Using “Snakes” to get clean….

Snakes are often hailed as some of the scariest creatures around.  Snakes can be found near rivers in the mud, in the grass getting dirty,  or in your garage getting some much needed rest under your pick-up……heck, snakes are even found in some political offices wasting your tax money!!!  But, today we aren’t talking about these dirty little snakes!!! We recently received a response email from one of our readers, Avicia W. from Chicago. Avicia wanted us to clean up her knowledge about bore snakes and their uses.  Well, Avicia… per usual, PSA has you covered!!!


Avicia, when your long gun (hunting rifle, AR platform, AK platform, etc), handgun, or shotgun gets dirty, there’s usually two schools of thought when it’s time to sit down and clean that bugger:  “patches & brushes” or “bore snakes.”  Understand that any discharging of your firearm will inevitably create dirt and fouling inside of the bore (AKA the interior of barrel of the gun).  Using patches with solvent as a cleaning method is similar to mopping the floor and rinsing out the mop.  Using patches will flush much of the fouling out when the patch is passed through the bore.  But, be warned that if you use the patch surface again (similar to rinsing out a mop and reusing), some of the dirt will be deposited back into the bore.  Most times, cleaning the bore of your firearm with patches will also entail using a hard bristled brush of some sort (more than likely w/bronze bristles) attached to a cleaning rod  to further dislodge some of the heavier accumulated dirt.  Some enthusiasts swear by using patches and brushes……while some swear by using bore snakes.

Bore snake aficionados argue that bore snakes clean more effectively and efficiently than using their counterparts.  One pass through the bore with a bore snake effectively loosens and removes large particles.  At the same time, the bore snake scrubs out the remaining dirt, fouling, and residue with a bronze brush that is either attached to or integrated within the snake.  All the while, the bore snake is able to swab the bore virtually spotless with a cleaning area that at times exceeds 125x the size of a standard patch.  Remember Avicia, when using a bore snake, it’s usually a one-pass deal.

Both of these cleaning methods have their merits to many of us in the firearms community.  Although bore snakes may be easier to use they lack the strength and rigidity found in the rods used with brushes and patches (sometimes needed for extreme dirt and fouling).  Avicia….shooters can easily toss the bore snake itself in the laundry when it gets dirty and some bore snakes even allow you to change out the attached brushes as you need them, making some bore snakes truly universal cleaning solutions. Patches and brushes are usually not washable, and if fouling tends to take them over, they have to be replaced.

Typically, both kinds of cleaning solutions come caliber specific (meaning that they are made for a specific caliber size i.e. 9mm sized brushes, or .45 caliber bore snakes), but there are some companies that offer universal solutions.  Below we have some links to some popular bore snake as well as “patches & brushes” solutions.  (You may have to copy and past the link into your browser).

***  If you are unfamiliar with firearms and/or their accessories, and want to learn more, PSA strongly suggests that you find, enroll, and attend a comprehensive and reputable firearms safety course. Firearms safety is all of OUR responsibility.  

We want to thank you for taking out the time to stop by our lane at the shooting range!!  We hope that you enjoyed your stay and hope that you stop back by early and often to catch up on all PSA updates!  We truly hope that we were able to hit the target, and if you ever have any questions please don’t hesitate to shoot them our way!!  We look forward to shooting the breeze with you soon again!!

And as always….remember to watch your six and stay low!!!

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