A Clean Gun is a Good Gun
This is a partnered post with Sage & Braker. I only partner with companies and products I personally use.
In my former life racing sailboats we routinely said “clean is fast” during our pre-regatta boat preparation rituals. A clean boat was well inspected, maintained, and ready for action when the starting gun fired. This quote captures the essence of our mindset.
“Cleaning and organizing is a practice, not a project.”
– Meagan Francis
Why Clean Your Shotgun?
This same mindset should apply to our shotguns. Should being the opportune word. In the throes of upland or waterfowl season, we all know cleaning can be pushed to the back burner amidst planning your next hunt, sorting gear, and taking care of domestic responsibilities. But let’s take a minute to remind ourselves why it’s important to consistently clean our guns.
Longevity - The field is a harsh place for guns. Dirt, dust, mud, and moisture. They are all working against you, prying to take hold in every nook and cranny on your gun. Left unchecked, the elements of nature lead to increased abrasion, rust, and unnecessary wear and tear.
Reliability - “Click” as the covey rises might be the worst sound a bird hunter can hear. With limited days in the field, you want to be ready for every flush or cupped wings that presents itself. Proper lubrication and maintenance keeps your shells going bang, not click.
Safety - We’ve all seen the videos about the terrible things that can happen when a gun has a catastrophic failure. Do yourself (and your hunting buddies and family) a favor and include a thorough inspection of the barrels, stock and other critical parts for bulges, dings, and cracks during your cleaning routine.
How it Works - To really clean a gun, you need to break it down to expose the inner workings. Knowing how all of the parts break down, connect, and get reassembled is something you want to become second nature so when the time arises for a true field strip, you are not learning on the job. The duck blind is no place for watching how-to videos.
A Gentleman's Approach
While my current gun cleaning process is methodical, the setup is far from elegant. A hodgepodge of gun cleaning supplies and lubricants, miscellaneous tools, old toothbrushes, and a scrap of carpet to rest the gun on. Nothing fancy, but functional.
This year, the folks at Sage & Braker helped bring a touch of class and order to my shotgun maintenance. Their Gun Cleaning Combo kit has all the essential items needed to thoroughly clean a shotgun – at home, at camp, or on the tailgate. On top of that, they are offering a handsome discounted price of $285 instead of $319 for Father's Day.
The centerpiece of the kit is a massive cleaning mat with built in storage. Made of waxed canvas and lined with a ½ inch of padded wool, the pad gives you a soft, clean place to get to work. No more carpet pads or newspaper on the dining room table please.
I really like how everything now stays in one place, especially during hunting season when I expect this to live in my truck.
For doing the dirty work of barrel cleaning, the kit comes with a tried and true bore snake of your preferred gauge and a bottle of Clean + Lube + Protect (CLP). In my opinion, a quick bore snake is the bare minimum to do after a day of shooting. With a few sprays of CLP and passes with the snake, your bores can be free of rust, lead, plastic, and carbon fouling.
Finally, the kit includes an awesome set of cleaning tools and swabs in a sturdy waxed canvas roll. Inside are two double sided nylon brushes for delicate work, two double sided brass brushes for more rigorous scrubbing, and four brass cleaning picks (think dental tools). Goodbye toothbrushes, patches, and q-tips. That’s cleaning in style.
So here’s to clean guns, organized gear, and straight shooting.