Cleaning A Beretta Gas Barrel

Dear Technoid,

I love my 390, but I hate to clean it. It takes longer to get all the dirt off my hands than it does to clean the gun. Do you use gloves when cleaning your guns? If so, what kind?


Vic Charlottesville, VA

Dear Vic,

Painless cleaning of a Beretta gas gun? You gotta be kidding! You are definitely not asking the right person. I talk big, but when push comes to shove, I tend to run my gas guns until they stop. Then my cleaning usually amounts to just a squirt or two of BreakFree CLP on the piston and bolt. I add oil. I don’t change it.

Of course, this isn’t the right thing to do at all. I suppose I should lick my Beretta 303 clean after every 100 rounds. But the gun doesn’t seem to mind and it has over 80K and still going strong.

When I do clean it, I use rubber “examining” gloves available at any drug store. Gun cleaning solvents go through them pretty quickly so heavier chemical-proof gloves would be better. Get them at your home supply place. One of these days.

Strip the gun down to its basic components: barrel, bolt, carrier, piston, trigger group, receiver, forend. Spray or paint everything with a nice coat of gun solvent and go have a beer. Let the solvent do the work for you for 1/2 an hour. Then scrub everything with paper towels. A little aerosol “Gun Scrubber” or compressed air is often helpful on the inside of the receiver and trigger group, but do it over an empty clay target box in case the air pressure blows an important little piece out. Makes it easier to find. Trust me, that’s good advice. I scrub the inside of the piston with a plumber’s solder brush of correct ID on a drill. You can get them at the home supply place for $1.50 or pay $15.00 for one with a fancy name in the magazine. They are stainless, but don’t seem to have hurt the piston yet. I use a 50 cal surplus brush on my chamber and a 10 bore brush on a drill on my barrel. Make sure to remove the chokes and carefully clean the threaded part of the barrel plus all the chokes.

Then I put a light coat of BreakFree CLP on everything and go out and shoot another 5,000 rounds. A Canadian pal of mine has put an ungodly number of rounds through a 390 with just adding a bit of BreakFree CLP every now and then. Never cleaning. I won’t say how many round because you won’t believe me, but it’s many, many times more than 5K. The gun worked fine. I do think that the type of powder used in his shells has something to do with it though. You wouldn’t get that far with really dirty powder.

And now the caveat: The above procedure is what I do, not necessarily what smarter and more sensitive people do. There are as many ways to clean a gun as there are shooters. All of them work if they are done frequently. I’m not saying that my method is any better than any one else’s. If another shooters says that the only way to clean a gun is with forceps and ambergris, I won’t argue. If what ever you are doing works for you, then don’t change. I should also add that I treat my nicer O/Us and SxS VERY differently. Still, my old 303 just keeps clunking along. Once every two years it gets a new part of some sort, catches its breath and then starts up again. My “backup” 303 Closet Queen is still unfired after 15 years of waiting in the wings. I must be doing something right.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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1 Response to Cleaning A Beretta Gas Barrel

  1. Bob Shemeld says:

    When I entered Marine Corps boot camp, among the many things we were issued was a small bottle of Wisk laundry detergent which, at the time, I assumed was for laundry. I was wrong.

    After our final inspection, just prior to leaving boot camp for other wondrous worlds we were told to break out the bottle of Wisk.

    We broke down our rifles, at the time M-14’s, into its smallest parts then proceeded to maliciously clean each part with Wisk, hot water and a tooth brush. Once the parts were rinsed with more hot water and declared clean by the presiding drill instructor, they were dried with rags then placed in warm ovens were they remained for about an hour. Dry and clean the rifles were reassembled ready for the next lucky boot.

    I will add that I have never used this method on my Beretta 687 EELL.


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