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Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about How a Gun Works and other Shooting Supplies topics.
Hunting rifles, pistols, over and under shotguns and other firearms all have vastly different construction details including how to properly disassemble them. Most guns feature something called a "takedown lever," "takedown button" or other central feature which helps you start to break the gun down for cleaning. Before you attempt to use the takedown lever or button for the first time, it is vital to ensure the gun is clear.
Remove the magazine and eject the round in the chamber. Even if you are certain there is no bullet in the chamber, rack the gun anyway, then visually inspect the gun to make sure it is properly clear. Do this by looking both inside the chamber, and peering up the barrel from behind the gun. Never look down into the barrel of the gun, putting yourself in front of the firearm. Once you are confident the gun is empty, then use the takedown mechanism to begin opening your gun for cleaning. New gun owners should clean with a more experienced shooter, or at the very least have the user manual to follow. Never take apart a gun more than you need to get it clean until you know how to properly re-assemble the firearm.