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Extending the Life of Your Rifle

AR 15 Storage and Maintenance: Expert Tips for Optimal Performance

The AR-15 is a robust, reliable rifle, but like any precision instrument, it demands regular care and maintenance to perform at its best.

Whether you’re a seasoned gun enthusiast or a novice shooter, understanding how to properly maintain your AR-15 can significantly extend its lifespan and enhance its performance.

Here’s a quick guide to AR 15 Maintenance 101, packed with useful tips and tricks to ensure that your rifle is always ready when you need it.

Tip #1 – Cleaning

Your AR-15 should be regularly maintained and kept clean if you expect top-notch performance every time. Luckily, the AR-15 is fairly easy to clean, and for some, it’s a fun little activity.

A good rule of thumb is cleaning your firearm once every week if you’re a frequent shooter. Most importantly, the bolt carrier group is the one compartment that usually requires a lot of heavy-duty maintenance, so focus on this segment first.

What you need are rags, a nice and clean surface like a tabletop, and a high-quality cleaning solution or a cost-efficient CLP (clean, lubricate, and protect) solution for firearms.

How to Clean an AR 15

Cleaning your AR-15 is an essential part of its maintenance and a significant factor in ensuring its reliability.

  1. Start by disassembling the rifle. Begin with the upper receiver, then move to the lower one. Remove the bolt carrier group and charging handle.
  2. Once disassembled, use a bore brush and cleaning rod to thoroughly clean the barrel. Run the brush through several times to ensure it’s clean.
  3. Next, focus on the bolt carrier group. Use a solvent and a small brush to scrub each part carefully.
AR 15 Storage and Maintenance: Expert Tips for Optimal Performance

Tip #2 – Lubrication and Finalization

  1. After cleaning each part, it’s time to lubricate. Proper lubrication reduces wear and tear, extending your AR-15’s lifespan.
  2. Use an all-purpose gun oil, and apply a thin layer to the bolt, the bolt carrier, and the charging handle. Pay special attention to areas where metal rubs against metal.
  3. Make sure you check for irregularities, wears, and damages when reassembling your AR-15 rifle.

Depending on your environment, you should use dry lubricants for drier or more humid conditions.

On the other hand, heavy lubes work alright in the summer but can really thicken up during cold weather, so be mindful of this.

Tip #3 – Modifications

Proper cleaning and storage are essential but don’t overlook the significance of certain AR-15 upgrades, sticking to proper customization parts and aftermarket parts, as well as avoiding cheap and faulty hardware.

Here are some valuable AR-15 modifications worth considering:

Gas Ring Replacement

Sometimes, you really need to get yourself some new gas rings if you’re looking for AR-15 reliability.

To test the durability of your gas rings, extending the bolt from the bolt carrier group and placing it on a flat surface helps you figure out if you need new ones.

If the bolt fails to support the weight of the carrier group, it’s time to get yourself some new gas rings.

High-Quality Magazines

While it may be tempting to opt for cheap, low-quality magazines to save some cash, this can lead to long-term issues.

Inferior magazines tend to warp, bend, or crack over time, resulting in awkward ammo feeding and unreliable performance.

Using high-quality ammunition is essential for maintaining AR-15 reliability. You should avoid cheap, subpar ammo and save your magazines for situations that demand optimal performance.

Proper Gas Port Size

An oversized gas port usually leads to over-gassing in AR-15 rifles which often leads to serious malfunctions like live ammo rounds entering the chamber before a case fully exits. These malfunctions can turn into life-threatening accidents.

When disassembling, cleaning, or customizing your AR-15 rifle, always make sure you pick a proper gas port size for your firearm. Consult your gunsmith for more details on this.

CHF Barrel

For exceptional longevity and durability, consider a cold hammer-forged (CHF) barrel that can really lengthen your rifle’s lifespan, especially if you’re a frequent visitor at the ranges.

Our popular AR-15 rifle build kit contains the CHF 16-inch barrel, which is an excellent choice among daily shooters. The cold hammer-forged hardening makes sure it offers maximum durability and longevity for your rifle.

Protective Coating

The protective coating is also very important for your AR-15 rifle’s longevity.

Cerakote is a low-maintenance, cost-efficient coating with excellent heat reduction properties.

On the other hand, there’s the nickel-boron coating that also offers superb qualities in lubricating and sufficient cleaning. What’s more, it has solid corrosion resistance, but it’s a much costlier option.

Tip #4 – Proper AR 15 Storage

Once you’re satisfied cleaning your AR-15 rifle upper, you should properly store it away from dust, debris, and humidity.

There are lots of ways and methods how to store your firearm, but this depends on countless factors.

Here are some of the most cost-efficient and pragmatic approaches to storing your AR-15 rifle.

Gun Locks: Affordable and easy to use, gun locks prevent accidental firing but lack theft protection.

Firearm Cases: Suitable for short-term storage and transportation but offer minimal safety and theft protection.

Firearm Racks: Accommodate various firearms and have locks for security but not as secure as gun safes.

Firearm Cabinets: Lightweight and movable, can hold multiple guns but usually lack fire resistance.

Gun Cases: The most secure option, with customizable interiors and various locking mechanisms.

Storing Ammo: When storing ammunition, keep it away from direct sunlight and store it in a cool, dark, and dry place like a closet, avoiding extreme temperature fluctuations.

Choosing the right storage option depends on accessibility needs, budget, and local gun safety laws. For home protection, prioritize safety and quick access.

By considering your specific requirements, you can make an informed decision and ensure the longevity and safety of your AR-15 and ammunition.


That’s it for today. We hope that this essential guide will serve you well when cleaning and maintaining your AR-15 rifle.

Consistency and frequency are critical if you want to extend the lifespan of your rifle. Most firearms enthusiasts have their own rifles that span more than 50 years and still shoot like new. 

The secret is regular maintenance and cleaning.

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