Subtitle; Damn I'm getting lazy
For the last year or so I have been using Hoppe's Bore Snake for some of my various center fire calibers and shotgun gauges.
The Bore Snake is a cleaning device that consists of a weighted on one end rope with a bore brush embedded in cleaning floss. To use it one simply applies their preferred bore scrubber to the floss just ahead of the bristle area, drop the brass weight down the barrel (from the chamber end if possible) and pull it through from the over end. A few passes with a Bore Snake and most barrels are as clean as they are going to get.
The neat thing is that the Bore Snake is Machine washable. As the directions say "Band securely or use a wash bag for machine cleaning. Air Dry."
Versus standard cleaning kits
In the past gun cleaning long barreled firearms necessitated the assembly of a 3 or more piece cleaning rod, sorting out the proper jag for the caliber or gauge (brass brush, patch jag etc.) One would install the patch jag make a few passes to dampen the bore, switch to the brass brush to scrub the barrel and then back to the patch jag to remove loosened residue and dry the bore.
In side by side comparisons I have found that 2 or 3 passes that can be accomplished in a minute or so does as good a job of cleaning the bore of a firearm as 10-15 minutes of fumbling around with a standard cleaning kit.
Bear in mind that the bore snake only cleans the bore, all of the other tools firearms people keep on hand for cleaning the rest of the arm are still necessary. (tooth brushes, dental picks etc..)
When I am in the field I have taken to keeping one handy for whatever caliber or gauge I happen to be carrying. The one glaring drawback that I see to the Bore Snake being beneficial in the field is something that has yet to happen to me (Knock on wood).
Should a firearm be dropped on the muzzle or some other way gets the bore plugged the Bore Snake won't be much use. As mentioned earlier it is a rope. It likely can't be used to clear the obstruction. Once the obstruction is cleared or cleared enough for the brass fob to pass I'm sure it will do a bang up job with the rest of the problem.
How much are they?
Depending on the vendor prices vary. For just the Bore Snake itself I have seen them for as little at 12 bucks at Wal-Mart to nearly 20 dollars on a Gun Show Table. Hoppe's also offers the Bore Snake as a kit that also includes bore cleaner and a handy ballistic nylon carrying case for some dollars more. Personally I think the time saved is worth the price.
They love this in the Sandbox
As I was writing this piece I learned that some of our fighting men and women in the Middle East are using this product and many more of them would like to have one. Knowing that the son-in-law of a friend is headed to Baghdad for a fifteen month tour in a few days, I stopped by Wal-Mart and bought one for him to take with him. His wife recently delivered their second child and Richard has already had one tour in Afghanistan.
I found the last one they had in .22 caliber behind about a half dozen Bore Snakes for 12 gauge shotguns.(Sometimes it pays to do a little looking) If I couldn't find one I was prepared to give him my own slightly used one in the same caliber just to be sure that he had one. He told me that a lot of the time they were having to clean their weapons 2-3 times a day to insure that they would function. Having spent some time in the desert a long, long time ago myself I can readily attest to that.
If you know or are related to someone heading out to the Middle East for the first time or going back for another tour do them a big favor and get them a Bore Snake sized for .22 caliber to take with them. If you know someone that is already over there send them one.
Project Bore Snake
In doing some on-line research for this missive I also encountered a website called "Project Bore Snake". Located in Fresno California it is the mission of the people that run "Project Bore Snake" to equip as many of our fighting men/women as they can with these cleaning tools. If you don't know anyone going or already there you might consider making a donation to "Project Bore Snakes".