I was putting away all the deer guns yesterday. They have been sitting out for nearly a month. You can blame it on procrastination, but this is sort of the last thing that needs to be done before season is really over for me. You can see why it might be a little harder to do.
Immediately after season ended, I got all the rifles out of their cases and went to work on the bores. I use a homebrew preparation called Ed's Red. You can Google it for the recipe. However, here's my favorite link: http://www.frfrogspad.com/homemade.htm . I make the stuff up by the quart.
What I do is dip the end of a bore snake in Ed's and then run it through a couple of times. I use an old tube sock with a little bit of Ed's to clean off the outside, and a patch or two to clean off the internals and the hard-to-reach spots. If you read through the recipe, it tells you to take the first to components, Kerosene and ATF and mix them 1:1 and then use some of that as your lubricant.
This is a multi-step process, so I don't spend a whole lot of time on any one rifle. The next step is easy. I let the rifle set for two weeks and go do my Christmas shopping.
The nice thing about Ed's Red is that it keeps working on crud the longer it sits there. At the end of two weeks, the powder residue and all the other stuff is ready to come up. I run the bore snake down through the barrels with a little more Ed's, and the bore is clean. At this point I make a final inspection on everything, hold back any rifle that needs to have work done on it and send the rest off to my secret underground storage facility.
The good news is that Ed's keeps on working throughout the Winter. I usually keep the deer rifles in storage until after turkey season ends in May. By that time, Ed has had 5 months to work. I have put rifles away in December that had clean patches run out of them and had gnarly soot come out in May. The important thing is to remember that and always run a dry snake or a patch or two down each barrel as they are coming out of storage.
Ed's Red is an interesting preparation. As I understand it, C.E. "Ed" Harris was researching what was being used to clean rifles before the advent of mass-marketed products. The epitome of rifle lubrication in the old days was sperm oil. However, it was also the ideal lubrication for the new automobile automatic transmission. As automatic transmissions became popular, so did the demand for sperm oil and sperm whales. However, the whale population was crashing and the supply of sperm oil was drying up. Eventually a substitute for sperm oil was found, and it became known as automatic transmission fluid. Of course ATF has additional properties, like rust prevention. The lightbulb went off in Ed's mind: take the old recipes and substitute ATF for sperm oil.