How To Clean Your AK-47 Rifle

How to clean your AK 47Many preppers turn to Survivopedia asking what would be the best survival gun. There are a lot to consider before giving them any answer, if you think about how different people are. But one thing applies to everyone relying on firearms for self-defense: the best survival gun is the one that you already have.

Still owning a gun means more than shooting once in a while: without proper maintenance and cleaning it will let you down in the most critical moments.

That’s why we started our series about how to clean your firearms. You’ve already seen how to clean your revolver.

Today we’ll talk about how to clean an Arsenal SAM 7R AK-47 semi-auto rifle (7.62X39mm).

Step 1 – Always prepare the cleaning area with all of the materials and supplies that you will need.

cleaning materials and supplies

Step 2 – Visually inspect the AK to make sure it is unloaded and safe with no ammo in the chamber. Be sure that there are no loaded magazines or loose ammunition in the cleaning area.

inspect the AK not to be loaded

Step 3 – To begin breaking down the AK, first start by removing the receiver cover. To do this hold the rifle butt stock firmly in one hand. Then with the thumb of the other hand push forward on the end of the recoil guide and lift the receiver cover upward and back from the receiver.

removing the receiver cover

Step 4 – Remove the recoil guide and spring. With the receiver cover off, grip the end of the recoil guide and spring unit, then push it forward until it clears the slot in the receiver. Lift it up slightly and pull it straight back out of the bolt carrier.

Removing the recoil guide and sprin

Step 5 – Remove the bolt carrier assembly. Ensure that the safety is in the FIRE position. Grasp the bolt handle and pull it back to the full rear of travel. Lift the bolt carrier assembly up from the receiver and draw it to the rear and out of the gas tube/hand guard assembly.

Remove the bolt carrier assembly

Step 6 – Remove the bolt head from the carrier assembly hold the carrier in one hand. Then with the other hand rotate the bolt head out of the locking groove. Pull the bolt head out of the carrier from the front.

Remove the bolt head from the carrier assembly

Step 7 – Remove the gas tube/ hand guard assembly.  Rotate the gas tube take down lever clockwise to about 11 o’clock position. Then lift up on the rear of the hand guard and pull it back and out of the AK gas tube.

Remove the gas tube/ hand guard assembly

Step 8 – The AK is now broken down to its basic components.

AK broken down to its basic components.

Step 9 – To clean the barrel use a bore brush of the correct bore diameter and soak it with bore cleaner. Push the brush 8-10 times through the barrel going from the chamber to the muzzle. Remember to remove the wire brush each time before you pull the cleaning rod back to to the chamber and re-install the wire brush For the next push of the cleaning rod.

clean the barrel using a bore brush

Step 10 – Run a dry patch through the barrel to the muzzle to remove excess cleaner from the barrel. Remember to remove the dirty patch from the cleaning rod before pulling back the cleaning rod to the chamber. Put another clean patch on the cleaning rod and push it forward for the next cycle. Do this about 5-8 times or until the barrel is clean. Then run a lubricated patch through the barrel to protect the barrel from rust and corrosion.

Run a dry patch through the barrel to the muzzle

Step 11 – Use a soft metal brush to remove loose dirt, grime, and powder residue inside of the receiver.

Use a soft metal brush to remove loose dir

Step 12 – Dip Q-Tips in bore cleaner and remove dirt, grime, and powder residue inside of the receiver.

Dip Q-Tips in bore cleaner and remove dirt

Step 13– Use gun lubricant lightly to lube all of the receiver components.

Use gun lubricant lightly

Step 14 – Clean the gas tube using a Q-Tip with bore cleaner and clean the gas tube area. If the gas tube holes are blocked, use a small diameter nail or a gas tube cleaning tool to remove fouling in the gas tube.

Warning: Do not lube the gas tube. Just clean and dry it. Lubricating the gas tube can cause heavy fouling in the gas tube.

Clean the gas tube using a Q-Tip with bore cleaner

Step 15 – Put a drop of lubricant on the gas tube take down lever.

Put a drop of lubricant on the gas tube

Step 16 – To re-install the gas tube/hand guard put the front of the gas tube/hand guard into the gas tube and then push the rear section in the lock down portion in front of the rear sights. Push the take down lever counterclockwise till it locks in place in the dimple.

 re-install the gas tube/hand guard

Step 17 – To clean the gas piston (the forward half of the bolt carrier assembly), Use a good bore cleaner, wipe down the piston and let it dry. Do not put any kind of lubricant on the piston!

Step 18 – To clean the bolt and the bolt face, start by using Q-Tips dipped in bore cleaner and work the Q-Tips into the bolt face groove and the bolt. To clean the bolt face work the Q-Tips in every nick and cranny until the bolt head is clean. Lubricate the bolt and the bolt face.

clean the bolt and the bolt face

Step 19 – To remount the bolt face shaft into the bolt, push the bolt face and shaft into the bolt until the locking  lug lines up with the groove in the carrier assembly. Twist the bolt face shaft clockwise to engage the groove. Continue twisting the shaft until the locking lug is locked in place.

 remount the bolt face shaft into the bolt

Step 20 – Insert the bolt carrier assembly into the gas tube.

Insert the bolt carrier assembly into the gas tube

Step 21 – Pull the bolt carrier assembly all the way back to the rear of the receiver to the bolt carrier assembly cut out. Push down to put the bolt carrier assembly in its rail, then push it all the way forward.

Pull the bolt carrier assembly all the way back to the rear of the receiver

Step 22 – To re-install the recoil guide and spring unit, push it forward into the back of the bolt carrier assembly until it clears it’s slot in the receiver. With your fingers, ease it back until it locks into the slot.

re-install the recoil guide and spring unit

Step 23 – To re-install the receiver cover, put the front of the receiver cover into the slot behind the front sight. Push the rear of the receiver cover down.  Let the guide rod button go through the lock down hole at the back of the receiver cover to lock it in place.

re-install the receiver cover

Step 24 – Function test the AK by pulling the charging handle back and letting it go to cock the hammer.  Then pull the trigger to drop the hammer. Do this 3-4 times to verify that the AK is working correctly.

Step 25 – To protect the exterior of the AK, wipe down the exterior of the AK with a good lubricant to prevent rust and corrosion.

wipe down the exterior of the AK with a good lubricant

Now you know how to clean your AK-47 rifle, so you could make use of it for a lifetime!

Stay close for another part of our series about keeping your guns at the ready, and share your experience using the comment form below!

BPH1.2

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.


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Written by

Fred Tyrrell is an Eagle Scout and retired police officer that loves to hunt, fish, hike, and camp with good friends and family. He is also a champion marksman (rifle, pistol, shotgun) and has direct experience with all of the major gun brands and their clones. Fred refers to himself as a "southern gentleman" - the last of a dying way. He believes a man's word is his bond, and looks forward to teaching others what he has learned over the years. You can send Fred a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Latest comments
  • Do not ever use a bronze bore brush in a chrome lined barrel common income-block weapons. I use nylon bore brushes on these type of weapons!

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  • very good, being from California the Libs are doing there best to take away our righs to own this type of AK - but more of this type of like how to clean your revolver or auto does worlds of good for people who don't understand how firearms are taken down and put back - thank you so much for your time for a great job for the people out in the fied ----- Bill

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  • Very good. I liked it much better than the revolver cleaning article.

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  • Excellent, well done article Fred. Best one I've seen YET, on how to disassemble and clean the AK-47. Well done! Seriously well done.

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  • While Fred is right about the 'best' survival weapon is the one you happen to be stuck with at the time, which is another way of saying that 'anything is better than nothing', if you have the opportunity to plan ahead, do yourself a favor and don't waste your time on an AK.

    I'm not going to go into it as far as details and examples anymore as i've written volumes about it all over the internet (read the comments carefully in the in 'the best survival guns' link at the top of the article) and other serious gun forums as a combat vet, instructor, and LEO who actually carried AKs in serious action in the absence of anything better and although I've had a few AK's when they were a hundred bucks or so, the disadvantages of them compared to a good AR-15 carbine will likely get the amateur prepper killed promptly if they are up against people with AR-15s.

    And price is no longer an excuse in the current market if you're on a budget and can only have one main firearm. If you made the mistake of purchasing an AK, sell it or trade up, you can pick up a good enough basic model for under 700 if you search around. And later 'upgrade' its performance as funds permit. That's only a couple hundred bucks more than an AK and less than the so called 'better AK's' which are being gouged out lately to take advantage of the anal retentiveness of the .45 v. 9mm crowd who probably never shot an AK under any kind of stress and certainly not in combat.

    If you can have/get only one survival PDF weapon, I hope it's an AR-15. The real time superiority and advantages to just about any other shoulder fired carry weapon of the modern AR-15 platform are a shame to sacrifice in favor of a misguided personal mythology of the obsolete AK.

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    • Could you please elaborate and give more reasoning as to why you are prefering the AR over the AK? I think that they are both great rifles and either will serve it's owner well. But you are also going to need to explain yourself more. What are the disadvantages that you are refering to? How would the amateur prepper get himself killed? What other details would you give to us here that will convince readers to go with the AR over the AK?

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    • Unless I have to lay down some kind of suppressing fire I believe I can give a good account of myself with my M1, or even my No. 1 MK III Enfield. Aside from those two "relics" I do have my FAL. Point being made is that any rifle can be used to defend oneself if he/she knows how to use it. I do not believe we are being concerned here with resisting a trained military force. If so, I've probably "had the farm".

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