How to clean your gun at home

With shooting on hold, Richard Atkins is back with more tips on how clean and maintain your gun while at home.

This time, Richard Atkins is looking at Extractors/ejectors and woodwork.

Note small extractor retaining screw

Browning and Miroku guns, like the one shown here, use a very effective extractor and ejection method. It is more complex and with more parts than many, but is very efficient.

The extractor legs are made in two parts which permit a very smooth and powerful action. Fired cases are first cammed partially out of the chamber, thus releasing any swelled case heads that might cause any spring-only powered system to stick.

A pair of powerful, independently sprung hammers are housed in the gun’s fore-end. These hammers are tripped by actuating rods powered by the tumbler (firing pin hammer) of whichever barrel has been fired. Tripping the ejection hammers provides a forceful blow to the two-piece extractor legs, virtually guaranteeing clean ejection with cartridges of any type.

Browning and Miroku extractor legs can be removed for cleaning, checking, repair or replacement in moments by removing a small threaded peg with a slotted screwdriver head.

This can be reached through a hole in the top of the extractor kicker piece (not the actual extractor leg which contacts the cartridge rim). Unscrew this pin and put it safely away in a jar – it’s very small and easily lost!

Slide the two extractor components from their dovetail grooves, and spray them with a mild solvent. I use WD40 but a light barrel cleaner such as Napier or Bisley will work too.

Brush built-up debris from the parts, including the dovetail grooves in the breech block, and the extractor legand cartridge rim recess, removing stubborn dirt with a cotton bud or similar, then wipe clean with a cloth.

Clean extractors parts and dovetail groove

Apply a light coating of gun grease to the male dovetails on the two extractor components.

Carefully re-assemble and re-fit the peg. A tiny spot of non-setting thread-lock on the peg’s threads will help ensure it does not work loose but allows subsequent removal.

This is not essential, but do check that they are tight from time to time, or the whole extractor might get ejected into the long grass one day!


Check the entire surface of both fore-end and stock for dents, scratches and worn chequering etc.

Dents or ‘bruising’ blemishes can often be fixed by the careful application of a damp cloth and a moderately hot iron pressed against the cloth.

Check progress by lifting the cloth to see if the bruise has lifted; all but the deepest often respond to the warm, damp atmosphere which swells the fibres and allows the wood to regain its original form, often with no sign of the original damage.

Check wood for dents & worn chequering

It will, in any case, much reduce most bruising. Stock refinishing is a task in itself and for another time.

Meanwhile for this DIY spruce up, if your gun has oil finished walnut, you could clean the wood with turpentine or similar on a soft cloth or cotton wool pad, then apply a small drop of stock oil such as boiled linseed oil or one of the oils sold for the purpose.

Rub it in with a lint-free cloth or palm of the hand. Lacquer finished guns require nothing more than a wipe over with a silicone cloth or duster with a light spray of furniture polish.

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