Cleaning my guns doesn’t rank as one of life’s peak experiences but like death and taxes, it’s a reality we need to face.
Over the years, I’ve amassed several large containers of gun cleaning paraphernalia. This includes jags, rods of every size, copper bore brushes, plastic bore brushes, cables, tooth brushes, Q-Tips and rags of every color. And that’s only the stuff that I can think off.
When it’s time to clean, I fumble around looking for the path of least resistance, which inevitably means dousing copper and plastic brushes in a goopy solution, running it through the barrel and pulling a cotton patch through it. In the meantime, goop drips out of the breech, on the table and the entire kitchen smell like a toxic waste dump.
Yes, there must be a better way to do it.
Enter Bore-Tips (from Swab-Its) a product line with a plan to make one of my least favorite tasks, a little easier. Swab-Its has several product lines but they all revolve around one central theme– reusable bore cleaners that combine a jag and a patch.
These come in several different configurations but Bore-Tips, their flagship product, look like over-sized Q-Tips which can be threaded onto a standard cleaning rod. They are soaked with your favoring cleaning agent stuffed down the bore and absorb the gunk.
Unlike Q-Tips, they are reusable.
The foam tip is a highly durable plastic that can be washing with laundry soap or your favorite dish washing detergent and reused many times. You can use just about anything to clean them so long as it doesn’t melt plastic!
Bore-Tips come in a variety of sizes including 22cal, .30cal, .357cal/9mm, .40cal, and .45cal and you will not be shocked to hear you can buy them pretty inexpensively on Amazon in a multi-caliber kit. You can also get them for popular rifle sizes such as .243, 7.62/30 cal or 12 and 20 guage shot gun.
One of their variations on the theme is a caliber-specific item called a Bore Whip. This is something a akin to a bore snake, a long flexible nylon cord that’s attached to a Bore-Tip. Simply pull it through the bore, as you would a bore snake and voila, the job is completed. Bore Whips come in .17 cal/177 and .22 cal/5.56.
This is a very useful product. They are not going to be able to remove the kind of hard core carbon or copper residue that a copper bore brush will but they are a great way to do a first pass to get the surface junk out of the way and (following the copper brush) the final pass in lieu of a cotton patch. I could definitely see using a bore stick or a Bore Whip in place of a bore snake at the range while the barrel is still worm. (I wish the Bore Whip product came in a 7.62 size so that I could clean out my AK barrel at the range.)
At home the long-handled bore sticks came in really handy at cleaning out the internal parts of a rifle (such as the receiver) or a handgun that are simply too hard to get at with your fingers or with your trusty Q-Tip.
On the 2017 SHOT website the company was touting their newest product a Bore-Tip with a shape that perfectly cleans out the breech of an AR-15, which as anybody who ever own an AR, knows is a complete pain the “okole” (as we say in Hawaii). I asked the company if I could have one to try out but they said was still in a kind of clinical trial.
So back to the present: There’s no doubt that Swab-It products will soon gain a spot in my pantheon of cleaning gadgets. The thing that puzzles me is why nobody else thought of this sooner!