I must confess up front that I hate to clean guns. Yes, I understand the absolute necessity to regularly clean and maintain my guns. Not only as an additional low-cost and low-effort life insurance policy, but to preserve my investments and safeguard the students that use my guns. So after every range visit and every class, I “bite the bullet” and clean them. Sometimes I cut corners and use a “snake”, but that is not always the most effective way nor the only thing to use to thoroughly clean your gun. Most of the time for cleaning my guns, my procedure is to put solvent on the patches, run them through the bore until a clean patch shows, use Q-tips, etc. I spend time cleaning all the recesses, nooks, and crannies to rid them of lead buildup, carbon, fouling, etc. To me from a cost-benefit analysis, it is not over-kill. I would, however, like a supplemental aid to help me get my guns clean and to help speed up my cleaning process. Over the years, I have tired many different types of aids and tools to help in cleaning, so when I was asked to review the RamRodz Gun Swabs from Innovative Products of America, I was glad to investigate them. REMINDER: Unload all firearms before cleaning them and using this or any product.
Product Sizes, Features, and Question
The RamRodz swabs come in 6 caliber sizes: .22, .38/9mm, .40, .45 and 50 caliber. So they offer a caliber-specific cleaning aid. RamRodz also offers a smaller general-use swab that is helpful for detail work and nitty-gritty cleaning. Frankly for detailed, small cleaning jobs, I occasionally use regular inexpensive, generic cotton swabs or Q-tips I get at WalMart, but I do frequently notice how the lint comes off them and gets in undesired places on the guns. Also, I could only locate one head size for the Q-tips and they have shorter handles. Then I have to take extra time to ensure that the lint is off the firing mechanisms especially. So my first and major concern was “What about the lint residue?” I noticed on their website that RamRodz utilizes a low-lint, industrial-grade cotton that is advertised to not leave lint in the firearm. So that is important and seems to be pretty good, but I want to test them for myself. I do not want loose cotton near the striker or clogging the firing mechanism, etc.
My next concern was “Does it have a good, solid handle so that you can grasp the swab securely and is its handle long enough and flexible enough to reach the small recessed spaces you must clean?” I learned the handle of the swab is composed of a very flexible piece of bamboo that allows you some flexibility while cleaning hard to reach places. The bamboo seems to be stronger than the wood handles on my Q-tips, but not like a harder material, of course, but only one of many did bend and break under significant force. However, they were sturdy enough and plenty long enough to get the job done. Also, since there is an assortment of several small and large-sized swabs, you can use different-sized swabs on the one gun you are cleaning at the moment to reach different-sized spaces. Their website says the bamboo handle is 8″ long. This allows you to get into small spaces and hard to reach places; they expand into the lands and grooves of the barrel.
Next, my question was what about the cost of an assortment of various caliber sizes? Well, they offer a Master Assortment 6 Pack and you can buy it for $54.95 plus about $5 shipping. You get different sized swabs (about 1,700) and some you probably will not use and you may not have enough of a particular size you need in the assortment. So you can buy just one caliber size. The price for a 200 swabs bag of 9mm/.38 caliber RamRodz is $9.95 plus shipping. I checked and found that I could buy regular Q-tips for less, but they are shorter, don’t function the same and are not as sturdy. I could buy more Q-tips and for less cost. For 2,000 Q-tips, the cost I found was $30.90 plus $8.06 shipping or about $21 less for more swabs. Also, patches are much less expensive. So, do your own cost-benefit analysis and compare the features and qualities you personally desire for your use.
Using RamRodz Swabs to Clean Some of My Guns
For testing purposes, I cleaned my S&W M&P Pro 9mm that I used at a recent IDPA match. I shot about 100 rounds through it. To clean it, this time I used Hoppe’s #9 solvent, Ballistol Multi-Purpose Cleaner-Lubricant-Protectant, and some Mobile 1 synthetic oil, with their swabs.
I applied the cleaning agents sparingly to the various selected parts and used the swabs. The .22 caliber swabs were very useful for getting into the chamber area, the slide rail grooves, the firing pin recess area, and barrel lugs. There was no lint residue after cleaning the gun which had about 100 rounds fired through it.
The .38/9mm swab did a very good job cleaning the bore of the barrel. After a couple of passes with it, the swab was not as tight as I wanted. So I tried to use the .40 caliber swab to get a tighter fit in the 9mm barrel, but it did not work for me.
It is my opinion that the RamRodz Gun Cleaning Swabs are a useful aid to supplement your other cleaning materials and tools. For me, they worked well, especially to get into the slide rails, firing pin channel, and small crannies of the one handgun I cleaned. I especially liked that they did not leave cotton lint or residue in the gun, like some other products do. The long and flexible bamboo handle helps to get into awkward-to-reach places, adds stability to places that require you to use more leverage in your cleaning, and they almost always do not break and do retain their shape well. The handles do not completely absorb the cleaning agent and they are biodegradable for easy disposal as a natural product. You can buy them Amazon (free shipping for Prime Memebers), directly from RamRodz and their parent company Innovative Products of America or from various distributors.
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Photos from RamRodz and by author.
This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney in your state or jurisdiction for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense, stand your ground law, and concealed carry. This is not legal advice and not legal opinions. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2014 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at [email protected].