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Preparing and Cleaning Your Shotgun for Hunting Season

Posted by Cerus Team

Preparing and Cleaning Your Shotgun for Hunting Season

How to Maintain Your Shotgun

It is time to break out the gear and get ready for a new hunting season. Here at Cerus Gear gun cleaning is our specialty, we are so good at it we made it into a business. Having a well-maintained and reliable shotgun gives you confidence going into the season. This goes further than making sure your shotgun is clean, while that is half the battle. We have prepared a list of steps that are universal for cleaning your shotgun. These tips will allow you to hunt and use your shotgun with confidence. 

We are a little biased when it comes to cleaning your firearm but knowing that your shotgun is ready for anything allows you as the hunter to stay in the field longer. The beauty of a shotgun is that they are meant to just run. This is an overarching article and it is meant to be a general guide for cleaning your shotgun. 

The Supplies:

You are going to need to grab a cleaning kit with a cleaning rod, some brushes, cleaner and solvent, and gun oil. You can’t forget the most important part though, your Cerus Gear mat. Most kits that you can find at local sporting goods stores or gun ranges should have these supplies but it is good to double-check before you start.

You should always treat a firearm like it is loaded and make sure that you double and triple-check that the chamber is clear and that the tube is empty of all shells. We recommend putting any ammo outside of your workspace so you don’t accidentally grab it. Once the gun is clear and you have all the supplies you are ready to start. 


Disassembly and Cleaning:

The first and in my opinion, the most difficult part of this whole process is taking apart your shotgun. A pump-action is going to take down differently than a semi-auto and break action. We won’t be going through how to take it apart step by step but if you aren’t sure how to disassemble your shotgun check your owner’s manual. If you can’t find your owner’s manual you should be able to find a youtube video or article explaining it. Check that the chamber is clear and ammo is set off to the side and outside of your workspace. 

Remington 870 Breakdown Image

Most semi-auto and pump-action shotguns allow you to remove the trigger assembly. Remove the pins that hold the trigger assembly in place. You might have to hit it pretty hard to get them out. Once you have removed the trigger assembly we recommend letting this soak in some Bore Cleaner off to the side. This will allow the cleaner to break down the carbon and get the parts ready to accept the oil and water shield that we will apply later. 

Cleaning and lubricating shotgun trigger assemblyBore cleaner for shotgun barrel

While your trigger assembly is soaking, spray some Bore Cleaner on the bristle brush and run that through the barrel a couple of times to break up the carbon and dirt that has built up. Then take some cleaning patches and run that through until it comes out clean. 

Run cleaning patches to remove carbon from barrel


Once you have cleaned the barrel we are going to focus on the chamber. I used some cleaning patches, but if you have a rag or towel that also works. There is no right or wrong way to clean your firearm. 

Patches to clean shotgun chamber

We are going to start working with the bolt. You can take out the firing pin and other internals if you would like. I have had my Stoger M3000 for about 5 years and have only taken the bolt carrier group apart a handful of times. We are going to look at how to clean it completely but once again it is not required. 

Starting with the bolt carrier group you are going to want to wipe it done with some Bore Cleaner, make sure to get inside of the bolt carrier group if you completely took it down.

Cleaning bolt carrier group on a shotgun

Moving over to the extractor, the rotating locking head, and the inertia pin we are going to do the same thing. Wipe it down with the Bore Cleaner, making sure to get everywhere to get rid of the built-up carbon. 

Grab your trigger assembly and wipe it down with a rag or some cleaning patches. You can even release the trigger to get more into the crevices of your trigger assembly. 

Grab your gun oil and apply a little to the trigger assembly, the chamber, and the inside barrel. Wipe all of that down to take off the excess. If there is too much leftover oil it will cause that part to attract more dirt, and grime and make your firearm malfunction.  

If you are going to use your shotgun for duck hunting or you live in a humid environment then we recommend using some of our Water Shield to protect from rust and it helps to bead the water.  

Making sure that you have a functioning firearm inspires confidence. We recommend going out before the hunt and putting a couple of rounds through your shotgun to make sure everything is running properly. Testing the ammo that you are going to hunt with is critical to ensure that your shotgun will feed properly. These steps for cleaning can be used for rifled slug barrels as well.

Be sure to check out all of our shotgun mats! If we don't have the model you are looking for, shoot an email to and we will be sure to add it to our request list.