5 Best Gun Cleaning Rods 2020 : (For Every Type)

Most people won’t admit it… yet, several of the gun cleaning kits we buy ultimately end up in a dumpster somewhere.

best gun cleaning rodWhy? Because you’d find one or the other component that’s “Below Average.”

More often than not, it’s the cleaning rod. Specifically, the 3-piece brass rods that are most common.

Before you end up replacing your guns altogether, let me give you a cheaper solution. Replace your faulty product with the best gun cleaning rods you can find and measure the results.

Trust me; firearm maintenance will turn into a breeze if you have the right tool by your side. You’ll immediately notice the performance at an optimum level. Also, quality rods won’t even cause jamming of the internal cogs when cleaning our firearms.

Wondering where to find one? Well, you’re in luck!

This little article of mine deals with a handful of products that excel when it comes to price and performance. There’s a buying guide towards the end as well. It’ll serve as a guiding post when you’re out hunting for your own brand and product online or in stores. Let’s get on with it.

Top 5 Gun Cleaning Rods – My Recommendations

Now, when recommending these products, I kept the ease of use in mind along with “Brand Reputation” as well. I’ve even used three or four of these things myself.

That’s why I could refer you to a wide range of products for different caliber of firearms you may carry. Without wasting any more of your time, let’s dive into my short reviews.

1. Tipton 1-Piece Deluxe Cleaning Rod

Tipton 1-Piece Deluxe Cleaning Rod
Tipton 1-Piece Deluxe Cleaning Rod

Cleaning your gun might seem simple at first sight and I don’t blame you for that. Trust me, there’s a lot more to it. Cleaning the bore of the gun takes quite some effort.

Plus, you might need a particular set of tools. A cleaning rod is one of the primary instruments you need by your side. I have the perfect candidate for the job.

Let’s start things off with the Tipton 1-Piece Deluxe Cleaning Rod. The best-selling point of this tool here is the durability.

It’s built with two sets of high-quality bearings. Regardless of the amount of pressure you put to it, it won’t lose its shape. This basically allows the shaft to follow the rifling.

Don’t worry too much about safety at all. This Deluxe Cleaning Rod from Tipton won’t attract particles that are prone to damaging the rifle bore.

Now, let’s talk about construction. As the experts say, carbon fiber is the ideal material when it comes to gun cleaning rods. The reason? These can be bent to an extreme degree. Yet they will return to their original straight form immediately. Using this material was indeed a smart move from Tipton.

Thanks to this, what you basically get is the best of both worlds. This is far superior to stainless steel and other coated cleaning rods both in convenience and reliability.

Speaking of convenience, the product is excellent for working with tight patches. Not only that, but the ergonomic handle offers a fine grip. There are no possibilities of it slipping from your hands during the movement of the shaft. Take it from an experienced user, it’s supremely comfortable as well.

I especially like the polymer on top of the handle because it makes working on the bearings to follow rifling seem like a total breeze. Pushing and pulling are made easy too.

Even under pressure, it should function just fine. Want to use hammer blows to clear a stubborn patch? Go ahead! There shouldn’t be any issues whatsoever.

I found a dedicated hanging hole that makes for easy storage options. I could put it away after using just fine. All you need is a nail or a hanger on the wall to hang this piece of equipment.

If you have a concern for the size, then you’ll be glad to know that this tool comes in variants of 12, 26, 36, 40, 44, and 50 inches. So, no matter whichever caliber of shotgun you’re using, this should work out just fine.

This cleaning rod checks out all the necessary boxes and more. I really couldn’t find major issues starting from the handle construction to the cleaning convenience. If you’re a guy who takes maintenance seriously, then this one just might be worth looking into.

Pros

  • The carbon fiber build offers excellent durability and flexibility whenever you need them.
  • The product comes in a variety of sizes. So, compatibility with guns isn’t really an issue.
  • There’s a hook included at the end of the rod which makes for easy storage on your walls.
  • The double ball bearing handle makes for easy maneuverability. It’s squeak-free as well.
  • The build quality of the handle is rather good. It’s comfortable and easy to hold as well.

Cons

  • Longer rods can be a bit hard to maneuver. Carefully choose the size you want.

 

2. Dewey 1-Piece Cleaning Rod (22 to 26 Caliber Nylon Coated 8 x 36 Thread)

Dewey 1-Piece Cleaning Rod
Dewey 1-Piece Cleaning Rod

If you’re on the lookout for the best gun cleaning rod for yourself, then I’d suggest you give this one a try.

This cleaning rod from Dewey offers a set of top-notch features and equally compelling benefits that make cleaning a lot easier. So, what can this little tool do for you?

Let’s talk about the material first. The handle of the rod is made of polymer. This really makes it easy to hold. Also, it’s not too hard on the palms either.

The rod itself is made of a combo of Nylon & Steel. This means it’s not flimsy at all and won’t get damaged even during the most intense cleaning sessions.

The ball bearing handle is a clever little implementation from the guys at Dewey. The bearings make handling the rod far more efficient. The handle length is a mere three inches. If I’m honest with you, the handle is rather short. It CAN be uncomfortable for some users.

However, the ergonomic handle offers a “Good Enough” grip. The hands won’t slip off even while applying a considerable amount of pressure.

With that bit explained, let’s get into the rod itself. It’s basically a one-piece rod that comes with nylon coating. With the lengths of 12, 17, 24, 30, 36, 40, and 44 inches, you can work around any gun type. Whether it be high power service rifles of your personal favorite handgun, Dewey has got your back.

You’ll be glad to know that each rod comes with a brass jag and brush adaptor. This makes cleaning with a patch or brushes much more convenient. Even if you want to use various kinds of solvents to your cleaning procedure, you won’t be facing any kind of problem.

The length coated rods are specially crafted with 8 x 36 male threads.  So, if you want to use accessories other than the ones from Dewey, you’ll have no issues. This basically means you won’t have to go searching for a separate adaptor.

These small additions build trust in the consumers that’s hard to beat. Making things easier doesn’t really hurt, does it? Kudos to Dewey for going the extra mile for gun enthusiasts like us.

Let’s close this up with one last piece of advice. Dewey strongly recommends that you don’t use the TM Solution by Sinclair International. It could prove fatal for the nylon coating of the rod. Apart from that, you’re good to go with practically anything.

Pros

  • A simple yet efficient design has been implemented to craft this rod.
  • The ball handle with ball bearing is rather useful when you’re maneuvering through tough areas.
  • The high-quality nylon wrap construction is worth praising. It offers flexibility and comfort at the same time.
  • The tool works well with other cleaning equipment from the same vendor as well.
  • No complicated usage procedure is necessary. It’s sort of “Plug and Play” when you put it in technological term.

Cons

  • There’s a possibility of you not getting the storage tube in the package (happened to some users) which is rather useful.

 

3. Hoppe’s Elite 1-Piece Cleaning Rod (Carbon Fiber 8 x 32 Thread)

Hoppe's Elite 1-Piece Cleaning Rod
Hoppe’s Elite 1-Piece Cleaning Rod

There are several manufacturers out there who fail to deliver when it comes to quality components that make gun cleaning easier.

Have no fear, Hoppe’s reputation speaks for itself. These guys know what they’re doing and they do it well.

Hoppe’s emphasis on quality is proven with their Elite 1-Piece Cleaning Rod which goes beyond expectations in terms of performance.

Not just that, its craftsmanship speaks of experience. To top it off, it offers a sleek appearance as well. It’s classy, to say the least.

Like all the good ones, this too is a “One-Piece Carbon Fiber” rod. Using carbon fiber for this one is actually a smart move. The durability that the material offers is beyond compare. It bends under extreme pressure when needed. You can get into small crevices of the gun whenever you need to.

Once you remove the pressure and put it to an “Ease,” it even gets straightened to its original self without any issues. The best part is, it remains straight (I measured it with a yardstick) without any sign of prior bending or misalignment of any kind.

If you’re going to deal with a handgun or rifle, you know how hard it can actually get with a rod that won’t budge. Even if this one does, you won’t be risking any damage due to how Hoppe goes about the making. Another plus is the rod tip. It’s made of brass so there of zero possibilities of corrosion.

The handle of Hoppe’s Elite 1-Piece Cleaning Rod is mainly polymer. It won’t get dirty (not as easily as you think) as it doesn’t let the dust settle easily as well. Also, sweaty palms won’t be any problem whatsoever. Just like the previous products, it offers a firm hold while you’re going to do some rigorous cleaning.

This 4- inch easy-grip handle offers an anti-slip grip along with the ball-bearing rotation. No pressure on the palms, yet maximum output while getting rid of pesky fouling is exactly what this mechanism offers. Pushing and rotating a cleaning rod within the bore never got this convenient.

This product is available in 8 or 36-inch variants. No matter which caliber gun you’re using, you should get the job done with finesse. The rod group support extends from 22 to 284 cal. Guns! Now that’s pretty impressive.

Everything about this tool looks and feels premium. Which means you shouldn’t expect this one to come at a cheap price. You pay more, you get more. That’s always been the case for most gun cleaning appliances and this one is no exception.

Pros

  • Hoppe is made from carbon fiber which is the best possible material for a cleaning rod.
  • The double ball bearing handle is easy to hold. It works in the favor of great maneuverability.
  • It can deal with stubborn fouling without the risk of causing damage to the bore.
  • Hoppe Elite can offer excellent rotation even in tight spaces thanks to the size and grip.
  • To me, it’s a well-built rod through and through. It’s worthy of the price we pay for it.

Cons

  • With this, no additional accessories are included which is a downer in itself.

 

4. Pro Shot .22-.45 Caliber Universal Pistol Cleaning Rod

Pro Shot .22-.45 Caliber Universal Pistol Cleaning Rod
Pro Shot .22-.45 Caliber Universal Pistol Cleaning Rod

Using these cleaning rods on small firearms is painstakingly difficult. One has to keep various nooks and crannies in mind while cleaning the bore.

Especially, the debris that lurks inside. Having a small cleaning rod by your side is handy in these situations. Say hello to Pro-Shot.

This little maintenance equipment is perfect for your .22 caliber lady’s gun or .45 colt. The fact that Pro shot is made of metal, makes things easier for us users.

If you insist on me being specific, this is a steel-made object with a quality finish. Of course, it’s “Lightweight” to keep your hands at peace.

Let me make one thing clear, this is a USA-Made object. You know “Pro-Shot” is a quality product the moment you lay your hands on it. It’s not some cheap, nameless brand we find ever so often.

Don’t worry, the polish of the rod in question (micro polish) will give you a clear indication about the quality and care makers put in the making. On top of that, you have a brass-made patch holder.

This is the part that goes inside your gun with a clean napkin. Once you rotate or do a “Back and Forth” with the rod, excess gun powder and all the dirt comes out with the napkin. The process is as simple as cleaning your day-to-day furniture. It’s super easy to run maintenance on as well.

The reason I say this is the fact that you’ll have all the components separately in the USA market. There’s nothing to be worried about even if the rod goes “All Bad” on you. Just buy the replacement from online or from your local vendor closest to your house.

Of course, this thing is super comfortable to use as well. The handle is ergonomic and doesn’t tire your wrists out even if you’re using it for hours. I mean, our guns require every bit of care we offer to them but our wrists shouldn’t suffer for it. The Pro Shot guys know that as well.

You’ll have 6.5 inches of “Holding Space” to contend with. This is enough for a medium to large-size hand. You don’t have to be specifically left or right-handed to get this thing to work properly.

This is a small object with little to no fuss when operating. The small size is a boon for me as I could store it anywhere I like. I prefer my gun cabinet as a storage place. You can store it in a small drawer as well if you feel like it. All in all, it’s a product that’s completely in sync with the price.

Pros

  • This thing is made in the United States so, you can definitely expect quality and proper replacements.
  • This one here is a stainless micro polished rod that makes for a stylish rod with durability.
  • The product is user-friendly and is rather easy to use for people who are beginners.
  • The brass patch holder makes the cleaning sessions a lot easier as it holds the cotton in place.
  • I found the weight to be pretty balanced which increases cleaning efficiency.

Cons

  • Pro Shot is a bit on the expensive side if you ask me, I’d have preferred it to be cheaper.

 

5. Tipton Max Force Cleaning Rod (.22-.45 Caliber)

Tipton Max Force Rifle Cleaning Rod
Tipton Max Force Rifle Cleaning Rod

Here we are with yet another product from Tipton. The Tipton Max Force Cleaning Rod has ample features and important aspects that make it worthy of being in my list of best gun cleaning rods.

Despite being the last product in our discussion, it sure doesn’t lose its ground against the best of them.

Then rod itself is basically made of carbon fiber just like the Tipton Deluxe cleaning rod that I discussed beforehand.

The reason this material is chosen is quite obvious by now. It can bend under pressure. However, it’ll come back to its original state no matter what.

No matter what kind of intense cleaning session you’re going to put it through, there’s really nothing to worry about.

The durability the rod offers is top-notch and it even has a brass tip. It not only balances the weight of the entire rod but its corrosion-free. Plus, it won’t react with any kind of solvent.

Speaking of the right materials, the handle is carefully designed with “Polymer.” This makes for a comfortable grip while putting some extra pressure on the rod. This material makes sure that dirt and grime don’t settle on the handle. It remains easy to clean even after going through messy situations.

Another interesting addition by the guys at Tipton is the patent-pending technology they have. This mechanism instantly allows the handle to clamp to the rod at any given location. This makes it super easy for the rod to spin freely on the ball bearings.

As I said, Tipton is gonna patent this unique technology as their own pretty soon.

If we speak of user convenience, then this 40-inch rod won’t disappoint. It’s pretty comfortable to hold due to the ergonomic handle and the material construction makes it considerably lightweight. The highly durable design not only increases work efficiency but offers a sleek look as well.

If you’re worried about compatibility issues, then there’s really nothing to be concerned with. This tool can work around 22-45 Caliber guns with ease. Even while handling full-fledged magnum rifles, you’ll find that spinning the rod inside on ball bearings is very much possible.

With state-of-the-art craftsmanship, Tipton has simply outdone themselves with the Max Force Cleaning Rod. This can handle the pressure whenever you’re up for some heavy-duty cleaning. Even you’re dealing with delicate handguns, it’ll serve you just right. A refined product all the way!

Pros

  • The rod length is adjustable which makes it super convenient for me to clean different gun types.
  • The carbon fiber construction is very impressive. It’s durable yet lightweight for a tool like this.
  • The tool is very easy to use and maintain. Even beginners won’t find it hard to operate at all.
  • With this rod, applying extra pressure in short bursts result in better output.
  • Tipton is compatible with guns of different caliber. You won’t have to buy a separate kit.

Cons

  • This thing is NOT easy to store in a compact place due to the extended length.

 

How Would You Choose A Gun Cleaning Rod by Yourself?

Let’s imagine a scenario where none of the recommendations makes sense to you.

You’d want something different. That’s why I’ve designed this guide showing you some factors and tips that’ll help you decide on your own brand and product of that brand. Let’s take a look into it.

Don’t Forget to Consider the Thickness of the Rod

The gun size is definitely an important factor to look into before getting one of the ideal cleaning rods for yourself. Cleaning a gun depends a lot on the thickness of the rod. There are some out there that come with the “Universal” size tag. Even then, those cleaning rods fail to match particular gun sizes.

It never hurts to be cautious. Take a close look at the thickness of the rod. The bore of the gun has to match this particular aspect. For example, to clean a pistol, you’d need a thin rod. Rifle bores obviously warrant thicker products.

Now, it depends on thick or thin the barrel of the gun is as well. For example, thick rods will have a hard time getting into thick barrels of guns. The rule of the thumb for me is, the rod should always be thinner when compared to the barrel holes. It’ll make the rod easy to get in and out when cleaning.

Choose anything else and you might not get the cleaning experience that you’re opting for.

The Rod Length is Crucial

The length of the rod needs to be considered before making your purchase. The basic idea is, it should be long enough to enter the barrel and get out from the opposite end.

Suppose your barrel is 20 inches in length. Then you obviously need to look for a rod that’s longer than that. Getting a smaller rod really makes no sense. Because you won’t be able to cover the entire barrel. So, keep this small tip in mind if you want to make the best out of your cleaning experience.

The Material Counts

No matter what type of cleaning rod you pick, it’s a good idea to consider the construction material. If you take brass cleaning rods into consideration then these are great companions for beginners. These don’t harm the bore and at the same time can bend if necessary.

Just make sure to keep the rod length similar to the barrel length if you choose a brass rod. This will prevent unnecessary damage.

The next material you can consider is aluminum. These are stronger than brass but softer than stainless steel. Aluminum is generally used to craft thicker rods. This makes it especially suitable for pistols and shotguns. If your gun has a small bore, then this isn’t probably the thing for you.

If you ask me, stainless steel is my least favorite material in this regard. It’s the strongest material and comes at a reasonable price. But at the same time there’s a high possibility of you damaging the bore.

Shifting from the worst to the best, let’s talk about carbon fiber. It has been recently introduced and has gained much popularity as a cleaning rod material. These rods have a coating of soft plastic that keeps you from damaging your bore. Push and pull all you want; these sturdy rods won’t get damaged easy.

The Handle Matters

Many of us overlook this factor. But you really should look at the shape and construction of the handle. The ergonomically shaped ones reduce a lot of unwanted pressure on the palms. Double ball bearing designs are pretty nice to have. These actually increase efficiency.

As for the material used in the construction, I’d go for Polymer any day. These don’t catch dirt easily and generally offer a firm grip. But your personal reference may differ nevertheless.

The Tip is Important

I might sound a bit too direct here but look for a brass tip for your gun cleaning rod. These don’t damage the gun and at the same time balance out the weight. Brass doesn’t corrode or react with the solvents we generally use in patch cleaning.

If you want some additional options like cleaning brush adaptors and so on, some brands actually offer the extension. So, take a close look at the tip construction and design. It might actually come in handy.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

It’s natural for people to have some lingering questions troubling their minds. This section aims to quench your thirst for knowledge and educate you on the basic things that buying a gun cleaner rod involves. Let’s get to it then.

Will there be any drawback if I don’t clean my gun regularly?

Not cleaning the bore of your gun may lead to possible malfunctions. These often cause accidents. So, it’s best to clean the gun regularly. This practice helps to keep your firearm from becoming rusty and non-responsive when you need it the most (i.e. on duty or on a hunting trip).

Can the same rod be used for different guns?

Technically, you can. But the length of the barrel works as a key factor here (I believe I mentioned that in my buying guide as well). Make sure the cleaning rod is longer than the barrel of the gun.

Also, you have different caliber options for each rod. Each of them generally supports multiple gun types. Even then, do a thorough checking on the manual before you decide to use one tool to clean all of your firearms.

Can cleaning rods damage the barrel?

Yes, it certainly can. Especially, if you use a cleaning rod made out of stainless steel, there are high possibilities of your bore getting damaged. I’d suggest using a carbon fiber rod. These are well built and have little chances of damaging the barrel.

Is it safe to use alcohol in the cleaning process?

Well, there’s an expert debate as far as Alcohol is concerned. Many specialists claim that it’s safe. It clears out debris sooner and faster than you think. I’d personally suggest you do so. But be careful about the intricate cogs getting wet and malfunctioning.

 

Let’s End Things on A High

As you can see, these firearm cleaning rods are the front-runners when it comes to cleaning the bore of your pistols, rifles, and yes… even shotguns. Pair some alcohol or a cleaning agent with these babies and the results are as clear as daylight.

Now, I don’t want to pick a favorite and cause a scuffle among you guys. But… if you absolutely insist, I’d side with either Tipton or Hoppe when it comes to these rods. Both these brands have multiple sizes to cater to different calibers of guns. You’ll find the items well-made and easy to handle as well.

Some of the best gun cleaning rods provide you with an extensive warranty as well. This is “If” things turn south. Depending on what kind of load you’re carrying, any of these three brands have the ideal cleaning tool.