Too many hunters and shooters don’t clean their guns often enough. Every time you use your weapons you should clean and lubricate them. You don’t want to find rust, dirt or corroded pieces the next season when you dig out your family’s heirloom deer rifle .
Having the right equipment can go a long way towards making sure you’ll clean your gun the proper way. The best way to do this is to get the best tool first and using the best gun lubricant and solvents to back them up. Tools such as brushes, patches, cleaning rods and scrapers can make all the difference in the world.
In fact, if you use the incorrect bore brush, you can make a prized hunting rifle as effective as a sling shot because you’ll ruin the accuracy or leave it corroded and dirty. Start using the best rifle cleaning rod for your task at hand.
The 4 Best Rifle Cleaning Rods
Best gun cleaning rod
Best carbon fiber rod
Best rod for rifles
Best rod for cleaning shotguns
Here are the reviews of each of these top rifle cleaning rods in the table. Any of these is a great choice, just choose based on what your needs are.
Best Gun Cleaning Rod:
Dewey 1-Piece Cleaning Rod
Dewey is a maker of high quality one piece cleaning rods for cleaning all kinds of firearms from small pistols to large shotguns . They come in several lengths from 12” to 44” and all come with 8×22 threads so they can be used with accessories from a variety of manufacturers.
The cleaning rods are vinyl coated to protect the rifling and target crown while cleaning from the muzzle end. The best feature of this cleaning rod is how rigid it is because it’s made of .22-inch thick steel and attached to a comfortable handle fitted with a ball bearing to allow it to spin freely.
Best Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod:
Tipton Deluxe Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod
Tipton makes a carbon fiber cleaning rod available from 12” to 4” for cleaning pistols up to shotguns and extended rifle barrels. Carbon fiber makes the best material for a cleaning rod because it cannot scratch the rifling or crown of your firearm. This carbon fiber cleaning can be bent to squeeze it into spaces inside the receiver and not be bent or damaged.
The cleaning rod comes with a threaded adapter that accepts accessories from most manufacturers. Its handle has two sets of ball bearings that allow it to spin freely. This is a great rod for cleaning without the risk of damaging your gun.
Best Cleaning Rod for Rifles:
HOPPE’S One Piece RC22R Carbon Fiber Cleaning Rod
This is a high quality single piece cleaning rod made of a single piece of carbon fiber. The carbon fiber is very thick and doesn’t readily bend, but does flex slightly to help it get through tight sections of a dirty bore. The handle is an oversized premium piece of plastic and rubber comfortably spinning on two stainless ball bearings.
The stiffness of this cleaning rod coupled with the extremely comfortable handle makes for a very convenient way to clean out the tight bores and scrubbing out copper build up common with today’s premium bullets.
Best Shotgun Cleaning Rod:
Outers Universal Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun Brass Cleaning Rod
This is a great solid brass segmented brass cleaning rod that is perfect for cleaning shotguns where a scratching of a crown or bore isn’t as big a deal as with a rifle or pistol. This is a great option for people looking for an old-school screw type cleaning rod that breaks down for carrying and storage.
The biggest advantage of this cleaning rod is that it is cheap and easy to store because it breaks down. The plastic T-shaped handle is hard to grasp but gets the job done anyway. The only caveat to using this cleaning rod is to not use it on rifles slug, gun barrels. They’re essentially rifles that use shotgun ammo, treat them just like rifles.
What NOT to Buy
When you buy a cleaning rod it can be tempting to run down to your local discount sporting goods retailer and pick up the cheapest thing you can find. When I was younger, I remember, people using coat hanger to push patches down their old shotguns.
These are horrible ideas. You can ruin the accuracy of a rifle by not cleaning it properly and the cheap aluminum screw together type rods are the leading killer of rifles in the United States.
What inevitably will happen with these rods is they pick up small amounts of sand because they’re made of very soft metal. That sand gets rammed up against the bore of your rifle , pistol or rifles shotgun barrel and cuts up the lands of your rifling. They’re also very thick and easy to scrape against the crown of your rifle barrel making sure that every shot wobbles differently and unpredictably.
Buy a thin diameter, coated aluminum, brass or nonmetallic cleaning rod. Keep it away from the crown of your barrel and always keep a patch or brush on it. Use plastic gun cleaning rod adapters of the correct thread size to be sure you won’t ruin your gun.
How to Protect Your Guns
An adapter can be bought to slide over the crown of your rifle to protect the crown, that keeps the cleaning rod from scraping around too much. Plastic spacers are available for common rifles that keep the cleaning rod from damaging the action as well.
These aren’t needed if you clean a rifle from the chamber end anyway. Get a good gun vise and strap your gun down, that’ll make it easier. In a pinch, tape can be used to protect the crown and then clean around the muzzle afterwards with Q-tips or a tooth brush too. Get creative and use common sense.
Rod vs Rope
Cleaning ropes are now gaining in popularity. They have a lot of advantages but one of their biggest problems is they don’t out heavy fouling very well. Being able to scrub the bore of a rifle with a wire brush is easier with a rod than with a rope. Ropes do however work better for drying and oiling the barrel when it’s done. I’d say buy both. They’re both very useful, just different tools.
Brass vs Aluminum
Brass cleaning rods are superior to aluminum in every single way. They’re more durable, stronger, and don’t pick up sediments that scratch the bore of the gun as they push through the barrel. Brass rods are also more durable than aluminum cleaning rods and will last longer without any of the problems with the aluminum rod. These will work almost as well as a one piece rifle cleaning rod.
Thin vs Thick
Thin cleaning rods are useful because, they flex and they’re easy to control and keep away from the crown of a rifle bore. The thick brushes are good for shotgun barrels because the large diameter barrels require huge patches that need some muscle to push down the bore.
Rifle Cleaning Rod Length
Cleaning rods must be the right length to be useful. Too long and it’ll be weak and bendy when you’re trying hard to push a patch down the bore. Too short and you either won’t be able to hold onto it or you’ll miss portions of the barrel.
The most useful length is a 32” long. That way you can clean any shotgun barrels that come standard at 28”. Pistol length rods can be 10” or so to cover any revolver barrels you may clean that can be as long as 8”.
Gun Cleaning Rod Adapters & Accessories
Using the correct gun cleaning adapters for the job at hand is important because you can damage the bore of your gun by neglecting to use the right tool. If you can, opt for plastic or coated adapters so there’s no doubt that you won’t get scratches on your bore. Never use steel brushes inside the barrel of your firearm. Instead, opt for stiff bristled nylon, or soft copper brushes.
You can raid online sales and small hardware stores for cheap brass and copper wire brushes that are commonly used to clean grout. They’re cheap and you can buy them on sale to stock up. Baby bottle brushes can be used to clean actions, and magazines as well. Any soft plastic brush, including old tooth brushes can be pressed into service if you happen upon a good deal.
Remington makes a squeegee attachment to help clean out solvents before running a wet patch which works well and cuts down on waste and time. Oversized Q-tips are available and work great for pistols and are made specifically for each caliber. They’re made around a wooden dowel rod and work like a disposable cleaning rod with a cotton end.
Final Word on Cleaning Rods
Protecting your rifle, shotgun or pistol is simple. You need to clean it, lube it and not damage it while you’re doing it. The easiest way to prevent this is by making sure you use the best rifle cleaning rod you can. Metallic cleaning rods are almost always a bad idea because they are hard to use while protecting the crown of your gun and the rifling inside it. Find a good cleaning rod for your purpose, keep it away from sediments that’ll scratch your bore and clean your gun only when you can focus on not damaging it.