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How Long Does it Take You to Clean Your 556?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just curious how long it takes the members of this forum to clean their 556.

When I mean "clean", I'm referring to the field stripping (in the manual) and a thorough, heavy cleaning after a full days shooting. Clean, lube, and protect.

I've found it takes me close to 2 hours to complete the process, including wiping down the ENTIRE exterior of the 556 with Eezox.
 

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Archer said:
I am willing to wager there is more wear inflicted on this rifle from overzealous cleaning than not...
Perhaps... Being "overzealous" in cleaning one's rifle, however, is not necessarily indicative of the time it takes to properly clean that rifle. I'm probably overzealous in cleaning my rifles properly. Cleaning a rifle properly does take commitment and time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Archer said:
I am willing to wager there is more wear inflicted on this rifle from overzealous cleaning than not...
I'm willing to bet the 2 hours is due to the fact I've only cleaned it twice. I've only taken it down twice. I'm sure as time goes by, my cleaning time will be reduced.
 

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Probale get nailed for this one, BUT how can you overzealosly clean (short of abusing the barrel)? :?
 

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103M95G said:
Probale get nailed for this one, BUT how can you overzealosly clean (short of abusing the barrel)? :?
Over use of bronze brushes, use of scraping tools and dental picks, et al. By going OCD on your rifle you tend to remove a bit of metal along with whatever debris you're trying to clear. Over time this affects the clearances between parts and that can affect the accuracy, reliability and longevity of the rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
LebbenB said:
103M95G said:
Probale get nailed for this one, BUT how can you overzealosly clean (short of abusing the barrel)? :?
Over use of bronze brushes, use of scraping tools and dental picks, et al. By going OCD on your rifle you tend to remove a bit of metal along with whatever debris you're trying to clear. Over time this affects the clearances between parts and that can affect the accuracy, reliability and longevity of the rifle.
All my brushes are nylon, carbon fiber cleaning rod, and nothing metal touches the inside of my 556 except a 5.56 round. Oil is always wiped on with a patch.

If it takes close to 2 hours for me to complete the process, it's because I'm too slow, not because I'm damaging my rifle.

Heck, to clean carbon and copper fouling out of the bore takes AT LEAST 15-20 minutes of letting whichever bore cleaner you are using to soak and do it's job. So, I don't know how it's even possible to complete the entire process in 30 minutes or less like some people have stated.

But you are correct...bronze brushes and metal scraping tools would do more harm than good!
 

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But you are correct...bronze brushes and metal scraping tools would do more harm than good!
Broze brushes are okay if used in moderation, as they were intended. 3-5 passes with a bore brush wet with a quality CLP/bore cleaner to loosen up the fouling is usually plenty.
 

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USMC 0802 said:
Takes me 1 minute. I run a bore snake thru it.

1k rds so far..

One of these days I'll clean it....

Let us know after the number of rounds fired when you had to turn the gas valve. I know there are too many variables to this including the type of ammo used, but this should give us a rough indication just how rugged this rifle is compared to the AR.

Takes me about an hour to clean my 556 versus easily twice that to clean my Colt AR-15.
 

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Longrifle said:
Let us know after the number of rounds fired when you had to turn the gas valve. I know there are too many variables to this including the type of ammo used, but this should give us a rough indication just how rugged this rifle is compared to the AR.
Good question. It's sort of like the "how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop..." I've never made it....

I've assumed that if the rifle gets fouled enough to require activation of the alternative gas setting, it's time to cease shooting and clean the rifle.
 

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I still don't understand how cleaning a firearm properly can cause damage? Can someone explain this to me because I clean all my guns thoroughly and have no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
1Love said:
I still don't understand how cleaning a firearm properly can cause damage? Can someone explain this to me because I clean all my guns thoroughly and have no problems.
Exactly. Cleaning a firearm properly can NOT cause damage....even if it takes all day to do it.

There's no way it can be done properly in 15 minutes. To completely take down the rifle, clean every part, the barrel cleaning procedure, gas tube cleaning procedure, lube everything, put it all back together, and wipe down the entire exterior in 15 minutes, and complete function check just seems close to impossible.

Just running a "bore snake" through the barrel doesn't do it. That MIGHT be good just for the barrel, but it's not field stripping and a CLP.
 

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1Love said:
I still don't understand how cleaning a firearm properly can cause damage? Can someone explain this to me because I clean all my guns thoroughly and have no problems.
I'm sure they meant avoiding unnecessary metal to metal contacts like overuse of bore and utility brushes. But by all means rub away all you want with CLP-soaked rags and patches. That's what I do.
 

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Man, I hear this thrown out a lot; "Over cleaning ruins more guns than shooting." I'm callin' B.S. on that. I've handled a lot of weapons in the military & collected a lot of old military weapons. Most, if not, all of these were cleaned with steel cleaning rods, back in the day when fancy, vinyl-coated rods were not made and most of these older guns retained good, sharp rifling. Hell, the rifle I was issued in Army basic training was 20 years old. Without a doubt it had fired hundreds of thousands of rounds & cleaned with a steel cleaning rod each time. Guess what, it worked perfectly well & its accuracy was just fine. The only barrels I've ever seen that were in sorry shape were those that used corrosive ammo & had NOT been cleaned properly. Have you ever seen a gun that was ruined from over-cleaning? Okay, next question; How do you know it was ruined through over-cleaning? What forensics test is done to determine that?! Just sounds a bit like an urban legend to me.
 

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I am going to come out and say it. It takes me from start to function check, an hour and a half to clean the 556 properly, I am talking about gas tube and all. Completely cleaned and CLP'd. I do this after every use. I hope this is not over kill and that I am not considered crazy :lol:
 

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Man, I hear this thrown out a lot; "Over cleaning ruins more guns than shooting." I'm callin' B.S. on that. I've handled a lot of weapons in the military & collected a lot of old military weapons. Most, if not, all of these were cleaned with steel cleaning rods, back in the day when fancy, vinyl-coated rods were not made and most of these older guns retained good, sharp rifling. Hell, the rifle I was issued in Army basic training was 20 years old. Without a doubt it had fired hundreds of thousands of rounds & cleaned with a steel cleaning rod each time. Guess what, it worked perfectly well & its accuracy was just fine. The only barrels I've ever seen that were in sorry shape were those that used corrosive ammo & had NOT been cleaned properly. Have you ever seen a gun that was ruined from over-cleaning? Okay, next question; How do you know it was ruined through over-cleaning? What forensics test is done to determine that?! Just sounds a bit like an urban legend to me.
When I was a drill sergeant from 95-98, several of my peers would take a section of cleaning rod and a chamber brush, chuck it into a drill and have their Soldiers cycle though them to get their chambers cleaned. Made the chamber clean as a whistle. At the end of every cycle we'd take the company's rifles to the post weapon's pool for check and turn in. One of the checks was a gaging of the barrel and chamber. Many of these rifles that had been "power brushed" had chambers that were out of spec and deadlined.

Prior to going on the trail, I was a Squad Leader in the 101st. One of the SAWs assigned to my squad never worked right. It would fire a couple of rounds then fail to cycle. Battalion would never send it off to 3rd Shop because it always passed a function check with dummy ammo. The issue was dismissed as an operator headspace problem. Prior to a deployment, my battalion had priority on maintenance. The armorer and I took the gun to 3rd Shop ourselves. The techs stripped the gun and T/I'd each part. The gas piston was waaaaaay out of spec. Through years of rubbing, scraping and picking to get every iota of carbon out of the piston it had "shrank" enough to affect the seal in the gas tube. The techs replaced the entire assembly. The next week we took it to the range and it fired as well as that benighted piece of machinery could fire. I bear some responsibility in this situation. I can't remember the times prior to this that I told my guys that I didn't want to see a speck of dirt or carbon on their weapons. After that incident, I kinda backed off that standard and we used less aggressive means to clean our toys.
 

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Piston guns don't need to be ultra clean, they were designed with lack of maintenance in mind and they take awhile to get truly filthy. I own/shoot too many guns to spend over an hour cleaning each after every trip. I used to obssess over cleaning, after 30 years of it I finally stopped being so worried about it. I take the gun down, give it a quick spray and scrub, clean the bore, lube it, wipe down the exterior and I'm done. Never over 45 minutes, usually under 30 minutes....and that's taking my time, inspecting for unusual wear as I go along etc. Once every 10 cleanings or so, I'll do a more detailed clean - but still not over an hour's time.
 
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