Repairing Your Shotgun in the Field

Breakfree CLP
The author includes Breakfree CLP in his field cleaning kit.Midway USA

Several years ago I slipped in the mud and slid down a steep creekbank on my way to the evening sit for deer. Flailing my arms to keep my balance I lost my grip on my (unloaded) BPS, and it sailed, javelin-like in an arc into the creek where it stuck in the mud and stood upright as if it were Excalibur held aloft by the Lady of the Lake. Then it slowly tipped over and fell underwater.

Other than a Buck knife, I had no tools to take the gun apart with, although I did cut a straight stick to use as a cleaning rod. I pulled the barrel off – it had about eight inches of mud at the muzzle end — and held it underwater to wash the mud out then jabbed at it with the stick, then held it under again until the mud was gone. I dunked the receiver, too, and put it back together. It sounded like I was grinding coffee when I worked the slide, but it seemed to function. And it did, well enough to shoot once, anyway, at a buck that didn’t require a follow-up shot. That was a good thing, because when I worked the gritty slide and pulled the trigger again, the gun went “click.”

Since then, whenever practical I bring a few gun cleaning supplies with me: a rod with a brush in case I need to clear a barrel obstruction, a rag, a bottle of Breakfree CLP, and a multi-tool or something I can use to take a gun apart if I have to. I am thinking now I may replace the bottle of Breakfree with a spray can, as a quick spray into the port of a sluggish semiauto gets it back up to speed until the hunt is over.

The best field repair kit is an extra gun because the field is no place to do complicated gun surgery. Any time it’s practical — dove hunting, goose hunting, some duck hunting, target shooting – I bring a second gun along. It’s there in case mine breaks, in case someone else needs a gun, whatever. Better to have it and not need it, so long as I don’t have to carry it far.

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