Cleaning Your ZF-5 (A Primer)

Here’s a fact for you. Frequent cleaning and lubrication will keep your ZF-5 smoother shooting, in better shape, and protected against corrosion.

Even if you shoot cartridges loaded with non-corrosive primers and propellant, a dirty MP5 barrel and action can complicate feeding, ejection, and overall performance.

Periodic cleaning and lubrication prevent premature wear and component failure, ensure greater platform reliability, and most of all, make it easier to clean the next time. Cleaning off a year’s worth of fouling and tar is no joke, especially from a roller-delayed blowback action.

Your best option is to keep your ZF-5 as clean as a whistle from the start. We’re not against cleaning it every time you fire it, but if you need basic guidelines, always clean it after every 1,000 rounds, 500 if you’re running a silencer (silencers trap and accumulate more fouling).

Cleaning the ZF-5

The first step to cleaning your ZF-5 is to drop the magazine and clear the action. Always ensure the weapon is clear before attempting to disassemble and clean it. Improper inspection or disassembly can cause injury or death.

Before cleaning, disassemble your ZF-5, then take apart the trigger and bolt carrier group. For detailed information on disassembly, please consult our virtual ZF-5 owner’s manual.

It’s helpful to have a clean mat and a magnetic tray handy when cleaning a firearm with a lot of moving parts like a ZF-5. Once disassembled, the clean mat will help you arrange the parts, and the magnetic tray can be used for take down pins, springs, and other small hardware that can be easy to lose.

Once disassembled, inspect the ZF-5 for signs of damage. If you have run more than 10,000 rounds through your firearm, shine a bore light down the barrel and inspect the rifling. If it is worn down, you may want to replace it with a new MP5 barrel. Generally, it takes more than 50,000 rounds before your rifling really starts to get shot out, though.

Look for signs of wear at the bolt carrier’s locking lugs, and around the trigger and sear. These are vital areas and wear can hinder the safe operation of the gun. If you determine any premature wear, replace the parts or hardware affected.


After inspecting the ZF-5 for signs of wear or damage, clean the exterior surface of the barrel, receiver, and bolt with a rag or brush. If using a brush, choose one with nylon or brass bristles that will not scratch your ZF-5. To remove any stubborn fouling deposits, use a solvent like Hoppe’s No. 9.

Using an appropriately-sized cleaning brush, scrub the chamber. The chamber throat is a particularly sensitive area where fouling is likely to develop thick deposits that can hamper feeding and extraction. Soak the brush in bore solvent if necessary. To check if the chamber is clear, wrap a patch around the brush or use a bore mop; continue to scrub the chamber until a patch or mop comes back out clean.

Then, clean the barrel using a gun cleaning rod and brush or a pull-through bore cleaner. Always clean from chamber to muzzle and not the other way around, as cleaning from the muzzle end can damage the crowning, which is crucial to accuracy.

Use a brush to dislodge fouling from the rifling grooves, then once you are reasonably sure the rifling is fairly clean, run patches through the barrel, from chamber to muzzle, until they come out clean.

After you’ve cleaned the barrel and the patches come out clean, place a new patch in your cleaning jag and apply a few drops of lubricating oil such as Rem Oil. Run this through the barrel several times from chamber to muzzle.

Don’t overdo the oil in the bore, as this oil can react with fouling to create tar, which is difficult to clean out. The whole purpose of the oil is to protect against corrosion, so less is definitely more.

After you clean and oil the bore, using a similar lubricating oil like Rem Oil, lubricate the metal-to-metal bearing surfaces on the ZF-5, particularly around the bolt carrier group, especially at contact points. Again, less is more. All you want to do is cut friction; too much oil will trap dust and fouling which can accelerate wear.

The last step is to clean the magazine assembly. Cleaning the internal components is only necessary if there is an accumulation of fouling. Clean off the exterior, disassemble if necessary, and clean off any fouling deposits on the follower and mag spring. For a more detailed explanation of how to clean our MP5 magazines, consult our previous blog, MP5 Magazine Maintenance: The Basics.

After cleaning your ZF-5, reassemble and perform a function check.

For More Thorough Cleaning Instructions, Contact Us or Consult the ZF-5 Owner’s Manual

If you have questions about cleaning your ZF-5 please consult our digital owners manual (link above). Also, be sure to check our collection of ZF-5 and MP5 parts and accessories. If you need to replace worn parts, fatigued springs, or even need a new cold hammer forged MP5 barrel to replace one that’s been shot-out, we have them.

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