Video: Rimfire Rifle Cleaning—How And How Often?


A somewhat controversial topic, the how and when of rimfire rifle cleaning shouldn't tie you in knots. Here are the tips to get it done.

Some say never clean a rimfire, others obsessively scrub their bore after every shooting session. So, who's right? Like so much in life, the answer falls somewhere in between.

Michael Shea, author of Rimfire Revolution, and Mike Bush of premier rimfire manufacturer Vudoo Gun Works unravel exactly when is the proper time to break out the jags and solvent and how to give your cherished plinker a good scrubbing.

First off, take a deep breath, because what they suggest isn’t some complex formula, requiring exactitude to Nth degree. Instead, it’s common sense rules of thumb that are applicable for the everyday fun gun up to the precision rig. Bush breaks it down into three simple commandments:

  • Though shall clean your rifle.
  • Though shall keep it simple.
  • Though shall use a bore guide.

Overall, the process is similar to any gun-cleaning job, where you aim to remove the fouling while protecting the bore. The only caveat with rimfires is carbon/lead buildup can greatly exceed what’s found in centerfires. This is a function of the lower heat that’s generated by rimfire cartridges, resulting in more extreme cases in the infamous carbon ring in the bore just outside the chamber. It’s a devil to clean, as most sore-elbowed rimfire shooters can attest.

Bush suggests saving the mechanical cleaning, and your arm, by letting chemicals do the work. A non-corrosive solvent—he suggests Bore Tech for average cleaning and C4 Carbon Remover for heavy jobs—is the secret sauce. That and time. Employing a bore plug, Bush will fill the bore with solvent and let it stand for up to a day. The result, a carbon ring that wipes out with a few strokes of a nylon brush.

Armed with these simple tips, any rimfire shooter should be able to keep their iron in tip-top shape and hitting the mark.

Rimfire Revolution BookInterested in raising your rimfire IQ? Pickup Michael Shea's exhaustive study on modern rimfire rifles and shooting: Rimfire Revolution: A Complete Guide to Modern .22 Rifles. Avialable at

More On-Target Rimfire Info:

44-Targetposters-pack-GD-reduced-300NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Storm Tactical Printable Target Pack

62 Printable MOA Targets with DOT Drills - Rifle Range in YARDS This impressive target pack from our friends at Storm Tactical contains 62 printable targets for rifle and handgun range use. Target grids and bullseye sizes are in MOA. Ideal for long-range shooting!

Subscribe to the Gun Digest email newsletter and we'll send your print-at-home target pack right away. Just enter your email address below.


  1. You used the wrong word in the list of three commandments. I think you intended to use “Thou” rather than “Though.” Good article, though. 😉


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.