Bore snakes?

Any thoughts on bore snakes? I’m thinking they might save me some time when cleaning out the bore. How often do you have to clean the actual bore snake, and would you still run patches through after using the note snake?

I’ve heard people say they use this for routine cleaning, and others say it’s really just when their in the field or at the range.

I use them for my handguns, it does ok but i still run solvent and dry patches. Might be over kill but when i clean my stuff i make sure it’s clean.


I think you have done well. Gun Scrubber Spray does very well to get into small areas to flush out
slides, barrels, springs, and etc. Clean down to the finish and it evaporates. Then you run patches
for any other cleaning and oiling.

I have seen shotguns that have not been cleaned in 20 years. Your BORE SNAKE is a great tool to break up the worst and the BORE BRUSHES, Patches, Cleaning Solvents to clean out all areas. Depend on your knowledge and experience to do preventive maintenance as you see fit.

I run bore snakes after every range trip and/or routine maintenance. They work pretty well (as noted by shining a light down the barrel). My technique is spray down the barrel/chamber with solvent, let it sit for a few minutes while i clean other parts. Clean out the chamber area (especially AR). Spray more solvent and a little oil on the bore snake and run it through a few times. I suppose it depends on the brand of bore-snake, but the ones I have start with some cloth (solvent), then some bristles, then more cloth (oil), then a big hunk of cloth (serves as patches).

It’s really fast and low-effort.

If you have a lot of copper build-up, or some serious fouling then maybe go the old-school way, but most of the time a bore-snake is plenty

I bought a bore snake for .38 Spl but never used it. Watching all the online videos got me started with the brushes and patches and I never looked back. I’m thinking one day I might get a lever gun or a bolt action in .357 and I can use it then.

1 Like

Love bore snakes…

I apply a healthy about of lubricants around the brush area and a little at the end. Cleans them well, then it’s the regular Q-tips and wipes…


They are easy to carry in a portable cleaning kit, but not a replacement for a cleaning rod and full kit. I see them as a “good enough to get the gun back in the game” but a proper cleaning requires more than can be done with a bore snake.


I squirt a bunch of CLP in the barrel and let it soak while I clean the slide and frame. A little more CLP in the barrel and then bore snake. Usually takes only 1 pass and it’s sparkling clean like the Lady’s smile in those Orbit commercials.


Nice for firearms you can’t clean from the breach(revolvers, lever actions, etc). They do an OK job while the bore is still warm from shooting. You still need a rod, bronze brush and patch loop/jag for real cleaning though.

For those saying it’s not enough for a good cleaning, what are you seeing leftover in the barrel after running a bore snake that you feel needs “more”?


After using a bore snake, run a regular solvent soaked patch through your barrel and see for yourself.

Using a bore snake while your barrel is still warm will save you from using a lot of patches when it’s time for a good cleaning,

FWIW, conventional wisdom holds that 22lr bores shouldn’t be cleaned until accuracy begins to diminish.
You decide for yourself.

1 Like

The ten 22 rifles at our BSA range see a lot of use during camps. They get snaked in between classes to help preserve accuracy. Every evening they get a thorough cleaning and inspection.

The protocol has been in effect at least since 2006 and seems to work!


A cleaning rod can accept any number of attachments (tornado brushes, bronze brushes, chamber brushes, squeegies, and patch ends) a bore snake is limited to the bronze bristles and the “floss” of the snake. I can swap out a dirty patch for a clean one where the bore snake is dirty until I can clean it. Any solvent I use on the snake is there until the snake is cleaned where I can swap a solvent patch for an oil patch or just a dry patch (no contamination being the point). A bore snake can do a good job but you need a full kit and rod to do a great job of cleaning the gun.


I have 3 Bore Snakes. .30, .22 and 12ga. I use them a quick cleaning or at my 6 month oiling on my guns that have not been shot.
They are nice for keeping the chamber clean on the 1022 and lever action but the bristle portion seems to get squeezed down rather quickly, I use them in the field and for a quick clean and oil.
To clean the snake I use the kitchen sink method, fill with hot water and Dawn dish soap and let soak, use a scrub brush on the heavy spots, rinse and hang to dry.
I think they have their place and are worth the cost. :wink:


I use them when I return from the range on anything I shoot. They take a lot of the work and mess out of the process.


Never been shy about how often I clean guns (almost never), but

I keep a combination kit that I cobbled together from an Otis kit and a regular] bore snake, I use the Otis tin (think big shoe polish can). I have seen too many times on hunts or in the field when someone falls and “muzzle punches” the ground. The other time being if you are out in the rain all day or have had some reason to ford a stream/river/ocean/bay/swamp. I run the Otis cable from the chamber down the bore and drag along the bore snake afterwords just to get it back in the game if necessary.on rainy hunting days I will wrap the snake in a couple patches and drag it through. I also keep about $5 worth of rolled up $1 bills. Due to the high cotton count I use them to dry the water under a free floated barrel. FWIW when I bed a rifle use them as a measuring stick to ensure the clearance is sufficient (two layers of blue painters tape is slightly thicker than a $1 bill).




I like Otis rip cords with some ballistol on it.

It is worth noting that the the standard Hoppes ones don’t break like the “new” ones. Mine all broke on the first pull. I called them and they said…“we know, we’'l send you the original style.” Green/orange (Viper, I believe) are the ones you want.

Like kissing a good woman, you will always need to and probably develop an addiction
and you can not have just one.