Revolver cleaning questions:
I think I've been bitten by the revolver bug. But I think I'm also spoiled by how easy it is to field strip and clean my polymer-frame semi-auto.
Assuming a double-action revolver like a Ruger or S&W with a "swing-out" cylinder, how easy is it to clean a revolver? Is there any disassembly to speak of? Or do you usually just swing out the cylinder and clean all surfaces, chambers, and bore?
Also, since it seems like you can't push the patch out, do you insert the cleaning rod through the bore, attach the patch, and then pull it out through the muzzle?
You don't have to take them apart. Just besure you keep the face of the cylinder and the forcing cone good and clean. A couple of licks with a brass wire brush will take care of that. You can pull your patches if you choose. Follow your owners manual and you will be OK.
I've never broken down my revolver to clean it. Bore brush through the muzzle and charge holes, followed by patches. I use the toothbrush tool to clean the inside of the frame around the breech/cylinder gap area and on the face and back of the cylinder and ejector star. I'm not sure what you are asking about this push-pull thing but I just push the brush/patches in through the muzzle and pull it back out the same way.
Revolvers are actually pretty simple to clean since there is no disassembly required. It takes more work with the bore brush obviously, because you have the charge holes in addition to the barrel.
Fouling will have a tendency to show up more on my 686 than my Beretta since the revolver is stainless. After spraying on the CLP or Hoppe's or whatever, a little soak time of an hour or so really helps get rid of the more stubborn fouling, especially if I've been shooting naked lead.
BTW, there is no cure once bitten by the "revolver bug". You just have to live with the malady.
Last edited by Wyatt; 09-19-2008 at 12:25 PM.
Excellent advice so far, let me add a few.
I tie a rag around the rear of the frame so that it covers the firing pin, eg. the knot would be around the hammer. This keeps your bore brush and rod from hitting the firing pin since they are in perfect alignment. Maybe it wont damage the pin but I think its a easy precaution.
I use Tipton cleaning picks to clean around the barrel inside the cylinder area.
A good brass brush works great on the cylinder face. With alot of work I can get the face pretty clean.
Lubrication. I had a gunsmith who specializes in revolvers tell me to put a tiny drop down the hammer and a bit on the extractor star.
After you have fired your revolver quite a bit you will notice alot of buildup in the cylinder where the head of the bullet joins with the catridge case. Some of this can be removed with a bore brush but over time it will just keep building up. The fouling is not just carbon but melted lead.Theres nothing you can do to prevent it and it will cause problems with extraction eventually. I have been told it can be removed if you have a dremel tool and the right brush but a gunsmith can also do it if your not comfortable doing it yourself. The gunsmith I use changes 40 bucks for a complete cleaning job.
Bishop, I like your idea of buffering off the firing pin with a rag. Sometimes as careful as I try to be , when the brush gets through the bore and there's no more resistance it does proceed to the firing pin.
I've had my revolver for about 8 years and though I've yet to require taking a dremel to the charge holes, I know what you mean about the lead ring build-up. Especially after firing many rounds it can get to the point that a cartridge won't slide on it's own all the way into the charge hole, coming just short as the catridge case hits the build-up. So far I've found that spraying on cleaner and giving it an hour or so to soak (this tip brought to you by Baldy and TOF), has been sufficient to allow the bore brush to scrub it clean enough to get rid of the problem. The soak time has been the magic bullet so to speak in getting at most stubborn fouling, including inside the charge holes. I may give the dremel a try. I would guess that as long as you are using a brass or copper brush there should not be a concern about filing away any of the inside of the charge hole since that material is softer than the cylinder material.
Last edited by Wyatt; 09-19-2008 at 06:06 PM.
Thanks everybody. That's what I was hoping to hear. I looked at a Ruger manual online and the disassembly steps seemed a little extreme.
Here is what I was attempting to convey. I was told you should always push or pull the patches from breach to muzzle and never drag it back through once it's gunked up. And with a revolver, you have no choice but to enter through the muzzle.
Originally Posted by Wyatt
So to me, that means:
1. Insert cleaning rod in through the muzzle.
2. Attach a slotted attachment, preloaded with a patch.
3. Pull the patch back out through the muzzle.
Or is this not so important as long as you clean inside the empty cylinder area (sorry, I don't know revolver terminology) after pushing the patches from muzzle to breach?
As long as your tools are Brass, Aluminum or Plastic you will not hurt the firing pin or any part of the barrel. I just dip the correct size brush in Hoppes #9 and wet down the barrel from muzzle end then let it soak for a while. Then use a snug burr to push patches through from muzzle end.
A .40 cal pistol or .410 shotgun brush in a Drill press along with Hoppes #9 does wonders with the cylinder buildup. I always remove the cylinder to do this.
Not every body does but I periodicaly take my revolvers apart and thoroughly clean them. Not every trip to the range however.
If you decide to you may want to get an extra set of the tiny springs and plungers that reside therein beforehand as they do launch on occasion. They are very inexpensive at Brownells.
If not you can use some Birchwood spray solvent and spray through the cracks to flush crud out or soak in a can of Kerosene for a while.
Drain the solvent and let dry then squirt some CLP through the cracks. lay the revolver on a rag and any excess will drain out or evaporate overnight.
Be sure to remove grips before the bath.
Have fun and watch out for those launches.
Question in response to Bishop's comment:
Originally Posted by Bishop746
Where else is lubrication/oil required or recommended to be applied after cleaning? What about the ejector rod, bore and all chambers as well?
My particular model is a Ruger Single Six.
I don't own a revolver anymore but when I did I have applied lube to the cylinder star, ejector rod, hammer, and trigger while turning the gun different angles and pulling the trigger several times during the process.
Originally Posted by Mitchell20
I find it much easier to use a string pull.
Originally Posted by RightTurnClyde
I made a great trade for a like new Ruger Security Six, many years ago, because it had so much build up in the chambers from shooting very dirty .38 Special ammo, that the cylinder would not rotate freely, when loaded with .357 magnums. The seller had obviously taken good care of the gun, otherwise, but just didn't know how to clean it, properly. He thought the gun was broke, and didn't tell me - just let it go way too cheap. I had a clear conscience about it, since I believed his intent was to cut his losses and dump a broken gun on an unsuspecting person.
Originally Posted by Bishop746
I took it home and chucked up an old brass brush into my variable speed drill and honed the front of each chamber very carefully, then cleaned the forcing cone and the front of the cylinder, and it worked like a new gun for the next 20 years, till i swapped it off.
I think cleaning a revolver is overall easier than cleaning a semi-auto pistol. You do not have to take it apart, except for the cylinder on single action revolvers, and that is simple. There are perhaps a few more contact points to be cleaned with a revolver, but it is all straightforward and simple. I have had over 75 revolvers, and have kept them all clean.
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