Preparedness blog

How to Clean a Bolt-Action Rifle

By Emily Hutchison
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Bolt-action rifles have been around for a long time. They are my personal favorite gun to shoot. Bolt-action rifles tend to be more accurate than semi-automatic rifles. Having a rifle should be part of your emergency preparations. Rifles are great for hunting and can also be used for personal protection. Guns need to be cleaned regularly and properly maintained in order to keep their accuracy. A dirty gun won't be much use during an emergency. Guns are dangerous when mishandled, make sure the gun is unloaded before cleaning. Always practice proper gun safety when handling guns! 

Materials Needed 

  • Cleaning Rod
  • Cleaning Patches
  • Rust Protector
  • Disassembly Tools, such as a screwdriver
  • Solvent
  • Small brush or toothbrush
  • Clean cloth
  • Disassembly Guide, from the gun manufacturer
  • Bag or Jar to prevent losing small screws or parts
  • A large well-ventilated workspace
  • Gloves
  • Lubricant
  • Wood Oil


  1. Safety First. Point the gun in a safe direction and keep your finger off of the trigger. Make sure the gun isn't loaded.
  2. Put gloves on, the solvent can irritate the skin.
  3. Remove the bolt.
  4. Clean the bore.
  5. Place the cleaning patch on the cleaning rod.
  6. Add solvent to the cleaning patch. Then slowly push the cleaning rod through the bore starting from the back.
  7. Pull the cleaning rod back out. Throw away the dirty cleaning patch.
  8. Attach the cleaning brush to the cleaning rod.
  9. Add some solvent to the brush and push through the bore starting from the back.
  10. Clean the bolt with a small brush and solvent.
  11. Wipe down the bolt with a clean cloth.
  12. Scrub the receiver with the small brush and solvent.
  13. Take another cleaning patch through the bore.
  14. Run cleaning patches through the bore until the cleaning patch comes out completely clean.
  15. Look down the bore and visually check to make sure nothing was left behind.
  16. Lubricate the bolt and replace it inside the gun.
  17. Spray all the metal parts of the fun with a rust protectant or run down with oil. This will prevent it from rusting.
  18. Run a cleaning patch with oil through the gun for long-term storage. This will help prevent the inside of the gun from rusting.

Ideally, you should clean your gun after each time it is used. Cleaning the gun should be part of using it just like buying more bullets or targets. Cleaning your gun regularly will keep it in good working order. This will prevent large amounts of buildup making each cleaning easier.


6 years ago