To Clean Or Not To Clean

Monday, March 16, 2015

I know there are 2 schools of thought: Cleaning airgun barrels is important and should be done regularly –or– airguns don’t use explosive propellants and don’t need to be cleaned.  I’m not here to root for either side in this blog, other than to reiterate the common sense rule-of-thumb that you should always swab out the barrel of a new airgun to remove manufacturing lubricants and gunk.  This entry is to introduce you to a unique cleaning system that has made its mark in the firearms world and I feel is a good fit to the airgun market as well.  The products are Boresmith’s  “Jag Brush” and Triangle Patches.  SHOT 2015_013_They are designed to work together to provide maximum contact with the bore while reducing binding and rod flex.  The reduction in binding is due to the unique triangular shape of the bleached cotton flannel patch.  By notching the patch there is a reduction of overlapping folds of material that not only cause binding in the bore, but actually waste much of the surface area of the patch and its cleaning effectiveness.

For those shooters who subscribe to the thinking that cleaning a bore should always follow the same path as the projectile, most cleaning brushes are not going to fit the small breech of a rotary magazine fed or bolt-action airgun.  A flexible cable system as highlighted in an earlier AOA blog may be the way to go.  The Jag Brush is even longer than similar cleaning brushes and the extra length is because Boresmith tapers their brush to work efficiently with the Triangle Patch.  Jag Brush + Triangle PatchThe taper starts easily into the bore and then the larger taper fits the bore more snugly for greater surface area contact, finally being followed by the bristles scrubbing the bore.  For a break-barrel airgun the Boresmith would excel.  Otherwise if you are not particularly concerned about cleaning from the muzzle, as long as you are mindful of the crown, again this system works very well.  Another tip is to clean the gun while it is upside down to avoid cleaners and lubricants from flowing into the transfer port.

Boresmith ProductsThe brushes come in all popular calibers starting at .17 and going up through the 10 gauge shotgun and are made of either phosphor bronze or nylon.  The Triangle Patches come in a variety of packages and an economical way to buy is in the 200 count poly bags for $3.25 in the .17 to .20 caliber size.  The bag of .22 caliber patches is fifty cents more.  As for solvents, they offer “Gun Cleanser” which is plant-based and non-toxic.  Because it contains no petroleum distillates, it should be safe to use around airgun seals if you feel the need to use a solvent.  I conducted a small experiment of soaking an “O” ring for several days in Gun Cleanser and noted no changes or degradation, but this is far from a scientific study.

The folks behind Boresmith are a company called Rigel Products and they are not only shooters, but scientists who have put a lot of thought into their products.  Knowing that a number of you reading this are firearms enthusiasts as well, it would be worth your while to head over to their website:

MTM Range BoxThanks also to MTM Case-Gard for the use of their Range Box.  It certainly makes a handy platform for any cleaning chores.  If you’d like to check it out, navigate over to


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