Survival Guns: Q&A On Deep Cleaning Your Ruger LCR

There is no such thing as a gun that does not need routine cleaning and maintenance. You can count on Murphy’s law to render your gun useless at the worst possible moment unless you take good care of it.

Even when a gun is in storage it should be cleaned and lightly oiled a couple of times a year. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

But how often is often enough? Many people still have questions about cleaning their guns, and our reader T. – who owns a Ruger LCR – is only one of them. Keep reading to get the answer!

“How often should I send my Ruger 357mag LCR (5-shot) to the factory to be deep cleaned, inspected, parts replaced as necessary?  I really don’t want this job and quotes seem reasonable under $100. I shoot ~10min/week or  9hrs/year mostly HSM .357 Mag, 125 Grain JHP Ammo. Asking b/c my 6.5 year old Glock 27 acting up so had to send it in recently. 

Best, T.”

The Ruger LCR (5 shot) in .357 Magnum was designed primarily looking for a light weight, compact, easy-to-conceal revolver for self defense. Each time you fire your revolver, it must be cleaned and examined for signs of excess wear and tear.

Cleaning the revolver removes bullet and powder residue from all cylinder parts, the action, and the barrel in revolvers, while lubrication helps to keep the revolver operating smoothly without binding up or freezing under heavy use.

While the Ruger LCR can shoot 125 grain magnum ammo, I don’t recommend using this weight constantly because it puts a lot of wear on the internal parts. Not only will you have to deep clean the gun more often, it will more than likely wear out in just a few years.

For range practice I would recommend shooting either 38 Special or .38 Special + P ammunition. This will keep the wear and tear down to a minimum.

Finally only shoot a few .357 Magnum rounds (5 to 10) every 2 – 3 months to keep you in practice with the recoil and the muzzle flash – both of which are more intense with this revolver than they would be with a heavier weapon.

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Simple Wipe Down Cleaning For the Ruger LCR

If you don’t wish to clean your revolver at the range after shooting, at least wipe down all exterior parts of the revolver.

This will remove powder residue and finger oils that can cause your weapon to start rusting. This is only a quick fix and a standard cleaning should be done as soon as possible.

Standard Cleaning of a Ruger LCR Revolver

  1. Always open the cylinder and make sure there are no bullets in it.
  2. Be sure you have all of your cleaning supplies together where the revolver cleaning will take place.
  3.  Tie a clean, soft cloth or rag around the rear cylinder opening. This will prevent the revolver from being damaged while you are pushing the bore brush through the barrel. It will also keep dirt from the bore brush from getting into that area.
  4. Choose the correct size bore brush and dip it in cleaning solvent.
  5.  Insert the bore brush into the front of the barrel. Continue feeding until it passes through the barrel and exits the other end. Then pull the cleaning rod back through the barrel and out the muzzle. Sometimes if the barrel is really dirty, I will repeat dip the bore brush in solvent again to finish removing the fouling.
  6. Next dip a fresh cleaning patch in cleaning solvent. Then run it down the barrel from the muzzle to the cone of the barrel. As a rule of thumb I use one solvent covered patch, and then follow it up with 2 or 3 dry patches. Keep doing this until the dry patches come out clean. After the barrel is cleaned, remove the rag covering the rear cylinder opening.
  7. Clean around the muzzle with a small toothbrush or gun cleaning brush. Next, put some solvent on the brush and clean the rear cylinder opening.
  8. Use the toothbrush with a little more solvent on it and brush the cylinder on the outside and on each end.
  9. Next, use a small cleaning brush or tooth brush and solvent to clean the extractor rod. Be sure to clean the front, back, and outside of the cylinder. Push in the cylinder extraction rod, and clean the star. Do not forget to clean the rest of the rod that was sitting between the cylinders.
  10. Take a bore brush and cleaning solvent to clean each of the cylinders the same way you cleaned the barrel. Don’t forget to go all the way through on each side of the cylinder.
  11. To clean each individual cylinder, first use a clean patch with solvent followed by 2-3 dry clean patches to remove any residue.
  12. Get another clean cloth and apply some gun oil to it. Use this to wipe down the outside of the revolver without oiling the grips. Then oil the inside of the barrel and each of the cylinders.
  13. Wipe off all excess oil with a clean rag. Don’t forget to oil the ejection rod and ejector. Use just a drop of oil, and work the rod a few times to spread the oil.
  14. Finish the cleaning process by using a silicon gun cloth to polish up the gun.

How to Lubricate the Ruger LCR revolvers

Each time you do a standard cleaning, or deep cleaning for the Ruger LCR, you should also take the time to lubricate the following parts.

Start off by lubricating the cylinder and the ejector:

  1. Apply lubricant to two spots only. First, apply a small drop on the ejector where it contacts the cylinder, then work it in.
  2. Next put a small drop on the crane pivot and clean off the any excess.
  3.  Wipe off any excess lube, wipe down the entire, revolver and use compressed air to clean out and dry the firing pin channel.

Hammer pivot pin lubrication

Ruger recommends that you lube the hammer pivot pin every 1,000 rounds of live fire or dry firing.

  1. After you are sure the revolver is unloaded, remove the grip with a 1/8” or smaller punch and a small hammer.
  2. Open the cylinder then tap the pin out just a bit .10” (taking care not to push it out too far).
  3. Put one drop of lube in the pin hole and then flip it over and put one drop of lube on the pin itself. To help spread out the lubricant, twist the pin back and forth.
  4. After you have pushed the pin back in, Ruger recommends that you dry fire the revolver 5-10 times to work the lubrication into the action. Use snap caps for dry firing.

Crane pivot screw and fire control housing retaining screw torque check

Ruger recommends this be preformed every 1000 trigger pulls dry fire or live fire.

  1. To keep the screws from losing there torque setting I would recommend using lock-tight.
  2. For this procedure you will need a torque wrench that reads inch lbs. and a T10 Torx bit.
  3. The fire control housing screw torque settings are 6-9 inch lbs.
  4. The crane pivot screw torque settings are 23-27 inch lbs.
  5. After everything is properly torqued. Re-install the grip.

5 Deep Cleaning Q&A for the Ruger LCR

1. What is Deep Cleaning?

Deep cleaning is the total disassembly, and thorough cleaning of a firearm. If your firearm is used heavily, a more through disassembly and cleaning should be performed. This will extend the life of the weapon, and also ensure that it fires correctly each time you use it.

2. What are the signs that a gun needs deep cleaning?

  1. Trigger has trouble operating the cylinder.
  2. Trouble opening the cylinder.
  3. Misfires when trigger is pulled.

3. How often should you do it?

  1. After shooting about 500 rounds of cheap dirty ammunition.
  2. Have not fired the revolver in more than a year.
  3. The revolver has fallen in either salt water, or dirty fresh water.

4. Is this a good time to have your firearm inspected?

Yes! It is always a good time to inspect the Ruger LCR when they are totally disassembled as you can see the parts easily and examine them.

5. What are the costs to have your firearm deep cleaned and inspected?

Prices will vary depending on where you live and the fees set by each gunsmith. They can range anywhere from $50.00 and up plus the cost of the replacement parts and their hand fitting if necessary.

If you send your Ruger LCR to Ruger for deep cleaning and inspection, the cost may be more than having a local gunsmith do the work. As per the Ruger website, The average cost would be:

  1. $85 for reconditioning – Replacement of worn internal parts (does not include main components).
  2. $80 Labor charge.
  3. Cost of parts.
  4. $30 Return mail fee.

How to Do a Deep Cleaning on a Ruger LCR

Always take the time to read the manual that came with your revolver, and seek help from a gunsmith if you aren’t sure how to proceed.

Before you begin to do a deep cleaning and weapon inspection, be sure that you have all cleaning supplies and tools with you in the cleaning area.

  1. Make sure that the revolver is unloaded.
  2. Remove the grip screw and the grip.
  3. Use an air line or canned air to spray out the fire control housing and the trigger area to ensure that all dust and other debris are removed.
  4. Use a toothbrush or small gun cleaning brush soaked in solvent to scrub the forcing cone area to remove all build up. Take the time now to inspect the forcing cone area for any cracks or chips.
  5. Scrub the area under the ejector and firing pin area to remove all debris and build up. Now take the time to inspect the frame, ejector star, firing pin area, and the cylinder stop for wear and tear or broken parts.
  6. Perform a basic bore and cylinder cleaning by soaking the bore brush in solvent and scrubbing the bore and all five chambers.
  7. Run cleaning patches through them until they are clean.
  8. Wipe down the entire revolver to ensure it is clean and dry.

Ruger LCR Upper Frame Disassembly

  1. There are two screws that hold the assembly together. The first one out is on the trigger shroud top left side (beware the hex nut will fall out of the right side). The other screw is at the front of the revolver.
  2. Hold revolver in right hand to keep it together.
  3. Release and open cylinder.
  4. Remove front screw.
  5. Cylinder will come right out.
  6. Remove cylinder locking pin. Upper frame needs to be raised upward. Use paper clip to push pin out. Upper assembly will come apart. Cylinder latch will come up with it.
  7. Upper assembly will move forward and then you can lift it up and out.
  8. Latching assembly will be separated from the upper assembly. Do not loose the latching assembly spring! It is a very small and thin spring.
  9. Clean and inspect lower assembly for worn or damaged parts. The best way to clean the lower frame is to use a cleaning brush followed by using compressed air. This will remove any dirt or grime that found its way into this area.

Video first seen on Zolen Boogaerts.

Reassembling the Revolver

  1. Put cylinder latching assembly back in with spring facing forward. It will drop right in and catches in place. Warning! Do not lose the small spring!
  2. Re-install the cylinder latch pin.
  3. Put the top section back in the frame with the rear section corners pointing down. Then push backwards to let it slide back into place.
  4. Now hold the revolver in your right hand with the thumb and first finger at the back and the right hand middle finger pushing backwards on the trigger guard.
  5. With your left hand, put the top screw back in place to hold the upper assembly in place.
  6. Put the cylinder in place in the up position.
  7. Install front screw.
  8. Install hex nut in recess for the top screw and screw into place.
  9. Function test revolver by opening and closing the cylinder and pulling the trigger.

If you do not know how to clean your guns, you will be at a serious and expensive disadvantage now, and have many more problems in a social collapse scenario. Take your time now and learn how to clean your Ruger LCR, and practice your skills so you would be a better shooter.

A gun in perfect condition for shooting is one of the layers of your survival defense. Click the banner to find out how to build the rest!

This article has been written by Fred Tyrell for Survivopedia.


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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.

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