Whether you use firearms for personal protection, home defense or recreational shooting, it’s in your best interest to maintain every firearm that you own. But properly maintaining a firearm involves a lot more than cleaning your gun after a practice session or whenever you expose a firearm to adverse conditions.

Firearms are a collection of moving and stationary parts that are affected by the force of recoil. As a result, after a certain amount of use you will be required to change certain parts to ensure the proper functioning of all firearms. Remember, if the force of discharging ammunition is enough to cause you to feel the effects of recoil, imagine the long term effect that recoil can have on the internal and external parts of your firearm.

Wear Factors

When you discharge a firearm on a limited basis the impact on the internal and external parts is not all that severe. In reality, the wear and tear on a firearm is cumulative in nature but can be accelerated when you discharge a firearm on a regular or sustained basis, especially over a period of time. The caliber of the firearm can also impact the level of wear on the internal and external moving and stationary parts—meaning that if you buy or use a handgun chambered in a substantial caliber and you discharge that firearm on a regular basis, it will eventually require more maintenance than if the same firearm is hardly used.

The quality and the type of construction can certainly impact the durability of firearms. Firearms that are manufactured using the highest quality parts and are assembled to the highest standards imaginable will generally hold up to regular or even excessive use better than a firearm of lesser quality. True of any handgun, revolvers are a bit different because a lot depends on how they are constructed.

Wheel Guns

A revolver that is manufactured in carbon or stainless steel will generally be able to fire a steady diet of high- velocity “service” ammunition longer than a lightweight revolver that is manufactured with alloy parts. This is one reason why folks tend to only fire enough ammunition through a lightweight revolver to make sure it works properly and to see how it shoots. The fact that lightweight revolvers produce more felt recoil is another reason why these types of handguns are carried more than they tend to be discharged in training sessions.

If you asked me to identify one of the worst problems that a revolver can experience, it has to be the excessive build-up of lead in the barrel, in and around the forcing cone, the cylinder face and on the extractor rod. This is a concern because most people cannot afford to shoot a large amount of law-enforcement style service ammunition that is made with nickel cases and a full metal jacket hollow-point or blue plastic Nyclad-coated bullets. Instead, most revolver shooters train with lead-tipped bullets and use more expensive law enforcement style specially coated or metal jacketed hollow-point ammunition for personal defense and home protection. Removing lead and fouling from above mentioned areas is critical to the long-term reliable use of any revolver.

Ever since I began my law enforcement career and since I retired I have always thoroughly cleaned my revolvers whenever they have been used or carried in adverse conditions, especially when I carry a handgun in an ankle holster. Also, making sure that you do not slam a loaded or unloaded cylinder closed like some actors are famous for doing in old movies can also keep your revolver in the proper working order for a long time to come.

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