Spring…when a man’s mind turns to….well, ok, it’s already there, as per male SOP….but it should ALSO turn to making sure the winter weapons and equipment set up is inspected and modified for more temperate use.
Here’s a few things you need to consider:
- Personal Defense Carbine/Rifle: I always use the opportunity for the Spring or Winter ‘Re-Lube’ as a great reason to do a deep-cleaning of the entire rifle. Everything I can get to without being a qualified armorer. The idea is to ensure that should SHTF, your platform is operating at optimum rather than minimal performance.
- Buffer Tube – AR users need to pull the buffer and spring, take a cloth and wipe out the tube. Take a very, very light coating of lubricant and coat the inside of the tube; lightly coat the spring and buffer, and reassemble.
- Chamber – Get some ‘Tapco’ brand lug pads for the AR, and clean the lug recesses as well as the lug area forward of the recesses. Don’t worry about lubricating this area. The light coat of lubricant on the AR bolt assembly will take care of any needs in that area
- Bolt Carrier Group and Bolt – All types should be detail disassembled, cleaned, and lubricated. Consider replacing any springs, and on the AR, the gas rings.
- Barrel – A good, thorough cleaning, even if you have (and you should) a chrome lined barrel. A touch of Sweet’s 7.62 or Barnes on a patch to clean up any copper residue is a good idea. Make sure that you finish up with Hoppe’s or some other good solvent to neutralize the ammonia in the Sweet’s or Barnes before you dry patch it. By the by, chrome lined barrels do not need a light coating of oil (new shooters, this is for you) between firings. Just clean it and dry patch it. You’re good to go.
- Flash Suppressor/Muzzle Brake – Make sure you clean the flanges or anywhere carbon can collect. Over time it’s possible for collected carbon to corrode/pit your FS/MB.
- Gas System – Clean it as best you can. M1 Garand and M-14 type rifle systems are pretty easy to clean, and it gives you a chance to inspect the piston for wear as well. For the non-piston driven AR’s, a long pipe cleaner can carefully be used to run through the gas tube, though this is really not a necessary step if you’re using decent ammo.
- Optics – Check the base to see that it’s solid and the optics don’t move, even a tiny amount. Check the glass for damage, fog, or anything that causes your sight picture to be less than optimal. Optics with tritium need to be taken into a dark room and checked for operation. Fiber Optics equipment need to be taken into daylight and checked.
- Iron sights – Take a brush and clean out any debris that has gathered. Check to see if the rear of the front sight post and the rear of the peep sight is flat black and that nothing is obstructing the peep sight. A dab of flat black Krylon will take care of any shiny spots.
- Trigger Group – Get any/all ‘gunk’ out. Check for unusual wear. Re-lube with either CLP or grease (depending on the platform and spec requirements) – personally, as I run an AR, I use either Gunslick or Froglube, depending on what I’m looking at.
- Magazines – Unload, disassemble, and wipe out. Lightly coat springs and the internal mag walls (for steel mags). Reassemble, reload.
- Sidearm: Same sort of check as the Personal Defense Carbine/Rifle, with obvious exceptions. Make sure you function check both before putting back in the ‘ready rack.
- Load Bearing Equipment/Vest/Ruck Sack/3 Day (Assault) Pack: No matter the style you prefer, now’s the time to clean and check for wear, frays, cuts, or anything that could possibly cause it to break when you don’t want it to….like during a SHTF scenario, or even in a NPT training exercise. Check buckles, straps, pouches, etc. A good idea is to take everything in your LBE out, launder it (water, a small amount of soap (we prefer ‘Sport Wash’ as it doesn’t use UV brighteners), and a hand brush, and clean it. Let it dry thoroughly, then coat it liberally with ‘Camp Dry’ or something similar. Let hang until the tell-tale odor is gone, and it’s cured.
- Gore-Tex Jackets: Here’s how to ‘rejuvinate’ your Gore-Tex: http://www.gore-tex.com/remote/Satellite/content/care-center/restoring-water-repellency
How to Restore Water Repellency
Machine wash your garment as described in the wash instructions. Line dry your garment, or tumble dry it on a warm, gentle cycle.
Once it is dry, tumble dry your garment for 20 minutes to reactivate the durable water-repellent (DWR) treatment on the outer fabric.
If unable to tumble dry, iron the dry garment on gentle setting (warm, no steam) by placing a towel or cloth between the garment and the iron. This will help reactivate the DWR treatment on your garment’s outer fabric.
When the factory applied treatment can no longer be reactivated, apply a new water-repellent treatment available as a pump-spray or wash-in product to the garment’s outer fabric.
We do not recommend the use of waterproofing waxes or greases as they can seriously affect the footwear’s breathability. Apply only treatments, polishes, conditioners, and dressings recommended by the manufacturer. Always check the manufacturer’s care instructions on the label of your footwear first.
- Boots & Socks: Check for splits, sole separation, cuts, holes or anything that would cause them to fail in hard use. Consider replacing laces with paracord.
- Used Up supplies: Replace the food, fire starters, TP, or anything else expendable you had in your rucksack and expended during your fall and winter training.
- Sleeping Bag/Tarp Shelter: Get them laundered/cleaned. If you use our recommended brand of sleeping bag, Wiggy’s, you’ll find that they are designed to be washed, unlike ‘other’ brands.
- Edged Weapons/Tools: Inspect the edges for chips and flat spots. Sharpen as necessary. Here at DTG, at least for knives, if they don’t shave hair, they’re not ready for the field. This includes your ‘combat’ or general purpose field knife, folders, and multi-tools. If you carry a ‘hawk, machete, or e-tool, they should be reasonably sharp.
Ok, that’s about it for ‘Spring Time Shake-Up’. If you have any ideas that might help folks do even better, please add them in the comments.