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How to Properly Clean Your Revolver

Table of Contents

Hey all, we here at True Shot Academy have partnered up with Otis Technology to go over how to properly clean your revolver. In the accompanying video, Nikki will demonstrate the cleaning process and showcase specific products and cleaning techniques. In the video, a Smith & Wesson Model 686 revolver is used to demonstrate the cleaning process. While your particular revolver may differ from the one in the video, the process will be generally the same.


Safety First

Before any cleaning can begin, one should ensure that their firearm is unloaded and that the cleaning area is free of ammunition. By ensuring ammunition is out of the equation when cleaning, one can completely eliminate the likelihood of an easily preventable tragedy occurring. When wanting to render a firearm safe, one should confirm both physically and visually that it is unloaded. Revolvers will generally come in either single action or double action form. A single action revolver, such as a Colt Single Action Army or a Ruger Single Six, will not feature a swing-out cylinder. These cylinders can be inspected by opening the loading gate on the left and spinning the cylinder to inspect each chamber. On Colt revolvers and clones of this type, one will need to depress the hammer rearwards to allow the firing pin to clear the frame and cylinder of the revolver. Conversely, one could simply remove the cylinder entirely to ensure it is empty. Instructions for doing this may differ depending on which revolver you have. Double action revolvers like a Ruger GP-100 or a Smith & Wesson Model 686 like the one Nikki has in the video will benefit from their swing-out type cylinders. By releasing the cylinder and popping it out to the side, one can see immediately if ammunition is present or not. Once the firearm has been rendered safe and ammunition is no longer present, cleaning can commence.


Breach to Muzzle Cleaning

Otis Technology emphasizes the importance of cleaning a firearm from breach to muzzle. As stated in the video, this method of cleaning ensures that carbon and fouling are pushed out of the firearm as opposed to into the action. Cleaning a firearm from breach to muzzle is also beneficial as one will not risk damaging the crown of their muzzle.

Ensure the Revolver is Empty
Ensure the Revolver is Empty

Three Methods of Cleaning

As Nikki says in the video, Otis Technology endorses three different methods of cleaning.

  • Rip Cord – This implement is an expedient cleaning tool which aids in quick cleaning at the range or in the field. This are particularly handy when the barrel and action are still hot and the carbon and fouling haven’t settled in place after firing has ceased.
  • Solid Rod – Not ideal for revolver use due to the cumbersome nature of the implements when used with these types of firearms. Solid rod systems are best used at home at the workbench where one can fully take advantage of the wide variety of specific tips and tools to help with cleaning. Semi-automatic handguns and rifles of various types can be cleaned very easily and efficiently with this traditional method.
  • Otis Technology Cable System – This kit takes the expedient nature of a ripcord and combines it with the versatility of traditional solid rod systems. This kit is at home at both the workbench or in the field. The flexible cable system utilizes a series of interchangeable tool tips to aid in efficient cleaning. The kit is stored in a compact case making it a great addition to your range bag.


Otis Technology’s Three-Step Cleaning Process

Otis Technology outlines a three-step cleaning process for efficient and optimal cleaning. As with every firearm, one should ensure that cleaning tools and tips are appropriately sized for the bore of the firearm they are cleaning. To begin this process, a slotted tip sized appropriately for your firearm should be affixed to the cable system.

  • Wet Patch – Once the slotted tip is affixed, a patch can be threaded through the slot and attached to the tip. From this point, a solvent or CLP type solution can be applied to the patch. Once the patch is treated, the cable system should be fed from the breach end and out through the muzzle. The end without the patch should lead the cable system through the bore. Once the end of the system is protruding past the end of the muzzle, the unit and affixed patch can be pulled through the bore. This process can be aided with the use of the attachable handle to facilitate easy pulling. Once the patch has cleared the muzzle, one can inspect it to gauge the level of fouling. From this point, the slotted tip, patch, and pull handle can be removed to prepare for the next step.
  • Bronze Brush – Next, the bronze brush should be affixed to the cable system. Once the brush is attached to the unit, the cable should be fed trough the breach once again. Once the cable makes it out of the bore, the pull handle can be reattached and utilized to pull the brush through the bore. Once the brush clears the muzzle, one can remove the brush and pull handle to prepare the cable for the next step.
  • Dry Patch – After the brush has been removed, the slotted tip can be reattached to the cable unit. From this point, a patch can be attached to the slotted tip just as before. Rather than treating the patch with a solvent or CLP solution, this patch shall remain dry. Once again, the cable system should be fed into the breach and out the end of the muzzle. Once the pull handle has been reattached and the unit has been pulled through with a dry patch, one should inspect the patch after it clears the muzzle. The dirtiness of the patch will tell us how much more cleaning is required.

As Nikki says in the video, this process can be repeated as many times as needed. The patch will be dirty if more cleaning is necessary. If the patch comes out clean and unfouled, the cleaning process is complete.


Cleaning: The Cylinder and Frame

In the video, Nikki states that the three-step cleaning process mentioned above can be applied to the cylinder as well. This process should be repeated for each chamber on the cylinder. After cleaning the chambers on the cylinder in the video, Nikki then makes use of a nylon AP brush with a CLP type solution to clean both the front and back faces of the cylinder. The AP brush and CLP type solution are also effectively utilized when cleaning the ejector, breach, and inside of the frame. Depending on your revolver, the ejector may be in a different place than in the video and may require a slightly different cleaning procedure. If one has doubts regarding their specific firearm, they should consult the manual which came with their revolver for information. After scrubbing has concluded, one should wipe down the surfaces with a microfiber cloth or rag.


Cleaning: The Exterior

When wiping down the exterior of the revolver, Nikki makes use of some Otis Technology 085 treated firearm wipes. If you do not have these specific wipes, you can make use of a microfiber cloth or rag treated with a CLP type solution. Essentially, the goal is to wipe down the firearm to clean, lubricate, and protect the exterior metal components. Excess cleaning solution can be wiped away with a rag or cloth.

Cleaning the Bore
Cleaning the Bore

Final Preventative Pass

As shown in the video, Nikki makes use of the slotted tip and a wet patch to pull through the bore one last time. This is done to treat the inside of the bore with a CLP type solution to prevent rust and corrosion. This is a quick and efficient preventative measure which can one does not have to go out of their way to do. A little bit of protection goes a long way. Depending on where you live, your firearms may be more susceptible to rust or corrosion, and a preventative measure such as this will help keep your gun safe.



And there it is, we have made it through the process of cleaning a revolver. We would like to thank Otis Technology and Nikki for their work in this collaboration. We here at True Shot carry a variety of Otis Technology cleaning kits in addition to the ammunition we offer and wholly recommend them. Regardless of the loading you are after and what you’re shooting, we are here to help you get stocked up for your next outing. As always, happy shooting.


Need bulk ammo? At True Shot Ammo, we have a wide variety of handgun ammo and rifle ammo available to purchase. Please visit our website trueshotammo.com, call us at (888) 736-6587, or you can email us at [email protected] for more ammo options.


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