Gun Cleaning: Bore Snake vs Cleaning Rod, WHich Do You Prefer?


June 28, 2009, 04:38 AM
Hi, I have been kinda fed up with trying to clean guns with patches and cleaning rods and I am always told if you don't be careful or use this or that wrong thingy, you will scratch up your barrel. Also, it is rather time consuming and tedious using the cleaning rod.

I would like to hear what preferences people have in regards to using a bore snake as opposed to or in alernation with a cleaning rod. Are bore snakes really less effective than cleaning rods? How long does an average bore snake last you before you have to replace it? Would most people agree bore snakes allow for faster cleaning that should be almost as efective as a cleaning rod? I was considering getting a whole set of various caliber bore snakes for my rifles and pistols. I was told you can use your rifle bore snakes in your pistols, but not revolvers. Maybe, I can purchase some pistol bore snakes for my revolvers too.

Anyone have any feelings of Hoppes Bore Snake brand, or bore snakes in general?


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June 28, 2009, 07:44 AM
I like to use bore snakes after a trip to the range or after a hunting trip even if I do not fire a shot. I still break down my guns and give them a thorough cleaning using a good rod however. The boresnakes are fine to get the crud out of the barrel if you do not want to take the time to do it right.

June 28, 2009, 07:48 AM
Bore snake for routine crud. Bronze brush or Lewis lead removal system for serious lead or copper fouling.


June 28, 2009, 07:55 AM
I have always been an advocate of cleaning rods only, but yesterday and today I'm line officer at the NRA Regional Pistol matches in Bristol, Indiana. I see the Marine Team using Boarsnakes, I also see the National Champion for I forget howmany years in a row also usong boresnakes.

Soooo Maaaybeee, I guess if the National Champion for 5, 6, or 7 years in a row uses them between relays then maybe they must be OK.

BTW this was Brian Zins, winner of 9 National Championships. A really super guy and a fantastic shooter. Do a google search on him to learn more. I've watched him shoot 100 10X targets. Not any pasters used on his targets. hahahaha

June 28, 2009, 08:17 AM
After a couple of uses, aren't you dragging old krud through your weapon with a boresnake?

June 28, 2009, 09:14 AM
I think the trick is that boresnakes have so much surface area it doesn't really matter - it's going to be a while before the back end is significantly dirty.

That and most of them are washable. If you don't want to wash, buy a new one every so often.

June 28, 2009, 09:37 AM
I love boresnakes! If you use them "routinely" enough, you won't have to break out the rods and brushes more than about once a year, depending on how much you shoot.

June 28, 2009, 01:08 PM
You can clean them like a Tico tool....use some Dawn and soak, then rinse and trick someone mentioned was to tie another pull string to the back loop incase the main string breaks, you can pull it out from the breech end

June 28, 2009, 02:07 PM
I've been meaning to ask:

Can bore snakes be cleaned? Or do you have to buy a new one after prolonged use?

June 28, 2009, 02:11 PM

Read the post immediately preceding yours.

June 28, 2009, 02:15 PM
Nothing beats a bronze brush and a rod but in a pinch a bore snake is the way to go. I always keep both around.

June 28, 2009, 02:54 PM
Rod preferred, with Otis being a range or back up method.

Never used a boresnake, but I have removed stuck ones from bores and one washing machine.

June 28, 2009, 02:58 PM
Boresnake for quick clean, rod for a proper clean.

June 29, 2009, 12:06 AM
I can't see that a boresnake could be much quicker then a rod and rod guide plus the rod guide would catch at least some of the extra solvent.

June 29, 2009, 12:12 AM
I generally use an aluminum rod from breech to muzzle. I coated it with that liquid electrical tape to ensure no metal-to-metal contact in the bore.

For the AK and M1, I use the pull thru that came with those German AK cleaning kits.

June 29, 2009, 08:44 AM
I use both, but the boresnake more often. After I'm finished at the range for the day, a quick shot of rem oil down the bore, run snake through while it is still warm, cuts down on detail cleaning later. For my o/u shotgun, i'll wipe down the breech face and put some grease on the hinge, for my 1911 i'll take a patch with a little bit of hoppe's and wipe down feed ramp, breech face, and behind the extractor, little bit of grease on the rails.

Does a find job for me, keeps it clean.

June 29, 2009, 10:41 AM
I use the Otis system of pull throughs; works for me. No real scientific reason, other than being ex military and 'Thats what I've always done', and in a similar vein, and out of habit, I am conditioned to want my cleaning kit to be tiny so it can go everywhere with me! :)

July 7, 2009, 10:52 PM
Hey everyone,

I have a beeman pellet gun, .22 caliber. Would using a brass or copper brush ruin my rifling in my barrel? I'm assuming its a steel barrel, haven't checked though.


Tim the student
July 7, 2009, 11:05 PM
I prefer the rod for a good cleaning, but I think that the bore snake serves a purpose for taking some gunk out at the range.

July 7, 2009, 11:40 PM
Best system I have found is Bore Snake or Otis for a 22LR every time I fire it.

For serious guns I use Bore Tech Eliminator solvent (it really is different and it works). To get them really clean.

If I want the gun to retain first shot zero without a fouling shot(s), I use Kroil penetrating oil (nylon brush ten strokes and wait ten minutes then a dry patch) and JB Bore Paste ten strokes per patch and at least three patches (Brownells) then a dry patch and patch of synthetic oil (Weaponshield is a good choice) and a dry patch.

Note: a stroke is to the muzzle and back

July 8, 2009, 10:16 AM
I just use rods, nothing against the boresnake. You know how it goes, if it ain't broke... Maybe I'll give one a try one of these days I just don't feel very compelled to do so.

July 8, 2009, 10:19 AM
I use boresnakes in the field/hunting and at the range for a quick clean.

July 8, 2009, 10:34 AM
Boresnakes are great for an easy way to quickly clean the barrel at the range or after a day out in the woods. Get the bulk of the crud and moisture out of the barrel before I put it in the case (never sure if I will have time to do a real cleaning when I get home).
I still use my cleaning rod with brush, patch and solvent to do a real cleaning when I get time.

I think boresnakes are great but not a replacement for a good cleaning rod.

July 8, 2009, 10:35 AM

Airgun barrels are made of much softer steel than firearm barrels. An airgun barrel also almost never needs cleaning. There is virtually no combustion involved in an airgun barrel (some minor lube burning is all), and thus no combustion products to remove.

A metal brush should almost never be needed in an airgun. An oiled patch followed by dry patches, repeated until clean is all that is ever needed. Alternatively, a cleaning pellet backed up with a standard pellet will accomplish most chores.

The only time one should consider cleaning an airgun barrel is when it is brand new (manufacturing debris removal) or when accuracy falls off and all other suspects are eliminated (loose/damaged sight system, loose barrel pivot, poor pellet choice, poor technique). When this time comes, the problem is sometimes found to be leading of the bore, a couple inches from the breech.

If this is a problem, patches wetted with Goo-Gone, followed by dry patches, followed by oiled patch, and then dry patches is the time-proven method used by most airgunners. Weedwhacker line makes a good pullthru. Be extremely carefull not to allow the pull-thru (or rod) to rub on the rifling as the soft steel is easily worn away.

More air-gun barrels are ruined by cleaning than by not cleaning.


July 8, 2009, 10:49 AM
Cleaning rods only.

July 8, 2009, 11:07 AM
Almost exclusively Boresnakes.I still use rods with my muzzle loaders.

July 8, 2009, 11:11 AM
After done shooting at the range,run the boresnake through it and be sure it's unloaded when reentering your house if you have little kids.;)

July 8, 2009, 01:56 PM
I just finally bought my first bore snake and wow I think i'm in heaven! So much quicker when your not doing a full detail strip down cleaning!

July 8, 2009, 02:55 PM
I use a Boresnake on my rifle (5.56) and my chain gun (7.62)

they are great for daily clean and/ or between shoots.

Commanding Officer of 1 Infantry Bn bought 400 of them for his Bn after using one!

July 8, 2009, 02:56 PM
Never, never, never leave any oil residue in an air rifle barrel. If you have a fairly high pressure rifle, it may cause dieseling. This is a combustion of the air/oil mixture behind a fired pellet. It can over pressure your barrel and cause it to burst. There is a lot of discussion concerning this on several airgun web sites. Be safe....

July 8, 2009, 03:10 PM

Bore snake right after the last round fired.. while the barrel is hot.

The only time I scrub a barrel is IF I see copper build up or some kind of burnt powder contamination (thru my magnifying lamp).

For the interior protection of the barrel, from rust, I simply run a pad with a "very light coating" of EEZOX, let it sit for half an hour, then run another clean pad thru it, lightly, to soak up any over-kill.

Been working fine with 5 pistols over the last 2.5yrs.

Forgot to mention: and for the 9mm's I use a 40cal bore snake. For the 40 S&W's I use a 45cal bore snake and for the 45cal gun, I use another 45cal bore snake..



July 8, 2009, 03:24 PM
Boresnake for quick clean, rod for a proper clean. Yeah, that.

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