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How to Take Care of Your Shotgun During Waterfowl Season

The shotgun is the most versatile equipment in a waterfowl hunter’s arsenal. It can last for years if it’s taken care of properly. If you’re willing to do some maintenance work on it regularly, even for decades. It pays off to clean guns as part of your off-season preparation. But it’s crucial to keep it clean and ready during the season.

Oil Your Gun Regularly, But Don’t Use Too Much Oil

Every gun needs to be oiled. But be careful. You aren’t making fries; you’re taking care of your shotgun. All right, a clumsy metaphor, but you know what we wanted to say. Here is how to oil your gun without causing any damage:

  • Use a light oil, not WD-40. Using thick, heavy grease on your shotgun can be counterproductive. Too much lube will attract dirt and dust to the gun and make it harder for moisture to evaporate.
  • Oil the action, not the barrel. The action must move freely, so there’s no friction between moving parts when you fire off a shell of ammunition.
  • Oil the magazine tube, not the trigger guard or buttstock. This prevents unnecessary wear on parts that shouldn’t have any contact with each other during operation.

Take Care of the Stock

You can keep your shotgun stock looking and feeling like new by cleaning it regularly and taking care to protect it from the elements.

There are several ways to clean your shotgun stock. You can use soap and water, but if you want to clean stubborn dirt or grime, try using a specialized cleaning product instead. Do not expose the wood of your gunstock to harsh chemicals that could damage or discolor it.

Once you’ve cleaned your gunstock with any product, be sure to dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth before putting it away for storage or transport in case of rain or snowfall.

Clean the Shotgun Barrel

The first step in cleaning your shotgun barrel is to ensure that the firearm is unloaded and then attach a cleaning rod to the muzzle of your gun. Next, apply some solvent to a patch and run it down through the barrel by hand. You may find that you need more than one patch. Do not use sandpaper or steel wool on the inside of the barrel!

When you have completed this process, remove any residue inside each chamber using patches soaked with solvent or by rubbing with dry cloths soaked in oil.

Check the Magazine

To check a shotgun magazine, you’ll want to start by checking its spring. If there are any signs of wear or damage, consider replacing the spring with a new one. Next, look at the feed lips around the base of each round inside your chamber. These feed lips should be smooth and free from dents or cracks. If they aren’t, that could mean trouble in the future because they’ll eventually crack under pressure.

Clean the Action

Cleaning the action is vital because it keeps your gun working. You could have problems with jamming or misfires if it isn’t clean. It’s also a good idea to clean the action after each hunt. Dirt and debris can build up quickly in this area of a firearm during hunting season.

Here are some tips for cleaning a shotgun action:

  • Use an oiled rag or paper towel to wipe away all excess dirt from the action before starting to clean it. Make sure not to use any solvents on aluminum surfaces that might scratch them!
  • Apply solvent onto a toothbrush and scrub away at any caked dirt stuck inside small crevices (such as around trigger guards). If necessary, spray more solvent into these areas before scrubbing again until they are free from built-up residue.

Keep it Dry

The best way to ensure your shotgun remains in top condition is by keeping it dry. That means storing it during the off-season and keeping it out of the elements while in use.

If you’re going to be hunting waterfowl, don’t leave your gun in a boat or car. Don’t leave it out overnight or on rainy days. Even if it’s under a roof because moisture can make it rust.


Waterfowl season is a great time to get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. But it can also be dangerous if you don’t take care of your shotgun. By following these tips, you help yourself to have a great time in nature. And to be even more sure you’ll have a memorable experience, book a Reelfoot lake guided duck hunt.

2023 Season Photos

Flooded Timber