With turkey season upon us, it’s time for a little spring cleaning. Most hunters will clean the bore and, if the gun’s an autoloader, the gas system, then call the job done. In fact, turkey guns are shot so infrequently that you could probably leave the barrel and the gas system alone year after year and have no problems whatsoever (not that you would, but you could).
Here are the parts that really need attention before the season: First, if you never took the camo tape off your gun last season–and you really should have–do it now. Peel the old tape off. Wipe any sticky residue away with rubbing alcohol.
You may be unpleasantly surprised to find rust spots under the tape. Apply a dab of Flitz Metal Polish to the spot with a moist cloth or sponge, then rub it with a dry towel.
Wipe the metal surfaces of the gun with an oily cloth and apply fresh tape. Promise me you’ll buy a couple of extra rolls and retape the gun if it gets soaked during the season. Backup tape is cheaper than reblueing the gun. (I realize there are turkey guns so rusty they’re actually held together by camo tape, but it should not be your goal to own one of them.)
If you can remove the trigger group and bolt easily, do so. Clean them with Rem Action Cleaner, brush the twigs and grass out of the receiver, then lightly oil the bolt and trigger group and reassemble the action. Dab a little oil on the grooves inside an auto’s receiver where the bolt travels and onto the action bars of pump guns.
If the trigger assembly doesn’t come out easily (the case with many older pumps and autos and a few new ones), remove the barrel, take the gun outside, and hold it with the buttstock up in the air over a pile of newspaper. Spray about a third of a can of Liquid Wrench up into the action and watch the junk run out. After the Liquid Wrench evaporates, shoot a tiny bit of Rem Oil inside.
Give the magazine tube the same treatment. We may not shoot turkey guns very often, but we load and unload them all the time. You’ll be surprised how much junk gets into the tube. Spray your Liquid Wrench in through the top of the magazine tube (where the plug goes). Once the tube dries, spray Rem Oil inside and work the follower back and forth to be sure it doesn’t stick in the field.
Unscrew your choke, give it a good soaking with Birchwood Casey Bore Scrubber, let it sit a few minutes, and scrub the plastic fouling off with a bronze brush. Dry the tube, lube the threads with choke-tube grease, and screw it in snugly but not overtight. While you’re at it, dab some grease on the magazine cap threads.
There, your gun’s clean. Now take it out and get it dirty.