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After spending the weekend hunting some local game with my trustworthy shotgun, I put it away in the gun cabinet. During my next hunt, two weeks later, I noticed that the gun was chambering shells slower and had some visible oxidation damage (rust). I then realized that I had forgotten to clean and oil the gun before storing it after my last outing. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced hunter, there are some essential steps you should take to maintain your firearm. Dedicating fifteen minutes to cleaning and oiling your shotgun after each weekend outing will keep it operating smoothly and reliably for years to come. Failing to do so will, at the very least, cause short-term oxidation damage and could result in long-term damage to the firing mechanism. I will be cleaning my Benelli Super Black Eagle II as an example, but these simple steps can be followed to clean and maintain virtually any shotgun. Necessary materials include: Remington gun oil, scissors, barrel-cleaning rod, 1 kitchen towel, 1 bathroom towel, and 1 rag.

Step 1: Turn on the Safety

Ensure that the safety is on by clicking the safety button so the red firing stripe is not showing.

Danger: Even though the safety is on, the gun should always be treated as if it is a loaded weapon. NEVER point the gun at yourself or others under any circumstances.

Step 2: Unload the Gun

Open and close the chamber several times, until all shells are ejected from the chamber and magazine. When finished, close the chamber and ensure that the safety is still on. The weapon is now ready for disassembly.

Step 3: Disassemble the Gun

1.  Remove the barrel by first unscrewing the stock of the gun.
2.  Holding the barrel and stock together, slowly pull them away from the butt of the weapon.
     When removed, set them on a full sized bathroom towel.
3.  Remove the firing pin by gently sliding it out of the chamber rails and set it next to the other
     parts on the towel.
4.  The gun is now disassembled.

Step 4: Clean the Chamber of the Gun

Using the rag, apply Remington gun oil liberally to the chamber and butt of the weapon, taking care to scrub away all debris. Reapply oil as needed. Be sure not to leave any fingerprints on this part of the gun after it has been oiled. Place it back on the towel next to the other parts.

Note: Moisture contained within the human fingerprint will cause the gun to rust over time. This is why care must be taken to remove any fingerprints before storing the weapon.

Step 5: Clean the Firing Pin

Scrub all debris from the firing pin using the rag and apply Remington gun oil liberally. Place the firing pin back on the towel next to the other parts, making sure not to leave any fingerprints on the part.

Note: It is essential to clean the firing pin thoroughly, as it has significant bearing on the smooth operation of the gun.

Step 6: Clean the Gun Barrel

1.  Hold the barrel up to a light and observe whether the inside of the barrel is dirty. This step
     will be repeated several times during the barrel cleaning process.
2.  Cut a 1”x6” strip from the rag. Insert the strip into the end of the barrel-cleaning rod.
3.  Apply oil liberally to the strip of fabric.
4.  Insert the rod into the barrel and run it back and forth several times to remove debris from
     the inside walls of the barrel.
5.  Hold the barrel up to a light source and observe whether any debris still remains.
6.  Repeat steps as necessary until the inside surface of the barrel is free from all markings
     and debris. The surface should have a mirror-like appearance when finished.
7.  Using the oily rag, polish the outside of the barrel and place it back on the towel with the
     other parts, taking care not to leave any fingerprints on the surface of the barrel.

Step 7: Reassemble the Gun

1.  Insert the firing pin along the chamber rails and pull it back into the cocked position.
2.  Pull the stock over the magazine and leave it loose.
3.  Join the barrel with the stock and slowly pull them back together until the barrel passes the
     firing pin.
4.  Gently snug the barrel into place against the chamber of the gun.
5.  Screw the stock back into place.
     Warning: The weapon is now ready for use.
6.  Wipe down the entire gun before stowing it back in the gun case.

Step 8: Conclusion

Now that you have thoroughly cleaned your gun, you can sleep with the peace of mind that comes from knowing your shotgun will be safe and reliable next time you use it. In just fifteen minutes, using a small number of parts, the gun was disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled for short or long-term storage. Remember, your shotgun is a very dangerous but useful tool, and should always be respected as such. Be sure to follow all safety tips and warning closely each time you assemble, disassemble, clean, and use your shotgun.