July 30th, 2022
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Saturday at the Movies: How to Clean and Maintain an AR-15
Scottsdale Gun Club offers an AR-15 Cleaning Clinic on August 25, 2022.
AR-platform rifles can be maintenance-intensive beasts. They need regular inspection, cleaning, and lubrication. But some AR owners make the situation worse by not regularly cleaning important small parts, or by using too MUCH oily/greasy lubricants in the wrong places. A properly maintained and lubricated AR15 can shoot hundreds of rounds (between cleanings) without a problem. If you learn where (and where not) to apply lubricant, you’ll find that your AR will run more reliably and the task of cleaning the bolt, bolt carrier, and upper receiver internals will be less of a burden.
Here we showcase videos that show how to field-strip an AR-15, inspect the key parts, clean components, and lubricate internal parts as needed. Along with these videos, we recommend you read the comprehensive AR-15 Gun Cleaning Clinic article on the Brownells website. This explains in detail important procedures that the videos might only cover in a few seconds.
If you want to keep your black rifle running smoothly and reliably, you must clean it regularly and follow the correct maintenance procedures. Here are five videos that explain how to properly disassemble and clean AR-platform rifles.
1. How To Clean Your AR-15 Cleaning and Maintenance Tips
This is a quick 90-second starter video that may help new AR owners. Ricky Lehnhardt of OTIS Technology demonstrates the basics of cleaning and maintaining your AR-15. Lehnhardt does a good job identifying the points that need cleaning on the inside of ARs. However he works very quickly in the video. You may want to pause the video at some points. Also, Lehnhardt employs a cable for pulling patches and brushes through the barrel. Yes this is fast and easy. However, for match AR rifles, we recommend that you instead use a cleaning ROD with fitted bore guide.
2. Take-Down and Full Cleaning of AR-15 by Jerry Miculek
Here ace shooter Jerry Miculek takes down and cleans an AR-platform rifle belonging to his daughter Lena. This is a good video because Lena’s rifle was “run hard and packed up dirty” so you can see where carbon and grease build up. This 35-minute video is very thorough. Jerry is one of the nation’s top action carbine shooters, so listen carefully to his advice on cleaning and lubrication.
3. AR-15 Maintenance: Field-strip, Clean and Lubricate an AR-15
Gunsite Academy instructor and gunsmith Cory Trapp demonstrates the proper way to field-strip, clean, and lubricate an AR-15 carbine. In this 30-minute video, Trapp offers several important technical tips and hints. For example, at 11:05 Trap demonstrates how to determine if your bolt needs new gas rings. Along with cleaning procedures, this video explains how to inspect key components and how to function-test your AR before each shooting session.
4. AR-15 Dissassembly and Cleaning Guide
This video does a good job, with close-ups, showing how to remove the bolt carrier and clean the inside of the upper receiver. Then you can see how to work with various tools to clean the bolt, bolt carrier, and inside of chamber. We also recommend that you inspect the ejector recess and extractor recess. When we’ve inspected ARs that failed to cycle properly, we have often found nasty gunk (mixture of carbon, greasy lube, and brass particles) in these areas.
5. Basic AR-15 Quick and Easy Field Maintenance
In this NSSF-sponsored video, pro shooter Ryan Muller demonstrates basic, quick field maintenance of his AR-15. This would be for a quick cleaning and lubrication of the reciprocating parts. This covers rapid maintenance in the field. For full field-stripping and thorough cleaning, watch the previous videos.
Handy Mat for Cleaning AR Rifles
When working on an AR-15, it’s smart to have a pad that can absorb solvents and cushion your upper and lower. The $22.49 Real Avid Smart Mat is a good choice. This features printed take-down instructions and it has a handy parts tray on the right side. The mat rolls up for convenient storage. Click HERE to learn more.
Vital Inspections You Should Do After Disassembly
Last but not least, here are recommended inspections you should do every time you do a full field-strip and cleaning of your black rifle:
Tags: AR, AR gun cleaning, AR Maintenance, AR Upper, AR-15, Black Rifle, Brownells