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Episode 102 S3-21

Maintaining Your Weapons


Special Guest:

The Walls of Freedom Ch 21

Ben Branam

In The Walls of Freedom adventure, Erika and her family rest for a moment to rest and make sure their gear and weapons systems are still in working order. Here to talk with us about maintaining your weapon systems is Ben Branam author of and host of The Modern Self Protection Podcast.

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When it comes to maintaining your weapons the owner's manual is your friend. You need to read it, even though often times we don't want to. Most guns now-a-days are super simple to break down and clean.


For example, to clean a Glock you point it in a safe direction and make sure it is unloaded. Then let the striker go by pulling the trigger. Pull back the slide and pull down the tabs. The gun literally falls apart.


You need to learn your weapon system break down RIGHT NOW! Seriously, if you don't know how to do it, stop reading this right now and go get your gun and your owner's manual. Learn this now while you have access to YouTube.


If you are in a survival situation you have to put security first. While the weapon systems are being broken down. Run at 25% or 50%. This means if you are a group of four have one person cleaning and three on guard or two people cleaning and two guarding. Even on downtime you need to alternate who is cleaning. Running just four people in a team is tough. After months of traveling, foraging, and guarding you are going to be absolutely exhausted. Your group needs to have about 13 people in it to function effectively.


There are basically two action types: auto or self loading and single or manual action. If you are in a SHTF situation you don't need to keep your weapon armory clean or sparkling spot free. However you do want to make sure that it is functionally clean everyday. Run a brush or patch down the barrel to make sure there is no dirt, mud or moisture. This grime will create rust and you don't want rust. The barrel is made of super hard steel with some type of treatment: chrome lined, salt bathed, etc. However, if you let rust grow it will spread like a wildfire.


To make barrel cleaning easy you can use a bore snake. It looks like a skinny sock and you buy it in the size that is appropriate for your caliper. To keep it clean, all you need to do is pull it through the barrel twice and you are good to go. It is washable and will last you for a long time.


If rust is growing on any part of your weapon use oil and a rag and go to work. You need to make sure to catch any rust growth quickly. If the oil and rag is not effective, use CLP and wipe the effected area vigorously. If that doesn't work use a nylon AP brush. If that doesn't work you have to use a brass brush but never use a stainless steel brush. It will remover the finish from your weapon and you will have a permanent spot for rust to grow. If you stay on top of it and get the rust quick it won't hurt the finish.


In a SHTF situation you will have to clean your weapon daily. It will get much more wear and tear than it does now. As an experiment, if legal, take your weapon on a camping trip with you and wear it all the time. Then check out how much dirt, moisture and grime have attached themselves to it. Stock up on CLP. The smallest bottle will last you months and months. It is cheap and you can afford to buy a few to put in your go backs. If you are stuck in nature without access to an oil, you can use animal fat as an alternative. The fattier the better and only use this if you are in dire need. Over the long term do not apply grease if you have access to oil. Oil attracts less dirt.


When oiling your weapon the number one mistake that people make is "more oil is not always more better." If you make a wet spot with oil, it will attract more dirt. "Use as little oil as will work." The drier the climate the less oil you will need. In moister climates with high humidity or salt in the air, you will need to use more oil. The moisture in the air will work as a solvent and start drying out your weapon, which will equal rust. Terrain dictates the amount of oil you will need.


Cleaning the insides of your weapon is not as intimidating as it may seem. Get out your manual or watch a video. Field strip the weapon breaking it down into the frame, slide, barrel, and recoil assembly. The names may vary but the parts are essentially the same. You only need to field strip the weapon. Breaking it down any further may require a gunsmith and is usually unnecessary. Use a rag, a square of an old t-shirt works fine, to wipe parts down. You will see multiple colors come off the gun. The carbon will be a smokey gray color, rust will be an orange shade and mud will be a brownish color.


Use the same rules that apply to the barrel for oiling the insides. If you are in a dry environment you may only need to wipe it down without any oil. Look to make sure all dust has been removed. If you are in a mountain terrain you may have dirt and mud to scrape out of the innards. Look for the color to know how much you should clean it. One drop of oil on your brush is enough. A little goes a long way. Wipe down the parts and look at how they go together. You will only need to apply oil to parts that rub together. If you look at the parts you will see that some areas may have the finish starting to rub off of them and look scraped. This is where the parts touch and oil should be applied there.


With an AR pull out the bolt carrier group out and you will see four little rails that the slide runs on. It's easy to see where they sit and these are the parts that require oil. With a pistol, oil the frame where the slide runs. With an automatic shotgun, like a Mossberg there are "gas checks" that may require special care and oil but with a 870 pump action that special attention is not necessary. Some weapons use aluminum receivers. Aluminum does not rust but where it rubs on the steal may require oil to keep the steel from chipping the aluminum. You do not need to oil composite stocks or plastic pieces. They will not rust.


The oil should make the metal look almost shiny. If you see a color change when you apply oil, you need to apply more. However, if your weapon looks wet, you have gone to far.


If you have a wooden stock, you will need to oil the stock with a wood oil every now and then. Alternately you can store it in a gun sock that helps to maintain the quality of the weapon. Coat the wood to repel water and use leather cleaner on the strap if applicable.


3 Takeaways

  1. Security when cleaning is paramount.

  2. Do it everyday - it comes before everything else!

  3. Don't use too much oil

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The Walls of Freedom Ch 21

Ben Branam

"I’ve loved shooting since the first time I pulled a trigger at age 8. During high school I volunteered at my local PD where I learned more about handguns. I joined the Marine Corps Infantry after high school. I was a reserve for 10 years with 2 years of active duty and 1 tour in Iraq in 2003. I worked for an armored car company for almost 7 years mostly in the LA area of California. During all that I also got a degree in law enforcement and went through two different police academies. Being a cop never worked out, but through it all I’ve always been training people to fight. I spent all of 2008 in Iraq again as a private contractor defending a base. There I got to teach and train with the US Army and others. Now I want to bring that experience and my joy of teaching to others. I love teaching firearms and want the good people of the world to be able to defend themselves. It’s now my mission and purpose in life.." -Ben Branam

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