. I believe those gun vices are a few bucks.

Steps to Clean a Double-Barreled Shotgun

  1. deconstructed shotgunBreak the double-barreled shotgun down. The double barreled shotgun breaks into three pieces. The forend, the barrels, and the stock. At the top of the forend next to the barrel, there is a snap lever that will release the forend from the barrel. Once the forend is off, remove the barrels by breaking the shotgun open as if to load it. Do this carefully as the barrels will be loose and come free from the stock and trigger assembly. Now you have broken your shotgun into its three basic pieces.
  2. cotton swab applying solventApply cleaning solvent to the metal parts only. The solvent is intended only to clean the metal pieces of your gun. Use a cotton-tipped swab to apply the solvent to the trigger assembly, in between the barrels and the ends of the barrels.
  3. mopping barrelsMop the barrels with solvent. Attach a barrel mop to the rod and dip the mop into the bottle of solvent. Let the mop drip some of the excess solvent off for a minute before you put it into the barrel. Run the wet mop through the barrel a few times. Then let the solvent soak on the metal for 30 minutes before the next step.
  4. brushing barrelsBrush the barrels to remove fouling. Take the barrel mop off the rod and attach the brass-wired brush that fits the gauge of your shotgun. Run the brush all the way through the barrel until it comes out the other end. Then pull it all the way back through. Do this a couple dozen times, depending on the degree of fouling inside the barrel.
  5. using dry cloth on barrelsPush the residue out of the barrels with a dry cloth. If you have a jag, use a large dry patch and push it through the barrel. Do this until there is no visible fouling left in the barrel. At this point clean the other parts of the gun with the small toothbrush-shaped tool. Use a dry paper towel to remove any excess fouling or solvent. If you don’t have a jag, just push a wad of paper towel through the barrel with the ramrod.
  6. lightly oiling gun stockLightly coat the gun with oil. The final step in cleaning a gun is applying a thin coating of gun oil to the entire gun to keep the metal from rusting. Use a lightly oiled patch on a jag to oil the inside of the barrel. Then just rub on a light coat of oil to the rest of the gun.

Tips for Cleaning Your Shotgun

  • Never use anything abrasive on the blued metal of a shotgun. Bluing is used to help reduce rust; when properly oiled, the chances of rust are almost none. Also, a shiny gun can cause glare, which can get in the way when shooting.
  • The solvent is kind of potent, so turn on a fan when you are cleaning your gun. Ventilation is always a good idea when working with chemicals.
  • Obviously, always make sure you are cleaning an UNLOADED weapon. If you are too dumb to know better, maybe you shouldn’t have a gun.
  • Storing your gun in a fabric case for long periods of time may cause rust. The fabric will leach away the oil on the gun, leaving it vulnerable to moisture. Try a synthetic foam hardshell case. They are far superior to cloth cases anyway. Plus they are stackable!

Gun Cleaning Products

bottle of 9 gun oilThe best gun oil on the market is made by Hoppe’s. This lubricating oil is essential to prevent rust on your guns after they have been cleaned, especially if they are going to be stored for a few months. It is widely available at every sporting goods store.

bottle of Hoppe's Cleaning SolventThe best cleaning solvent is Hoppe’s 9. The solvent breaks up stuck-on fouling inside the barrel. The solvent will also break up any gunk inside the trigger assembly or on the outside of your gun. This solvent is also widely available at every sporting goods store ever. You can find Hoppe’s 9 Cleaning Solvent at Amazon.

gun cleaning kitWhen shopping for a cleaning kit, look for one that has multi-sized mops, brushes, and jags. Many of the cleaning kits do not have the jags necessary to properly remove the fouling after the barrel has been brushed. You may even have to get the jags separately, as I have only seen a couple kits that have them and they were way overpriced—over a hundred bucks. But when you buy the jags separately, they are only 13 dollars.