Gear Review: RamRodz gun swabs

Firearms are small investments that must be taken care of. One of the easiest ways to protect your investment is to simply clean your firearm. A tool that can greatly speed up the cleaning process are the RamRodz Gun Swabs from RamRodz, a division of Innovative Products of America.

These Ar-15's are extremely accurate. The barrels and breech are meticulously cleaned of carbon after every outing to prevent rust and corrosion. Gas rings, extractor, extractor insert, Crane O ring and extractor spring should be replaced every 4-5000 rounds. A properly built military grade Ar-15 can be extremely reliable if properly maintained.

These Ar-15’s are match-grade accurate. A lot of time and money went into to building these firearms. The barrels and breech are meticulously cleaned of carbon after every outing to prevent rust and corrosion.

RamRodz swabs come in 6 sizes: .22, .38/9mm, .40, .45 and 50 caliber. RamRodz also offers a smaller general use swab that is ideal for detail work and small tasks. RamRodz utilizes a high grade, low lint cotton that is advertised to not leave lint in the firearm. The handle of the swab is composed of a very flexible piece of bamboo. This allows the end user to have some flexibilty while cleaning hard to reach places.

RamRodz come in a variety of sizes. .50, .45, .40, .38/9mm and .22 caliber as well as some smaller sizes for small detailed work.

RamRodz come in a variety of sizes. .50, .45, .40, .38/9mm and .22 caliber as well as a smaller size for small detailed work.

For testing purposes I took my Smith and Wesson M&P 15 and M&P 9 and shot several hundred rounds through each. The first firearm cleaned was my Smith and Wesson M&P-15. For cleaning I used M-Pro 7 Gun Oil LPX and M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner.




For cleaning the Ar-15 I used the .45 and .22 caliber swabs. A stainless steel magnetic tray is a great tool to have when working with small firearm parts.


M-Pro 7 Gun Oil LPX and M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner were used as cleaning agents.




After making sure the gun was not loaded, the Smith and Wesson M&P-15 was field stripped and the bolt carrier assembly was disassembled.


All of the bolt carrier assembly parts received a generous amount of M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner and were allowed to sit for several minutes. M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner is advertised to remove copper, carbon and lead.


The first part cleaned was the charging handle. The .22 caliber swab made short work of this part. Several passes and most of the Carbon was removed.



Cleaning the bolt lugs was very easy using the .22 caliber swab.


The .22 caliber swab made it very easy to clean the outside of the bolt carrier.


The .45 caliber swab was used to clean the inside of the bolt carrier.


After cleaning all the components of the bolt carrier assembly I like to do a quick test for wear. I keep good records of firing schedules for all of my firearms but a few quick test can give me insight concerning the wear and lifespan of certain parts. A quick  test to check the extractor is to GENTLY drag the extractor lip on the inside of the forearm. The extractor lip is the part that interfaces with the rim of the cartridge. After you GENTLY scrape this part on your inner forearm you should see two small lines running parallel to each other. If you don’t see said lines the extractor probably has too much wear and should be replaced.


GENTLY scrape the extractor lip on the inside of your forearm. If you see lines such as this your extractor has enough metal to grip the rim of the case. Please be gentle….you have some pretty good sized veins on the inside of your forearm. If you accidentally sever said veins, neither The Firearm Blog nor I are responsible for your “accident”.


After reassembling the bolt I will place it back into the bolt carrier. A quick way to check if the gas rings are still good is to slide the bolt into the bolt carrier and give it a few shakes. If the bolt stays in place this means that the gas rings are making good contact with the bolt carrier and are still in good condition.


After reassembling the bolt carrier assembly, another quick way to test the gas rings is to fully extend the bolt and stand the bolt carrier assembly up on the bolt. If the bolt carrier doesn’t collapse on the bolt, the gas rings are still in good condition.

After checking the gas rings and extractor I like to check the ejector. Get an empty brass case and seat it on the bolt. You will feel lots of tension from the ejector. Point the brass case in a safe direction and let it fly. The case should be launched several feet. Please make sure the extractor is facing opposite your hand….lest you launch a semi-sharp piece of brass towards your face.




After cleaning, inspecting and testing the bolt carrier assembly I sprayed the inside of the upper receiver with some M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner and started scrubbing with the .45 caliber swab.


The .22 caliber swab was used for the chamber area and for the area around the gas tube.




After cleaning the upper receiver I was pleasantly surprised to realize that the bamboo handle mated perfectly to my cleaning rod. The .22 caliber swab was used as an improvised cleaning patch. RamRodz actually makes a Rifle and Shotgun adapter.


The bamboo handle was shortened to facilitate easier cleaning of the barrel.


The .22 caliber swab worked very well as an improvised cleaning patch. For cleaning my barrels I only use M-Pro 7 Gun Oil. I do not remove copper from my rifle barrels, only carbon.


After cleaning the Smith and Wesson M&P-15 I grabbed some more of the .22 caliber swabs and the pack of .38/9mm swabs. M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner was used for the receiver and the barrel.





After clearing the pistol to make sure it was not loaded, the pistol was field stripped and sprayed with M-Pro 7 Gun Cleaner.


The .38/9mm swab did an excellent job cleaning the bore of the barrel. I tried to use the .40 caliber swab to get a tighter fit in the barrel. This proved unsuccessful .


Once again the .22 caliber swab proved invaluable in cleaning the small nooks and crannies of the barrel.


The .22 caliber swab was used to clean the slide assembly. I think RamRodz swabs are truly superior in this aspect. Unlike a Q-tip or a brush, RamRodz do not leave behind loose cotton, wires or bristles.

Final Thoughts

RamRodz gun swabs are a no-nonsense product that work extremely well. These products are superior to Q-tips in the fact that they do not leave cotton residue behind and maintain their shape. Unlike Q-tips  they are a little bit more rigid yet still very pliable and they don’t completely soak up your cleaning agent into the handle. You can buy them directly from RamRodz through their parent company Innovative Products of America. The MSRP for a bag of RamRodz is $9.95…which I think is a very fair price. Overall it took me about 10 minutes to thoroughly clean my Ar-15. I found the swabs invaluable in cleaning the inside of the chamber, bore, bolt carrier the area where the gas tube enters the upper receiver and the underside of the charging handle. It took me about 5 minutes to clean the pistol. I don’t think I will ever use another product other then RamRodz to clean my pistols, and I will incorporate the swabs into my rifle cleaning kit.

Do you have any tips for cleaning your pistols or Ar-15 rifle? As always…tips, gripes and jokes are very much welcome in the comments below! Thank you for reading the Firearm Blog.

Load that bipod…stay safe!

Addendum By Steve: I am gun-cleaning-gear addict (…Hello Steve) and a new user of the RamRodz. I just want to echo that Thomas has said above. They work very well and I have personally been recommending them to other shooters.

Thomas Gomez

Thomas Gomez currently resides in the mountains of central New Mexico. He has an M.B.A, an Ar-15/M16/M4 armorer certification from Specialized Armament Warehouse as well as a Glock armorer certification. Aside from writing for The Firearm Blog he works as a Clinical Analyst for a large Hospital. He spends his free time farming, ranching, hiking, fly-fishing and hunting in the beautiful forests and prairies of New Mexico. He can be reached at



    uh….it’s just a long q tip? I use q tips for everything discussed in the article at $1.99/500 and my girls get all the cleaning they need. Now if they designed this for a quick lubing of the barrel then I’d be all for it

    • Dan Engelsen

      You can certainly use RamRodz for a quick lube. The heads are specifically caliber sized, so when you run one down the bore coated in your oil of choice you will hit the entire surface of the barrel unlike a crumpled patch.

    • Thomas Gomez

      It’s a big Q-tip with better cotton that doesn’t fall apart and comes in a lot of very useful sizes. They can be used to lubricate the barrel. Hope this finds you well!

  • 2wheels

    Or you know… Just use Q-tips…

    • Michael R. Zupcak

      Q-Tips don’t “utilize a high-grade, low-lint cotton that is advertised to not leave lint in the barrel”. Duh! 😉

      • Dan Engelsen

        And you can’t walk into your local pharmacy and buy a .45 caliber q-tip!

      • Thomas Gomez

        You have to have the high grade low lint cotton!!! Duh! Thanks for the comment!

    • anonymous

      > Or you know… Just use Q-tips..

      2wheels beat me to it. I’ve been using Q-tips to clean my .22 and .223 caliber barrels for years. It wasn’t something I planned to do, I was just out of bore patches one day.

      Another cheap and common house-hold item I frequently use is a toothbrush, along with dish-soap and hot water. Just make sure to dry the parts off afterwards. An air compressor helps, but is not necessary.

      Most of the time, I don’t need to get my firearms “white glove
      inspection” clean, and Q-tips and a toothbrush are usually “good enough”.

      • Joe G.

        I used to clean my M-16 with very hot water. Once the part gets so hot, it drys itself.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      You guys are missing the point. These are WAY bigger than qtips. Also the bamboo is very strong, doesn’t bend easily.

      • 2wheels

        The only advantage the bigger sizes would have is for cleaning down the barrel, so I’ll give you that. But otherwise, Q-tips work just fine for general cleaning in nooks and crannies, and they’re much cheaper.

        • Gotta disagree with on this one. These don’t fuzz up but can be used in the small rails and other places a qtip just won’t work in.

          • Thomas Gomez

            Phil is absolutely correct. RamRodz are a completely different grade of cotton. They seem a little bit more brittle compared to the cotton found on a Q-tip. I was able to completely clean/scrub the inside of my receivers in a few minutes. RamRodz maintain their integrity very well while Q-Tips fall apart very quickly.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Thanks for the comment 2wheels! Hope this finds you well!

  • gunslinger

    thanks for the review.
    when TFB first mentioned these, i was a bit skeptical due to the price. (as stated you can get over 500 “cotton swabs” for 1/4th the price) the the drawbacks are the length, size of the swab and the actual cotton material.

    not leaving stray cotton around sounds like a good thing. but i think these may be best used in conjunction with said “cheap-o” stuff. use these only to finish/final cleaning. help save some cash.

    • Yea true you can do that and do the final cleanup with these.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Gunslinger! Thanks for the comment amigo! I always enjoy seeing your avatar in the comments section. Email me your address if you want me to send you a few RamRodz. Hope this finds you well!

  • Lance

    Like them Q tips and these are needed to clean a used and loved AR after range use. I do prefer less expensive cleaners. And hay Brake Cleaner is my favorite way to clean a really fouled up part of a gun.

    • Nothing wrong with brake cleaner if that’s what you use and it works for you.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Brake cleaner does work…Thanks for participating in the discussion Lance. Hope this finds you well!

  • guest

    What the F**** is happening to those gun parts, especially the handgun, being soaked in oil in some kind of old butter tray? None of these parts never need to be soaked in anything what so ever. Take a rag, patch or brush, a few drops of oil and clean with that. I have yet to see a single gun (or gun part) that ever got any better from being soaked with oil.

    Now correct me if I am wrong – but after drenching the slide in oil you dried it off on the outside. That slide is from that MP-15, a Glock clone… so I hope you feel really smart now that because the only thing you could f*** up on that gun – get oil in and around the striker – you did F up.

    Lord have mercy on your soul, and other people who think gun maintenance means a soaking in gun oil/cleaning products. I know this is an article to demonstrate the swabs and not your gun cleaning skills, but please educate yourself on the subject, and maybe then you will not use some butter tray to marinade your guns next time.

    • greensoup

      What the heck is wrong with you?

    • Pete

      Lol, calm down there big guy. Looks like he is using a standard mechanics style magnetic parts tray like this one from Amazon
      They are nice and cheap at Harbor Freight and prevent one from losing small bits like extractor pins. This seems to be the use he is going for. At no point in those pics do I see anything soaking in a bath of oil/grease/solvent, and certainly not in any “old butter tray”s. Also, we all know what you meant, but an “M&P-15” is an AR clone, just sayin!

      • Thomas Gomez

        You have a good eye Pete. I did indeed get that tray at Harbor Freight. I buy them and stick them to the side of my safe when they are not in use. I use them when I am working on small parts that tend to get lost easily. Hope this finds you well!

    • We each have our pet ways of cleaning and one isn’t alway better than another. I’ve never used his method and that being said I can’t say it works any better or that it doesn’t work at all. You can never judge a cleaning method or a gun for that matter without using it.
      Also we do things in a civil manner here and that doesn’t include F— meant to insult any person on TFB.

      • guest

        Sorry, I did not mean to insult. But I have (unfortunately) seen too much of this… on youtube and at the range. People who think lubricants are like Nutella – the more you put on the better.
        For the AR-15 parts that is just a waste of time and oil, because it serves no purpose what so ever (especially trying to “clean” the cotter pin.), for for all I care – knock yourself out. Eventually that may also lead to dirt accumulation, and the most likely spot to fail first is the trigger group.

        But for that handgun having oil andwhere near the striker WILL absolutely, most defenately lead to an accumulation of dirt and failure to engage the primer. There should be no oil near it, ever!

        Now you may think this is “ok” and to each their own… but some people may look at this example in the article, or at some video online, and think this is standard procedure. For a guy like me this will at the very most lead to a jam and fustrtion. For someone else carrying for duty or self defence this may cost them their life. There is nothing funny or “whatever, I do what I want” about this. Absolutely all Glock-based guns like the MP work this way and all of them will fail for the exact same reason.
        I shoot IPSC for sport, and that plus use of surplus ammo from the 50’s is the only reason why I had failures to fire so I speak from experience.

        So unless your site is here to spread some gun cleaning fetish and teach people how to potentially make their firearms malfunction at God forbid the most critical moment, please get your act together.
        Yes I am frustrated and yes I speak harshly, but your disinformation demands as much and not some passive onlooking and polite comments.
        Saying that I can not judge a cleaning method – yes I can, because it is as safety related as finger discipline and sweeping. This is my busyness to point it out.

        • Mack

          eeaasssssyyyy, i think 98% of people who read this blog can have enough common sense to not believe or do exactly as everybody else does on the internet. but then again everything i read and watch on youtube i think its the next coming of the bible… 😐

          • Thomas Gomez

            Hey Mack! Thanks for reading my article. Hope this finds you well!

          • 98% sure do possess the common sense to take what they read and weigh it then use it all, part of it etc. He seems to think we’re preaching do it our way or you may just be wrong. Pretty silly since a question/method can have more than one right answer.

          • Mack

            I could not have said it any better myself Phil. Also just my 2 cents on the product, does my ar15 need a nickle bcg? probably not but it does make things a little easier, I’m sure these souped up q-tips are basically same concept, can we get by with out them, probably yes, will these ramrodz make cleaning easier and remove some head ache, i would say probably yes.

            Thomas keep this articles coming. Always nice to pick other peoples habits for tips, like the magnetic parts trey i have never thought of before but dang that is smart.

          • Thomas Gomez

            Hey there Mack. If you want me to send you some product send me your address. My email is Hope this finds you well.

          • Thanks mack You’re right on the money. These aren’t something you have to have like the chrome/boron bolt but it sure makes things easier to clean. Patches don’t contact the entire area of the barrel but these will so it’s less work and they pull out more carbon etc.
            Those magnetic trays are nice. I’ve lost more small parts over the years that one of these could have saved. Picking each others brains and using that information is something we all could benefit from myself included. I pick up on things from readers and other writers and adopt it because it just makes sense.

        • Thomas Gomez

          Wow! Round 2 here we go!

          So…I am completely at a loss…I never mentioned gun lubricants.

          I agree that Ar-15’s can be run very dirty granted they are lubricated and the extractor, extractor spring and gas rings are swapped out every 3-4000 rounds. Forgive me if I clean the carbon off my cotter pin. Once a year or every 2000 rounds my Ar-15’s get an ultrasonic bath. I am currently building a 5.45 Ar-15 for training. That gun will get a ultrasonic bath every time it gets shot. I am not going to apologize for cleaning my guns. I am not using caustic solvents nor I am using anything too abrasive. I am not telling people how to clean their guns…I get that it is an emotional subject. I personally don’t want excess carbon sitting on my guns for an extended amount of time nor do I want Carbon in my barrels.

          “For a guy like me this will at the very most lead to a jam and fustrtion”…”fustrtion”? Frustration…? You seem to get frustrated a lot…

          Surplus ammo from the 50’s? Your guns may need an ultrasonic bath…

          So…dear TFB Reader…..If you have a striker fired gun….be careful not to get oil around the striker…

          In the future please maintain a more positive attitude. Hope this finds you well.

          • Phil Hsueh

            I’ve never heard of giving a gun an ultrasonic bath and you’ve got me curious about it now. Why do you recommend it (what does it do?) and where does one take their guns to get an ultrasonic bath? Do you bring the entire gun or just certain parts and is this for both pistols & rifles or just one or the other? Thanks.

          • gunslinger

            basically water and sometimes a cleaning agent will be subjected to high frequency sound waves to cause vibrations to “remove” particles. the sound waves move the cleaning agent over the surface, much like using a toothbrush, cloth or patch, but closer to the microscopic level, getting into the really hard to reach places.

            Places like Harbor Freight have smaller units around 1.5 gallons for under $200. you may be able to fit a a few handguns in there or a few pieces of a rifle.

            larger units (5 gallons) look to cost around $1500 at the low end and go up from there.

          • Oh yea that works well. Same idea as a jewelry cleaner. Drop the parts in and watch the carbon and such float away. It’s never for the entire gun just those hard to clean parts. Like an AR bolt. Drop it in along with the parts.
            The only down side is the cost of the larger units. Small ones for parts aren’t to expensive though.

          • Phil Hsueh

            Thanks to both you & Thomas for the info on ultrasonic cleaners, guess I’ll have to keep my out for one of those at Harbor Freight in the future.

        • Well you were doing fine right up to that last paragraph. Thomas wasn’t even close to preaching that people should clean his way, use a particular lubricant and we sure don’t pass disinformation.
          Disagree all you want just be civil about it. Stating your point in the manner you presented it just made me switch off..
          If you prefer to express your opinion in this manner I invite you to go elsewhere. I certainly can help you with that if you persist.

    • Thomas Gomez

      Hello Guest.
      What is happening to those gun parts is that they were sprayed with M-Pro 7 and are awaiting to be wiped down with a paper towel. The M-Pro 7 was doing its job and making it easier for me to wipe the Carbon away. Nothing is soaking in oil. Nothing is submerged. That “butter tray” is a magnetic tray that I got from Harbor Freight for a few dollars. I find said tray invaluable when doing maintenance on, or working on my firearms. Those trays are a life saver when building an Ar-15 from scratch.

      The slide in the picture was not drenched in oil….it merely got a few spritzes of M-Pro 7 gun oil. MP-15’s don’t have slides they have receivers, receiver extensions bolt carrier groups, buffers, barrels etc…The MP-9 however has a slide (Happy face!)….and you are correct, the MP-9 is a very sophisticated Glock copy..and yes…one should be mindful not to get oil around the striker. Since I am a Glock certified armorer, and the MP-9 disassembles very similar to a Glock I removed the striker to check for oil . There was none. That gun was filthy and the Carbon soaked up most of the M-Pro 7. I sprayed the majority of that oil near the barrel and merely dabbed it with a RamRod to clean the underside of the slide.

      Please Lord…have mercy on my soul. Forgive me for my indiscretions during my undergraduate and graduate years of college. Thank you for giving me the talent to write quality papers at the last minute, lest I never would have been able to balance playing lead guitar in that blues band and maintaining a GPA suitable enough to keep my academic scholarships.

      Cheers. Hope this finds you well!

  • Steve W

    “Where have I seen one of these before?” – Ron Jeremy

    • Thomas Gomez

      That was hilarious! Thanks for the levity Steve!

  • loknload

    I feel like I’m stating the obvious here, but everyone is comparing them to qtips and I
    don’t get it. Qtips have one size head and they are short and linty.
    These have different size heads up to 50 cal and 8 in long. You can use
    these in place patches! I hate patches! Ive also used q tips for years
    but they bend easily and they aren’t long enough to get into tight areas.
    I bought longer versions but the heads were still small and the handles
    constantly broke.
    These seem like they would be awesome. i love
    the idea. Thanks for the review I cant wait to try them!

    • Richt and these use a bamboo shaft which bends but doesn’t break

    • Thomas Gomez

      Hey there loknload! Email me your address and I will send you some RamRodz for you to try out! My email is Hope this finds you well!

  • 101nomad

    I understand the concept. But, cleaning rod, bore brush, patches, bore snake, toothbrush, a rag, q-tips, and of course, solvent and oil as needed works fine. As always, having choices is wonderful. Thanks for the tip.

    • Thomas Gomez

      After experimenting with this product I can completely clean my pistol with one 38/9mm RamRod, 1 paper towel and some M-Pro 7. Thanks for the comment! Hope this finds you well!

  • cknarf

    Q-tips are fine for your peashooters. For anything .30 or bigger they kinda suck for cleaning barrels.

    I still use them for tight areas, toothpicks too sometimes.

    • gunslinger

      totally forgot about the toothpick. i used them quite a bit too for some of the detail work on slides.

  • gunslinger

    I’m surprised they don’t have a 7.62/.30 cal version. i’m guessing the .38/9mm would be a bit large.

    • Dan Engelsen

      We will have the .30 cal version as well as 12/20 gauge shotgun sizes out in the Spring along with an adapter to pop these on your cleaning rod.

      • gunslinger

        When looking at my 10/22 I wondered if I could just pop these in the open slot of a cleaning rod

  • FlatDarkEarth

    Sorry to be off-topic, but are you still planing a follow-up on the Simplistic Shooting Solutions Brake Shield?

  • tagalog

    I went to the Ramrodz website and watched the video advertising the Ramrodz product. Then I read this article. Both are very favorable about the product. However, at $9.95 for 200 of these guys, if you use up 5 or 6 every time you clean your gun, it seems as if Ramrodz could get a little expensive. Maybe not, maybe I’m wrong about that. If you shoot twice a week, you’ll need a new package of them every 20 weeks or so; that’s about five months. Patches are cheaper. Given that the big selling point is that the Ramrodz are less messy than soaking patches in solvent, I am not entirely convinced that the value of the product outweighs the cost. As to the lint issue with Q-Tips, I think the lint issue is pretty much resolved with your first shot. But that’s just me.