How to Clean a Bolt Carrier Group? Simple Tips You Need.

To clean a bolt carrier group, disassemble it and soak the parts in a solvent like hoppes #9 for 15-30 minutes. Scrub the parts with a brush, dry and lubricate them.

A properly cleaned bolt carrier group improves its function and lifespan. It also ensures the firearm works reliably, reduces wear and tear, and lessens the chance of a malfunction. Cleaning your firearm regularly is an important part of firearm maintenance, and the bolt carrier group is an essential component to clean.

The bolt carrier group is responsible for feeding, firing, and extracting rounds from the chamber, and it’s exposed to high pressure and powder residue, which means frequent cleaning is needed. In this article, we’ll go over the steps to cleaning a bolt carrier group to keep your firearm running smoothly and reliably.

How to Clean a Bolt Carrier Group? Simple Tips You Need.


Necessary Tools And Materials

Cleaning and maintaining your bolt carrier group is essential for keeping your firearm in prime condition. However, to do that, you will need a few necessary tools and materials. We’ll explore what these tools are, how to use them, and some suggestions for alternative products.

List Of Essential Supplies Needed For Cleaning And Maintaining A Bolt Carrier Group

  • Cleaning solvent
  • Lubricant
  • Bore brush
  • Cleaning rod or pipe cleaner
  • Cleaning patches
  • Toothbrush (optional for heavy buildup)
  • Microfiber cloth

Breakdown Of Each Essential Item And How It Is Used

Cleaning Solvent

Cleaning solvent is a crucial tool when it comes to deep cleaning your bolt carrier group. It removes carbon build-up and other debris that can cause malfunctions in your firearm. You can choose between water-based or solvent-based cleaning solutions. Apply the cleaning solvent to a bore brush and insert it into the barrel or apply it to the bolt carrier group itself.

Let it sit for a while to loosen the carbon and other debris before wiping it away with a cloth or cleaning patches.


Lube is essential to keep your bolt carrier group functioning correctly. Without it, your firearm’s moving parts can cause friction and damage. Lubricating your bolt carrier group helps prevent jams and ensures smooth functionality. Apply lubrication to all the moving parts of the bolt carrier group and use a cloth to wipe away any excess lubricant.

Bore Brush

A bore brush is vital for scrubbing the inside of the barrel to loosen any carbon build-up. Insert the bore brush into the barrel and vigorously scrub to remove stubborn fouling. Be sure to use the correct brush size for your barrel diameter.

Cleaning Rod Or Pipe Cleaner

A cleaning rod or pipe cleaner is used for cleaning smaller parts, such as the gas tube and bolt carrier. Apply cleaning solvent to the rod or pipe cleaner and insert it into the small parts, use it to scrub away carbon debris.

Cleaning Patches

Cleaning patches are used for wiping away carbon debris and excess solvents and lubricants. After applying solvent or lubricant, wrap the patches around your cleaning rod and push it through the barrel and other parts.

Toothbrush (Optional For Heavy Buildup)

A toothbrush is excellent for removing heavy carbon build-up from small parts of the bolt carrier group. Apply cleaning solvent to the toothbrush and use it to scrub away caked-on dirt.

Microfiber Cloth

A microfiber cloth is used for cleaning away excess solvents, lubricants, and dirt. It’s ideal for cleaning small parts and spots that can be hard to reach.

Suggestions For Alternative Products

While the products mentioned above are great for cleaning a bolt carrier group, some alternatives can be used:

  • You can use a bore snake instead of a bore brush and cleaning rod.
  • Instead of cleaning patches, you can use a microfiber swab.
  • A nylon brush can be used as an alternative to a toothbrush.

With the right tools and materials, cleaning and maintaining your bolt carrier group can be an easy process. Make sure to clean your firearm regularly to keep it functioning correctly and to prevent malfunctions.

Step-By-Step Cleaning Process

Cleaning your bolt carrier group is essential to keep your firearm functioning correctly and reliably, and this step-by-step process makes the task quick and easy. In this guide, we’ll take you through the process, from disassembling your firearm to reassembling it – highlighting each step in between.

However, before we get into that, let’s go over what a bolt carrier group is for a quick refresher course.

Step 1: Disassembling The Firearm

Before cleaning your bolt carrier group, you’ll need to disassemble your firearm. Here are the key points to remember:

  • Unload your firearm before disassembling it.
  • Remove the upper receiver and charging handle.
  • Remove the bolt carrier group.

Step 2: Preparing For Cleaning

Once you’ve disassembled your firearm, it’s time to prepare for cleaning. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Lay your bolt carrier group out on a clean, flat surface.
  • Wipe the exterior down with a clean, dry rag.
  • Put on cleaning gloves.

Step 3: Cleaning The Bolt Carrier Group

Now, let’s get to the real action – cleaning the bolt carrier group. Here’s how to do it:

  • Use a cleaning toothbrush or a dedicated bolt carrier group brush to scrub the carrier key, bolt, bolt tail, and firing pin.
  • Use a jag or patch holder with cotton patches, a bore brush, and a quality solvent to clean the inside surface of the bolt and chamber.
  • Soak the bolt carrier group in a quality cleaning solvent, such as hoppes no. 9 or break-free clp.
  • Use a toothbrush or a patch to clean the bolt carrier group’s interior areas, including the locking lugs and other small recesses.
  • Use a clean, dry rag to wipe away all the solvent residue.

Step 4: Lubricating The Bolt Carrier Group

After cleaning your bolt carrier group, it’s time to lubricate it. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Apply a liberal coat of lubricant to the bolt carrier group’s surfaces, including the bolt, bolt carrier, and firing pin.
  • Wipe away all the excess lubricant.

Step 5: Reassembling The Firearm

Now that your bolt carrier group is clean and appropriately lubricated, you can reassemble your firearm. Here are the key points to remember:

  • Reinsert the bolt carrier group into your firearm’s upper receiver.
  • Reinstall the charging handle.
  • Reinstall the upper receiver.

Cleaning your bolt carrier group doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Simply follow this step-by-step guide, and you’ll have it cleaned and lubricated in no time. Remember to always use proper safety procedures when disassembling and cleaning your firearm to keep you and those around you safe.

Happy cleaning!

Common Mistakes To Avoid

List Of Common Mistakes Made During The Cleaning Process

Cleaning a bolt carrier group is an essential practice to keep your firearm running smoothly. However, cleaning mistakes can cause damage to your firearm or even render it useless. Here are some common cleaning mistakes to avoid:

  • Over-lubrication: Applying too much lubrication to the bolt carrier group can cause oil to seep into the firing pin channel, ultimately leading to misfires or light strikes. Ensure you only use the recommended amount of lubrication specified by the manufacturer.
  • Using harsh cleaning chemicals: Some solvents and cleaners can cause damage to the bolt carrier group if used excessively or improperly. Always read the product label and manufacturer’s instructions before using any cleaning solutions.
  • Forcing brushes or tools: Forcing brushes or tools down the bore or chamber can cause damage to the rifling or damage the bolt lugs. Avoid brute force, and use a gentle and steady hand when cleaning your firearm.

Explains How To Avoid Common Mistakes

To ensure that your firearm remains operable and functions reliably, here are several tips to help you avoid common cleaning mistakes while cleaning the bolt carrier group:

  • Use proper cleaning tools: It is essential to have the right tools when cleaning your bolt carrier group. Use a cleaning rod designed for your firearm’s caliber and appropriate brushes to ensure you don’t damage any components while cleaning.
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations: Manufacturers recommend specific cleaning products and methods for their firearms. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations before using a new cleaning solution or technique.
  • Don’t overdo it with lubrication: When lubricating your bolt carrier group, use only the recommended amount of lubricant, as specified by your firearm’s manufacturer.

Includes Tips For Preventing Damage To The Firearm

Here are some additional tips that can help prevent damage to your firearm during the cleaning process:

  • Clean your firearm in a well-lit area: Proper lighting will help you identify any areas that need cleaning. Cleaning in a well-lit area will also help you avoid damaging your firearm accidentally.
  • Use gloves: Gloves not only protect your hands from harsh chemicals but also protect your firearm from fingerprints, which can lead to rust and other corrosions.
  • Be gentle with your firearm: When cleaning your firearm, never use excessive force. A gentle hand is vital when cleaning the bolt carrier group, as it is a complex mechanism. Applying brute force can damage components and hinder your firearm’s performance.

By following these tips, you’ll not only avoid common mistakes but also keep your firearm in good working condition, ensuring that it will continue to function reliably for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Clean A Bolt Carrier Group?

How Often Should I Clean My Bolt Carrier Group?

It is recommended to clean your bolt carrier group after every use to maintain its performance. Neglecting to clean your bolt carrier group will lead to buildup, corrosion, and possible malfunctions.

What Tools Do I Need To Clean My Bolt Carrier Group?

The essential tools needed to clean a bolt carrier group are a cleaning rod, bore brush, cleaning patches, a scraper, and cleaning solvent. Gloves and eye protection are recommended.

Can I Use Any Cleaning Solvent On My Bolt Carrier Group?

It is best to use a cleaning solvent that is specifically made for firearms to ensure the best results. Avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents that can damage the metal components of your bolt carrier group.

Should I Lubricate My Bolt Carrier Group After Cleaning?

Yes, lubricating your bolt carrier group after cleaning is vital to maintain its function and longevity. Use a high-quality lubricant that is compatible with your firearm and apply it sparingly.

What Is The Proper Technique For Cleaning A Bolt Carrier Group?

Start by disassembling your bolt carrier group and removing excess dirt and debris. Use a cleaning solvent and brush to remove buildup, then dry off components with a clean rag. Finally, lubricate all parts according to manufacturer instructions.


As we come to the end of this in-depth guide, we hope you have gained valuable insights on how to clean a bolt carrier group. Regular maintenance of your firearm’s bolt carrier group is paramount to prevent malfunctioning and improve its longevity.

From disassembling the bolt carrier group to cleaning and reassembly, we have outlined the essential steps that you need to perform to keep your firearm in perfect condition. Remember that safety measures always come first, and using the appropriate cleaning tools and solvents is crucial.

Consistency in cleaning your bolt carrier group is the key as it prevents build-up of debris and fouling that can lead to malfunctions. Stay safe and keep your guns running in optimal condition by regularly cleaning your bolt carrier group.

Happy shooting!






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