Most modern shotguns are easy to disassemble if you follow the directions in the owner’s manual. Once the action is removed, use compressed air-available at most hardware or electronics stores-to blast away any residue. If any buildup remains, use a bristle brush, cotton swabs or dedicated firearms cleaning products such as Swab-its foam swabs to get into all the little crevices.
Baked-on debris may require an aerosol-based product, such as Birchwood Casey’s Gun Scrubber, to blast away the residue. Afterwards, use a brush or swab to clear away any remaining loose particles.
Once the action and all other exposed metal is clean, it’s time to lubricate-but don’t overdo it. Excess oil attracts dirt and other particles that can mire your shotgun’s action, resulting in failures to cock or cycle, or outright misfires.
Only a dab or two of gun oil should be applied to the operating rails and the slot that the bolt travels through on semi-autos and pumps. For break-actions, a drop of oil on the pivoting points and a dab of gun grease on the hinge pin are all that’s generally required. In all cases, any excess oil should be blotted up.
Bonus tip: Storage smarts
Before storing your shotgun, ensure it is not cocked to avoid weakening the tension on the springs. Also avoid storing your shotgun in a sealed plastic case that can trap moisture inside, or in a soft case that can absorb moisture. In either situation, you may find surface rust the next time you pull out your shotgun. Locker-style gun safes are best, with the guns stored barrel down so any excess oil runs out rather than accumulating in the action.