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Sierra Bullets
Rifle Magazine
July - August 2003
Volume 35, Number 4
ISSN: 0162-3583
Number 208
On the cover...
Shoemaker's Model 98 Mauser .458 Winchester Magnum won't win any beauty contests, but it handles potentially dangerous game as well as any "show-room"rifle. Rifle photo by Dave Scovill. Moose photo by Ron Spomer.
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Product Tests
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Rifle Magazine
Product Tests

Bore Tech Cleaning Aids

Bore Tech, Inc. of Colmar, Pennsylvania, has been making quite a splash in the firearms cleaning sector. A couple years ago, I reviewed a few of Bore Tech’s solvents on these pages: Bore Solvent, Benchrest Blend and Copper Remover (Rifle No. 197, September 2001). They earned very high marks.

Now, with the introduction of several new products, I felt it was time to revisit the company’s product line and introduce our readers to some new items and, perhaps, a few of the old.

For many, Bore Tech’s most visible product has been an old one, the Patch Hog. Most of us recognize that when we clean our guns, especially barrel interiors, we tend to make a mess. Bore Tech decided to address the issue, and Patch Hog is its answer. Looking much like the front half of a very large, plastic cartridge case, the “neck” end is threaded to accept a plastic drink container. The other end contains a piece of rubberlike material with slits to form eight segments resembling a pie. A slot is cut to accommodate the front sight. In use, the Patch Hog is pushed onto the barrel muzzle. As the barrel is cleaned from the breech, whatever solvent or residue is ejected from the muzzle is captured by the Patch Hog and ends up in the plastic bottle thereby being disposed of without splattering walls, floor or carpet. It is completely workable and fits most anything. I’ve even used it on double-barreled shotguns up to 16 gauge, although it was designed with single barrels in mind.

A new solvent has recently been added to the line: Rimfire Blend. I must admit I’d never thought I needed a separate solvent for my rimfires, but after trying Rimfire Blend, I just might keep on using it. What distinguishes a rimfire shooter’s cleaning needs from those of most centerfire shooters is the absence of jacketed bullets and the need to remove the associated fouling. (Shooters of the new .17 HRM or .22 WMR that employ jacketed bullets should continue to use the earlier-mentioned solvents.) Consequently, Rimfire Blend is a milder solvent and, perhaps, better suited to the generally milder steel used in the manufacture of rimfire barrels. What struck me most when first opening the solvent bottle was the odor. Other noses might differ, but a pleasant scent of citrus was what I detected.

Instructions on the Rimfire Blend container suggest a sequence of wet patches, wet brush and more wet patches. I followed the instructions, but finding a wet patch sometimes difficult to “read,” I followed the sequence with a dry patch, which I examined closely. This was repeated for several rimfire guns, both rifles and handguns, and I have to admit I’ve never seen my rimfires cleaner.

Reasoning that if the product worked so well on rimfires, it ought to do the same on centerfires in which only cast bullets had been fired, I set to it on a couple of single-action revolvers. Here the Rimfire Blend worked as expected where there was little or no leading. If, for some reason, leading of a heavier nature existed, Rimfire Blend didn’t seem to be any more, or less, effective than, say, Bore Solvent. A good scrubbing was what was called for. In the end, I suspect I’ll reserve Rimfire Blend for my rimfires. I might not need another solvent, but I really do like this one.

Richard Spruill, Bore Tech’s sales and marketing director and my usual contact with the firm, recently sent along several cleaning rods - jointed, one-piece and shotgun - along with yet another solvent. The jointed and one-piece rods are called Stainless Stix, to differentiate them from Bore Stix, coated steel rods that have been part of the line for some time. The Stainless Stix are uncoated. Presently, both the jointed and one-piece rods are offered in two sizes, .22 and .27. The former, of course, can be used for everything from .22 rimfire on up, but heavier rods that more closely match the bore are preferable as bore size increases, hence the larger size. Each came packaged in a clear plastic tube that can be used for continued storage. The handles are quite a snug fit in the tubes, however; and removal is difficult. The company also offers its Deluxe Rod Carrier for cleaning rod transportation and storage.

The jointed rod is a three-piece affair with the handle permanently mounted to the first section. Assembled, the rod has 36 inches of usable length. Packaged with it is a jag, a slotted patch holder and a shotgun adapter. The patch holder is sufficiently large to hold shotgun-sized patches. The shotgun adapter accepts standard shotgun brushes. One measure of a cleaning rod is how easily the handle turns. Stainless Stix handles are synthetic, very comfortable and are properly made with dual bearing sets that allow the patch or brush to easily follow the rifling. The whole assembly seems to stay together as well as any I’ve used. Another measure, for me, of the utility of a jointed rod is the ability of the first, or handle, section to accept attachments. Many will not, forcing us to assemble two or more sections to use the rod. With the jointed Stainless Stix, the first section would accept attachments, allowing it to be used for cleaning handgun barrels quite effectively.

The one-piece Stainless Stix rod I received was all one could ask for. A comfortable, ball-bearing mounted handle with a 36-inch rod length, it came with a jag and accepts virtually any industry standard attachment.

Perhaps the most interesting things Spruill sent along were the company’s shotgun cleaning products: the Bore Tech Lightning Rod with Combo-Tip and LRS Shotgun Cleaning Solvent. The Lightning Rod is one-piece, for cleaning shotgun barrels. A fixed handle is about 3 1/2 inches; the rod is 32 inches. According to the company’s literature, the rod is wood. Maybe, but my guess is the handle is wood, and the rod is fiberglass. I’m a sucker for wooden cleaning rods, at least for shotguns, and have several. The one thing they all have in common is they are warped to varying degrees and always were, as well as I can remember. The Lightning Rod is straight and doesn’t really look like wood. Nevertheless, it is a very attractive, wood-finished rod with a brass adapter at the tip that accepts typical shotgun attachments. The adapter is attached by two stabs, or punches. Given the pressure placed on shotgun rods, this should be sufficient, but if it works loose, a pin would be a simple and permanent fix. The rod itself is 1/2 inch in diameter and can be used for all gauges except the .410 bore.

The Lightning Rod is sold in conjunction with the Combo-Tip, a gauge specific, combination brush and mop. The Combo-Tip is about 10 1/4 inches long and includes a standard, aluminum, threaded shotgun base. Construction is twisted wire, on the order of a typical bronze brush. The tip portion is the brush, of synthetic bristles. It is about 1 3/4 inches; the mop, of about 7 inches, follows. The rod, along with the Combo-Tip is packaged in a tube. This one is large enough for easy removal.

The third element is the solvent. Interestingly, shotgun solvent requirements really are different from those of typical rifle and handgun cleaners. There is no need to remove metal fouling, but there is a need to remove the residue left by plastic wads. Some general solvents do this well; some do not. This one fits into the former group. Labeled Bore Tech Lightning Rod LRS Shotgun Cleaning Solvent, it is offered in a trigger squeeze, pump applicator. Volume is not given, but it appears to be about 8 ounces. In use the Combo-Tip is attached to the rod, and the solvent is sprayed onto the brush and mop, then the barrel is swabbed. After cleaning, the Combo-Tip is rinsed with the solvent and        allowed to dry.

I cleaned several 12-gauge shotguns using the system as presented. I also removed the Combo-Tip and, using other attachments I had on hand, cleaned guns of smaller bores. Everything worked as expected with the rod, brush, mop and solvent doing their jobs - with one exception.

The design of the Combo-Tip is such that, on the return stroke, the mop precedes the brush. This leaves a “brush trail” in the bore on the last pass that, to me, is unsightly, even when I know the barrel is clean. I simply followed the cleaning process with a dry patch, then I applied a rust preventative. A minor point, really, and a less-finicky person would ignore it. However, I discussed the subject with Spruill and suggested the Combo-Tip be redesigned to place the brush in the middle so that on each stroke the sequence would be mop-brush-mop. It would make manufacture more difficult, no doubt, and probably add something to the cost, but would be worth it, I think. I also think the Combo-Tip can be washed in soap and water, saving the solvent for cleaning.

Bore Tech has quite a number of other items - all devoted to keeping our firearms clean - I haven’t even touched on. There are, to name a few, jags and brushes, bore guides, an interesting patch guide, other rods and solvents, a very good degreaser and Shield, a spray-on rust preventative I’ve been using a lot lately.

You can check all this out at your dealer or by sending an e-mail to:; or view the company catalog online at:  - R.H. VanDenburg, Jr.

Straight Shooters Cast Bullets
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