Home Gun Maintenance How Long Does It Take To Clean A Gun?

How Long Does It Take To Clean A Gun?

by Tom Ginevra

how long does it take to clean a gun

When you have a gun that you want to look after then it is important to clean it well. This will help to ensure that it carries on working perfectly and looking good long into the future.

Yet, you may wonder how long it will take to do this. Do you need to dedicate a huge amount of time to doing this job or is it a quick and simple task to sort out? Above all, how long does it take to clean a gun in the right way?

There are a few different factors to take into account so that you can work this out. Let’s take a look at the points that affect the length of time you will be doing this for.

How Big is the Gun?

It stands to reason that it takes longer to clean a long rifle rather than a small handgun. There is simply more work to do on a bigger gun than on a smaller one.

This is especially true if you are going to be thorough and take the firearm apart. A big gun will be more time-consuming to disassemble and then assemble again afterwards.

There is also more exterior surface to wipe and a bigger barrel to clean too. All in all, this is possibly the single most important factor. If you don’t want to spend time cleaning your gun then look for a small model.

Is It Old or New?

It would appear to stand to reason that newer guns need less time spent on cleaning them than older models. After all, don’t they get dirty more easily and run the risk of getting rusty? You would expect a new firearm to maybe just need a quick wipe down, right?

Of course, the age of the gun does have a bearing on the time needed to clean it. However, there are other factors that are equally important if not more so. If an old firearm has been well looked after over the years then it won’t be too difficult to keep clean now.

You should also remember that brand new firearms come with grease and solvents that need to be cleaned off them. So, having a new gun isn’t any sort of guarantee that you don’t need to spend time cleaning it.

An older gun can carry on looking good and functioning perfectly for a very long time if you look after it well. By cleaning it regularly and thoroughly, you will ensure that it is easier to clean in the future too.

How Dirty Is It?

Is your gun kept away from dirt and humidity in a gun safe? Do you handle it often? A very dirty gun will need a deeper clean than one that is only dusty or slightly dirty, won’t it? This is obviously true but it another issue that depends upon different factors.

For instance, if it is just dusty or has fingerprints on it then it won’t be too hard to clean. However, if it is dirty from a lot of use or from not being looked after well then it could be far more difficult to get clean again.

Ideally, you won’t allow it to get too dirty. If you leave your firearm very dirty for months on end then this is when problems such as rust can cause lasting damage to it.

You should clean it even when it doesn’t look particularly dirty. This is the best way to care for it and also to keep the actual cleaning time down to a minimum.

How Experienced Are You?

Someone who is experienced in cleaning guns can expect to do this a lot quicker than someone who is completely new to it. If this is your first gun then it will take some time to be able to clean it efficiently.

Again, it is important to remember that taking the gun apart and then putting it together again can be particularly time-consuming if you need to read a manual or watch a video as you do it. You can’t expect to rush through this part of the task in just a few minutes the first few times that you do it.

Naturally, you will get quicker as you gain experience doing this. It can be enjoyable and relaxing doing this job, so try and make the time to earn how to do it well and you will get more skilled and faster over time.

Try not to get frustrated at how long it takes at the very beginning. This is a job that needs to be done carefully, so it is far better to slowly get used to it than to start rushing the first time that you do it. More experience and speed will come to you naturally over time if you are patient.

What Tools Do You Use?

There are a range of different tools that you can use to clean firearms. These include cleaning rods, patches, clothes, and bore snakes. Each of them will help to make this job that little bit easier by giving you the best possible way of doing this vital job.

It isn’t simply a question of using as many tools as possible, though. You still need to know what you are doing and carry out each part of the job correctly in order to get great results. However, getting a good selection of good tools will make it a lot easier for you to carry out this job effortlessly.

At first, it might seem awkward to use these tools when you aren’t used to them. After one or two uses you should get to grips with them and be comfortable carrying out any sort of gun cleaning job.

It is a good idea to get a good gun cleaning kit when you first buy a gun. When you learn how to use your gun cleaning kit, you will be ready to leave it spotless whenever you need to do so.

Of course, you can do this job without any tools at all. Yet, they are designed to make life easier for you, so it definitely makes sense to get hold of a few of the most useful items as soon as you can.

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How Regularly Do You Clean It?

Does your gun often sit in the safe for months or years on end? Or do you take it out to clean it regularly? Maybe you sometimes forget about it and allow the dirt to build up far more than is sensible.

The regularity with which you clean your gun will also make a big difference to how long the task takes each time. It is far easier to get a firearm spotlessly clean when it isn’t too dirty to begin with. On the other hand, if it is filthy then it is going to take you a lot longer.

It is a good idea to come up with a cleaning schedule that sees you clean your gun on a regular basis. In this way, you won’t forget about it and leave the firearm gathering dust and grime for long periods of time.

How Regularly Do You Use It?

Regular use of a gun will ensure that it gets dirtier and takes longer to clean every time. Do you take it out to the firing range once a week or otherwise keep it busy?

Or does it sit in your gun safe in case it is ever needed in an emergency? If you never use it then it stands to reason that it doesn’t really get all that dirty.

Even if you never use it, there is still the need to clean your gun. It just won’t be needed quite as often. If you use it regularly the firearm then you may want to give it a clean after each use.

So, How Long Will It Take?

Taking all of the previous points into account, how long does it take to clean a gun? It should be clear by now that there a number of factors that each make a big difference to the amount of time you need to set aside for this task.

Let’s look at it another way, then. What is the absolute minimum amount of time that you can expect to spend on this? What if you have a small handgun that you never use and you also have the right tools ready to put into action?

In this case, you will probably be looking at a minimum of 20 minutes to do the job well. This is more or less the shortest time needed to do this job well.

If we look at the other end of the scale, it is harder to put a timescale on a newcomer carrying out a difficult cleaning. If you are a methodical type of person then you could easily spend an hour or more on doing this.


No matter how long it takes, cleaning your gun regularly is a vital task. So, it makes sense to learn to do it as well as you can. You should get a great deal of satisfaction out of doing this.

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