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As a seasoned gun enthusiast, I’ve spent years mastering the art of firearm maintenance. And today, I’m going to share with you my top tips on how to clean a Ruger American Rifle. This isn’t just about keeping your rifle shiny; it’s about ensuring its optimal performance and longevity.

In this article, we’ll delve into a step-by-step guide to cleaning your Ruger American Rifle. We’ll cover everything from the tools you’ll need to the best cleaning techniques. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a newbie to the world of firearms, this guide is for you.

So, if you’re ready to give your Ruger American Rifle the TLC it deserves, then stick around. I promise it’ll be worth your while. And remember, a clean gun is a happy gun! Let’s get started.

Tools Required for Cleaning

When gearing up to give your Ruger American Rifle a thorough clean, it’s essential to have all the necessary tools. You cannot, and should not, attempt to clean your rifle without the right gear. In doing so, you risk damaging the rifle or causing injury to yourself. Not having the right gear is like trying to fish without a fishing rod.

First and foremost, a good cleaning kit is a must-have. There is a saturated market of these available. It’s ideal to opt for a kit that provides a pick and punch set, screws, brushes, and rods. A quality cleaning kit is the skeleton of your gear list. I personally use the Real Avid Gun Boss Pro Universal Gun Cleaning Kit, as it offers all these essential components.

Now let’s break down each tool and the role they play.

  • Cleaning Rods: I prefer rods made from brass or coated with plastic. They do a stellar job of approximating the rifle’s bore size.
  • Jags: These attach to the cleaning rod, making cotton patches secure as you push them through the bore.
  • Bore Brushes: It’s vital to purchase these in multiple sizes so you can clean the gun’s bore effectively. Copper or bronze brushes offer the best rust protection.
  • Pach Holder: Similar in function to jags, patch holders provide additional scrubbing power.

From my experience, bore snakes can be a great alternative to traditional cleaning rods. If you primarily shoot .223/5.56mm, there are bore snakes designed specifically for that caliber.

Cleaning solvents are equally essential. They penetrate the toughest residues and crannies of the firearm. Hoppe’s No.9 Cleaning Solvent is my absolute go-to solution.

An overlooked component for some shooters is a good maintenance mat—ideal for laying out your rifle and tools and minimizing the mess while cleaning.

Having a shop towel or microfiber cloth handy can also be beneficial for wiping down the rifle after cleaning. Just a little pro-tip from me after years of cleaning my Ruger rifles!

With your cleaning kit sorted, you’re ready to dive into the heart of the process: the cleaning itself. Remember, this step is just the beginning. Every tool has a role to play in maintaining your Ruger’s peak performance.

Disassembling the Ruger American Rifle

Let’s walk through how to disassemble your Ruger American Rifle for a proper and thorough cleaning. It’s easy once you’re familiar with the process! First, make sure the rifle is unloaded. Safety is paramount in this process.

Start by removing the bolt. It’s as simple as sliding the bolt to the rear, then pressing the bolt release button. This is typically located on the left side of the receiver. Pull the bolt out entirely. Remember to put it somewhere safe – we’ll need it later.

Let’s move onto the stock. Ensure the safety is in the ‘safe’ position and flip the rifle upside down. You’ll notice two action screws on the bottom of the stock. Using the right screwdriver, loosen and remove both screws. But remember, take care not to lose them!

You’re doing great so far! Next, we’ll focus on the trigger guard. Using your fingers, lift and remove the trigger guard. You’ll find this to be easy peasy.

The barrel and action are now free from the stock. Hold this section and gently tap it out of the stock. Patience is key here, avoid any force that may damage your Ruger American Rifle.

Okay! Now you have successfully disassembled your Ruger American Rifle. Great Job! But don’t relax just yet. The next step, thoroughly cleaning your rifle, is just as vital. The right process can ensure years of reliable service from your trusted firearm. Stay tuned for our guide on how to clean. Be vigilant, and remember, cleaning is maintenance, maintenance is reliability, and reliability can save your life. Don’t cut corners. It’s worth the time and effort, I promise you.

Cleaning the Barrel

Once you’ve disassembled your Ruger American Rifle, the next crucial step involves giving the barrel a thorough cleaning. Keep in mind, however, that this part of your rifle requires careful attention and the right cleaning tools.

A quality, tri-purpose cleaning solution invariably goes a distance. By tri-purpose, it’s meant a product that offers reliable rust prevention, accurate lubrication, and efficient dirt cleaning. The market offers several such solutions, so it’s all about picking the one that catches your preference.

Starting this process, first use your shotgun bore brush and apply the cleaning solution on it. It’s meant to aggressively scrub off any hardened fouling inside the barrel. When cleaning, always work from the breech to the muzzle. Cleaning in the opposite direction might pull all the grime, debris, and excess cleaning solution back into the action and trigger group area, potentially causing complications. It’s recommendable to pass the brush through the bore a few times to ensure all debris and foreign materials are removed.

After using the shotgun bore brush, it’s time to switch to the cotton patch. Thread a patch onto your cleaning rod, and flood it generously with the cleaning solution. Pass the wet patch through your barrel a couple of times. This action helps in swabbing the bore and removing any residual fouling that the brush might not have picked up.

Let’s not forget about the importance of dry patches. Following the wet patch, run a couple of dry patches through the bore. This removes any lingering cleaning solution and leaves the barrel dry and shiny.

To finish off this section, a bore snake comes in handy. This tool possesses a bore brush embedded in the cord, aiding in stripping any remaining dirt and residues in the barrels. Hoist the ‘head’ of the snake through the barrel from the breech end, and pull it out through the muzzle. Giving two passes with a bore snake should do just fine.

In so doing, your barrel should be spotless. The cleanliness of the barrel reflects directly on the rifle’s accuracy, making this step even more critical. Besides, it also reduces the risk of rusting and ensures longer use of your Ruger American Rifle.

Cleaning the Bolt

Cleaning the bolt of your Ruger American Rifle is an integral part of the cleaning process. The bolt’s cleanliness can directly affect your rifle’s performance, so investing time in this step is essential.

Firstly, gather all necessary materials. A good-quality gun solvent, some patches, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and a lint-free cloth are all you’ll need. When cleaning the bolt, remember to focus on the bolt face, as this is a common area for dirt and powder residue to accumulate.

Start by applying a moderate amount of gun solvent to your soft-bristled toothbrush. You’ll use this to scrub the bolt, focusing on the hard to reach areas. In particular, give the bolt face a solid scrub. This is where the primer of the cartridge is struck, so it’s typically dirtier than the rest of the bolt.

After you’ve given the bolt a good scrub, grab your patches. Drench one patch in the solvent and clean the firing pin hole too. The firing pin hole is a crucial part, as dust and powder deposits here can prevent the firing pin from hitting the cartridge with the needed force, leading to misfires.

Now that you’ve scrubbed the bolt and the firing pin hole, it’s time to dry everything off. Grab your lint-free cloth and carefully dry all the parts. Make sure you remove any leftover solvent to prevent damage to your bolt.

To finish, visually inspect the bolt to ensure you have done a thorough cleaning job. Rotate it around and look for any still grimy areas or any potential damage. If there’s still dirt present, simply repeat the cleaning process until you’re satisfied.

After the bolt is clean, it’s time to move on to the next step. Don’t rush this process, however. The bolt is as important as any other component. Proper cleaning increases performance and the life expectancy of your rifle.

Cleaning the Trigger Housing Assembly

Moving on to the heart of your Ruger American Rifle—the trigger assembly. It’s an essential component that requires meticulous cleaning to ensure its proper functioning.

To initiate the cleaning process of the trigger housing assembly, you’ll need a nylon brush and gun solvent. Note that you should not disassemble the trigger assembly. Ruger has designed it to be a self-contained module; they do not recommend user-level disassembly due to the risk of losing tiny parts or triggering misalignments that could affect your firearm’s performance.

Dedicate a few minutes to this step. Begin by applying a liberal amount of gun solvent to your nylon brush. Brush with care, paying special attention to the recesses of the trigger housing where grime and powder residues can accumulate. Don’t forget the nooks and crannies; they can affect your weapon’s functionality if not properly tended to.

Next, you’ll want to wipe down the trigger housing assembly with a lint-free cloth after brushing to remove loosened dirt and oil. If there is stubborn residue, you can repeat the brushing process.

An additional step in this cleaning process is to apply a small amount of gun oil to the trigger mechanism. This keeps the parts well-lubricated and helps guarantee a smoother trigger action in the future.

Finally, use compressed air to blow out any leftover particles from the trigger housing assembly. Compressed air is extremely effective in getting out the small unseen particles that can affect the performance of your trigger assembly.

Always remember, proper maintenance of your Ruger American Rifle, especially in areas like the trigger housing assembly, can significantly enhance your rifle’s life expectancy. The process might seem tedious, but it’s essential for maintaining your firearm’s optimal performance.

Lubricating the Ruger American Rifle

After a meticulous cleanup, lubricating your Ruger American Rifle is the next crucial step. A well-lubricated firearm lasts longer, functions smoothly, and is less prone to corrosion. You might be surprised how a bit of grease can make a big difference in the rifle’s performance.

To lubricate your rifle, you’ll need a high-grade firearm lubricant. I always recommend using lubricants specifically designed for firearms because they’re made to withstand high heat and friction from quick moving parts. A tube of gun grease and a bottle of gun oil should be part of your comprehensive gun maintenance kit.

It’s time to apply the lubricant. Apply sparingly, too much can attract dirt and grime which could hinder your firearm’s performance.

Start with the bolt. Apply a thin layer of grease on the bolt lugs, ensuring you cover all the surfaces. The lugs are what lock into the barrel when the bolt is closed, so it’s crucial they move smoothly.

Next, lubricate the trigger assembly. Using your gun oil, place a few drops on the pivot points of the trigger mechanism. This aids in maintaining a smooth and crisp trigger pull.

Lastly, put a drop or two of oil on each of the stock screws. These screws hold the stock to the action of the rifle, so keeping them lubricated prevents rust and makes removal easier should you need to disassemble the rifle in the future.

Bear in mind, each firearm is unique, what works best for one might not for another. It might take a few lubrication sessions to truly understand your rifle’s needs. Just remember, your goal is to reduce friction between moving parts while preventing rust, not to drench the rifle in oil.

Additionally, after every lubrication, don’t forget to wipe excess oil using lint-free cloth. Continuous practice of these steps ensure good working health for your Ruger American Rifle.

With your Ruger now glistening with fresh lubricant, it’s time to move on with reassembling your rifle – and making sure you’ve got it back together right.

Reassembling the Rifle

After the rifle is spotless and well-lubricated, it’s time to begin the reassembly. Just remember, this isn’t a race – patience and caution are still top priorities.

First on the list is reinstalling the trigger guard. This goes in the same way it came out, just in reverse. Align it correctly, insert it back into its place and tighten the screws with your screwdriver. Make sure it’s secured, but avoid over-tightening. You don’t want to damage the rifle.

Next up are the stock and the barrel. Carefully slide the barrel back into the stock, ensuring that it fits snugly and sits correctly in every groove. Use your hand to gently tighten the stock screws – you’re looking for a secure fit, not a super tight one.

With the trigger guard and stock securely in place, you’re ready to replace the bolt. Slide it back into its track. It should slide in smoothly, without any resistance. You can rotate it gently to make sure it’s seated correctly.

And finally, it’s time to reattach the magazine. Slide it back into its slot, ensure it clicks into place, that’s the sign of a well-seated magazine. After that, give your rifle a little wiggle – this is just to make sure everything is where it should be.

Let’s move on to some final checks. After reassembling, it’s essential to inspect the rifle and test its core functions. By cycling the action, you’ll get a feel for how smoothly the bolt travels along its track. Pull the trigger (remembering to hold the firearm in a safe direction) to check the action is functioning correctly.

Here’s some good advice: the first time reassembling the rifle, always err on the side of caution. If something doesn’t feel right, take it apart and start over again. But practice makes perfect. After a few cleaning sessions, you’ll find that both disassembling and reassembling the Ruger American Rifle becomes much quicker and more straightforward.


Mastering the art of cleaning your Ruger American Rifle isn’t as daunting as it first appears. It’s all about having the right tools, patience, and a keen eye for detail. Remember to be cautious when disassembling and reassembling the rifle. Every piece, from the bolt to the trigger guard, plays a vital role in the rifle’s performance. With practice, you’ll find the process becomes quicker and easier. Most importantly, don’t forget to inspect and test the rifle after reassembling. This is your final line of defense to ensure everything is in its proper place and functioning correctly. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to maintaining your Ruger American Rifle in top-notch condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What tools do I need to clean a Ruger American Rifle?

A: You will need a quality cleaning kit that includes a cleaning rod, bore brush, cleaning patches, solvent, and lubricant.

Q: How do I disassemble a Ruger American Rifle for cleaning?

A: To disassemble, remove the bolt by pulling back on the bolt handle and lifting it out. Then, remove the stock by unscrewing the stock bolt and lifting it off. Finally, remove the trigger guard by pressing the release.

Q: How do I reassemble a Ruger American Rifle after cleaning?

A: To reassemble, first reinstall the trigger guard by aligning it with the mounting holes and pressing it in. Then, attach the stock by screwing in the stock bolt. Lastly, reinstall the bolt by inserting it into the action and pushing it forward until it locks in place.

Q: Is it important to inspect and test the rifle after reassembling?

A: Yes, it is important to inspect the rifle for any issues and test its core functions, including the safety, trigger, and bolt operation, before using it.

Q: Does disassembling and reassembling get easier with practice?

A: Yes, with practice, disassembling and reassembling the Ruger American Rifle becomes quicker and easier.