How To Clean A Ruger 10/22 Rifle

Keeping your guns in good condition is one of the most important ways to make sure they last and remain accurate for as long as possible. Cleaning your Ruger 10/22 is one of the basic things you need to do if you want to keep it in good condition.

Here’s everything you need to know about cleaning your Ruger 10/22

Why Cleaning Your Ruger 10/22 Is Important

Cleaning your gun is about more than keeping it looking nice. A clean gun is more likely to fire accurately, less likely to misfire, barring ammo failure, and less likely to rust or corrode over time. Keeping your Ruger 10/22 clean is one of the best things you can do to have an accurate picture of your shooting skill and to keep your rifle in top condition as it ages. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Ruger 10/22

There’s a lot of debate over how often you should clean your rifle, and the truth is that no answer is perfect for everyone. The military recommends cleaning your gun every day, which is great if you have the time to disassemble your gun and give it a good polish that often. However, most of us don’t need to clean our guns every day, or the time to make that happen. 

One rule of thumb is to clean your gun every 500 rounds. However, that’s a pretty generous estimate and you’ll probably notice that your gun isn’t grouping as tightly well before you hit the 500 round mark. If you’re looking to accurately assess your shooting skill, or want to get good on-target results, you should probably clean your gun closer to ever 100-200 rounds.

You can also see our guide on which are the best scopes for Ruger 10/22.

Another way to look at it is that you should clean your gun anytime it’s shot, but only after the shooting session is over. That way you can go to the range and put however many rounds down range as you like without having to worry about cleaning. 

Just make sure you clean your Ruger 10/22 before you go shooting next!

Figuring out a cleaning schedule that works for you is important. Try to clean too often and you might find yourself putting it off or ignoring it.

What Do You Need To Clean A Ruger 10/22

Of course, you shouldn’t just go submerging your gun in some water and hoping for the best. Any responsible gun owner needs to have a gun cleaning kit, and the equipment you need is pretty universal whether you’re looking to clean a Ruger 10/22 or any other gun. 

  • Gun cleaning solvent
  • Lubricating oil
  • Bore snake or cleaning rod
  • Cleaning rags
  • Swab/Q-tips
  • Metal brush
  • Small brass and plastic brushes
  • Aerosol spray (optional)

The aerosol spray is used to help clean your trigger assembly to keep it working smoothly and clear of debris. If you aren’t cleaning your trigger assembly, you don’t need that particular tool. 

Aside from the cleaning solvent, bore snake, and cleaning rags, the rest of these tools are semi-optional. They’ll all help you get a higher quality clean and need cleaning less often, but you can do a basic cleaning without the extras. 

What Parts Should You Clean?

Knowing what parts need cleaning on your Ruger 10/22 is one of the more important parts of making sure you do a good job. Many people just clean out the barrel and call it good, but more thorough cleaning, at least some of the time, will help keep your gun in better condition. 

  1. Barrel and Extractor Slot
  2. Bolt Assembly
  3. Trigger Assembly
  4. Magazine

Cleaning all four parts every time isn’t entirely necessary, but you should make sure everything gets some attention every few cleanings. 

Steps To Clean Your Ruger 10/22

Now that you know what you need to effectively clean your Ruger 10/22, let’s talk about cleaning it effectively. 

Step 1: Disassemble Your Ruger 10/22

You can’t effectively or safely clean a fully assembled Ruger 10/22, so the first step is to disassemble the firearm so you can clean each section. 

The first step on a Ruger 10/22 is to loosen the front band and take it off the rifle. Next, you’ll loosen the barrel screw, underneath the stock. 

Remove the pins in the trigger assembly, which will allow you to disconnect them from the rest of the firearm. Disconnecting your trigger assembly is still a good idea even if you aren’t cleaning it because then you don’t have to worry about the trigger assembly getting in the way. 

Lastly, you’ll remove the charging handle and bolt on your Ruger 10/22.

Step 2: Clean The Barrel And Receiver

The barrel and receiver are the two dirtiest parts of your gun, so they’re the parts that need the most of your time and attention. There are optional mounts and other accessories you can get to make cleaning your gun barrel easier, but they aren’t necessary. 

You’ll need your cleaning solvent, bore snake or cleaning rod, rags, bore brush, and lubricating oil for this step. 

First, push your bore brush through the barrel several times until it comes out clean. Do not pull your bore brush back through the barrel since it’s more likely to scratch and add wear and tear to your barrel if you do. 

Once the bore brush is coming through clean, you’ll want to switch to cleaning rags on your bore snake or cleaning rod. Use the oil on your cleaning rag and run them through the barrel until they come out clean. Replace the rag every couple of passes until they come through clean. 

Next, clean the receiver with your cleaning solvent and wire brush. Remember, while the wire brush is helpful it can damage the gun if you’re too aggressive. Patience and a soft grip are important here. 

Clean your extractor and receiver to help avoid rust and corrosion.

Step 3: Clean The Trigger Assembly (Optional)

If you’re going to clean your trigger assembly, that should be the next step. This step is simple. Use your aerosol spray to coat the trigger assembly intact. Soak your trigger assembly for a few minutes (you can leave it while you complete the next step).

Use a clean rag to wipe and dry the entire trigger assembly. It must be completely dry before you reassemble. 

Step 4: Clean The Bolt Assembly

For the bolt assembly, you want to be relatively gentle, but thorough. Use your cotton swaps or Q-tips for this step. Soak the cotton swabs in solvent to gently clean, then soak up excess solvent with clean swabs. 

Lubricate the bolt assemble with clean cotton swabs and the lubricating oil. 

Step 5: Clean Your Magazine

Keeping your magazine clean is important for both the life of the magazine itself and the life of your rifle. A clean magazine feeds much more easily than a dirty one and will have less damage from general wear and tear. 

Use a soft brush to take care of any visible debris on your magazine. Next, use cotton swabs and your solvent to help clean out any remaining dirt, grease, or debris. Dry with cotton swabs. 

Next, use a couple of drops of oil to help lubricate your magazine. 

Step 6: Reassemble Your Ruger 10/22

If you followed our guide for disassembling your Ruger, putting it back together shouldn’t be too difficult. We haven’t fully stripped the gun, so it won’t take nearly as long to reassemble. 

Start by replacing the receiver and bolt assembly, followed by the trigger assembly. Use a little lubricating oil on the barrel action to help preserve it. Reattach the barrel stock and front ring. Coat everything in a thin layer of oil to protect the firearm, especially if you aren’t going to be using it again soon. 

That’s it, your Ruger 10/22 is clean and ready to go!