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By Wayne McLerran
Updated 10/20/15

I’ve received questions from several shooters lately asking for recommendations
and comments on cleaning rods and wiping rods for BPCR. Although, depending
on the rifle, it may be possible to use the same rod for both applications, I prefer
one designed for a specific job.

Bore Cleaning Rods
A rod designed to clean the rifle bore between relays, after a match or shooting
session should be stiff with minimum flex. It should rotate very smoothly on the
handle and the shaft should be sufficiently stiff so as not to rub on the bore under
heavy pressure assuming the use of a chamber guide and proper jag. In some,
hopefully few, situations, additional force such as pounding on the handle may be
necessary to drive a tight patch down the bore to clean out heavy fouling or lead
deposits. Therefore the handle should be made of high quality durable material
and designed with ball bearings for rotational ease. There are many suppliers of
cheap rods but only a few make good quality rods. Well-known brands that come
to mind are
Dewey, Bore Tech and Tipton. Based on personal use and what I’ve
read concerning handle construction, I’d rate the Tipton as the best of the three,
followed by Bore Tech and then Dewey. But there are a couple of other suppliers I’
d recommend for BPCR over all others due to the design. They are
Dan Phariss
rods and one’s sold by Shiloh Sharps.

The Phariss and Shiloh rods are uncoated stainless and feature a slot a few inches
behind the tip. A cleaning patch in the slot is ideal for centering the end of the rod
and helping to ensure the rod or jag does not bang against or rubs on the muzzle
crown assuming the slot and patch are not pushed completely out of the muzzle.
If a Dewey, Bore Tech or Tipton rod is used, I highly recommend the
Vintage Arms (MVA) long black nylon jags, which are also sold by Shiloh Sharps.
The MVA jags are sufficiently long to keep the jag and rod centered in the bore
and allows the patch to drop off. By the way, my preference is a non-coated rod,
believing the coating will collect abrasive particles regardless of what the
suppliers advertise, and I’d give the nod to the Shiloh rods due to the price.

Regardless of the rod brand or design, it’s a good idea to use a chamber guide to
protect the chamber and throat. Most BPCR shooters make their own by drilling a
hole in the rear of a cartridge case large enough to slide over the rod. Also
recommended is a rod-stop that limits how far the rod can be inserted into the
chamber and bore to prevent the back end of the jag or centering slot from exiting
the muzzle. In place of an adjustable stop, a length of nylon tubing can be slid over
the rod to butt up against the handle. It should be slightly larger in diameter than
the breech end of the chamber.

Wiping Rods
Since I recently switched from “blow tubing” to wiping (running a wet patch down
the bore between shots), I’m certainly no expert on wiping. But it’s obvious that a
light-weight flexible delrin rod is preferred since speed is of the essence and
especially if the tang sight tends to interfere with a stiff non-flexible rod. A heavy
stiff rod is not needed since only light pressure is required to push a wet patch
down and out the bore. Although many shooters use delrin wiping rods with wood
handles and screw-in jags, the handle is not required and neither is a jag if the rod
is of sufficient diameter to lightly force the wet patch against the bore and the rod
is only used for wiping. Therefore a length of the correct diameter delrin rod from
an industrial supply company such as Grainger, McMaster-Carr or MSC will work
just as well as one from a BPCR equipment supplier. But if you’d prefer to
purchase from a merchant that sells wiping rods for BPCRs, two suppliers that
come to mind are
Arizona Sharpshooters and Sagebrush Products.

By the way, if you should use a Dan Phariss or Shiloh Sharps stainless rod for
wiping, I recommend against using a patch in the slot. When pulling the rod back
out of the bore, the captured patch will tend to drag remaining residue from the
bore back into the throat and chamber.
 For the same reason I do not recommend
installing a brush on the end of a delrin wiping rod to push the wet patch down the

And here’s an excellent tip that I have adopted to eliminate a step in the wiping
process. Many “wipers” dry the chamber after wiping to stop the wetting solution
from running back into the action and/or to eliminate a wet chamber that can result
in case stretching. Therefore many shooters follow the wet patch with a dry patch
or “mop”, requiring additional time. So why not incorporate bore wiping and
chamber drying in the same step? If a short thin slot is cut in the delrin wiping rod
at the appropriate distance from the rod tip, a patch can be folded and inserted in
the slot to remove wiping solution from the chamber as the rod tip and wiping
patch exits the muzzle. One drying patch is sufficient for each relay.

Wishing you great shooting,