How to Clean a Bolt Action Rifle

Bolt Action Rifle

The article “How to Clean a Bolt Action Rifle” provides a comprehensive guide on maintaining and cleaning bolt-action rifles, a popular choice among hunters and sport shooters for their accuracy and reliability. The process of cleaning these rifles is crucial to ensure their proper functioning and longevity. The guide emphasizes that regular cleaning prevents the dangerous accumulation of dirt and soot which can affect the rifle’s performance.

In detailing the cleaning process, the article outlines the essential materials needed, including a gun vise, cleaning rod, pads, brushes, solvents, and anti-corrosive solutions. It stresses the importance of safety, advising to always ensure the rifle is unloaded before cleaning and to wear eye protection. The cleaning process involves a series of steps starting with the removal of dirt and debris from the barrel and receiver. This is followed by a thorough cleaning of the barrel using a rod and cleaning pad, applying cleaner and solvent, and paying special attention to the trigger assembly area. The article also advises on lubricating moving parts and reassembling the rifle.

Moreover, the article touches upon the significance of test-firing the rifle after cleaning to ensure its proper functioning. It highlights the need for lubrication and rust protection as integral parts of gun care, recommending the use of quality gun oil. To conclude, the article answers frequently asked questions about rifle maintenance, providing insights into the necessity of regular cleaning and proper lubrication to maintain the rifle’s accuracy and longevity.

What is a bolt-action rifle? How does it work?

Bolt Action Rifle

A bolt-action rifle is a type of firearm that uses a manually operated bolt to load, cock, and fire rounds. 

The user must manually pull the bolt back and then forward to load a round and cock the gun. 

Such rifles are often chosen for their accuracy, durability, and ease of use.

 The bolt-action rifle was first invented in the early 1800s and has been used by militaries ever since.

What is the point of a bolt-action rifle?

Bolt Action Rifle

There are three main parts to a bolt-action rifle: the receiver, the barrel, and the stock. 

The receiver is where the cartridge is inserted and houses the trigger assembly. 

The barrel is where the bullet travels down after being fired. 

The stock helps support the rifle and absorbs some of the recoil from firing. 

Why is it important to clean a bolt action rifle?

Cleaning a sliding bolt action rifle is important for two reasons:

  • to keep the gun functioning properly
  • to prevent rust and corrosion

What are the basic materials needed to clean a rifle?

basic materials needed to clean a rifle

In order to clean a bolt action rifle, you will need:

  • A gun vise
  • Сleaning rod
  • Cleaning pads
  • Cleaner brush
  • Solvent
  • Anticorrosive solution
  • Tools for Disassembly
  • Disassembly Guide
  • Storage area for small parts
  • Large working area

 You will need some rags or paper towels. 

Cotton swabs can be helpful for getting into tight spaces. 

You may want to use a gun solvent, but this is not necessary. 

If you do choose to use a solvent, make sure it is compatible with the type of gun you are cleaning. 

NEVER use an aerosol on a gun that is not recommended.

What safety rules should be observed when cleaning a rifle?

safety rules should be observed when cleaning a rifle

Cleaning a bolt action rifle is not difficult, but there are some important safety rules to follow:

  1. Always make sure the gun is unloaded before beginning to clean it. 
  2. Check the barrel for obstructions before proceeding. 
  3. Wear eye protection while cleaning the gun. 
  4. Do not put your finger on the trigger while cleaning the gun. 
  5. Be careful not to get solvent or other cleaners on your skin or clothes. 
  6. Avoid inhaling solvents or cleaners. 
  7. Keep all parts and tools away from children and pets. 

With these safety rules in mind, let’s move on to how to clean a bolt action rifle. 

Step-by-step instructions for the rifle cleaning process

The actual cleaning process is relatively simple. 

Start by removing any dirt or debris from the outside of the barrel and receiver with a soft cloth. 

Step One: Make sure the rifle is unloaded

The first and most important safety rule when cleaning a rifle is to make sure that the gun is unloaded. 

Remove the magazine (if applicable) and open the action to check that there is no round in the chamber. 

Once you have verified that the gun is unloaded, proceed to the next step.

Bolt Action Rifle

Step Two: Partially disassemble the rifle

The next step is to partially disassemble the rifle. 

This will vary depending on the type of rifle you are cleaning. Consult your owner’s manual or a disassembly guide for specific instructions. 

In general, you will need to remove the bolt and barrel from the receiver.

Step Three: Visually inspect and clean the barrel

clean the barrel
Source: YouTube

After removing any dirt or debris from the barrel and receiver, use a cleaning rod and a cleaning pad to clean the barrel. 

Apply cleaner brush to the rod and run it through the barrel a few times. 

Follow up with a solvent, if desired. 

Be sure to pay special attention to the area around the trigger assembly. 

Wipe down the barrel with a clean cloth when finished.

With the barrel and receiver separated, take a look down the inside of the barrel. 

You should be looking for any dirt, debris, or corrosion that may be present. 

To clean the barrel, take a cleaning rod and attach a patch. Run the patch through the barrel several times. 

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to do this.

Source: YouTube

Use a brush and cleaning rod to scrub away any remaining dirt, debris, or solvent. 

Remember to be careful not to damage the rifling. 

Once the barrel is clean, proceed to the next step.

Step Four: Clean the Stock and Lubricate Moving Parts

The next step is to clean the stock and lubricate moving parts. 

To clean the stock, simply wipe it down with a clean cloth. 

You may use a mild soap and water if desired, but be sure to dry the stock thoroughly afterwards. 

Once the stock is clean, apply a light layer of gun oil or another suitable lubricant to all moving parts. 

This includes the bolt, trigger assembly, and any other metal parts that move when the gun is in use. 

Wipe away any excess lubricant before proceeding to the next step.

Step Five: Reassemble the Rifle and Store It Properly

Reassemble the Rifle

The final step is to reassemble the rifle and store it properly. 

Refer to your owner’s manual or a disassembly guide for specific instructions on how to do this. 

Make sure all of the parts are properly secured before proceeding. 

Once the rifle is reassembled, store it in a safe place.

That’s all there is to it! With these simple steps, you can clean your bolt action rifle quickly and easily. Just be sure to follow all safety rules while doing so. 

Step Six: Test Fire the Gun

Test Fire the Gun

The last step is to test fire the gun. 

Take it to a shooting range and fire a few rounds through it. 

This will help ensure that everything is functioning properly and that there are no obstructions in the barrel.

Use lubricant and rust protection

lubricant and rust protection

Lubrication is an important part of gun care. A light coat of oil will help protect exposed metal parts from rust and corrosion.

When lubricating your rifle, be sure to use good quality gun oil or other suitable lubricant. 

It is also important to store your rifle in a dry, protected place when not in use. 

A gun safe or lockable cabinet is ideal. 

If you have to store your rifle in an unheated garage or barn, use a gun storage bag to keep it moist.

Rust can quickly damage a rifle and render it unusable. 

To protect your rifle from rust, clean it regularly and apply a light coat of oil to all exposed metal parts.


1. How often should you clean your rifle?

How often you clean your rifle will depend on how often you use it. 

If you use it frequently, you will need to clean it more often. 

As a general rule of thumb, aim to clean your rifle at least once a month.

2. How do i know if my rifle is properly lubricated?

When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and apply a light layer of lubricant to all moving parts. 

If there is too much lubricant on the parts, simply wipe away the excess with a clean cloth.

3. Why should I clean my rifle properly?

Cleaning your rifle properly is important for several reasons. 

First, it will help keep your gun in good working condition. 

Second, it will help prevent rust and corrosion. 

Third, it will help ensure that your gun is accurate when you use it. 

Finally, cleaning your rifle regularly is simply good practice and shows that you care about your firearm. 

4. Should I oil the inside of the barrel of my rifle?

No, you should not oil the inside of the barrel of your rifle. 

The oil will simply attract more dirt and debris, which can cause problems down the road. 

Instead, simply clean the barrel with a brush and cleaning rod. 


bolt action rifle

Cleaning your bolt action rifle is a simple process, but it’s important to follow the safety rules and take your time. 

Cleaning your bolt action rifle may seem like a daunting task, but following all steps will help ensure that your gun is in good condition for years to come. 

Make sure you have all of the necessary supplies before you get started, including a good quality gun cleaning kit, gun oil or lubricant, and a clean cloth. 

Be sure to wipe away any excess lubricant with a clean cloth, and store your rifle in a dry, protected place. 

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