In 2012 firearm ownership skyrocketed mainly because of the political movement to ban so many models and types of firearms. In addition, many states finally complied with the Second Amendment and offered conceal-carry permits available to law-abiding citizens. This also boosted firearm training programs that emphasized upon safety and proper carry and draw procedures.
With all those new to firearms the myriad of gun cleaning products available on the market and some spent a fortune when they did not need to.
Cleaning rod, bore brush, patch loop or jag, cleaning patches, cleaning solvent and lubricant.
|Dewey Pistol Rod|
Cleaning Rod & Bore Snakes: This item is the basic necessity of any gun cleaning kit. Each rod requires a change of attachments in order to wipe the bore, scrub the bore and then finally lubricate it. It must be the appropriate length and diameter and if a person has various types and sizes of firearms, it requires to have a “universal” kit with extensions to increase the length. I have separate pistol cleaning rods which affords convenience, but is not necessary to have in one's gun cleaning kit.
Cleaning rods can cost anywhere from $5 to $40, depending upon the finishes. The more expensive ones are top-of-the-line and are made of material that prevents scratching the bore. A newer development, especially useful for the range gun cleaning kit, is the bore snake made of material where the only metal on it is where you attach the bore brush and loop patch attachment that is further protection against scratching the bore. Hoppe's and other manufacturers sell bore snakes and are available in a compact kit. Bore rods are best when using the jag attachment, which I have come to like better than the loop-patch system. The bore snake is pulled through the bore rather than pushed like with the rod.
Bore Brush: You will need a brass or bronze bore brush made for the caliber of the bore, which is used in the initial cleaning process to remove particles like lead and copper from your bore to prevent build-up or to remove built up residue. Nylon and stainless steel brushes are on the market, but do not remove gunk and particles as efficiently as brass or bronze brushes. General purpose solvent is best because copper fouling solvents will damage brass and bronze brushes.
|Brass Jag, spear-point|
Patch Loop or Jag: The common attachment is the patch loop, which looks like a big eye of a needle; however the jag attachment has been designed to be slightly smaller than the barrel of the gun which ensures proper contact between the patch and the barrel, thus a better cleaning process. Quality of patches used with loop or jag is also important. Do not waste your money on nylon/plastic loops or jags.
|Circular Patch More Efficient|
Patches: This comes in either cotton or synthetic material, which professionals use the 100% cotton patches because they absorb better. It is best to purchase bulk patches sold in packages of 100 to 1,000 (or more). This expendable item will run out quickly if you purchase the small packages available at the local gun and sport shops. They must be the size designed for the calibers you have. Depending upon the caliber, the same patch used for a specific rifle can also be used for a specific caliber pistol. Remember you cannot have enough patches and if used regularly you can avoid copper fouling (and having to use the cleaner) but regular cleaning practices. Patches come in square (standard) and circular. Since I use the jag tips more often than the loop, so I prefer the circle patches. Get a small package of each and see what you like best.
Cleaning Solvent & Lubricant: There are many choices on the market. The US military has been using Break Free CLP since the 1980s, although there is a new line of solvents and lubricants under the MC-7 label that appears to be a quality product. There is also Hoppe's No. 9 and Kleen-Bore No. 10. New firearm owners tend to purchase two or three different brands to see which they like best. Especially in the case of Break Free CLP, a little bit goes a long way and excess oil on semi-automatic firearms is just asking for hot oil in the face and it is a waste. It also can make the firearm less reliable. Wearing shooting glasses at the range is a good thing to prevent material from hitting your eyes.
Solvents are harsh to your hands, so you may want to keep a box of Nitrate gloves on your gun cleaning bench. If you do not have a work bench and must use the dining table, cut open a large trash bag and protect it with a layer of newspaper on top. Gun cleaning solvent will do a number on wood table finishes. When working on a work bench, use an old piece of carpet to protect your gun finish from scratches or purchase gun cleaning mats available. Gun cleaning solvents also have a strong odor and not healthy to breathe in, especially when using spray-can solvents; so use a disposable dust mask or the more expensive type with filters. In a work shop, if there is plenty of ventilation, you can choose to not use the mask. Another solvent cleaning set up is using a plastic pan as shown in photo above, which is good for pistol cleaning.
|Outers Universal Soft Bag Kit|
Many shooters take portable gun cleaning kits with them to the range and do their gun cleaning on the range bench, thus alleviating the odor lingering in one's house.
When a firearm is new, it is wise to take the gun cleaning kit to the range and use the method of maintenance described in another article to break in the bore properly, which will prevent fouling build up in the long run.
Another item for rifles is the bore guide, which is an essential piece to add to your gun cleaning-maintenance kit. Bolt-action rifle owners like them because it prevents dripping solvents where you do not want it to go, and like the name, it guides the cleaning rod for perfect bore alignment.
Gun solvents, especially fouling and copper types are corrosive. Do not let it soak too long because it can actually eat at the metal surface. Wipe out with clean patches and using quality lubricant like Break Free will ensure any residue is cleaned out. Metal is more porous than one would expect and Break Free is designed to work in that respect.
Well taken care of, your firearm can become a family heirloom.
|Shotgun Cleaning Kit|
Tips on Gun Cleaning Kits: The cheaper the kit, the cheaper the contents. Ensure that the cleaning rod in the kit is well made and has brass attachments. A T-handle is comfortable to use for cleaning guns. Pay attention as to what type of bore cleaner comes with the kit. You may like the kit, but require to replace the one that came with it with something better. Some kits offer an all-in-one cleaning and lubricating element, like Break-Free CLP. If the kit has a small amount of patches, purchase a bulk package so you won't run out. You never save by purchasing cheap cleaning kits – you will end up purchasing the better one later. Make sure the kit has everything you need to properly maintain your firearm. Universal kits are great when you use various calibers at the range.
|Hoppe's Bore Snake Kit|