Clean and lube (routine)* Lead bullet use : every 300-500 rounds
* Jacketed bullets: every 500-700 rounds
* Carry pistols : once a month
Clean and lube (thorough)* Every 5000 rounds and/or every 3 months, the pistol should be fully disassembled, cleaned and lubricated.
Spring replacement* Recoil spring : every 2000 rounds
* Firing pin spring : every 5000 rounds
* Hammer spring : every 25000 rounds
Every shooter has its favorite cleaning and lubricating products. The ones I use, are not always what I like, but what I can find in my country. So please, do not write back to tell me that XYZ cleaner is better than the one I use, you might be right, but try to import it from the States and then tell me if it is worth it. So, here is the list:
* Bore Cleaner : Hoppe's No 9 is the best I've ever tried. I use it whenever possible. Otherwise, similar products from other manufacturers are used.
Update: I tried this product and indeed it is quite good. It covers your firearm with a protective finish which lasts quite some time. Thumbs up!
Barrel (jacketed bullets)Saturate a cleaning patch with Hoppe's No 9. and run it through the barrel some times. Let it soak for some time, depending on how much copper fouling there is in the bore. After soaking, run another soaked patch through the bore and then clean the inside of the bore with a tight-fitting bronze brush. Clean the throat area of the barrel with a clotch soaked in No 9. Run dry patches through the bore until they come out clean. I usually stop here, but Bill recommends that you continue, by soaking a patch with Outers Metal Seal and run it through the bore a couple of times.
Barrel (lead bullets)Same basic procedure, but do not use solvent in the barrel. Take a loose fitting bronze brush and tightly wrap a 2" square cut from a pure copper mess scouring pad, around the brush. Run it through the bore, remove the rod and repeat 6 or 8 times. Your bore should be 100% lead-free. (Author remark: I hate lead bullets and since reloading is not allowed in Greece, I never use them, anyway. The tip comes from Bill Wilson).
SlideWipe breech face and any other heavily fouled area (such as slide rails), with a patch or a paper towel saturated with No 9. Brush breech face and slide rails with nylon brush. If you have a tool, like my dentist tool, use it to remove the residue from the edges of the breech face, where the rim of the cartridge contacts. Clean out firing pin and extractor holes with Q-tips soaked in No 9 (or with pipe cleaners). Wipe slide out thoroughly with paper towels, especially slide rails.
FrameWipe feed ramp, top of slide rails and any other fouled area with paper towels soaked in No 9. Brush the inside of the frame out and wipe any old lubricant and firing residue. Pay particular attention to the rail cuts.
Small partsWipe and brush all parts clean. Use paper towels soaked in No 9.
Basic rules* Any areas that show sign of metal-to-metal contact, should be lubed.
* After assembly, if you have lube running out of every crack, you used too much lubricant.
Areas to lubeLube the areas below, as you reassemble the pistol.
* Trigger : apply thin films of lube to top and bottom of the pad, to left, right and back sides of the bow.
Finish assembly and work the slide several times. There should be only a bit of lube on the outside of the gun, to wipe off, at the rear of the slide. Spray exterior surfaces with something like "Metal Seal".
Do not forget that magazines need cleaning too. I take them apart once in a while (don't get religious with that) and clean them thoroughly with Hoppe's. Wipe them off and lube them slightly. A little lube on a cloth is all that they need, do not overlube them. Also, please rotate your magazines. If you keep one of them loaded constantly, the spring will soon get damaged. Once a week is a nice idea, have several of them at hand (you have tested each new magazine with your pistol, haven't you?) and reshuffle them regularly.