Shotguns need to be cleaned like any other tool or item that you use frequently. Some gun owners just don’t realize that every time they fire their shotgun, it leaves a little bit of residue inside the barrel, action, and chamber of the gun. This residue is actually made up of tiny particles called “fouling” which come from the shells that you’ve fired. The fouling particles are generated from the used birdshot, buckshot, slugs, wad, and gunpowder. Each time you fire a shell, a little bit of this residue is left behind inside the shotgun. If you don’t clean up the residue on a regular basis, it will build up over time and eventually impair the functionality of the weapon. In addition, excessive sweat and moisture build up in the shotgun could cause the weapon’s metal parts to become corroded. Once this happens, these parts of the gun will become rusty and cause your gun to malfunction.
There are four types of fouling you’ll commonly find inside a used shotgun; carbon, copper, lead, and plastic. Carbon comes from the burnt gunpowder which is used to propel the ammunition out of the chamber and through the barrel. You don’t usually see the carbon particles, but they spread inside the chamber and even get on the shooter’s hands. Copper particles may be there after you shoot if the slugs are jacketed with copper (sabot slugs). As for the projectiles inside of the shotshells, they are all typically made out of lead material. This means when you fire the shotshells in your shotgun, lead residue from the projectiles will get left in your barrel after you fire them. And finally, the plastic from the wads of the shells will create plastic residue that gets left behind as well.
When searching for the best shotgun cleaning kit, there are three cleaning kits in particular that you should pay attention to because they are affordable and highly regarding amongst gun enthusiasts. They are the Beretta Shotgun Cleaning Kit, the Tetra ValuPro III Shotgun Cleaning, and Hoppe’s No. 9 Cleaning Kit. All three of these cleaning kits can be purchased online and shipped right to your doorstep. Some of these cleaning kits cater to specific shotgun brands and calibers while others are more versatile and can be used to clean multiple types of shotguns. But no matter which one you choose, it will certainly be worth the investment in order to sustain the life expectancy and functionality of your shotguns.