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 Montana 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. If you’d prefer to purchase from a merchant that sells wiping rods for BPCRs, Arizona Sharpshooters is the only source I'm aware of, but there may be others.
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 bore.
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.