How To Clean A Gun Magazine? Learn In Simple 7 Steps

Many gun owners know that they need to clean their guns to prevent rust and jamming at a critical time. Yet relatively few know that they need to clean the magazine in their semi-automatic gun or their bolt-action rifle.

Others make the mistake of cleaning the magazine the wrong, interfering in the gun’s performance. If you want to know how to clean a gun magazine, here are 7 simple steps.

Let's Get Down To Learn How To Clean A Gun Magazine Step By Step

Step 1: Take the appropriate safety measures.

Take the appropriate safety measures.

Wear protective gear, whether you are cleaning the whole gun or just the magazine. Wear gloves, so that the cleaning chemicals don’t get on your hands. Wear protective goggles, because you don’t want the spring in a spring loaded magazine flying out and hitting you in the eye.

Step 2: Disassemble it.

The first step in cleaning any gun is removing the magazine and making certain it is unloaded. Disassemble the magazine before you try to deep clean it. You can’t remove much dirt with cotton swaps or cleaning cloths if it is still intact.

The first step in cleaning any gun is removing the magazine and making certain it is unloaded

How to use ultrasonic cleaner for magazine?

Do not simply drop the whole thing in an ultrasonic cleaner. This will strip the paint from a metal magazine, and it could damage plastic magazines and their followers.

You can put individual pieces of the disassembled magazine like the metal springs into the ultrasonic cleaner, assuming you have ultrasonic gun cleaning solution. 

Regular ultrasonic cleaning solution contains salts that can react with the metal. That means you’re going to have to follow several additional steps to get the magazine clean.

READ Also: Top 7 Best Gun Cleaning Mats (The Buying Guide)

Step 3: Inspect the components.

This is the ideal time to replace worn components like springs. There are repair and upgrade kits you can use for that. Otherwise, you’re going to get ready to clean the magazine.

But this still starts with a thorough inspection. Look for dirt, carbon and rust. It is easy to scrub off dust, but rust requires something different. If you have polymer magazines, inspect the magazine release slot. 

Use a diamond file to smooth the edges

Inspect the components of magazine.

You may want to use a diamond file to smooth the edges so that the magazine won’t stick. If you have a metal pistol magazine, the release slot and the feed lips are two areas to inspect for damage and make repairs, if necessary. 

Rusting areas on steel magazines may need to be treated with a buffing wheel, once you’ve cleaned it, though it will need to be cleaned again after you’ve buffed it. If the key components are severely worn, you may skip the cleaning and replace the magazine

An important Note

Note that magazines are intended to be consumables, so they do need to be periodically replaced. This is in contrast to the well-maintained gun that can last for years. But if the magazine is serviceable, you can go ahead and start cleaning it.

Step 4: Break out the cleaning solution.

Clean the magazine with a residue-free solvent. Fortunately, most gun cleaning products are safe to use on magazines as long as it matches the material.

Step 5: Clean the gun.

Use special brushes when cleaning the magazine; these will not be the same brushes you used to clean the gun bore

Use special brushes when cleaning the magazine; these will not be the same brushes you used to clean the gun bore. We’d recommend a stiff-bristled magazine brush. You can use a soft cloth and run it through the magazine to remove fine dust and small particles, after you’ve scrubbed it.

Use an alcohol wipe to clean dust

You can use an alcohol wipe to clean dust off a gun when you’re at a dusty range, but don’t use them while you’re cleaning the magazines unless you’re going to further clean the gun.

We’d recommend cleaning the magazines both pre-season and post-season. You should also clean the magazine when you’re cleaning the rest of the gun.

Step 6: Remove the cleaning solution.

Remove the cleaning solution.

Remove the cleaner. You’ll apply a light coat of oil to metal magazines. Use dry lube on the springs. After you’ve rubbed the cleaner, let everything dry. Never lubricate magazines.

Step 7: Reassemble and do a functional test.

Reassemble the magazine in the reverse order of the disassembly process. Then do a functional check. Do the bullets in the magazine slide up smoothly? Reassemble the gun and do a functional check, minus the bullets.

Does the magazine slide securely into place? Does the trigger work appropriately? If something isn’t right, you may need to clean it or repair it. Manually cycling the gun once there is ammo in it will find binding and feeding issues.


Your magazines need to be cleaned almost as often as the gun itself, though you can include the magazine in your regular gun cleaning routine. This is necessary to keep the gun in good working order.

James Murk

Good day. This is James Murk. I'm an experienced person who hunts deers, turkey, owls, squirrels, and more animals for 6+ years. is a personal blog where I share every piece of knowledge that must help you. Enjoy my hunting!

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