Best Gun Cleaning Kits – Universal Kits and Components to Build Your Own

by Ryan Cleckner

September 18, 2020

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Cleaning your gun is a necessary part of being a gun owner.  A properly maintained and clean firearm is more reliable (it works better), it will last longer as an investment, and it can even maintain accuracy (with precision rifles).

But, in order to properly clean and maintain your firearms, you need the right cleaning equipment (solvents, brushes, oils, etc.) and it really helps to have it all organized in a complete cleaning kit.

In this review of the best cleaning kits, we’re not only going to help you choose the right tools for cleaning your gun, we’re also going to show you which cleaning kits to get (or how to build your own firearm cleaning kit) so that cleaning your guns as a regular practice is as painless as possible.

Types of Gun Cleaning Kits

Although there are surely many different types of cleaning kits, we think it is easiest to break down cleaning kits into two main categories:

Complete Cleaning Kits: These firearm cleaning kits typically come with the basics you need to clean a firearm and are self-contained in their own case. These are a great place to start for new gun owners – however, they’ll likely include many things you won’t use or need.  Complete cleaning kits can either be universal cleaning kits (meant for most firearms) or they can be specific to certain firearm types like handguns or shotguns.

“Build Your Own” Cleaning Kits: Once you’re more familiar with your firearms and know the type of tools, equipment, and solvents you’d like to use, you’re going to want to start building your own kit for cleaning guns. Even if you started with a complete cleaning kit, you’ll surely want to start adding to it or replacing items to make the cleaning kit work for your needs.

Firearm Cleaning Kit Basics

There are a few basic items that any good gun cleaning kit will need. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with these, they’ll either come in a complete kit or we’ll discuss each in detail in the build your own cleaning kit section.

Gun cleaning kits generally include:

  • cleaning rod
  • bore brushes
  • cleaning patches
  • jags (the part that holds the patch)
  • general purpose brushes
  • cleaning solvents
  • gun oil (for rust prevention and lubricity/function)
  • container to hold all components

Editors Choice of Best Gun Cleaning Kits:

If you’re someone that just wants to see what we think are the best complete cleaning kits (overall and for specific firearm types), we’ve listed our editors choice of each here to make things fast and easy.

However, if you’re interested in more details and want to see our cleaning kit and component reviews and comparisons, you can scroll down (or click the category of cleaning kits below) and see how each ranked with more detail.

The Best Shooting Cleaning Kits for the different types:

Gun Cleaning Kits Editor’s Choice

Gun Cleaning KitDetailsCheck Price
Editor's Choice
Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box
  • Editor's Choice
  • Sturdy Range Box w/ Universal Cleaning Kit
  • Has Everything You Need to Get Started
Check Price 
Best Budget
Allen Company Universal Ultimate Kit
  • Pro Grade Kit
  • Comes with Quality Toolbox
  • 65 Tools and Supplies
Check Price 
Best for Handguns
Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Kit
  • Best Kit for Handguns
  • Compact and Portable
Check Price 
Best for AR-15
Gloryfire AR-15 Cleaning Kit
  • Best for Your AR-15
  • Lightweight with Belt Attachment
Check Price 
Best for Shotguns
SPIKA Compact 12 GA Cleaning Kit
  • Best for Your 12 GA Shotgun
  • Comes with 4 Stainless Rods
Check Price 

Specs Comparison of the Best Gun Cleaning Kits

Reviews of the Best Complete Gun Cleaning Kits

Universal gun cleaning kits are the most popular type of complete cleaning kits. Here, our top choices for gun cleaning kits are all universal cleaning kits meaning they can be used for handguns, rifles, and shotguns.

Our top universal cleaning kits have room for expansion – this is deliberate. Although a complete universal cleaning kit is a good place to start, trust us: you’re going to want to add particular components and having room to expand is nice.

We’ve also added some complete cleaning kits for particular firearm types. Often, a cleaning kit just for handguns is handy (especially if you don’t need the extra components for rifles or shotguns). Also, if you have an AR-15 style rifle, having a simple and dedicated cleaning kit for it is super handy.

Best Complete Cleaning Kits:

#1 Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box W/ Universal Cleaning Kit : Editor’s Choice

Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box W/ Universal Cleaning Kit

Provides a quality range box to carry all cleaning supplies. Range box is also specially designed to support gun while cleaning.

Otis All Caliber Elite Specs

  • Case Hard Shell Range Box
  • Brushes Included 16 Bronze Bore
  • Bore Snakes 4 Included (.22/.223, .30-.308, 9mm/.38, 12 GA)
  • Oil and Lube? Yes
  • Patches? Yes

Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box 

If you’re looking for an all-in-one universal cleaning kit, do yourself a favor, just buy this one and save yourself some time.

No, it’s not “perfect” but I don’t think that any pre-made kit can be perfect for everyone’s needs and styles. For example, as a long range guy, I’m a snob for a certain type of jag and cleaning rod (more about that below).

But, if there’s one kit to get to cover most things, I love this kit because it has tons of quality components and one really important thing for me: room to expand!

You’re eventually going to want a room for a general purpose cleaning rag (piece of an old t-shirt), some more solvents/oil, and I’d add cleaning rods.

The pull cables Otis uses instead of cleaning rods are ok but they are not my preference.

Other bonuses to this gun cleaning kit include the nice case that can be used to support the firearm while cleaning and the inclusion of the Otis ripcord barrel cleaners. They, along with another brand (bore snakes), are SUPER handy to quickly clean out a barrel and chamber – but, they’re not a replacement for a full cleaning.

Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box Pros and Cons

  • Comes with Sturdy Range Box
  • Supports Gun while Cleaning
  • Lube and Grease Included
  • 16 Different Bronze Bore Brushes
  • 4 Firearm Specific Ripcords
  • Most Expensive Kit
  • Rods sold separately

#2 Allen Company Ultimate Universal Cleaning Kit : Best Budget Option

Allen Company Ultimate Universal Cleaning Kit

Great value for 65 different weapon cleaning tools for all calibers. Comes in handy easy-to-organize toolbox.

Allen Company Ultimate Universal Kit Specs

  • Case Hard Shell Toolbox
  • Brushes Included 14 Bronze Bore Brushes
  • Bore Snakes None
  • Oil and Lube? No
  • Patches? Yes

Allen Company Ultimate Kit 

If the Otis kit above is too expensive for your budget, then this is the kit you should get instead.

It still has the benefits of a large case that allows for the addition of more components and it has a lot of components to get you started.

However, with the low price point comes lower quality components and not as many extras.

You’re going to need a good gun solvent and gun oil before this kit can really work for a universal gun cleaning kit.

Allen Company Ultimate Universal Cleaning kit Pros and Cons

  • Great Value
  • Nice Organized Toolbox
  • Plenty of Bore Brushes
  • No Bore Snakes Included
  • No Oil and Lube Included

#3 GLORYFIRE Universal Cleaning Kit

GLORYFIRE Universal Cleaning Kit

This all-around cleaning kit comes in a nice hard clamshell style case that’s easy to organize and store.

Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Kit Specs

  • Case Hard Clamshell Style Travel Case
  • Brushes Included 14 Bronze Wire Brushes
  • Bore Snakes None
  • Oil and Lube? No
  • Patches? Yes

Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Kit

If you’re looking for a set of brushes and rods for most firearms, this is it.

As far as a complete cleaning kit, however, this option is a bit lacking. You’ll need an extra case to store solvents, oils, rags, etc.

For starting out, this will work, but you’ll find that this sort of case isn’t really a good option. You’ll eventually want more specialized tools and products and you’ll soon find that brushes are fairly disposable and you’ll probably be buying more in the future for calibers that you use often.

This kit would make a good gift as it isn’t too expensive and gives a gun person plenty of things to use for cleaning without being an entire kit.

Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Kit Pros and Cons

  • Affordable
  • Low Profile and Labeled Case
  • 14 Bore Brushes Jags and Loops are Solid Brass
  • Leaves No Room to Expand Kit
  • No Bore Snakes Included
  • No Lube and Oil Included

#4 Real Avid GUN BOSS HANDGUN Cleaning Kit : BEST FOR HANDGUNS

Real Avid GUN BOSS HANDGUN Cleaning Kit

An affordable handgun cleaning kit thats easy to grab and go.

Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Kit Specs

  • Case Zippered Ballistic Nylon
  • Included Brushes 4 Phosphor Bronze Brushes
  • Bore Snakes No
  • Oil and Lube? No
  • Patches? Yes

Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit

With all of my recommendations so far about having a large kit with room to expand and giving a preference for many components, you may be surprised to see this tiny kit being recommended. 

So, why such a small and limited kit?

A small kit like this is SUPER handy if you only have one or two handguns to clean but it is really useful to throw into your range bag with other shooting accessories. 

Think of this as your travel kit that can be used anywhere even though you might end up with a full sized cleaning kit at home.

Real Avid Gun Boss Handgun Cleaning Kit Pros and Cons

  • Best for Handguns
  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight and Compact
  • Handguns Only
  • Need to Empty out Unneeded Gear to Make Room for Solvent and Oil

#5 GLORYFIRE AR-15 Cleaning Kit : Best for AR-15

GLORYFIRE AR-15 Cleaning Kit

A compact, lightweight carry option for cleaning your AR-15 or rifle in the field.

Gloryfire AR-15 Cleaning Kit Specs

  • Case Lightweight Nylon
  • Included Brushes Brass brush, Chamber Brush, Nylon Brush
  • Bore Snakes None
  • Oil and Lube? No
  • Patches? Yes

Gloryfire AR-15 Cleaning Kit

If you were in the Army or Marine Corps, this should bring back some memories.

On its face, it is an extremely basic and limited kit. Like the handgun kit above, it is NOT intended to be a complete cleaning kit for all of your guns.

However, if you have an AR-15 style rifle, having one of these is a must have. And, if you have the room for it, this should accompany you with your rifle.

The cleaning rods are handy in the field to clear barrel obstructions (including a stuck case) and the chamber brush is an absolute necessity to clean the star chamber of an AR-15. I like to wrap a rifle cleaning patch around the chamber brush to twist around in the chamber to clean it.

Once you get one of these, you’ll soon realize its utility and how it is like a small tool kit kept in a vehicle but for your rifle. Fill the bottle with some Break Free CLP and you’re good to go.

Gloryfire AR-15 Cleaning Kit Pros and Cons

  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • A must-have for AR-15s
  • Cannot Expand Kit
  • Only Comes with Space for One Empty Bottle

#5 SPIKA Compact 12 GA Shotgun Cleaning Kit : Best for Shotguns

SPIKA Compact 12 GA Shotgun Cleaning Kit

Super portable kit that makes cleaning your shotgun at the range or in the field easy.

SPIKA Compact 12 GA Cleaning Kit Specs

  • Case Hard Plastic
  • Brushes Included Bronze Brush, Spring Brush, Utility Brush
  • Bore Snakes None
  • Oil and Lube? No
  • Patches? Yes

SPIKA Compact 12 GA Shotgun Cleaning Kit

Just like our #3 recommendation above for handguns, this is a limited but handy kit for shotguns.

It isn’t really compact enough to easily throw into a bag when you go to the range but it is a handy and fairly portable solution to keeping your shotgun clean.

The rod and barrel mop are really important tools for maintaining your shotgun. It’s not a bad idea to keep the cleaning rod in your vehicle in case you need to clear a stuck shotgun shell hull.

This is also a good gift and place to start for someone new to guns but you’re going to want to eventually expand your kit and your passion for shooting grows.

SPIKA Compact 12 GA Shotgun Cleaning Kit Pros and Cons

  • Lightweight and Portable
  • Plastic Jag
  • Case Could Be Better Quality

Components for Building Your Own Firearm Cleaning Kit

Whether you started with a universal cleaning kit and you’re looking to expand your cleaning kit or you’re starting from scratch and building your own cleaning kit, we’re going to cover each of the component types you should consider and give our recommendations and pros and cons for each.

Cleaning Kit Components:

Cleaning Rod

Although that cables, like those that come in our #1 recommended kit above, can be handy (especially when you’d like something compact) there’s no substitute for a proper cleaning rod.

A good cleaning rod makes cleaning a barrel MUCH easier.

Short pistol rods are a must for handguns but for rifles, I prefer full length quality rods. Honestly, for my pistols, I mostly just use a Bore Snake or Otis Ripcord. For my precision rifles, I want full length Dewey Cleaning rods.

As most jags and brushes have male threaded ends, make sure you’re cleaning rod has a threaded female end. Also, get the biggest rod that will fit in your barrel – a thin one sounds like a good idea that will fit in all of your firearms but a .22 caliber rod can easily bend when you’re trying to clean bigger calibers.

Editor's Choice

Full length Dewey Cleaning Rods are my favorite.

The swivel handle allows the rod, jag, and brush to easily spin with the rifling in a barrel and its sturdy construction will last you a lifetime.

check price

Pros and Cons for Dewey Cleaning Rods
  • Highest quality
  • Lasts a lifetime
  • Makes cleaning easy
  • May need multiples to cover different calibers
  • Not portable
Other Recommended Cleaning Rods

Bore Brushes

Bore brushes are fairly straight forward.  The good ones are inexpensive.  The really cheap ones are junk. 

So, do yourself a favor and use good ones, that still don’t cost much.

Editor's Choice

Tipton bore brushes are my go-to bore brushes. I keep a few handy for each caliber. Once they get bent or too dirty, I throw one away and break out a new one.

check price

Pros and Cons of Tipton Bore Brushes
  • Well-built bronze brushes
  • Inexpensive
  • None
Other Recommended Bore Brushes

Cleaning Patches

Cleaning patches are useful for cleaning the barrel and other small parts on a firearm.  In my opinion, the best patches are cotton flannel (that’s my recommendation below).  Others like a synthetic weave but the good old cotton ones are my favorite.

Editor's Choice

Cotton flannel cleaning patches seem to work the best for me.  They are inexpensive, ultra absorbent, and good at “scrubbing” gunk off your gun and out from the inside of your barrel.

Get these ones recommended for rifles and shotguns and smaller patches for pistols.

check price

Pros and Cons of Cotton Flannel Patches
  • Inexpensive
  • Absorbant
  • Durable
  • Can sometimes “shed” material
Other Recommended Cleaning Patches

Jags

A good jag can make all the difference in cleaning a gun’s barrel.

Here’s some bad news: the jags in cheaper universal cleaning kits are often junk (plastic) and will easily break or not hold onto a patch well.  If they’re the eyelet style jag, I wouldn’t even try using them because they don’t work well.

I recommend brass jags to help hold the patch where it should be and clean the barrel well. The absolute best jags in my opinion are not the standard push-style jags or eyelet jags but rather a wrap around style jag called a parker-hale style jag.

Eyelet jags don’t make good patch contact and can often “jam” in the barrel. Push jags are better, but they need to be brass in order to hold the jag well.

For pistol and shotguns, a push style jag is fine. For rifles, get a parker-hale jag and you’ll thank me. Make sure your jag is threaded right to fit your cleaning rod.

Editor's Choice

Parker Hale Brass-style jags are the best for cleaning barrels – the patch is wrapped around the jag and therefore makes a snug fit with the most cleaning surface of the patch agains the barrel.

These take some practice getting used to but they’re worth it.

check price

Pros and Cons of Parker Hale Brass Jags
  • Allow for most surface contact
  • Perfect fit – no binding
  • Takes a bit of practice to get used to
Other Recommended Jags

General Purpose Brushes

Any proper gun cleaning kit needs at least one general purpose brush.

Effectively, the best brush is a nylon toothbrush = style brush.  However, metal bristle brushes can also be handy for stubborn spots but BE CAREFUL with metal bristles – you should only use brass and, even then, be careful that you don’t damage your firearm’s finish.

Editor's Choice

This nylon and metal brush set from BOOSTEADY contains everything you need to clean your gun.

It includes two nylon brushes, two brass brushes, and two steel brushes (be VERY careful with the steel brushes).

check price

Pros and Cons of the BOOSTEADY Brush Kit
  • Two of each brush style
  • Carrying case
  • Inexpensive
  • Steel brushes can cause damage
Other Recommended General Purpose Brushes

Cleaning Solvents

If you’ve cleaned guns before, or you’ve been around someone cleaning guns, you can probably remember the smell of Hoppe’s #9 solvent.

That smell makes me nostalgic of shooting with my father.

Cleaning solvent helps remove the carbon and residue from previously fired ammo and it can help to remove copper build up in the barrel.

Editor's Choice

This may make some of you gasp in shock and question whether I’m a red-blooded American, but Hoppe’s #9 is not my preferred solvent.

Instead, my favorite solvent is Shooter’s Choice MC#7 Bore cleaner.  I’ve used this solvent for years and would only change to another product if they stopped making this.

Actually, I also use Gunzilla in light use applications (like my fine shotguns) because it’s very low strength, non-toxic (and it doesn’t stink), and leaves a light oily coating.

Check out the guide below for my trick to managing your solvent and patches.

This may make some of you gasp in shock and question whether I’m a red blooded American, but Hoppe’s #9 is not my preferred solvent.

Instead, my favorite solvent is Shooter’s Choice MC#7 Bore cleaner.  I’ve used this solvent for years and would only change to another product if they stopped making this.

Actually, I also use Gunzilla in light use applications (like my fine shotguns) because it’s very low strength, non-toxic (and it doesn’t stink), and leaves a light oily coating.

Check out the guide below for my trick to managing your solvent and patches.

check price

Pros and Cons of Shooter’s Choice MC-7 Firearms Bore Cleaner
  • Best solvent available (in my opinion)
  • Doesn’t leave a residue
  • Great at cleaning off carbon
  • My wife won’t let me wear it as cologne
Other Recommended Cleaning Solvents

Gun Oil

If you’re only going to have one, gun oil is more important than solvent for most purposes.

This is because guns won’t work as well as they should if they are not properly lubricated and they’ll eventually rust if the metal is left dry/bare.

Also, many oils work as great cleaners as well.

I’m enough of a gun oil snob that I recommend the all-around workhorse gun oil as my choice below but I also include my favorite specialty oils for lubrication.

If you’d like to see our full break-down of guns oils (including the best gun lubes for certain purposes), you’ve got to see our Best Gun Oil Guide.

Editor's Choice

If I can only use one gun oil for the rest of my life, it would be Break Free CLP oil. CLP stands for Cleaner, Lubricant, and Preservative.

It’s not necessarily the best at any one thing (lubrication, cleaning, or rust preventing) but it is the best oil for doing all three and is my idea of the best all around gun oil.

Get a few bottles of this stuff and keep it around in your cleaning area, in your range bag, and you’ll surely find places around your house to use it.

check price

Pros and Cons of CLP Break Free
  • Good for cleaning
  • Good for lubrication
  • Good for rust prevention
  • All-around work-horse
  • Can leave a residue
  • Not the “best” at any task
Other Recommended Gun Oil
  • Militec-1 (this is my favorite premium gun oil for lubrication purposes – it’s not listed as the best overall because Break Free CLP is the all-around work horse. However, when it comes to lubricating a gun for improved function and reduced wear, there is NOTHING better than Militec in my opinion).
  • Lucas Oil (also a great option for a CLP and performance lube) 

Container

If you didn’t pick one of our top two recommendations above for complete cleaning kits, you’re going to need a container to hold your cleaning kit.

My favorite cleaning kit boxes are tackle boxes for fishing.  Smaller tackle box organizing containers are also great for organizing brushes, jags, and patches.

Editor's Choice

This tackle box from Flambeau is small, inexpensive, and can make a great cleaning kit.

check price

Pros and Cons of the Flambeau Tackle Box
  • Inexpensive
  • Small
  • Trays and storage space
  • May not be big enough for everyone
Other Recommended Containers

Gun Cleaning Extras

Here are some extras that I find handy for cleaning guns, that aren’t necessarily items that need to be in every cleaning kit.

Editor's Choice

PICKS

A set of dental picks can be super handy for cleaning small nooks and crannies. Be careful not to scratch the finish on your gun.

check price

Editor's Choice

Q-Tips

Q-Tips are so handy for cleaning guns that I won’t even tell you why – try cleaning a gun once with them and you’ll see what I mean.

These long wooden handled q-tips are even better than standard ones for cleaning guns.

check price

Editor's Choice

Grypmat Tray

This is one of those items that I never knew I needed until I learned about them. And now, the Grypmat Tray makes our list list as one of the best gifts for gun lovers.

They are a great option to keep solvents/oil off of your table top, they help organize small parts, and they are gentle on the finish of your gun.

check price

Needle Oiler Bottle

If, like me, you like to get a drop of oil in the right spot without having too much oil running around, you’re going to want to get a needle oiler bottle.

These make it super easy to put exactly the amount of oil you want in just the right spot.

check price

Editor's Choice

Boresnake/Ripcord

Boresnakes are very handy tools – especially for handguns.

These are sort of brushes and patches all in one. They aren’t a true replacement for proper cleaning, but they are very quick and easy to use. For my handguns, these are all I use to clean out my barrels (my rifles get a proper scrubbing and cleaning).

Another brand, the Otis Ripcord, is available in our #1 cleaning kit recommendation above and is a similar tool.

check price

Buyer’s Guide to Gun Cleaning Kits

There are many different types of cleaning kits for firearms. There are universal cleaning kits that are complete cleaning kits meant for most types of guns, packaged gun cleaning kits for particular types of guns (just for pistols, rifles, or shotguns), and individual components for making your own cleaning kit.

Because there are so many cleaning kit options for cleaning guns, we though it’d be easiest to break them all down into just two categories:

  • Pre-packaged complete cleaning kits, and
  • Individual cleaning kit components for building your own cleaning kit or supplementing a pre-packaged complete kit

Not all cleaning kits and components are equal.

There are some cleaning kit components that are of such sub-par quality that we really recommend getting the higher-end product. However, for some parts, the economy solutions will work just fine.

Also, the pre-packaged kits are a great place to start, but the vast majority of them don’t have all the things you’ll need to properly maintain your firearms (this is true except for our #1 recommendation above).

Things to Consider

  • What Type of Gun Cleaning Kit Should You Get?
  • What is Each Cleaning Kit Component For?

What Type of Gun Cleaning Kit Should You Get?

Both building your own cleaning kit for guns and buying a pre-made cleaning kit have pros and cons. Let’s take a look at each and see which one best fits your needs to help you make the right choice for your cleaning kit.

Complete Cleaning Kits

Complete gun cleaning kits are pre-assembled kits with cleaning components for your firearm. They can be universal cleaning kits meant for all or most firearms or they can be kits that are designed to be just for one type of firearm whether it be a pistol, rifle, or shotgun.

These are a good place to start for new shooters. Even though they may not have all of the components you’ll eventually want or need, they are a great place to start while you figure out what works for you and your maintenance needs.

If you have more than one type of firearm, or plan to do so someday, please consider our #1 or #2 kits above based on your budget.

Pros:

  • Great place to start
  • Cheaper than buying all components individually

Cons:

  • Often limited with specialty components
  • May not have room to expand

Building Your Own Cleaning Kit

Complete gun cleaning kits are a nice place to start, however, once you really kit into guns, you’re either going to add components to them or end up building you own cleaning kit. 

Pros:

  • You get exactly what you want and need
  • You won’t spend money on things you don’t need

Cons:

  •  It might be difficult to know what you need until you have some experience
  • You’ll likely spend a bit more for each component

What is Each Cleaning Kit Component For?

If you read about some cleaning kit components above in our reviews of the best cleaning kits and weren’t quite clear about what they are or how they’re used, we’ll try and cover your answers here.

Cleaning Rods

Cleaning rods are for cleaning the barrel of your firearm.

The cleaning rod is used to scrub the inside of the barrel with a brush and it is used to apply solvent and wipe the inside of the barrel clean with patches pushed through the barrel with a jag.

Jags

Jags are attached to the end of a cleaning rod and carry a cleaning patch through the barrel of your gun.

There are three types of jags: eyelet style jags which allow a patch to be passed through an opening in the jag (which I think are useless and should be avoided), push-style jags which have a pointed tip and ribbed edges which hold the patch in place as it is pushed through the barrel, and parker-hale style jags which allow the full width of the patch to be wrapped around the outside of the jag.

Push style jags are an improvement over eyelets as long as the push style jags are brass (plastic ones are not ideal). However, as I explain in my reviews above, my favorite style of jags are the parker-hale style because they very rarely bind in the barrel and they provide the most patch surface area.

You need to make sure that the thread style on the jag matches your cleaning rod.

Bore Brushes

Bore brushes are attached to a cleaning rod to scrub the inside of a barrel. The most popular styles are made from brass or nylon.

Some people are concerned with using brass because they are afraid that metal will hurt their barrel. I do not share this concern. The heat and pressure of a bullet are fairly intense and impart more stress on a barrel than brass bristles.

However, if it is a concern for you, nylon brushes are available and popular.

As a note, if you are using a copper remover in your precision rifle barrel, a nylon brush can be handy because the copper remover with eventually erode the brass brush.

Boresnake/Rip Cord

These are handy tools for a quick scrub and wipe clean of a barrel. They do not replace a proper cleaning, but they are so handy that they’re almost all I use for my pistols.

They consist of a length of cord that can be dropped through a barrel and the used to pull the working parts through the barrel. They include brushes in the middle and soft material that wipes the barrel clean.

These are caliber specific as the brushes need to be the right size to scrub the barrel and the soft material needs to fit tightly.

Gun Solvents

Gun solvents are cleaning chemicals meant to help remove carbon and other residue from firing your gun.

I have a trick that I’ve used for 20 years now to keep cleaning solvent from being tainted with a dirty brush or from being spilled.

Often, when someone wants solvent on their brush, they’ll dip it into the solvent bottle. This risks making your solvent dirty if the brush is dirty.

Also, if you try to pour the solvent on a brush or patch, you’re likely to spill some.

So, here’s a cool trick I learned in the Special Forces Sniper Course (formerly SOTIC): use a shallow and wide-mouth glass jar (I was taught to use a baby food jar but I found a small green chilli jar that had a wider mouth and it works perfect).

Put enough patches flat in the jar (of course, clean it out first) to almost fill it. Then, pour enough solvent over the patches to make them moist and with a small amount of solvent in the bottom of the jar. 

Now, whenever you need a patch with solvent on it, you can just pull one out. As your patches run low, replace them.  Also, if you need to put solvent on a brush, hold the brush over the jar as you pour solvent over it (you’ve now ensured your jar is topped up with solvent).

Gun Oil

Gun oil can be used to help clean your gun, preserve your metal from rusting, and also aid in the operation of your gun by providing lubrication.

Cleaning Kit Conclusion

Whether you start with a complete cleaning kit and add on as you need or build your own from scratch, you now know what you need and what to look for. 

Please let us know how your cleaning kit turns out and if you learned any helpful tips.

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About Ryan Cleckner

Ryan is a former special operations sniper (1/75 Ranger) and current firearms attorney, firearms industry executive, university lecturer, and bestselling author of the Long Range Shooting Handbook.

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