Today’s modern firearms are built to withstand quite a bit of wear and tear.
However, this doesn’t mean that they’re capable of taking care of themselves. There are a great many things gun owners must do in order to keep their guns in good, working condition.
Perhaps the most important thing that gun owners must do is keep their firearms clean and maintained. If you want your guns to function at the peak of their capabilities for as long as possible, you must regularly remove any gunpowder and residue that may clog up their internal mechanisms.
What’s the easiest way to do this? The answer is by using a gun cleaning kit.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Items are Included in Gun Cleaning Kits?
- 2 What To Consider When Purchasing Your Kit
- 3 How To Use Your Kit
- 4 Top Cleaning Kits – Our Reviews
- 5 Conclusion
This guide is designed to give you all of the information you need so that you can buy a gun cleaning kit that perfectly suits your specific purposes.
In addition to this, it will also provide you with a compilation of the 6 best gun cleaning kits on the market today.
Here they are:
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|Product Name||Case Material||Weight||Price||Rating|
|HOPPE'S Elite EGCOTG Kit||Plastic||1 lb||$$||#2|
|Hoppe’s Universal Kit||Aluminum||1.8 lbs||$$||#5|
|Real Avid Premium Kit||Canvas||1.1 lbs||$$||#1 - Editor's Choice|
|Allen Deluxe Kit||Plastic||5.4 lbs||$$$||#3|
|Outers 28-Piece Universal Wood Gun Cleaning Box||Wood||1.5 lbs||$||#6|
|Remington Gun Cleaning Kit||Canvas||5 oz||$$$||#4|
Now we’re going to take a closer look at each kit, and see which of them really stand out.
Let’s get into this, shall we?
What Items are Included in Gun Cleaning Kits?
While you could certainly purchase all of your different gun cleaning equipment separately, it’s much easier to purchase it all together in a kit.
Each different kit that you look at will be a little different, but for the most, will contain the same basic cleaning items. These basic cleaning items are as follows:
Perhaps the most important item in any gun cleaning kit is solvent. Solvent is a liquid which is placed in the barrel and action of a gun in order to help loosen up and dissolve any excess carbon or gunpowder.
It should be noted that not every solvent is of the same quality. While some can loosen up huge amounts of residue, others struggle with even the slightest amount of residue. Make sure the solvent you’re receiving in your cleaning kit is proven. This can be found out by carefully reading online forums (and sites like GND 😉 ).
Ideally, you will avoid solvents which are made with toxic chemicals. You should also be weary of ammonia solvents, as these can sometimes destroy the barrels of steel firearms if left in contact for too long.
The entire point of cleaning a gun is to keep it functioning smoothly and consistently. To do this, lubricating oil is an absolute necessity. You’ll be hard pressed to find a gun cleaning kit that doesn’t possess a lubricating oil of some sort.
As with solvents, not all lubricating oils are created equally. There are a couple of things you must look for when considering whether or not a lube is of high quality.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is the oil’s overall viscosity. An oil which possesses a decent consistency of both liquid and solid will stick to the inner workings of the gun for a much longer time period, performing its job in all weather conditions.
The point of lubrication oil is to protect your gun from rusting, corrosion, and other forms of wear over time.
Another item that is almost always found in gun cleaning kits is cleaning patches. Patches are essentially wash cloths for guns, and are used to wipe off residue inside of the gun’s barrel.
Typically made out of cotton, patches are weaved in a number of different ways, from flannel weaves, to knit weaves, to cross weaves, and more. No weave is better than any other, but there might be a specific type of weave which you prefer.
When determining whether or not a specific cleaning patch is of high quality, there are a couple of things which you must consider.
Try to pick a patch that doesn’t produce lint. Try to pick a patch that is tightly knitted. And last, but certainly not least, try to pick a patch that’s absorbent.
In order to reach deep into the barrel of any gun, you need to have a cleaning rod.
A gun cleaning rod is used to hold onto patches, allowing you to push the patch deep inside the barrel, and then pull it back out.
Cleaning rods are made out of a number of different materials, including bronze, aluminum, nylon, and more. When inserting a rod into the barrel of a gun, you must be careful not to scratch the interior of the barrel. If you do, you can seriously damage your firearm.
Ideally, you will use nylon-coated rods. These types of rods are designed so that, even if they come into contact with the interior of the barrel, they won’t cause any damage. However, other rods will work just fine if you’re careful when using them.
In order to scrape large swaths of carbon residue off the inside of your gun’s barrel, you need something a little rough and textured. This is where bore brushes come in.
Bore brushes possess long handles so that they can be pushed deeply into the barrel, allowing them to help loosen up gunpowder and other such residue. It should be noted that not all bore brushes are the same size. There are different bore brushes available for different calibers of pistol.
For instance, if you’re looking to clean a .22, you’re going to need a bore brush which is designed to accommodate a .22. Some gun cleaning kits include bore brushes for all sizes of guns, while others only include brushes for a select few.
Make sure the kit you purchase is capable of cleaning your gun, before buying.
Typically, though not always, gun cleaning kits will come packaged in a high-quality storage box of some sort. Some cleaning kits come packaged in bags, and some come packaged in nothing more than a cardboard box.
While it’s not entirely necessary to have a high-quality storage box, it will help to keep all of your cleaning equipment organized and ready to go.
The best storage boxes are made out of wood or metal, though you can still find a decent one that’s made out of plastic. It’s just another thing to think about when trying to choose a gun cleaning kit.
What To Consider When Purchasing Your Kit
Just because a gun cleaning kit looks great at first glance doesn’t mean that it’s the best gun cleaning kit for you.
There are a number of different things which you must take into consideration before making a final purchase. These things include gun compatibility, number of items, price, and overall quality.
You’re a gun owner, so you know that not all rifles come in the same size. Each different gun comes with a different sized barrel.
For example, a 12 mm pistol clearly has a smaller barrel than a .45 Magnum, and even the same model shotgun has variable barrel lengths. Well just as guns are sized differently, the cleaning equipment used on those guns are sized differently as well.
While some gun cleaning kits are made to accommodate guns of all sizes, other kits are only designed to accommodate the cleaning of one or a few guns.
Make sure you pay close attention to which guns are compatible with specific cleaning kits.
Number of Items
Different gun cleaning kits come with different amounts of items.
Some are fully-equipped with over 60 pieces, including brushes and rods which can work with gun barrel’s of all widths and lengths.
Obviously, a gun cleaning kit with more items is going to cost a little more. You might very well not need all of these items. On the other hand, you might prefer having so many items on hand to use at your disposal.
Consider your needs, and then make your purchase accordingly.
As with any product you purchase, price is definitely something you should consider when purchasing a gun cleaning kit. You want to spend according to your needs, purchasing only the items that are necessary for you.
If you use your guns often, it would be wise to spend a little more money, as a more expensive kit will almost always be of higher quality, lasting longer and performing better overall. If you only use your guns every once in awhile, you can easily get buy with a cheap kit.
While it’s great to save money, it’s important to remember that spending too little can often result in a kit that isn’t up to snuff. You need to make sure that the cleaning kit you’re purchasing is capable of performing its job without wearing out after a couple of uses.
The best kits include rods and brushes which are made out of carbon fiber and bronze, respectively. These materials have proven themselves time and time again to be the absolute best for gun cleaning purposes.
How To Use Your Kit
While you could certainly try cleaning a gun without a gun cleaning kit, we highly recommend that you don’t.
If you’re not careful when cleaning your gun, you can cause it irreparable damage. Using a cleaning kit will give you the best shot of cleaning your firearm in a safe and efficient manner.
But how exactly do you clean a gun with a gun cleaning kit, you ask? Well, let’s get into it.
Unload the gun
The absolute first thing you need to do when cleaning a gun is to remove any ammunition which may still be loaded in it.
In addition to unloading any magazines, also make sure that you remove any bullets which may already be loaded in the chamber.
Once you have removed all bullets from the gun, look through the barrel to make absolutely sure that it’s clear of all ammunition.
Poking and prodding at loaded bullets can result in serious, and sometimes even fatal disasters. Be 100% sure that the gun you’re cleaning is emptied of any bullets.
Disassemble the gun
After you’ve removed all ammunition from your gun, it’s time to disassemble it as much as possible. If you don’t know how to disassemble your gun, it’s important to look up instruction which tell you exactly how to do so.
Disassembling parts of your gun which aren’t meant to be disassembled can result in irreparable damage. Typically, revolvers and other such handguns do not need to be disassembled at all. Rifles and pistols, on the other hand, almost always require disassembly.
If your’e not sure how to disassemble a pistol, check out our 1911 Disassembly Guide for a detailed walkthrough.
Make sure you’re in a ventilated area
You’ve now removed any bullets from your gun, and have disassembled it down to its various components. Now is when the actual cleaning begins.
Before you start the cleaning process, ensure that you in a well-ventilated area. The oils and solvents that you will use to clean your gun can possess some fairly strong fumes.
Allowing these fumes to build up in a confined area can result in headaches and other forms of sickness.
Ideally, you will clean your firearm outdoors or in an open garage.
Clean the gun’s barrel
Now we’re on to the actual cleaning of the gun. Begin by first cleaning the gun’s barrel. In order to do this, you will need your metal rods as well as your cleaning patches.
First, soak your patch in solvent. Once is has been covered, attach it to the top of your rod, and hold it on with an included patch holder.
Next, you will insert the rod, with the patch attached, into the gun’s barrel until it comes out of the other side. Don’t pull it back once it has been inserted. This will only result in readjusting any pesky debris.
In addition to pushing patches through the barrel, also make use of your bore brush. Insert the bore brush into the barrel in order to help scrape debris of the barrel’s interior.
Alternate with your bore brush and patches until all of the carbon residue is removed. Once the residue is removed, slather a patch with lubrication oil, and slide it through the barrel with a rod.
Clean the gun’s action
After you’ve cleaned the barrel of your gun, you’ll have gotten the hard part out of the way. Now, you just have to clean the gun’s action.
Place some solvent onto the interior mechanism of the action. After giving the solvent some time to work its magic, take your bore brush and begin to scrape away any residue. Once it has been scraped away, take a dry cloth, and wipe the residue until there is none remaining.
Once the action has been cleared of any carbon, apply some lubrication oil onto any and all of its moving parts. Doing so will prevent it from rusting, allowing it to thrive over a longer period of time.
Wipe down the remainder of the gun
The last, and most simple part of cleaning your gun is to wipe down its exterior. All you need to do this is a towel, wash cloth, or old t-shirt.
Wipe away any smudges, marks, or fingerprints that may interfere with the aesthetic appeal of the gun. Once you’ve completed this task, your gun will be clean and ready for further use. Reassemble it, and get back to shooting.
Top Cleaning Kits – Our Reviews
Whether you’re looking to clean a 12 gauge shotgun, or a .22 caliber pistol, or .45 caliber revolver, this gun cleaning kit will accommodate you.
It comes with a 0.5-ounce bottle of Rem All In Bore Cleaner. A non-toxic solvent, All In possesses a fairly thick consistency, and doesn’t easily absorb into patches.
Despite this, it still does a reasonably good job of breaking down carbon and other such buildup. Of course, 0.5 ounces is not exactly a lot. You’re going to be needing a new bottle almost instantly.
This set includes 10 different bore brushes, all differing in length and width. These brushes all make use of Remington’s special Rem Squeeg-Es technology, which allows you to clean the barrel of the gun without having to use any patches.
By fitting firmly against the sides of the barrel, these brushes are capable of clearing the majority of carbon residue.
In addition to these 10 bore brushes, this kit also comes with an adjustable, T-shaped handle which can be attached to any brush. This handle provides your hand with a large, ergonomic surface upon which it can grip during cleaning.
Also, in addition to the 10 bore brushes, is an adapter to help accommodate the cleaning of revolvers.
But this kit isn’t only limited to brushes, oils, and solvents. It also comes with a gun cloth to assist in the cleaning of the gun’s exterior, as well as a gun pad to keep your gun safe and protected during storage and transfer.
Everything included in this kit comes in a soft, flexible, and lightweight bag which possesses several different zippered pockets. This bag comes with a padded shoulder strap to allow for simple and convenient transport of all of your gun cleaning gear.
Overall, though it’s not the absolute best gun cleaning kit on the market today, this Remington set does a superb job. Regardless of which gun you’re looking to clean, it has the tools necessary to accommodate you.
- Compatible with guns of all sizes
- Comes in an easy-to-carry bag
- Includes a cloth for exterior cleaning
- Includes separate attachment for cleaning revolvers
- Doesn’t come with patches
- Comes with very little solvent
As affordable as any gun cleaning kit you’re going to find, it still provides quite a bit in the ways of value and functionality.
This kit comes with 9 different bore brushes, all of which are made out of effective and heavy-duty phosphor bronze. Capable of accommodating just about any bullet caliber, including .22, .270, .30, .357, .40, .41, and .44 caliber guns as well as 12 gauges and 20 gauges, this kit can assist in the cleaning of almost any gun it comes across.
All brushes are detachable, allowing them to be switched out in favor of different sized brushes whenever the occasion arises.
In addition to detachable brushes, this kit also includes detachable cotton swabs. Made out of 100% cotton, these swabs are machine-washable and reusable.
They take the place of patches, meaning that you won’t have to buy any additional patches once the kit is in your possession. Simply wash your swabs every time they’re used to keep them fresh and thriving.
However, if you would like to use patches, this kit accommodates them. It comes equipped with a slotted, detachable end which can hold patches tightly if need be. This kit comes with 3 different cleaning rods, all of which are long enough to be pushed through barrels of all lengths.
Unfortunately, this kit doesn’t come with any bore cleaner solvent or lubrication oil. This means that you’ll have to buy yours separately (here are some recommendations). However, this is not a major setback overall.
These two products can be purchased for a general pittance when compared to the kit itself. Even by purchasing these liquid products separately, you will still be spending a lot less money by making use of this kit.
One of the truly nice things about this kit is that it comes in a hard metal and plastic case. This case is equipped with specific slots for all of the items that come with it.
If you’re looking for a gun cleaning kit of reasonable quality on a budget, this one by Hoppe’s is a great choice. While it’s not ideal for avid gun enthusiasts, it’s perfect for those who only shoot every once in awhile.
- Very affordable
- Comes in a tough and portable box
- Capable of cleaning guns of all sizes
- Includes machine-washable cotton swabs
- Not quite high-end quality
- Doesn’t come with solvent or oil
Coming in an attractive, aged Oak box, it not only looks good, but performs well also.
We should start the review off by telling you that this cleaning kit does not come with any solvents or oils.
However, because of its very reasonable price, buying a bottle of solvent and a bottle of oil isn’t exactly going to set you back. Fortunately, the kit has everything else needed to clean and maintain your gun.
Coming with 3 brass cleaning rods which are capable of reaching through the barrel of any gun .22 caliber and over, this kit also includes 50 cleaning patches.
In addition to these cleaning patches, it also comes with 5 different sized, reusable cotton swabs. These swabs can be attached to the end of a rod, and taken off when needed. Perhaps the best thing about them is that they can be washed in a washing machine.
All brushes that come with this set are detachable and capable of connecting to the included rods. You simply change the brush you use in order to accommodate the gun that you’re cleaning.
Overall, this set is best equipped for beginner gun enthusiasts, or those who only use a gun every once in awhile.
The included items are not durable enough to stand up to heavy use, but they are durable enough to be used on occasion.
- Very reasonably priced
- Comes in a tough, attractive wooden box
- Cleans all guns of .22 caliber and up
- Detachable parts are easy to adjust
- Doesn’t come with any solvent or oil
- Not high-end quality
Available at a mid-level price, it contains everything you need to clean and maintain guns of .22 caliber and above.
Coming with 5 different bore brushes made out of bronze, this kit serves to scrape away any and all gunpowder residue that may be present on the interior of a firearm’s barrel. All brushes are detachable, capable of being put on, and being taken off of cleaning rods with ease.
This set includes just one cleaning rod, but it can fold up and out to accommodate barrels of all lengths. To help you clean the outside of your gun, this kit also includes a utility brush. By using this brush, you can work into tight corners and crevices, ridding your pistol of all excess residue.
Unlike other kits on our list of reviews, this kit comes with a bottle of solvent and a bottle of lubrication oil. The solvent is Hoppe’s Elite Gun Cleaner; a non-toxic and non-flammable cleaner which has proven itself over years and years of existence.
The oil is Hoppe’s Elite Gun Oil with T3; a long-lasting lubrication that will keep you firearm operating smoothly at all times.
This kit comes packaged in a portable hard plastic case which can be carried anywhere with ease. Whether you’re a seasoned gun enthusiast, or a general newbie to the world of gun care, this cleaning kit from Hoppe will thrive for you.
- Comes with high-quality solvent and oil
- Can clean guns of .22 caliber and up
- Packaged in a hard, durable, plastic case
- Includes patches
- Only comes with one cleaning rod
- Case contains no compartments
If you’re looking for a decent budget firearm cleaning kit to have on hand for periodic use, you might consider purchasing the Allen Deluxe Gun Cleaning Kit.
While it’s not quite on par with high-end gun cleaning kits, it still has everything you need to clear your gun’s barrel and action on occasion.
Coming in a hard, durable metal and plastic case, this set includes a total of 60 pieces. Every single one of these pieces has a designed compartment inside the case in which it can be safely stored. This allows you to transfer all of your cleaning gear from one place to another with complete convenience and organization.
When compared to other kits on our list, this kit is much bigger, possessing a total of 14 different bore brushes. Each different brush is detachable, and can be easily attached to one of the two included cleaning rods in this kit.
For stabilization purposes, this kit also comes with T-grip handles. This will allow you to have complete control over the rod as you’re pushing it through the barrel.
In addition to the brushes, this set also comes with 6 different wool swabs. These swabs can be washed in a machine, and used over and over again until they wear down. It also comes equipped with some patches, allowing you to clean your barrels the old fashioned way if you desire.
Unfortunately, there is no gun solvent or oil included in this cleaning kit. However, since the kit is priced so reasonably, buying some solvent and oil separately isn’t exactly going to set you back.
All in all, the Allen Deluxe Gun Cleaning Kit is a terrific kit for beginner gun enthusiasts and casual shooters. While it’s of decent quality, it doesn’t posses the type of quality needed for weekly cleaning.
- Reasonably priced
- Can clean firearms of .17 caliber and up
- Comes in a durable, hardshell case
- Has all of the tools you need for adequate gun cleaning
- Doesn’t come with solvent or oil
- Doesn’t possess high-end construction
While it isn’t designed to clean guns of all sizes, this is the best rifle cleaning kit on the market today. It is specifically designed to clean .223/5.56 caliber rifles.
One of the nicest things about this kit is its compact size. Coming in a hand-sized, nylon case, it can be carried anywhere with ease. So, whether you’re looking to clean your gun in the garage or out in the field, this kit will make it as easy as possible.
Coming with a total of 7 brass rods, each rod can be connected to the next in order to reach a total length of 33 inches. This enables you to clean long-barrel rifles with absolute ease. The kit includes two detachable brushes which can be attached and removed at your convenience.
A slight downside of this kit is that it doesn’t include any solvent or oil. It doesn’t, however, include 50 cleaning patches. You can find a quality solvent and oil for a very reasonable online at Brownells or LuckyGunner, or at a nearby store. Don’t let their absence in this kit keep you from buying it.
If you’re owner of a .223/5.56 caliber rifle, this is undoubtedly the best rifle cleaning kit for you. Available for a mid-level price, all of its pieces are of high quality, possessing mostly brass construction that can stand up against years and years of wear and tear.
- Includes high-quality cleaning equipment
- Comes with a scraping knife to clean crevices and corners
- Packaged in a compact and portable case
- Includes a high-detail reference guide
- Doesn’t come with solvent or oil
- Patch holders are made of plastic
There you have it… the top six gun cleaning kits on the market today. A quick recap, here they are again:
- Remington Gun Cleaning Kit
- Hoppe’s Universal Gun Cleaning Accessory Kit
- Outers 28-Piece Universal Wood Gun Cleaning Box
- HOPPE’S Elite EGCOTG Gun Care On The Go Kit
- Allen Deluxe Gun Cleaning Kit
- Real Avid Premium Cleaning and Maintenance Kit
Now that we know which kits are the best, let’s address a few common questions around gun cleaning.
Guns are not cheap. In order to get the most bang for your gun’s buck, you must ensure that you’re giving it its best chance to thrive. Not cleaning and maintaining your firearm regularly will almost certainly result in its early death.
What’s the best way to clean a gun? By using a gun cleaning kit, of course. A gun cleaning kit will have everything that you need to clean and maintain your gun.
These kits are all just a little different, but each of them is capable of doing the same thing: cleaning your gun, and ensuring that it’s always functioning to the best of its abilities.
Be a responsible gun owner — take care of one of your favorite possessions. Invest in a high-quality gun cleaning kit and a great range bag.