Doesn't this thing require bullets or something?
January 2, 2007 8:05 PM   Subscribe

Gun care and the newbie. How do I care for my new single shot rifle?

I just purchased a used Springfield M6 Scout with a parkerized finish. This is my first firearm. Aside from the "Take the beginner safety class/all safety classes" (got that covered), what are some things I need?

Gun oil? Brushes? A lock or somesuch? I live alone and have no kids and never (or yet anyway) have entertained with children around. What are good storage options? Does the Parkerized finish have special care requirements?
posted by YoBananaBoy to Technology (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Head down to your local sporting goods store or gun shop (if you've got an honest-to-God gunsmith in your town, that'd be best), and talk to him or her. Experts are the best to talk to -- they'll most likely treat you right and probably know any specifics about your weapon that you'll have to be mindful of, and it looks like you're close enough to northern hunting country to find one or two of them.

But the basics are pretty simple: you can buy cleaning and oiling kits fairly inexpensively. They'll come with instructions for use, and of course Google is your friend.

I want to stress that if you want to take proper care of this thing, you must strip it, clean it and oil it after every use, no exceptions. I don't know about the Parkerized finish, but as long as you've got a good gun case, the climate control in your house or apartment will most likely do just fine.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:16 PM on January 2, 2007

Best answer: I have one of those, a couple of things to look out for: the break down pin that you remove is really easy to misplace, I found that the easiest way to keep tabs on it was to slightly cock the hammer slip the pin down one side and ease it forward again. Holds it in place really nicely without actually touching any of the moving parts. Also, the flip up cheek plate holds several .410 shotgun shells, but the plastic that it's made of is pretty soft. Be careful when working with it or it might crack (not a big deal if it does, it still holds shells just fine.)

As for oil; Break Free CLP is your friend. It is great for Cleaning Lubricating and Preserving (hence the name). Available at any gun shop. But good for just about everything that might need lubrication. (get yer minds out of the gutter, punks...)

As for cleaning, you are going to need two different brushes, a .410 shotgun (same brush as a .45 long Colt) and a .22. Brass brushes are good, but I would suggest a nylon one as well for the final pass. It helps get all the gunk that the brass brushes break loose.

Mine didn't come with one, but a cheap .22 scope makes the rifle a lot more fun to shoot, and if yours came with the case, it should have a spot for storing it.

I can put up pictures if you have any questions.
posted by quin at 8:17 PM on January 2, 2007

And run a wipe with a drop or two of oil before firing too, it'll make cleanup easier.
posted by furtive at 8:19 PM on January 2, 2007

Looks like there's a place in Bellevue called Wade's that offers instruction and has an indoor firing range. And yes, Virginia, they have real gunsmiths onsite.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:20 PM on January 2, 2007

Storage: I think a gun safe, like the cheap kind you can buy at walmart, is a smart idea. You don't really know when someone will bring their five year old over, or your friend visiting from out of town will bring home some random guy from the bar, or whatever. A trigger lock is better than nothing, but I prefer the gun safe because it keeps small fingers away.

For the rest of your questions, do you you have a small, local gun shop in your town? The kind of place with a cranky old owner and a big NRA sign in the window is best. The prices there on ammunition and cleaning supplies and so on are higher than at chain sporting goods stores, but there is pretty much no substitute for getting good information. (And they will know where you can shoot locally, applicable laws, etc.)

Ideally, your town will have at least two of these stores, and you'll click with one of them. Small towns sometimes have only one, and the owner's personality can be kind of strong...

If your rifle didn't come with an owner's manual, see if you can get it from the manufacturer. Some have them on the websites, others you have to call and ask them to send you a copy.

Cleaning kits are available anywhere --- chain stores, local gun stores, online --- and can be found from cheap to way upmarket. Start basic and go from there.
posted by Forktine at 8:31 PM on January 2, 2007

Best answer: This is a gun that should never be dry fired, so do not snap it down on an empty chamber. The hammer selector and the firing pins do not stand up to it well. Clean from the breach end, it saves wear at the muzzle. This gun folds down so small that a locked box will be an easy safe storage, because of the lever trigger a standard trigger lock won't work. On mine the ammo holder in the buttstock is not really deep enough for the 22 hornet ammo so softpoints tend to mushroom out just in storage so do not leave them in there. This may not be an issue if you got the .22 rimfire. The sights are a pain to adjust and can involve tapping the rear sight to the side for windage and filing the front sight for elevation so take it slow and try not to mess with it. Do not let dust accumulate as it attracts moisture and rust. These are nifty guns, have fun and play safe
posted by Iron Rat at 9:04 PM on January 2, 2007

Response by poster: As a follow up, it doesn't have a scope. I am just trying to learn to shoot a rifle. Maybe a scope when I will be able to notice the difference.

It is the .22 LR, not the .22 Hornet. I read that the ammo for the LR was cheaper and easier to find. Since I only want to learn to shoot accurately, lots of cheap bullets seemed like a good thing.

Does it matter that it was stamped by Springfield rather then CZ?

I had never been interested in guns. I had 33 years of anti-gun rhetoric snap-back when I saw this rifle ... all my misgivings with the NRA went out the window. And I bought it.

posted by YoBananaBoy at 9:27 PM on January 2, 2007

Following up on one of Iron Rat's points, the trigger is a lever type and as such, operation can be a little different from your standard rifle. I find that most comfortable way to fire mine is to wrap my index finger around the outside of the trigger guard (there is a depression just for this) and use my middle finger to actually engage the trigger. It seems a bit counter-intuitive, but I found it much more comfortable.

I would also follow Iron Rat's suggestion of getting a locking case. It's really the only way to keep the thing safe. And storing it in two pieces is a great way to keep it from being immediately dangerous.
posted by quin at 9:34 PM on January 2, 2007

I know nothing about your particular gun, but some general advice for 22LR: get a metre or so of nylon 'weedwhacker' line. Mine is a lime green in colour, and it's maybe 2-3mm thick. Heat up one end with a lighter and squash it down to make a knob. cut the other end on an angle to make a sharp point. To clean the rifle, take a 1 inch square patch of cotton and pierce it with the nylon line. Run the patch down until it is stopped by the knob on the other end. Spray some oil into the barrel through the breech and then feed the pointy end p towards the muzzle. Once it pokes out, pull the whole thing through, dragging the patch up the bore. You shouldn't need to do it more than a couple of times to clean light powder fouling. Works like a charm, and the cleaning kit fits in your pocket.

Other folks seem to like this method as well.
posted by tim_in_oz at 9:41 PM on January 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Maybe a scope when I will be able to notice the difference.

That's sort of the wrong way to look at it. Being able to shoot with open sights is a worthwhile skill and it's how I shoot 99% of the time. But a scope will make a difference at just about any skill level.

22 LR is the cheapest you can find. The last time I bought some it was $8/500, though prices have probably gone up some. But buy a box of 500 since it's a much better deal that way and you'll go through it sooner or later. If you get copper plated bullets cleaning will be easier.
posted by 6550 at 9:46 PM on January 2, 2007

It is the .22 LR, not the .22 Hornet. I read that the ammo for the LR was cheaper and easier to find. Since I only want to learn to shoot accurately, lots of cheap bullets seemed like a good thing.

Cheap Bullets are indeed a Good Thing. .22 LR is about the most perfect round to learn to shoot with. It's inexpensive, low recoil, and low decibel. And every thing you learn when shooting your .22 will be perfectly applicable to larger rounds should you decide later to get something bigger. As an added bonus, the .22 LR is both a pistol and rifle cartridge (despite the naming convention), which means that if some point you want to try using a handgun, you can get one in the same caliber and swap the ammo back and forth between them.

Does it matter that it was stamped by Springfield rather then CZ?

Not unless you are a collector, and with that particular rifle, not really even then.

I had never been interested in guns. I had 33 years of anti-gun rhetoric snap-back when I saw this rifle ... all my misgivings with the NRA went out the window. And I bought it.

The Scout is an interesting rifle. If memory serves, it was originally designed for downed pilots. That's why it has the .22/ 410 configuration. The idea being that you could use the .22 for small game and the 410 for birds. Basically a survival rifle to keep you alive till help came. It's not much more than a scaled up over/ under Derringer, and has a trigger to match.

Which is to say, as much as I love the Scout, the trigger isn't indicative of a really precision rifle. Most .22 single shots are going to rely on their precise engineering to make 'every shot count'. A lot of that precision depends on the trigger break, and it's one of the few areas that the Scout isn't that strong. Which isn't to say that it's not an accurate gun. If you can get good with yours, you will easily be able to transition into more precision marksmanship, as every rifle you fire after it will have an easier trigger to use (see my above comment about using my middle finger instead of my index).

I have no doubt that you will get many years of useful service out of it. Congrats on your purchase.


My feelings about the NRA aside, welcome to gun ownership. They will not keep you safe, they do not imbue you with power, but as long as you follow basic safety steps, they are a joy to play with. I find few things more enjoyable than hitting the range and seeing if I am better than the last time I shot. It sounds like you bought on a whim. That is awesome. Take pleasure in your purchase and practice your skill every chance you get. You will come to appreciate the minor improvements you make with every session.


posted by quin at 10:30 PM on January 2, 2007

Best answer: I'm a longtime gun owner and just thought I'd chime in with a few thoughts.

First, and this is certainly a debatable point, I am not a huge fan of Break-Free CLP. In military situations, where it's impractical to have both a solvent and a lubricant, I can see why it would be beneficial. But unless space is at a real premium in your home, I'd say it's worth buying two separate products. For the solvent/cleaner, get yourself some Hoppes "No. 9" Powder Solvent. (Any gun store or even Walmart.) This is the stuff you put on the brushes and patches when you're cleaning the bore and other parts that come into contact with powder residue. And then separately, some nice light gun oil for lubrication after you're done cleaning. IMO, you will save yourself time by cleaning and then lubricating, rather than trying to use a 'one size fits all' CLP product; Hoppes is far better at breaking down powder residue than CLP. (Also, Hoppes can be reused; pour the dirty stuff into a Mason jar, give it a week to settle, and then you can carefully pour or siphon off the clean liquid from the top.)

Also, don't overscrub. Unless the barrel is heavily fouled, there's no reason to run a brass (or even a nylon) brush more than once or maybe twice. Then, switch to cotton cleaning patches. I suspect that more rifle bores have been ruined due to overzealous cleaning than due to neglect over the years. And don't ever push or pull the brush past the muzzle, it only goes in and out from the breech end. If you accidentally push it out the muzzle, don't pull it back down the barrel, take it out from that end and put it back in the breech. This is so you don't wear the crown of the barrel, which is critical to accuracy. Also, get a one-piece cleaning rod if you can find one, rather than the common tent-pole variety; the joints between the sections can scratch the inside of a small bore. (This is minor, don't lose sleep over it if you can't find one immediately.)

Although this is probably anathema to some folks, I'd argue that if you are storing your guns in a low-moisture environment (if your house isn't dry, some silica gel crystals in your gun box helps) and shooting it every weekend, I wouldn't clean the bore every time you're done shooting. I've heard various figures, but every time you run a brass brush up your bore, it's the equivalent wear of dozens of rounds of ball ammo -- that's probably thousands of rounds of soft lead .22LRs. You shouldn't be afraid to clean your guns, but don't do it obsessively (major exception: guns to be taken into the field and exposed to dust, dirt, etc., doubly so if you're depending on it to save your life).

I've probably said a dozen things just now that would probably start a holy war in most gun stores, but you're going to find that one of the charms of gun ownership and 'shooting culture' in general, is that on any topic, given 5 people and the same question, you'll always have at least 6 distinct opinions.

Have fun!
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:26 PM on January 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Crap. I hate being a 'gun guy' and repeatedly commenting to threads like this, but Kadin2048 makes a good point. My suggestion of CLP was more from the end-of-day the gun is clean and I want to keep it that way kind of thing. His/ Her suggestion of Hoppes is well recommended. It stinks like Hell itself, but it will make your barrel clean. I wouldn't actually recommend CLP for cleaning the entire gun in anything but the most grievous of circumstances. CLP is awesome at keeping your gun clean, but to really get rid of the ick that will form from shooting, Hoppes is well suggested.

Just don't smell it. Really, it's about the worst thing ever.
posted by quin at 11:45 PM on January 2, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the lowdown, all. I was looking for specific to the M6 Scout, but y'all gave me plenty to follow up on.

quin, I was counting on the 'gun guys' showing up for this question. So revel in your gun-nuttiness. There is an audience scribbling all of this down.

Or at least favoriting it.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 12:33 AM on January 3, 2007

The M6 Scout is pretty fun. A friend of mine has one.

As the others have said, there are are more than a few ways to skin a cat.

* Don't over-oil or over-clean it. That's something that people often do.
* Safes are fairly easy to find and you won't need a huge one. you can pick up a decent Stack-On safe for $250.
* Try to stick to one kind of ammo if it's feasable. Since you're firing .22 LR, that's not too difficult, and the stuff is plenty cheap.
* Read up on the local gun laws, especially regarding transportation to & from the range. In Washington, they're not too bad. Here in California, they can get really peculiar. A simple padlock on your case should suffice.
* Never transport it loaded.

And congrats on your purchase. They're a lot of fun, even if you're just plinking away at beer cans and old hard drives. Also, kudos on taking some beginner/safety classes. I think that is an excellent idea.
posted by drstein at 10:19 AM on January 3, 2007

Response by poster: Just for posterity, I found this on gun cleaning.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 1:15 PM on January 3, 2007

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