Blank Gun

Most gun owners know that firearms need to be cleaned regularly to keep them in safe working order. Did you know the same is true for blank guns? Let's take a look at the proper procedures, precautions, and safety measures to use to clean and care for blank guns.

Why Clean and the Procedure for Cleaning

Blank guns use cartridges that contain gunpowder, just like live ammo. The difference is that a blank doesn't have a bullet, but uses paper or plastic wadding to contain the gunpowder instead. Since both live and blank ammo contain gunpowder, however, both leave residue, sediment, and debris behind in the chamber of the gun from the explosion created when firing the cartridge. The same fouling, rust, and potential for malfunctions, exist for both blank guns and firearms using live ammo when cleaning is neglected. In fact, because modern cartridges in live ammo often use smokeless propellants, there could be MORE residue left in a blank gun than a firearm that fires live ammo.

Generally, it is recommended that firearms be cleaned after every use. Guns using blanks are no different. If you want the confidence that the blank gun will function perfectly for its next use, regular cleaning is essential. The steps for cleaning either are basically the same—though because of the way some blank guns are made, they may actually be more difficult to clean than a regular firearm.

You will need a basic gun cleaning kit, which consists of solvent, gun oil, a bore brush, a patch holder (with patches), and a cleaning rod. You can add Q-tips, a flashlight, and rags, as well. To use the kit:

  1. Make sure the blank gun is unloaded. Keep it pointed in a safe direction while cleaning as an added precaution.
  2. Field strip the gun. The guns will vary in how they are broken into components, and in the number of components it will break into—so check the manufacturer's instructions for this.
  3. Attach the bore brush to the cleaning rod and push solvent back and forth in the barrel. This may be difficult in some blank guns because of the way the barrel is restricted. Some blank guns have a solid barrel, and have a small vent to the side or top instead, to prevent any discharge out of the barrel. Obviously, this step, as well as the next one, would be skipped for those guns.
  4. After the barrel has been scrubbed, use the patch holder and patch to run through the barrel to wipe up the solvent and loosened residue. Replace a patch when it becomes too dirty. Once the patch comes out clean, shine the flashlight down the barrel to see if you can visually see any residue remaining.
  5. Once satisfied the residue is eliminated, swab the barrel with a patch with a little gun oil. It's a fine line—you want to protect the barrel, but too much oil will be a residue magnet and cause build-up even quicker.
  6. Wipe the other components with solvent and oil, using the Q-tips to get into nooks and crannies, and reassemble the gun.
  7. To finish, put a light amount of gun oil or metal preservative on a clean rag, and wipe down the exterior of the gun. If you prefer, you can purchase special silicone gun cleaning cloths that protect, leave a sheen, and remove fingerprints and dust.

A handy tip for clean-up: Lay down a large plastic trash bag covered with a layer of newspaper and a layer of paper towels. Change out the paper towels as they become dirty during cleaning. When done, simply turn the trash bag inside out to gather all the debris to throw it away.

Safety First

Blank guns are not toys. They should never be played with, or treated any differently than a real firearm. Even if you are positive it is not, just as with a regular firearm, always assume the gun is loaded. NEVER point a blank gun at someone in jest. Blank guns are dangerous and have caused injury and death.

When cleaning a blank gun, use the same eye protection you would for a live ammo firearm. Also be sure to clean your blank gun in a well-ventilated area, as many cleaning solvents are noxious or toxic. Today, there are cleaners on the market that are not noxious. Look for the words "non-toxic" and "bio-degradable" on the label.

Again, treat a blank gun like a real one—lock it away, separate from blank cartridges, when it is not in use.

While some blank-firing guns are real guns fitted with adaptors, guns specifically designed for blanks cannot fire live ammo. Trying to do so is dangerous and, in most cases, illegal.