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If you’re a proud owner of an AR-15, you know how crucial it’s to keep it clean and well-maintained. A clean AR-15 ensures reliable performance and longevity, making it a trusty companion for shooting practice, hunting, or self-defense.

In this article, I’ll guide you through the process of cleaning an AR-15. We’ll cover everything from the tools you’ll need, to the step-by-step process to get your rifle shining like new. Whether you’re a seasoned gun owner or a newbie, you’ll find this guide handy and easy to follow.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get started. After all, a clean AR-15 is a happy AR-15, and a happy AR-15 makes for a happy owner. Stay tuned and let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of AR-15 maintenance.

Choosing the Right Tools for AR-15 Cleaning

Before we go any further, it’s essential to know the appropriate tools for cleaning an AR-15. Just like any mission, you’ll need the right tools to do an effective job.

What’re you looking for? It’s quite simple actually. You’ll need a basic gun cleaning kit. These kits often come equipped with theessential supplies, like cleaning solvents, oils, barrel brushes, and cleaning rods. However, trust me, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. In particular, for an AR-15, you’ll also need some extra tools:

  • AR-15 cleaning star chamber pads
  • a chamber brush
  • AR-15 cleaning bore guide
  • a nylon cleaning brush
  • a pin punch set
  • a microfiber cloth

So, where do you get them? You can procure these tools from your local gun shop, or online stores like Amazon. While purchasing, remember to look for quality products. Cheap tools might show attractive price tags, but they usually won’t last long. Plus, good quality tools offer a superior cleaning experience – something your AR-15 and you deserve.

Alright, now that you’ve gathered your tools, let’s get straight into the cleaning process. I’ll break it down into simple, manageable steps. One thing to remember is this process isn’t something you rush. Take your time, be patient, and thorough. Each step plays a crucial role in ensuring your AR-15 functions optimally. And I promise, the rewards of your labor will be a well-maintained firearm, ready for the range or those unexpected situations.

Next up, we’ll precisely dive into the step-by-step procedure to clean your AR-15. Do stick around.

Disassembling Your AR-15

Now that we’ve gone over the right tools for job, it’s time to dive into the cleaning process. The first step is very crucial – disassembling your AR-15. This may seem daunting if you’re a beginner, but it’s simpler than it might seem.

Before I tackle it, let me tell you that safety should always be your top priority. So, ensure your AR-15 is unloaded. Don’t just rely on your memory or perception – double-check!

Start by separating the upper and lower receivers. To do this, you’ll need to push out the takedown pin, which you can find on the side of your rifle. Slide it out and let the two parts pivot apart. From here, you’ll see the bolt carrier group and charging handle. Just slide these out, put them aside for now. That’s your top receiver disassembly complete.

Onto the lower receiver. You should start by extracting the buffer and buffer spring. Make sure you’re careful here- these have a tendency to come out with a little bit of a jolt. Then reach into the magazine well and push the hammer down gently until it’s in the fired position. This will allow you to remove the buffer and buffer spring.

Next is your fire control group, which consists of the hammer and trigger assembly. You’ll find pins holding these in place – slide them out to separate these parts.

Don’t be nervous. It gets easier, trust me. Over time, it’ll be as routine as brushing your teeth. In the following section, we’ll talk about how to effectively clean each part you’ve just removed. Can’t wait? Me neither! But remember to do it with patience and care. After all, it’s the diligence and care that makes it a job well done.

Cleaning the Barrel and Bore

Once you’ve taken apart your AR-15, it’s time to delve into the nitty-gritty, starting with the barrel and bore. Never underestimate the importance of a clean barrel and bore in an AR-15. It ensures optimal accuracy and prevents any damage due to the buildup of residues.

Start by attaching a cleaning rod to a bore brush. Soak the bore brush in bore cleaner, and then push it through the bore a few times. Be sure to do this from the breech end to the muzzle end. It’s important to drive all the debris out the end of your AR-15, instead of pushing it back into the action. After that, attach a cotton patch to the cleaning rod and run it through the barrel to wipe away any remaining solvent.

Doing this diligently serves two purposes:

  • It removes powder residue, lead shavings, and other debris that could affect your rifle’s performance.
  • It helps inspect the barrel for any wear or damage.

Take a flashlight and look into your rifle’s barrel. What you’re looking for is a bright, smooth chamber without any dark spots, erosion, or rust. Your AR-15’s life literally depends on its barrel’s health, so don’t skimp on this step.

Next up, let’s deal with the charging handle. It might not seem like it needs much TLC, but believe me, a well-cared-for charging handle can make your shooting experience noticeably smoother. Spray some solvent on it, and give it a good scrub with a toothbrush.

This should give you a good start on achieving a squeaky clean AR-15 that’s ready for action. And remember: practice makes perfect. The more often you clean your firearm, the more you’ll get a feel for the perfect cleaning technique. The skill will become second nature, and you won’t be able to imagine life without it. Don’t worry, we’re not done yet: in the upcoming sections, we’ll move on to cleaning other parts of your AR-15.

Removing Carbon Build-Up

Continuing from the process of cleaning the barrel and bore of your AR-15, let’s delve into the important task of removing carbon build-up. This step might seem trivial but trust me, it’s pivotal in maintaining the impressive functionality of your firearm. Keeping the inner workings of your AR-15 free of excess carbon is key to consistently achieving clean, rapid shots.

To kick off, you will need a carbon scraper – a valuable piece of cleaning kit. Its design is perfect for those hard-to-reach crevices where carbon likes to lurk.

As you forge ahead, focus on the bolt carrier group (BCG). Here’s the drill:

  1. Use your carbon scraper to gently remove carbon build-up from the bolt tail. It’s crucial to be meticulous and patient in this step to avoid damaging this sensitive part of your AR-15.
  2. Next, move onto the firing pin. Clean the pin alongside its surrounding area, ensuring to remove all visible carbon deposits.
  3. Lastly, clean the bolt carrier. This part is often the most polluted with carbon, so don’t be disheartened if it requires a bit more elbow grease.

I cannot stress enough the significance of consistently dismantling, cleaning, and reassembling your AR-15. Learning to remove carbon build-up efficiently takes time but the pay-off is unbeatable firearm performance.

Now that we’ve tackled the carbon menace lurking in your AR-15, we’ll transition to another vital area of your firearm that needs your attention – the trigger assembly. Brace yourself for another exciting phase of your AR-15 cleaning process.

Lubricating Your AR-15

As we continue our journey through the cleaning process, it’s time to focus on an equally vital aspect—lubrication. This is a step you can’t overlook if you seek flawless firearm performance. Remember, your AR-15 isn’t just a pretty piece of hardware—it’s a precisely engineered machine that requires proper attention and care.

Before you reach for that bottle of oil, it’s critical to know that not all lubricants are the same. Some are better suited for different weather conditions or varying shooting scenarios. Selecting the right one could make a world of difference in the performance of your AR-15.

While there are synthetic and petroleum-based lubricants available, I’ve found that synthetic ones typically offer more reliability. They function well in extreme temperatures and are resistant to evaporation—crucial for those long days at the range. Plus, they tend not to attract as much dirt and grime, keeping your firearm cleaner for longer.

Now that we’ve established the importance of the right lube, let’s dive into the process.

Getting It Done: Lubrication Steps

Here’s how I advise you proceed with the oiling:

  1. Apply Oil to the Bolt Carrier: Drop oil down the gas key, and ensure it spreads evenly onto the bolt carrier group. A little goes a long way, so don’t overdo it!
  2. Firing Pin and Bolt: A thin film of lubricant needs to be applied here. Make sure you pay close attention to the bolt lugs too.
  3. Trigger Assembly: Limited lubrication is required, but it certainly won’t harm. Ensure to not drown it in oil though!

Remember, your AR-15 needs lubrication to function correctly, much like any other mechanical tool. With regular maintenance and lubrication, you can keep your firearm operating at peak performance, ensuring continued precise performance.

As our momentum propels us forward, it’s time to tackle the next significant area. The last chapter of our cleaning chronicle revolves around the correct storage techniques for your AR-15. We’ll get to that shortly.

Reassembling Your AR-15

With a well-lubricated AR-15, it’s time to piece everything back together. Reassembly is just as crucial as cleaning. Do it wrong, you might encounter some serious operational issues. But rest easy, I’m here to guide you through the exact steps for reassembling your rifle.

Start with the Bolt

I always begin with the bolt carrier assembly. It’s the first building block to a well-functioning firearm. You’ll want to slide the bolt into the bolt carrier. Make sure the holes on both components align perfectly. Next, reinstall your firing pin. While dropping it, ensure it fits snugly into place. I find it helpful to give a slight push and a shake here to confirm. Once done, slide in your cam pin. Turn it so it aligns perfectly with the hole in your bolt carrier. Lastly, make sure that your bolt is in the forward position for the next steps.

Handle the Charging Handle and Bolt Carrier Group

Let’s move on to the charging handle and bolt carrier group. Insert your charging handle into the upper receiver. There’s a groove for it, make sure it sits just right in there. Then, slide in your bolt carrier group into the charging handle.

Join the Upper and Lower Receivers

It’s time to marry the upper receiver and the lower receiver. Line up the pivot pin and push it until it clicks. Don’t force it, it should go in fairly effortlessly. Follow this with the takedown pin, and just like that, you’ve got yourself a reassembled AR-15!

Remember, attention to detail matters here. If something doesn’t feel right, disassemble and start again. Every single part must fit correctly and effortlessly into its designated place. Precise assembly ensures the reliability and safety of your firearm.

Next up, I guide you through the correct storage techniques for your AR-15, keeping it ready and safe for its next use.


So there you have it. I’ve walked you through the meticulous process of cleaning your AR-15, emphasizing the importance of correct reassembly. It’s essential not to rush this process as attention to detail is key in ensuring the reliability and safety of your firearm. Remember, a well-maintained AR-15 is a reliable and safe one. Now that your AR-15 is clean and reassembled, we’re ready to move onto the next topic, which is all about the proper storage techniques. Stay tuned for that. It’s just as crucial as cleaning itself. After all, proper storage can significantly prolong the life of your AR-15.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is it important to reassemble an AR-15 correctly after cleaning and lubrication?

A: Reassembling an AR-15 correctly after cleaning and lubrication is crucial for both reliability and safety. The components need to be properly aligned and secured to ensure the firearm functions properly and doesn’t malfunction while in use.

Q: What are the steps for reassembling the bolt carrier assembly?

A: To reassemble the bolt carrier assembly, start by inserting the bolt into the bolt carrier. Then, carefully align the gas key and carrier key before tightening the bolts. Finally, insert the firing pin and retaining pin.

Q: How should I handle the charging handle and bolt carrier group during reassembly?

A: When reassembling, make sure the charging handle and bolt carrier group are properly aligned. Carefully slide the charging handle into the upper receiver, ensuring it engages with the bolt carrier group smoothly and securely.

Q: What should be done to join the upper and lower receivers during reassembly?

A: To join the upper and lower receivers, first, make sure the takedown pin and pivot pin are properly inserted. Then, gently push the upper receiver down onto the lower receiver until the takedown pin locks into place.

Q: What is the importance of attention to detail during reassembly?

A: Attention to detail is crucial during reassembly to ensure all components are properly aligned, tightened, and engaged. This helps prevent malfunctions, ensures the firearm functions reliably, and maintains safety standards.

Q: What is the next topic to be discussed in the article?

A: The next topic that will be discussed in the article is the correct storage techniques for an AR-15.