Cleaning one’s firearms is really no different from any other maintenance procedure in at least one respect: with the right tools, it can be easy and pleasant, and with the wrong tools, it can be difficult, ineffective, and possibly even harmful. Fortunately for me, early in my shooting “career” I discovered the outstanding products from J. Dewey Mfg., a small firm in Southbury, CT that makes a full-range product line of high-quality instruments for gun cleaning that are definitely “the right tools.”
When most people talk about gun cleaning, they’re generally referring to cleaning the bore of the barrel, where carbon deposits and particles of lead or copper can be found after only a few shots. To clean a gun properly, one must push some cleaning chemicals and attachments through down the bore of a gun barrel. This is generally done with a handled stick that is simply referred to as the “rod.”
Dewey’s Rods are first-rate. The rod itself can be ordered in stainless steel, brass or with a vinyl coating. Attached to one end of the rod is a nicely-sized handle which rotates independently of the rod thanks to some ball bearings built into it. This is important, because it allows the rod to turn in the barrel as it’s being pushed through. If the rod can’t turn freely, many of the attachments will start to unscrew as the rod is being withdrawn, which can result in their being bent or broken, and possibly damage to the barrel itself.
You can order rods in a variety of thicknesses and lengths to accommodate every gun you need to clean. I personally have four of their rods: three for rifles and one for handguns. This should be all that most people would need.
The rod is merely the vehicle through which the actual cleaning agents are moved through the barrel. Dewey also offers a full line of brushes (in brass and nylon), loops, jags (which are little pointed things that hold a cloth patch firm while it’s pushed through the bore), and mops to run whatever cleaner you’re using through the bore with efficacy and ease.
The jags are an excellent example of the quality that Dewey puts into their products: these are machined from billet brass, and carefully knurled for a better grip. The result is a product that is strong and dependable. I have suffered the effects of poorly made jags prior to finding Dewey, and I can assure you that you don’t want to break off a jag halfway down the barrel.
Dewey also offers a host of cleaning equipment accessories, from thread adaptors to nice, thick cotton patches. They also offer cleaning kits for specialized applications, as well as other products to facilitate the cleaning chore.
Overall, I am quite happy with Dewey’s cleaning equipment, and I recommend them to anyone who will listen. I even built a little box to organize all of the attachments.
The attachments are sorted by size, from left to right they are: .204, .223, .243, .277, .284, .300, .357, .429 (.44 magnum), and .45/.454. The top row is for the brass brushes, the second row is for the nylon brushes, and the third row is for jags. The bottom row is for various thread adaptors.
I made this from a cigar box and some plywood. You don’t have to go to this much effort, but you will want to find some way to organize the attachments to ensure that the entire cleaning process is as hassle-free as possible.