I ate my wafer...


So, since I'm already involved in a discussion of the merits of different pull-through cleaning kits at Hell In A Handbasket, I thought I'd throw in a couple pictures of my mine:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

The blue tin on the right was a birthday gift from my dad, containing a nicely made pull through with threaded attachments out of beryllium copper, and a fitted wooden block machined so the attachments screw into it. Nifty isn't it. With the various attachments, it should work in anything .22 and larger.

The black tin thing is an East German "Tobbacco Tin" cleaning kit. I think I paid about $5 for it, complete with a little nebulously synthetic pouch and a rag. Anyway, the contents of the tin:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

The various tools and gadgets are mostly intended for cleaning and maintaining 7.62x39mm AK rifles and RPK machine guns, but the screwdriver, punch, and brushes would work on other firearms as well. Not to mention since its a pull through, it will work on any gun you can drop it through, which will be anything about 6mm and up. For $5 it was well worth it. The little tin oil can is particularly cool.

Overall, firearm cleaning and maintenance is probably one of the most over-analysed and discussed topics on the planet. Lots of different methods work. Some general thoughts though:

1. Basically any decent solvent will work as a bore cleaner, from carb cleaner, to Hoppes's #9, etc. The more harsh the solvent, the more you have to worry about it stripping wood finishes and melting plastic. 0w20 Mobil 1 engine oil or Mercon V transmission fluid is chemically superior to most gun specificl oils (hoppe's, rem-oil, etc). The military LSA (Break-Free CLP) is pretty good stuff too. Most people err on the side of using too much lubricant; in cold weather or sandy/dusty areas it is better to use none.

2. If you aren't shooting ancient corrosive primer surplus ammo, bore cleaning is probably not that critical. That is, unless you notice an accuracy drop off from leading/copper fouling, there is little point in cleaning a target rifle or pistol's bore. Espicially in the smaller calibers, many barrels are worn out by careless and unnecessary cleaning. Break-In of new highpower rifle barrels is about the only time frequent bore cleaning is called for with non-corrosive ammunition.

3. The best of all worlds it to clean from the breech end of a barrel with a one piece hardened steel rod, like Dewey makes. If you have to clean from the muzzle, use a guide.

4. Every military rifle that has a place for a buttstock cleaning kit might as well have one. However, using a jointed rod of the M1/M14/M16 type routinely is NOT good for accuracy life..

5. If you ARE shooting corrosive ammo, clean with water as soon as possible. Yes, you could use "GI bore cleaner" instead, but why mess with nitrobenzene when regular water works fine. Or use Windex/Simple Green cut with water.

6. I grease the heck out of AR-15 buffer springs and even smear a film inside the upper receiver for good measure on target rifles. It doesn't seem to matter much what grease is used though I tend to use high dollar automotive grease like Mobil 1 Synthetic. In any case, it eliminates the screen door closer "boink...boink" as the action cycles. On an AR-15 or M16 carried for serious work I probably would go easier on the grease or just use a light oil film (or dry in cold/desert weather).

7. There are lots of possible alternatives, but I tend to use Hoppe’s #9 for most cleaning because I like the smell and its mild enough not to strip finishes instantly. I use Wal-Mart brand carb cleaner at $.88/can, brake cleaner or acetone for serious carbon deposits. For seriously copper fouled bores, I used Sweet’s 7.62, and a bore brush. For heavy lead or anything I can't get out of a bore with Sweet's, I tend to use JB bore paste. I like a very, very thin film of RIG to prevent rust on blued steel (applied with a piece of sheepskin). I like old toothbrushes, pipe cleaner, q-tips, wads of paper towels, and the pointy toothbrush m16 brush for cleaning actions.


  • Why use a hardend steel rod? I've always been told that on target rifles one should use a soft cleaning rod to help prevent scratching or anything.

    By Blogger Finite, at 7:06 PM  

  • The harder the better IMHO. A completely smooth piece of very hard steel sliding lightly against a softer piece of steel won't wear it at all. You can check this yourself with a jo'block and a piece of polished, dead soft 1018. Hard AND smooth makes a decent bearing with parital oil film from your cleaning solvent.

    A jointed rod is inherently bad because you have little broach-like edges at each connection. Military hardened steel jointed rods are as bad as possible about this.

    A coated rod or alumninum, when new is sort of neutral, maybe even better than hardened steel, but it will embed abrasives...look at one under a microscope sometime.

    The really bad thing about pull throughs is that its easy to exert lots of side pressure...espicially if cleaning from the muzzle. Sort of like a wire survival saw...and pullthroughs tend to be sort and jsut as bad or worse than a coated rod about picking up abrasives.

    The hardened (Dewey or Parker-Hale) rod + sweets (or similar) every ~1000 rounds, plus a cleaning before Camp Perry, and very rare use of JB paste seems to work really well as far as accuracy life. Well at least it seems to resualt in 10k round barrel life typically on good chrome-moly 223/308 barrels.

    By Blogger Bob, at 11:43 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home