At a Glance: Best bore snake
Comparison of Best bore snake
Our Top Pick
|Hoppes – Rifle Viper Boresnake With Den
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Our Top Pick
|Hoppes – Rifle Boresnake With Den
|View Latest Price
Our Top Pick
|GSM Outdoors – Knockout 2-pass Gun Rope Cleaners
|View Latest Price
Bore snakes have a long-standing and well-deserved reputation of being an efficient tool for cleaning your guns and rifles when you don’t have the time nor the place to do detailed maintenance. Whether you are on the range, target shooting, hunting in the woods or serving as a soldier on a long patrol, a good bore snake should be an essential part of your cleaning tool kit.
Hoppes – Rifle Viper Boresnake With Den
Hoppes is a well-known brand in the firearm community. Their range of products includes an array of gun cleaning kits, solvents, oils, rods, and brushes, basically anything you will need to properly maintain and keep your firearm dirt, gunk, carbon or corrosion free. Walk into any store or any shop that sells rifle and handgun related products and it is highly likely they will have a bottle of Hoppes #9 bore cleaner stocked on the shelves.
The Rifle Viper Boresnake is a standard bore snake, made out of braided nylon, with embedded bronze bristles into the cord itself. It is extremely lightweight, and it comes with a den case for easy storage. The lid of the den case is designed to be used as a T-handle to which you can attach the brass weight and use it to pull the bore snake through the barrel.
I couldn’t find a single fault to Hoppes Rifle Viper Boresnake, three rows of phosphor bronze brushes do get the job done, just as advertised, in one single stroke, just apply the solvent of your choice, add some muscle and the bore snake will do the rest. The nylon braided cord is extremely durable, so no matter how hard you pull it, chances are very minimal that it will snap inside your barrel. The lid that comes packaged with the den case makes the pulling easier, because you don’t have to wrap the string around your hand when pulling, as you can use the lid as a T-handle.
- Easy to clean and maintain
- 3 rows of bronze brushes
- Den case for storing
- Bore guide included
Hoppes – Rifle Boresnake With Den
Just like the product I reviewed above, this ‘rifle boresnake with den’ is another excellent offering from Hoppes. Compact and light, it is designed to significantly shorten the time you spend cleaning your barrel. Packed in a den case, it can be easily stored to avoid entangling the bore snake with your other cleaning products.
Made from sturdy braided nylon, with integrated bronze bristles, it will easily clean even the most fouled barrels, irrelevant of the quality of ammo you use. Granted, it only comes with one set or row of bronze brushes, which I do believe is more than enough to get most of the debris in the first pull, but just to be sure it is perfectly clean, I usually do it 2 or 3 times, and the last pull is reserved for lubrication.
One thing I noticed is that, irrelevant of the caliber you are using, the Boresnake is a bit thick, and you do need significant force to pull it out of the rifle, which is probably the reason why Hoppes has included the T-handle with the packaging, in the form of a lid. The tight fit is beneficial for cleaning the barrel, because it will make sure every speck of dirt is removed from inside the bore. This Rifle Boresnake is produced for a variety of calibers, it isn’t one size fits all so be sure to choose the proper bore snake for the bullet you are using.
- Easy to use
- Sold for a variety of calibers
- Extremely strong
- Not a lot of bronze brushes
- Doesn’t come with a bore guide
GSM Outdoors – Knockout 2-pass Gun Rope Cleaners
GSM Outdoors is another company with a long list of brands and products that cater to the hunting and shooting community. The Knockout 2-pass Gun Rope is not one bore snake like you would expect from most manufacturers, but two separate ones.
The package comes with a separate cord that holds a bronze brush on one end, and another cord that serves to mop up the debris and wipe the barrel clean.
The 2-pass Gun Rope uses two separate cords, but let’s see how that system is different from your traditional bore snake. The first cord’s purpose is just for brushing the carbon inside your barrel. It consists of a bronze brush tied to a rope with a weighted brass to guide the cord. While it doesn’t have a lint of cloth area where you can apply the solvent before inserting the cord, that can easily be remedied by dousing the inside of your barrel with your CLP or solvent of choice. The brushes are relatively thick and tightly spaced to ensure that every inch of the barrel will be covered with just one pull. The washable finishing rope is a standard rope designed to wipe clean and scrap all of the fouling.
Now, the 2-pass Knockout Gun Rope is designed to be used right after shooting, while the rifle or shotgun is still warm and the carbon hasn’t cooled down and hardened up. If you plan on using it after you come home and the rifle has cooled down, some kind of solvent will be necessary to properly clean your weapon. This bore snake is sold in a variety of calibers, and you can choose between 12 gauge, 20 gauge, 9mm, 30, 45, and 50 caliber.
- Two-pass cleaning system
- Solid quality
- Sold for a variety of calibers and gauges
- Fair price
- Designed to be used right after shooting, while the barrel is still hot
- No package or box for storage
Hoppes – Shotgun Viper Boresnake With Den
Hoppes Shotgun Viper Boresnake, just as the name suggests, is designed to be used for cleaning shotgun barrels. It comes in a compact case, so you don’t have to worry it will get tangled with your other cleaning products while you carry it in your backpack.
The Viper Boresnake is made from strong twined nylon, as with every other bore snake out there on the market, it includes a string with a brass weight to guide the rest of the rig down the barrel of your shotgun. The bore snake has high-quality bronze brushes integrated into the cord, divided into 3 rows. The brushes itself are fairly tightly packed, to ensure efficient cleaning of the entire barrel with as minimal effort as possible. A bore guide is installed on the bore snake, which is a big plus, because it will prevent the bore snake snagging on the chamber or the muzzle, whichever way you prefer to insert it, and minimize the risk of scratches or damage to the shotgun.
Overall, this is another solid bore snake from Hoppes. The materials used will ensure it will last and perform exceptionally, no matter the amount of build-up in the barrel, just make sure to combine it with a good solvent and you won’t have any issues. It is sold for three different gauges, which are .410, 12 and 20 gauge.
- Exceptional quality
- Comes with its container for easy carry
- 3 rows of bronze brushes
- Fairly low-cost
- Bore guide included
- Wide cleaning surface
Hoppes – Shotgun Boresnake With Den
Hoppes Shotgun Boresnake with Den, can easily be confused with the previous Hoppes product we reviewed here, however, there are some major differences. Before I start explaining what the differences are, I would like to mention that it doesn’t mean that this particular bore snake will perform any worse. Quite the opposite, just as you’d expect with any Hoppes product, you will get a superb quality product for an affordable price.
The Hoppes Shotgun Boresnake with den is made from braided nylon, with two rows of top-quality phosphor bronze brushes. It doesn’t come with a bore guide but instead has a floss scrub area to which you can apply solvents or CLP. Remember, when pulling the bore snake through the barrel, don’t snatch it, otherwise it can snag on parts of the rifle and potentially scratch it, or worse, the bore snake will snap. The bore snake does include a den box, with a lid that acts like a T-handle so you won’t have to twist the string with the brass weight around your hand when you are pulling it out of the barrel.
Overall, a quality product from Hoppes, I’m sure it will suit most of your cleaning needs. If you’re out on the range or fowl hunting, target shooting, and your shotgun gets excessively dirty, this bore snake will surely clean any bad fouling built up in the barrel in a matter of minutes.
- Good value for money
- Easy to use
- Tight fit, but cleans everything
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Will probably last a long time
- Lack of bore guide can lead to potential damage
Real Avid – Bore Boss Rifle Kit
Real Avid has stepped up its game when it comes to bore cleaning devices. What separates it from the competition is not just its ease of use, but also the packaging and the dimensions of the kit. I do admit, that can be said for most bore cleaners out on the market today, but let’s look at the specifications.
The Real Avid Bore Boss rifle kit consists of a 32-inch cable connected to a phosphor bronze brush, and an 8.5-inch braided mop at the end. A small steel ball at the beginning of the cable acts as a weight but also has another purpose. The entire packaging the Bore boss comes in acts as a T-handle. In the center of the package, you will notice a notch through which you can insert the cable with the ball weight. The notch will hold the weight while you pull the Bore Boss through the barrel.
The brushes are packed tight just like a brush in your regular cleaning kit, and they will scrape and break any carbon buildup inside the barrel. The braided mop is thick and wide enough to ensure that every part of your barrel will be cleaned up and ready for you to continue shooting.
The entire package is sturdy, small, and well designed to fit even the small pockets of your backpack or the pockets of your pants or a jacket.
- Small and compact
- Surprisingly affordable
- Innovative design
- Practical to use and carry
- Average quality
What is a Bore Snake?
A bore snake is a rather convenient tool if you want to give your barrel a quick clean. If you are somewhere outdoors, on the range and don’t have access to a standard cleaning rod or kit and a flat surface, but still want to remove carbon build-up and carry on shooting, a bore snake may be an ideal solution for you.
Essentially, all bore snakes consist of two parts. The first part is a drawstring, preferably as long as your barrel is, with a small weight on one end, and the second part is a thicker cord made out of fabric, cotton or nylon in most cases, that is as wide as your barrel, and that does all of the cleaning. The cord, looking from where the drawstring ends, has a tapered top to which you apply your cleaning solvent or CLP. Further down the cord are several rows of small bronze brushes that will break up the carbon soaked with solvent, and the end of the bore snake, which is slightly thicker than the rest, and usually serves to pick up the dirt and push it out of the barrel. As most of you have probably figured out by now, it kind of looks like a snake, hence the name.
How is a bore snake better than conventional cleaning tools?
The main advantage a bore snake has over conventional cleaning tools is that it allows users to quickly and efficiently clean their barrels. Compared to standard cleaning kits the price of a bore snake can be significantly lower, even when it’s not on sale. Another advantage a bore snake has is that it minimizes the risk of damaging the barrel during the cleaning process.
Traditional cleaning rods by design have to be sturdy and stiff, because they are pushed down the barrel, forcing the carbon, lead and whatever fouling is located there. Quite often, an inexperienced new shooter, or maybe a person who wants to rush through the cleaning process, will inadvertently damage the chamber, bore, or the muzzle if they apply too much pressure on the rod and scrape any of the parts mentioned. Sometimes the dirt or specks of lead will stick to the rod and scratch the inside of the barrel. Having a bore snake made from cloth, or some other flexible material, will prevent that from happening. With the added benefit of it being extremely easy to wash, assemble and pack anywhere you wish to go.
What to consider when choosing a Bore Snake
I have to admit, when I first started entertaining myself with the idea of getting a bore snake and reading extensively about it, the inventor in me quite ingeniously came up with a simple solution. Why pay for something like that, when all you need to do is tie a shoelace to an old rag, spray it with CLP and use that to clean my old shotgun.
Needles to say, it didn’t perform quite as well as I expected, because as the saying goes, you get what you paid for. The most important thing you need to pay attention to when choosing a bore snake is the caliber you’re planning to use it for. While it is possible to use a bore snake for caliber 5.56/.223 to clean a rifle chambered in .308, or even a shotgun, it won’t do a really good job in cleaning it because the above mentioned bore snake is too thin to properly clean those barrels. The quality of the bore snake is also important, buy a poorly made one and chances are it’s gonna snap while you are pulling it through the barrel, or stretch and thin out after several uses.
Anatomy of a Bore Snake
As I explained previously, all bore snakes have two parts. The string, usually made from nylon or some other durable material, and a cotton cord that acts as a cleaner. The string typically has a brass weight attached to its end, which acts as a guide, it is the first part of the bore snake that enters the barrel. The cord contains more components, first a floss area at the beginning, followed by a wire brush, usually made from bronze, and at the end the main floss area, which pushes the debris out of the barrel.
This is the first surface of the bore snake that follows the string and is usually the place where you would apply your solvent or CLP, but we strongly recommend you use a solvent. The solvent can be applied to this initial swab area, but it can be also applied to the area directly after the bronze brushes, just to make sure the inside of the barrel is completely covered in the solvent of your choice.
After the solvent has been applied, the wire brushes that follow will scrape and rub off the carbon accumulated inside the barrel. Now, when shopping for a bore snake, an important thing to pay attention to is the quality and spacing of the brushes. The general rule is, good quality bronze brushes with as little spacing as possible between rows, is the way to go. Every inch of the barrel needs to be covered with one swipe of the bore snake.
After the wire brushes, the longest part of the bore snake is the final swab area. It is generally a bit thicker than the rest of the bore snake because it’s main job is to pick up and push out everything that the solvent-soaked first floss area and wire brushes have broken down. Some people will apply oil to the final floss area but generally, that isn’t a good idea, because combining CLP or solvents and oil in one swipe of the bore snake through the barrel won’t give you satisfying results.
How to use Bore Snake
As always, before you start cleaning your rifle, remember the basic rules of firearm safety. Make sure the rifle is unloaded and then disassemble it. The bore snake you are planning to use needs to be the same caliber as your rifle, so double-check that before buying the first one that pops in your internet search or your local gun store cleaning product section.
Take your solvent of choice and apply it to the first floss area, just above the bronze wire brushes. After you have applied the solvent, take the brass weight on the end of the bore snake and drop it down the barrel, and let gravity guide the rest of the snake with it. The first floss area should soon make contact with the chamber and enter the barrel, but it won’t go on its own.
Take the string and pull it through the barrel, preferably as slow as possible because you want to make sure the solvent and the brushes properly break down the fouling inside the barrel. The final swab, or final floss area should pick up and push out all that gunk out, so when the entire length of the bore snake exits the barrel, take a look inside it, if it doesn’t resemble a highly polished mirror, it means it isn’t properly cleaned.
Repeat the process until you’re satisfied with the results. Now a good advice to all people interested in purchasing a bore snake would be to buy a pair of them, the first bore snake would be used just for cleaning, and the second would be used for lubing. Considering the price of most bore snakes on the market today, that wouldn’t be an issue even for those who are on a tight budget.
When it comes to bore snakes, it is difficult to make a decision on which one is the best. They all essentially do the same job, and they do it equally well. The decisive factor should be the quality and the price you pay for it. That’s why I’ve chosen to go with Hoppes Rifle Viper Boresnake with Den, out of all the bore snakes on the market today.