Driving throughout Saskatchewan, the predominant color is golden. Harvest is in full swing. The sign-in book at the range has more names in it every day. Many people are talking about hunts, both open and draw season activities. Gun dealers are frantically calling for back orders and organizing their inventory. Days are getting shorter, leaves are turning. No frost yet, but that will not be long.
Before hunting season we should give our firearms a good check-over. Look for loose bolts and screws, and accumulated dirt and grit inside actions. Double check that rifle barrels do not have any accumulated copper fouling that will hurt accuracy.
Wade Hull, President of Shilen Rifles, recently shared some great advice about trigger maintenance for any firearm. Clean your trigger regularly with Rosinol lighter fluid. Rosinol is an excellent solvent and it leaves a lubricant film with no varnish residue. I mentioned this to a couple of gunsmith buddies. Both laughed and said they had Rosinol on the bench right in front of them.
Generally, shotguns do not require as much maintenance as rifles. Wipe down with an oily rag, leaving a light film to protect from rust. Also apply a light coating of oil to the moving parts of the action and you are good to go.
Rifles require more attention because of barrel fouling, bedding and the generally tighter tolerances in their moving parts. Barrel cleaning is the most time consuming aspect of rifle care, simple as that. I have simplified my life by using Wipe Out spray for some barrels. Wipe Out works, that is all there is to it. Shoot it into the receiver until the white foam comes out the muzzle and set the rifle aside. The next morning the job will be done. Just push a patch through the bore, oil the bore and you are finished.
Many shooters do not realize that bolt action rifles require additional maintenance. One headache is cleaning the lug recesses inside the receiver. I use a special tool from Midway Arms for swabbing those recesses. I also use the tool for cleaning and oiling the raceways in the receiver. The simple plastic holder uses dental swabs to clean inside these difficult to reach areas. Use a small brush on the bolt face, particularly in the area of the extractor, to remove brass shavings and dirt. Always lube the rear face of the locking lugs of rifle bolts.
Check your scope mounts and spend a few minutes cleaning your lenses. There are amazing cleaning products available for lens maintenance. I use a spray to moisten the glass, then a micro fiber cloth to remove smudges and dust. Never rub a dry lens, period. If you do not have proper lens cleaning fluid, simply breathe on the lens. Moisture from your breath will soften dry material on the lens so you will not get scratches. Best to use a fine brush initially, such as the great little Lens Pen.