You Got the New Rifle; Now What?

DPMS Panther AR-15 New Rifle

You were a very good boy or girl this Christmas. The one thing that you asked for was a new rifle. Your spouse, significant other, child or really good friend decided that they were going to be your hero and buy it for you. So now what? Well, the good news is that you will need to take a trip to the store or at least spend some time online. A visit to will give you everything you need.

Cleaning Kit

First and foremost, I recommend all firearm users buy a good quality cleaning kit designed specifically for your caliber rifle. There are many out there, but some are of lesser quality than would be desired. The last thing you need is a jammed cleaning jag, or broken cleaning rod to be your first interaction with your shiny new toy. I also recommend you have both a one-piece cleaning rod and brushes that are caliber specific, as well as at least one of today’s new flexible cleaning systems from Otis Technologies, Remington or Real Avid.

The convenience factor of these new systems adds to your ability to take them with you wherever you go making them an indispensable tool. Remember, quality is always a better choice, and a few dollars extra spent here will protect your investment in the years to come.

Optics and Mounts

Nowadays, most bolt-action rifles come sans sights. The assumption is you will add a quality optical sight to maximize long-range accuracy. That is a great idea, but there are several steps you will need to take before scoping your new rifle.

Increasingly, rifles are coming with their own set of scope rings that are made to fit the gun. Many still do not. In some cases, the rings that come with the gun are of lesser quality or strength than you would desire. I have been a big fan of Leupold bases and rings for many years, but Weaver and Warne also make excellent, firearm specific models. Now, it’s time to choose your glass.

There are many quality optics manufacturers. The number one thing that you will get when buying a scope for your rifle is increased quality with increased price. A good rule of thumb is to spend as much on the scope as you spend on the rifle. Thanks to today’s quality manufacturing that can mean a great deal less in both areas.

Old-school companies such as Zeiss, Swarovski, Leupold, and Nikon have built a reputation based on quality equipment for many years. Meopta, a relative “newcomer” to the U.S. market, makes fantastic glass priced significantly less than some of the high-end European and American-made optics. An interesting factoid is that Meopta controls every aspect of its product, from the glass to the complete manufacture of each part.


Finally, a good quality sling will make carrying your rifle much easier, and when used properly will significantly increase the accuracy of your shooting. One of my favorites is the Alaskan Comfort Stretch Sling from Butler Creek. The stretch in the neoprene enhances comfort while reducing fatigue.

Have some other tips regarding accessories for your new rifle? Share them in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (5)

  1. I purchased a 1936 Belgian Mauser. and it’s previous owner kept it clean, but it didn’t come with either a cleaning kit, stripper clips for a 7.57 ammo, an ammo belt or bayonet. I have searched far and wide, including the most excellent Cheaper than Dirt. Does anyone have any idea where I can get these supplies for the ’36 Mauser? Please respond via email with either solid or rumored info. Thanks

  2. As far as cleaning rods go – stay away from aluminum – get a solid, one piece brass rod and a pull thru for field use.

  3. When ever I get a new, out of box gun I always clean it before firing it the first time. I’m so amazed at how dirty the are. With today’s cleaner powders, cleaning is much easier. I love the bore snakes more than using the brass brushes. Using a gun vise can be great or can be a horror. I was using the “Best Gun Vise” by Tipton(?). The rifle slipped out of it and the metal parts on it nicked the beautiful brass receiver. Using any vise be sure to cover any potential damaging parts with cushioning.

  4. I agree that cleaning your rifle before putting it back in the safe should be among your highest priorities. Your weapon is an investment and should be taken care of as such. OTIS makes an excellent kit that will fit anything from a 22 to a 12ga. Also, when it comes to protecting your “investment”, a quality case for safe transportation is a must.

  5. I think getting the rifle is just the start. The other things that were mentioned are certainly important but I like a new hard case for travel safety when it comes out of the safe if it doesn’t fit one I already have. I’ve seen rifles dropped or mistreated by baggage handlers that resulted in expensive accessories damaged where a thirty or forty dollar padded hard case would have saved many times its cost in damage to scopes and mounts.

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