A common myth among firearm enthusiasts suggests that every time your AR15 rifle is used, it should be thoroughly cleaned. The maintenance of your firearm is crucial for its longevity and optimal performance. Whether you're a professional shooter or a hobbyist, regular upkeep of your weapon cannot be overstated.
For a reliable direct gas impingement AR15 shooting factory ball ammo, typically deep cleaning is required at around 2500 - 3000 rounds mark (if shot in one day), especially around the bolt carrier group and upper receiver.
A high quality AR15 like the BCM rifle can shoot up to 5000 - 6000 rounds (Using high quality ammo), without cleaning and without failing. However, if you have a rifle that you depend on it for personal defense or a shooting competition, it's recommended to clean as soon as possible so nothing can fail the rifle.
Do not bet the rifle to function flawlessly in its worst / near failure condition just like you won't expect your car to perform at its best when it hasn't changed oil for 2 years.
For a piston driven AR15, typically around the same even though the bolt carrier group doesn't get as dirty as a DI AR15.
There are series of videos done by the Military Arms Channel on testing AR15s without cleaning, and see how long they can last. Be sure to watch it here.
For Casual Shooter's Low Volume Shooting Routine
For the casual shooter who expends only a few magazines' worth of rounds during a trip to the range, a full cleaning isn't typically necessary. However, after several trips, or when the gun has been exposed to rain, mud, or other adverse conditions, a thorough cleaning becomes important.
As time goes on, carbon residue will build up and make the bolt carrier group a little sluggish. Whenever that's the case, just clean it.
We highly recommend the REAL AVID Carbon Boss for scrapping the BCG clean with all the surfaces.
For High Volume Shooters
Yes, cleaning your AR15 every 500 rounds is a good idea to keep the rifle functioning flawlessly without any hiccup. Carbone residue can build up very quickly for a direct gas impingement AR15.
The carbon residue builds up even faster when shooting suppressed. Therefore it's important to keep all mechanical components of the rifle in tip top shape to avoid any malfunction later down the road. Especially for a home defense AR15 and a competition AR15.
You need to scrape off the carbon that builds up a lot around the bolt and chamber area. This is because it can mess up your AR15's accuracy, bolt cycling performance, gas port efficiency, and cause jams. It's super important to do this, especially if you're expecting the rifle to shoot fast and smooth.
This includes cleaning:
- Bolt carrier group
- Upper receiver
- Buffer system
- Trigger group
- Gas tube